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Old 02-15-2010, 02:04 AM   #1
*dreamit*doit*
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Hey! Let's take a picture in front of the castle...all 28 of us!! UPDATES 10/26

Well, almost two months later I am finally starting this...my first TR!! So exciting but I'm not too sure of how to do this exactly, soooo....assuming I will have some readers - please stick with me!

Okay, so as you can probably tell by the title...yes, there were 28 of us on this trip (and for a day, 34...but we'll save that for later )

When? December 16th-21st
Where did we stay? Port Orleans Riverside - 7 rooms
Why? Good times and birthdays!
How did we do it? Lots of planning!
Who? I guess this would be a good time to introduce myself:

I'm Nathalie, wife to DH Ramon and mom to DD6 Miren and DD2 Nerea and...very much a fan of all things Disney!! but especially of going to WDW, did I mention we live in South Florida? Yup, we do and, other than our family, WDW is the BEST reason to stay here! My first trip to the World was at 4 years old and I've been back pretty consistently at least once a year, some years more and maybe we've skipped a year here and there but not many. DH had been to Disney several times before we started visiting together but not at the rate that we go now, and even though he doesn't like to admit it, he's hooked just as much as I am. Miren went for the first time at 15 months and Nerea at 5 months - Miren said to me the other day "I'd rather have a better life living in Disney" - 'nuff said.



Okay, so that's only four of us, the other 24 are all part of my large family: two uncles, two aunts, a cousin, her DH, DS3, DD1, another cousin, her DH, DS7, DS5, DS3, DD1, another cousin, his DW, DS8, DS6, DD3, another cousin, his DW, DS1, another cousin, his DW.

So, how did we decide to embark on this adventure? Four years ago, also in December, we had a similar adventure - only 19 of us that time: same two aunts and two uncles, three of my cousins with their families (only 5 kids that time, 12 this time!) and my parents, who weren't able to be a part of the fun this time b/c they care for my 94 year old grandmother (bummer for dad, my love for Disney comes from him...mom, not so much ) Well, back in February of last year just the four of us stayed at WL, which immediately became my favorite resort, and I decided to book a room for December to celebrate both of my daughters' bdays (five days apart). At that time, one of my cousin's booked a room for her family, as well. In March two more cousins decided to join us and the rest followed soon thereafter. However, when everyone started booking their rooms we realized that the first couple of days had great rates for WL but the weekend put us into peak season, so some of our group started looking into the moderates, in the end we decided a moderate made more sense and we would all stay together. We booked 7 rooms at Port Orleans Riverside and made it a grand gathering; this would assure us that our rooms would be together...or did it?? We won't know until we get there!

Planning: Once the rooms were booked we started planning and we decided it would be a good idea to have a planning meeting and I volunteered to host at our home. Somehow it evolved into only the ladies were getting together to plan and the dads would babysit, I don't remember how this happened but it was a great idea! GREAT idea! So we planned to meet before our ADR booking date, which at that time was only 90 days, so we got together in early September. Surprisingly enough, we planned! And ate and drank...but we planned!! And so, with a notebook full of notes and 1st choices and 2nd choices, etc...I got up at 6am on the 90th day and got on the phone. Did we get everything we wanted? For the most part - YES! A combination of 1st and 2nd choices and we were all happy with our ADR's. I forgot to mention two things - 1. we were all on the dining plan and 2. even though the dates I listed were December 16th-21st, not everybody was staying that whole time, that was just us; some were there 16th-20th, some 17th-21st, and most 17th-20th, so that was another factor in making the ADR's: I had to make sure I had the right number of people for each meal. So, ADR's set, what was the next step...spreadsheet!! Now I have to thank someone on the dis who provided me with a copy of their spreadsheet and I used that as a template...however I don't remember who it was sorry! but thanks!! Oh, one more thing, it was also one of my cousin's sons' bday five days before Nerea's and 10 days before Miren's (we were going to be there on Miren's actual bday), so we decided to plan something special to celebrate all three birthdays while we were there and I made that reservation too. What did we do? Any guesses??

Well, I'll leave you with that; next time less pretrippie stuff and I'll get more into the actual trip!
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Old 02-15-2010, 04:38 AM   #2
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Great start to your TR. What a huge group to keep track of! Oh my! Your girls are really cute! Looking forward to more!
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:36 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEK View Post
Great start to your TR. What a huge group to keep track of! Oh my! Your girls are really cute! Looking forward to more!

My first reader!

Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:19 PM   #4
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Wow, I can't imagine keeping up with the details for 28 people! And to tell you the truth, I'm not sure I'd want to be on vacation with 28 of my family members!

Your family seems precious and I can't wait to hear more about your trip!
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:09 AM   #5
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My hat is off to you. Lots of planning, indeed. Can't wait to hear about all the details.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MHTeacher View Post
Wow, I can't imagine keeping up with the details for 28 people! And to tell you the truth, I'm not sure I'd want to be on vacation with 28 of my family members!

Your family seems precious and I can't wait to hear more about your trip!


Keeping up with so many details was interesting...I kept all my notes in a notebook nobody understands but me...and even I had trouble sorting it all out at times! Once I put it all into the spreadsheet it was MUCH easier to work with! I think the key is to pick the right 28!



Quote:
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My hat is off to you. Lots of planning, indeed. Can't wait to hear about all the details.




Thanks! More coming soon!
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:21 PM   #7
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Wow, what a gathering! I once had dinner with approximately 40 people at Biergarten (all DIS'ers and our families) but I can't imagine actually planning a group like that for a full vacation. Heck, I don't even want to take my parents or a SIL due to differing ideas of "fun." Hats off to you!

Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmp1111 View Post
Wow, what a gathering! I once had dinner with approximately 40 people at Biergarten (all DIS'ers and our families) but I can't imagine actually planning a group like that for a full vacation. Heck, I don't even want to take my parents or a SIL due to differing ideas of "fun." Hats off to you!

Can't wait to hear more!
Thanks!

How fun that you had such as big DIS'er gathering!

The planning was tricky but all part of the fun! Luckily, we all have similar ideas of "fun" and our kids are all very close and like to do much of the same things so we just stuck to planning around them.

Differing ideas of fun - not fun.

Hopefully more to come later tonight!
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:33 PM   #9
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Well, I didn't make it back here last night but I'm here now, so....let's get this party started!

So, I left off with plans set and ADR's set. Here is a picture of a table I set up for our planning party



So after plans and ADR's were put in the spreadsheet I made copies and sent them to everyone. I color coded each family so I wouldn't have to write all the names each time for each activity/ADR. We weren't ALL going to do every single thing together and since we weren't all being there for the same amount of time it was easier to organize like this. In the end we planned to be mostly together for 3 days and had 3 ADR's for all 28 of us: O'hana @ POLY for dinner, Whispering Canyon @ WL for dinner, and CP @ MK for breakfast. Even though I had emailed the spreadsheets, one of my cousin's made smaller portable copies for everyone and laminated them to hand out to everyone once we were there.
Here it is!



And, on the back we put all the hours for all the parks including EMH's and parades and fireworks, in case we wanted to change our plans at anytime we'd have the info right at our fingertips.



So now it was time to pack - what should we take? Living in Florida we know how unpredictable the weather is in December (anywhere between 80's-40's is possible) so we obsessively checked the weather everyday and I packed for what was forecasted to be highs in the low 70's and lows in the mid-high 50's - this will be important later. Also, we had agreed that all 12 kids would wear matching color shirts for two days to the parks (appropriately for the season: red and green ), as we planned on only doing two parks as a big group. Even as we planned this we thought they'd probably be wearing jackets so it may not matter, but we thought it'd be cute anyway.

Bags packed, time to pack the snacks - just some milks and goldfish this time (I think). I knew one of my cousin's is a major over-packer...sure enough she over-packed tons of food and had plenty to share, and share she did.

Wednesday December 16th! All packed and ready to go!! Um, not so fast....Miren had a small holiday presentation in her class at 10am - not a problem. I took her to school in the morning came back home, made all last minute preps, Ramon, Nerea and I went to the school at 10am, signed Miren out early and we were home by 11am to load the car, change to comfortable clothes, have a snack and be on our way by noon!!!! Here are the girls in the car:

Nerea


Miren


It's only about a 3 1/2 hour drive from our door to the entrance of WDW, depending on traffic, speed, and no stops. We usually stop. Luckily traffic was non-existent and we made a short stop and were there by 4pm. My cousin and her family that were also checking in this day arrived at the same time as we did, actually we ended up at the same traffic light on our way to POR so we drove in together and she and I went in to check-in while our DH's stayed by the cars with the kids. Or maybe Miren may have come with me...uh-oh, the details are starting to get fuzzy!

Checking-in: remember I said we had a grand gathering number that was supposed to tie all our reservations together and should have put all 7 rooms together? There was no line so I went to one CM and my cousin to another CM about 2 windows down. Almost done with check-in and she asks me what room we are in - 8219 - she says um...we are in a different building. The CM's hear us talking and then they start talking trying to figure out a way to move her. Turns out...for whatever reason...she was the only one whose room was not with the rest of the group. They were able to put them in the same building but not really near us (8262 I believe). I confirmed that all the other rooms were together and they were.

Finally, we walked into this




and started unpacking



ok, so she's not unpacking so much as hiding the soaps!

I'll stop here for now - coming up next, an evening with the Chef!

*(I'm noticing these pictures are huge! Can anyone tell me how to resize them, I'm using photobucket - thanks!)*
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:09 PM   #10
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Love the table set up for the planning party! Can't wait to read how it all went with such a large group.
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
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and started unpacking
I love the unpacking at Disney! It just makes me happy, knowing I'm "home" for the next ___ days!
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Old 02-20-2010, 07:21 PM   #12
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Wow! We're taking my mom with us this go round and I'm a wee bit nervous about that. 28 people! I think you were very smart in not expecting everyone to be together ALL the time. My BFF took her whole family a few years back and was miserable the whole time as she was more of a tour guide for 12 people than actually on vacation.

Can't wait to read more. Your girls are too cute!
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:42 PM   #13
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Wow, you are organized. Kudos.

Packing thew soap, that is funny.
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Old 02-20-2010, 11:27 PM   #14
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Great start to your TR, I am in awe of you keeping track of all those people. I am meeting a large group in WDW in October and am going to try to get some tips from you.

The picture size is great, it shows great detail on laptops and desktops. I can't wait to read more.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:21 PM   #15
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Wow! That's a lot of people to plan for! I mean - we took our school band but we didn't have to worry about ADRs and such. :-) You guys did a wonderful job and so organized! I'd like to vacation with you people! I'm officially jealous of how close you live to Disney. I'm sure I would run broke if I lived that close. I keep telling DH that I want to retire to Florida and work for Disney. You have such a cute family. Can't wait to read more!
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