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Old 06-08-2013, 07:05 AM   #1
mamahas5
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Question Family of 7, tips anyone?

Our trip this July is the first vacation we've taken with our 5 kids. We are flying, renting a minivan, and staying at BW Saratoga Resort Villas. We are doing MK once and DHS once as we are going for a convention and that's what we can afford this time. I'm just looking for any advice on organization, park touring, and ways to save money with such a big family (DD13,DD11,DD5,DD3,DS1). How much spending money do people with this many kids usually allow? We are trying to give them some chance to save some of their own $ but since we are surprising them they can't specifically earn WDW $.
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:43 AM   #2
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Congrats on the trip!! I would start with easywdw.com. I tis a good planning site. You can get park hours there and then also know which days are EMH days since you are staying on property. You will want to hit the resort at rope drop each day. July is the seventh layer of hell hot in FL ( I know cause I live in Mississippi). You want to get the kids to MK to do the rides in Fantasy Land early (Dumbo, Its a Small World, etc). Then leave about noon, head back to resort for pool time and lunch. You will need a break due to heat. Then go back around 4-5 p.m. That way they will have the energy to stay for evening parade and Wishes. Remember to use fast pass.

At DHS, hit at rope drop, go immediately to Toy Story Mania and get a fast pass---this is a must do our you will not be able to ride. Do not be alarmed at the crowd racing with you. Collect all the tickets and one person can get the fast passes while the other waits with the kids. Then go to Tower of Terror or Rockin Rollercoster...after that Star Tours and then what ever you want to do. You need to knock those rides out early. Get seating for Fantasmic 30 minutes prior to show time.

The buses run about an hour before park opening because people have reservations to eat in the parks.

Again leave at noon and come back in late afternoon or early evening. Start you planning with park hours and you can get those on this site or WDW site for planning.

I do not have children but I do know that many parents put the days clothes for each child in a gallon zip lock bag. Socks, undies, hair bows..whatever so pulling out a baggy keeps it organized. A shoe holder over the door to the bathroom can serve as an organizer for shoes, sundries, whatever.

My brother has five children 19, 14, 10, 6 and a soon 5 year old.
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:49 AM   #3
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The portions at Disney counter service are large. I weigh 220# and want to share with my MIL when we go...so you know I like to eat and the portions are large. Two kids can easily eat one meal. Take a backpack for water and snacks. Eat breakfast in the room. Maybe do lunch before heading back. Might want to pack earplugs for fireworks. You can freeze the water in fridge at Saratoga then carry it in ziplock in backpack to parks...giving you cool water during the day if needed.

I am blind on suggestions since DH and I are childless.
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:59 AM   #4
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Take some time exploring www.mousesavers.com . There are lots of money saving ideas there.
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ToddyLu View Post
Congrats on the trip!! I would start with easywdw.com. I tis a good planning site. You can get park hours there and then also know which days are EMH days since you are staying on property. You will want to hit the resort at rope drop each day. July is the seventh layer of hell hot in FL ( I know cause I live in Mississippi). You want to get the kids to MK to do the rides in Fantasy Land early (Dumbo, Its a Small World, etc). Then leave about noon, head back to resort for pool time and lunch. You will need a break due to heat. Then go back around 4-5 p.m. That way they will have the energy to stay for evening parade and Wishes. Remember to use fast pass.

At DHS, hit at rope drop, go immediately to Toy Story Mania and get a fast pass---this is a must do our you will not be able to ride. Do not be alarmed at the crowd racing with you. Collect all the tickets and one person can get the fast passes while the other waits with the kids. Then go to Tower of Terror or Rockin Rollercoster...after that Star Tours and then what ever you want to do. You need to knock those rides out early. Get seating for Fantasmic 30 minutes prior to show time.

The buses run about an hour before park opening because people have reservations to eat in the parks.

Again leave at noon and come back in late afternoon or early evening. Start you planning with park hours and you can get those on this site or WDW site for planning.

I do not have children but I do know that many parents put the days clothes for each child in a gallon zip lock bag. Socks, undies, hair bows..whatever so pulling out a baggy keeps it organized. A shoe holder over the door to the bathroom can serve as an organizer for shoes, sundries, whatever.

My brother has five children 19, 14, 10, 6 and a soon 5 year old.
Thanks for your great tips! At DHS do we get FPs for TSM first and then ride it using the standby line, saving the FP for later? Can DH get the FPs while the rest of us wait in the standby line or do folks frown on people meeting up with their group in line?
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:22 PM   #6
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Take some time exploring www.mousesavers.com . There are lots of money saving ideas there.
Great idea, I started looking at the ways to save on food and I've learned a lot already!
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:39 PM   #7
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You are allowed to bring in your own food and drinks into the parks, just no alcohol or glass (except baby food jars)
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mamahas5 View Post
Thanks for your great tips! At DHS do we get FPs for TSM first and then ride it using the standby line, saving the FP for later? Can DH get the FPs while the rest of us wait in the standby line or do folks frown on people meeting up with their group in line?
You'll want to ride it twice!

What we do is this: I'm the "fastpass runner." As a single, I can move a whole lot faster than we can as a group. I go ahead and get the FPs, then meet the rest of the group at an agreed upon place. No one gets on line until I'm there, but they can do bathrooms or whatever. It's seldom a wait of more than two minutes or so.
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mamahas5 View Post
Our trip this July is the first vacation we've taken with our 5 kids. We are flying, renting a minivan, and staying at BW Saratoga Resort Villas. We are doing MK once and DHS once as we are going for a convention and that's what we can afford this time. I'm just looking for any advice on organization, park touring, and ways to save money with such a big family (DD13,DD11,DD5,DD3,DS1). How much spending money do people with this many kids usually allow? We are trying to give them some chance to save some of their own $ but since we are surprising them they can't specifically earn WDW $.
Are you staying at Saratoga Springs Resort or Boardwalk Villas?

Buy tickets through mousesavers.com at undercovertourist.com. Do look through easywdw.com to see which day is best to do which park. Others suggested mid-day breaks, but we choose to rent a double reclining stroller and stay at the park all day, with kids 4 and under napping. Curious about renting a vehicle - are you able to get a decent deal with the costs of all the car seats? or are you bringing your own? We never rented as we stayed on property the whole time. Are you all going to the convention? off-site? If not, consider saving money by getting only the size vehicle you need. Your 1 year old will be free on both the plane as a lap infant and at WDW. Wegoshop.com delivers groceries, but if you have a vehicle you can get groceries on your own. You can bring drinks/food into the park. Quickservice food can be shared. I noticed mickey bars (ice cream) were actually slightly cheaper at our resort than at the park, so we saved that for eating at our room. Have fun!
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:00 PM   #10
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The Best Western Saratoga Resort Villas the OP is staying at is not a Disney hotel, it is offsite. I'd never heard of it until we played mini golf at the place next door (lots of fun). So no EMH access.

You still might want to consider mid-day breaks. We like to alternate break and no break days. The first day at a park we don't break because everyone is too excited.
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:37 PM   #11
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You are allowed to bring in your own food and drinks into the parks, just no alcohol or glass (except baby food jars)
And no large coolers!
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:55 PM   #12
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We are staying offsite at Best Western Saratoga Resort Villas...the best close place we could find to fit us all, that was affordable ($89/night for a 2 bedroom). It got great reviews so we'll see!

We are bringing our carseats. DD3 will sit in hers on the plane and we'll check DD5's backless booster with DS1's carseat. Flying Southwest so not worried about paying to check items.

We're going to the convention the Saturday and Sunday we're there and it's at the Hilton onsite but we couldn't afford to stay there so renting a minivan that seats 7 is fine at a total of less than $500 for 7 days. We are getting discount tickets through the convention, which will save us quite a bit.
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:04 PM   #13
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And no large coolers!
I can't remember the dimensions, I think they may be listed on the website? Anyways, I saw a few large families with soft sided cube coolers on wheels with telescope handles. Genius.

One family in line with us at Kilimanjaro Safari shared their fresh cantaloupe. It was delicious! They parked it with the strollers.
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:20 PM   #14
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I can't remember the dimensions, I think they may be listed on the website? Anyways, I saw a few large families with soft sided cube coolers on wheels with telescope handles. Genius.

One family in line with us at Kilimanjaro Safari shared their fresh cantaloupe. It was delicious! They parked it with the strollers.
Rolling coolers are not permitted and you may be asked to bring it back to your car.
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:29 PM   #15
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My biggest tip as a mama of five, is to prioritize ahead of time and realize that you will NOT see everything in one day for each park.

Other than that, remember that a bad day in Disney is exactly that... IN DISNEY!

Have fun! And look for magic in the little things.
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