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How to do Disney - Different views on how to do Theme Parks and endurance

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by khaoskat, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. khaoskat

    khaoskat Mouseketeer

    Feb 21, 2013
    We might be going to Disney this fall with family friends. The only problem is that we basically will probably go and go and go in the park, with taking a mid-day break. The other family is more of a dad stays at the room/house and mom/child go to the park and ride a few rides and they are done.

    We want to do character meet and greats and autographs, ride all the rides we can, do some of the specials (BBB, Pirate, Jedi, etc).

    We will have 5 kids, of which only one will be into the princess (even though there will be 2 girls)....I am sure the other girl will get very bored and loose interest and be ready to go the minute we start waiting in line for character autographs, etc.

    Any suggestions on how to do this, so we can get our first every Disney experience, but still spend time with our friends and not offend them. It is not 100% set in stone yet they are coming, but we are going.
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  3. LaurenT

    LaurenT DIS Veteran

    May 27, 2009
    It's hard to advise when I don't know the dynamic.
    We are going with best friends in August. My DH is great friends with the dad, I'm great friends with the mom, and our girls are true BFFs.
    The moms and girls are go, go, go...the dads are hang by the pool and eat.
    So, most of the time, I imagine that all us girls will get an early start, hit RD, keep going till the dads join us, then stay a bit longer while they get in a few attractions, which will be more than enough for them, and then we'll all go hang out by the pool.....
    But we all know each other very well....no one is going to get offended or feel left out.....
  4. LovesTimone

    LovesTimone DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2009
    If I can suggest, meet for meals, and let each family kinda do their own thing. You could do say character breakfast at AK, then head for the safari ride, then break up and each spend some family time. Then plan to meet back at the pool later in the day, or for dinner. Or Meet for lunch that way if someone wants to sleep in they can. or meet for fireworks, or parades. This way you can go go go if you want any they can do what they want without this everyone get the vacation they want.

    Have a magical time:cloud9:
  5. PrincessMe

    PrincessMe Mouseketeer

    Oct 2, 2012
    It sounds like you might do better with an absence makes the heart grow fonder strategy. I would plan on spending most of your time separately with just one or two group activities every day. Or you could try starting the day together (discuss exactly what time that means) and agree to split up whenever/wherever with no hard feelings.
  6. littlejen22

    littlejen22 Mouseketeer

    Apr 19, 2011
    Honestly I think that is a pipe dream. Make some ADRs together and maybe start the day together or after your mid-day break go to the park together I would talk before you go about how you plan to do Disney and that you think it would be best for the families to setup some things to do together but expect that you guys are going to want to be at the park most of the day. I do think the one big issue here can be if the kids want to be together a lot and the parents want to do different things.
  7. MacClemsons

    MacClemsons Mouseketeer

    Oct 11, 2012
    We have met up with friends at WDW twice. We do commando touring and our friends did not. We ended up going separate ways. Best to let your friends know ahead of time so that they'll still be your friends when you get home.
  8. khaoskat

    khaoskat Mouseketeer

    Feb 21, 2013
    Thanks...Prime example..

    We have season passes to our local park...my kids (even though we have to split the time between kids area and big kids area due to age/height of my four) would probably spend an entire day w/o realizing it at the park. Since we have season passes we usually go down for about 5 hours at a time.

    Last year, our friends came with (mom/child). She wouldn't ride a kiddie coaster that my 2 year old would ride (and he had just turned 2 about 3 months prior). It was too fast and tall (we are talking the largest hill is maybe 8 feet, with the drop being about 6 feet)....ride, with two laps is less than a minute. Child was content to ride the little kiddie train and like the kiddie carnival ride (cars that go round in a circle around a center pole). Child wouldn't even drive her own bumper car. We do take a wagon/stroller, but that is mainly because we have a 2 year old and to haul our stuff around in...(and sometimes due to lack of seating, we will drop the side of the wagon down and use it as a seat for the adults - we have one of those garden carts).

    You could tell that after about an hour or two, child was ready to go...didn't want to do any more walking, wasn't finding anything to ride (while my kids wanted to ride everything, but couldn't because child didn't want to ride/wait for them to ride). Child hung in for the sole reason to go through a specific attraction at the back of the park...but was ready to leave once we were through it...

    We go to Cedar Point and we usually hit there at the hour early admission (resort guests and passholder) run the park till about 1 or 2, then head back to rental house/cabin for the younger two to nap and older two to just chill or play. Then we have some snacks and an early dinner, then head back to the park about 6 or 7 and stay till close (about 10 or 11 -- during halloween it is like 12 or 1 am). Heck, we head to the park immediately after checking in, even if it is just an hour or two, because the kids can run their energy off in the kids areas after being couped up in the car.

    So, that is the basic differences between the kids.

    As for characters -- child might get into Jedi and more the boys stuff....my older two wont be into Princess but will probably get into most everything else. My daughter will want the princess and fairies and she is at the age she knows and will like the younger kids stuff (pre-school)....and then we have the one who will be the 2 year old/pre-school stuff.

    I know we are wanting to do CRT; Jedi Training; Pirate Cruise..and maybe BBB for DD and the older two boys on the Pirate league store/hair thing...

    We have not reserved yet, if friends come we will probably rent a house off property (even though we would love to stay on property....it would be so much cheaper for all of us off property)...so I am waiting to make reservations to see if they are going to come or not. Friend comes home from working out of state in a couple of weeks and will get with them to see if this is going to be a go or not.
  9. cobright

    cobright DIS Veteran

    Jan 6, 2013
    Okay, since you asked...

    Planning your "must Do's" in advance is a must and after that it's just filling in the rest of the spaces on the schedule. Follow me on this...

    You know your kids. You know how long they can go at a stretch. Place a relaxer-ride at those intervals. I'm in Michigan and we go to Cedar Point like you said and this is a much different park experience. Ticking rides off a checklist will have you missing so much at WDW.

    Relaxer rides are worthy and entertaining things that last 10-15 minutes or more; sometimes they are air-conditioned.

    Now put a sit-down meal on the list for every day in the park. Preferably a character dining experience. I love character hunting so I end up bribing the kids to stand the lines but character meals lure them in with food.

    Stay hydrated. Plan for all the things that might deter your progress. Tylanol, Tums, diareah meds, baby-wipes, extra water, etc.

    Finally, and this is not for everyone, but every team in every battle needs a leader. That leader is you and you owe it to your family to be at the top of your game.

    For me, that means I pre-load at breakfast and every meal a regimen of Ibuprofin, bacon, amphetemines, and high-proof clear liquor. I consider them all essential but if you must cut some of them at least keep the bacon and Ibuprofin. Motrin will keep your feet feeling fine and bacon ... well it's bacon.

    Once you get started, remember to make sure everyone gets a serving of fruit with each meal, a cup of coffee with any large dose of carbs, and you can all sleep when you're dead.
  10. Ninja Mom

    Ninja Mom Atention People of Earth, I come in Peace

    Apr 2, 2012
    In my humble opinion....

    This is a disaster right from the get go. You have two very different agendas and the two shall not meet.

    IF you HAVE to go to WDW with groups that have different touring priorities, plan as little together as possible and wish everyone well. You can talk about your trip when you get back and have more time to spend together.

    IF they do decide to come, emphasize that you just want to meet them for a meal or two (Total!) and perhaps you'll see them at the pool mid day during your break BECAUSE you don't want "your" commando touring style to negatively impact their trip. Just be honest and explain that you are (crazy ;) ) and you will be going at top speed all day long and you know that would probably drive them crazy. The key here is to remove the expectation from all parties that you are actually going to try and do things together... this way the pressure is off on all sides.

    I would also not plan any meals with them where a credit card is holding the reservation and someone will get penalized if they don't show up. The key here is to keep it very sensible and very loose with little, if any, intertwining of plans.

    Dining, ESPECIALLY, is a bear to coordinate because invariably the eating/touring schedules falls apart and people that are not committed to a touring plan, like your friends, start to ditch the reservations as the trip wears down on them. Even scheduling just one meal a day together will be stressful for you when you start to hear from your friends that maybe they'll be there, maybe they won't....

    I just recently came back from a family trip. One half of the family (Park Commandos) wanted to go to the parks early and the other half (Casual Tourists) wanted to sleep in, hang at the pool and wondered why the lines were so long when they finally got to the parks at lunch time. One half of the family (Park Commandos) was having a heart attack trying to herd the other half (Casual Tourists) to meals on time, meals incidentally that the Casual Tourists insisted on planning!

    There were no blow ups or big arguments because each side realized that it wasn't one way or the other that was right, it was just that each side had different priorities for touring WDW. The Commandos gave up any hope of getting the Casual Tourists to coordinate with their schedule and vice versa.

    ....But the meals drove everybody crazy. The Commandos didn't want to spend such a huge block of time chained to a restaurant and the Casual Tourists were tired of having to keep to the meal schedule.

    I'm also going to warn you about all the enthusiasm before the trip about how everybody is going to keep to the mutually agreed upon plan. That is not going to happen I can assure you, especially when you have groups with different priorities/touring styles.

    Good luck. The best thing that can happen here is that you agree to go your own separate ways and enjoy the trip in the way that you each would prefer.

  11. gottagetback

    gottagetback Wish I was there right now...

    Dec 27, 2007
    We went with extended family once and used the meal time strategy. We made sure we met for one meal a day. Otherwise, we toured separately unless we just happened upon the other family in the park.

    It really is difficult to get a happy touring plan with immediate family and sooo frustrating with a large group, especially if you're first timers.

    You can still enjoy time together at the pool or special events like character meals (most everybody enjoys these even if they're not big into characters!). Maybe get fast passes for a certain ride at each park and meet up to ride together.

    This is actually the way we tour with our kids now that we have teenagers. DH and I hang with DD9 while the teen boys do their thing at the same park but we meet up for meals and fireworks or parades, etc. Everyone is happy and it's much less stressful to tour with a smaller group.

    Just communicate with you're
  12. DakotaRose

    DakotaRose Mouseketeer

    Jun 23, 2012
    I mean this kindly: take a breath and ask why you really want them to share this trip, your first to WDW. If they aren't enthused, go enjoy it with your family and give them a rain check for another time. With your very different styles, perhaps a different kind of trip would be easier to enjoy together, for both families.
  13. bfamily5

    bfamily5 Yes, I need another guide book...it's part of the

    Jul 25, 2009
    We've been there as well! Our family met up with family friends. I guess the key was I planned for my family and my friend planned for hers. We ended up staying at the same resort and our park plan was very similar since we used the same resources. We did plan a few ADR's together and we spent a few evenings at the lounge together...but once we went through the turnstiles we said "see ya later". Because we had planned together we knew going in that we had very different priorities and touring styles - it worked really well! Hope this helps!:goodvibes
  14. mhnewcomb

    mhnewcomb Mouseketeer

    Mar 22, 2010
    We are going with a group of four families in October, all with some shared/some not-so-shared priorities.

    Tomorrow night, we are going to sit around a table and plan out some ADRs...one meal for sure all together, but the rest will be determined by individual preference. Our park for each day is pretty set already based on lowest crowds, but we are also going to compare must-dos and try to anticipate what FP+ may do to help us coordinate. We are all staying at the same resort, so there will be evening time and a "babysitting ring" to be decided on, as well. :)

    Two trips certainly doesn't make me an expert, but I'd suggest that sitting around that table early couldn't possibly hurt. Have fun!
  15. LaurenT

    LaurenT DIS Veteran

    May 27, 2009
    This is a thought. You could tell her that you've been reading up on Disney and you're finding out that it's a very busy kind of trip and your family will be running the whole time. Then you could suggest that you plan a beach vacation or something for another time with them.
    I visit Disney somewhat frequently, so if I spend a trip with friends who tour at a slower pace and don't want to do all the rides and I spend more time at the pool than I usually would, it's really fine with me. If it were my first trip and I didn't get to do stuff I really wanted because someone else was holding me back...I probably wouldn't be happy.
  16. Eric in TX

    Eric in TX Belle, it's about time you got your head out of th

    Jan 15, 2010
    I am in complete agreement with this statement.

    Disney isn't cheap - and you want to make sure your family gets the type of experience that they will surely be expecting. Your idea of a Disney vacation and your friends' idea of a Disney vacation are completely different and there probably is not going to be a way to satisfy everyone and keep the entire group together.

    I was in a similar situation last April. Friends were getting married in WDW (and yes, it was awesome! ...but that's a different story), and there were maybe 60 friends & family scattered across multiple resorts for the 4-5 days leading up to the big day. I made it known that my group was doing Disney our way: We would be at the bus stop on Tuesday morning at 7 AM, etc, etc. All who were willing to join were more than welcome, but when that bus arrived we were going to get on it, no matter who was (or was not) with us.

    Some folks showed up at 7 AM and tagged along with us all day. Some looked at us like we were crazy, and we bumped into them at the pool or around the resort later in the day.

    This is definitely a case of not being able to please 100% of the people 100% of the time. Decide who are the most important people to keep happy, make your plans to satisfy that group, and let the others know that they are welcome to join if they like and there are no hard feelings if they do their own thing.

    Good luck!
  17. Moonwolf

    Moonwolf Mouseketeer

    Feb 1, 2013
    I agree that trying to match touring styles might not turn out so well and a meal together once a day would be the best way to spend time together without dragging each other down during the day. May I also throw in the suggestion that not all get together meals have to be ADR. Maybe if you're both up for it you can meet up for a CS lunch/dinner. Maybe grab you're food and watch a parade or fireworks together, if that's possible. That way there's no pressure about keeping a specific reservation.
  18. khaoskat

    khaoskat Mouseketeer

    Feb 21, 2013
    They are enthused about Disney (this will be at least their second trip), but there are other factors involved that we just have different park strategies and styles. I know last year they went during the end of June beginning of July for 8 days, so I wonder if maybe that is why they did such short time/trips in the park (huge crowds and the other factors involved).

    Both families are really good friends and have been for a couple of years. Heck, there are times I think they have visitation rights every other weekend with one of my children. Our kids have gone to school together for like 4 years and we all get along really good. I have had their child stay with me while they have both had to be out of town, etc.

    We have tried to do a trip before, but ended up having to cancel because the one parent or the other ended up getting called into work unexpectedly.
  19. ItsNotMuchofaTail

    ItsNotMuchofaTail but I'm sort of attached to it

    May 30, 2012
    My family is like your friend's family, for various reasons. I would plan to meet up for meals only, or meals and an attraction or two.

    I mean this is the nicest way possible, your family would wear us out, and fast. My DD has some special needs (HFA) and she simply can't go, go, go. She refuses anything remotely scary or kind of tall. And when she is tired, its over. Period.

    Your family and their family are not compatible touring partners unless you are very honest with each other about how you will be touring and plan to meet up sometimes.

    You will be bored and feel like you are missing something, and they will be overwhelmed and overstimulated.
  20. eeyoresmom

    eeyoresmom Guest

    :lmao: I say this every time!
  21. irishdancemomma

    irishdancemomma Mouseketeer

    Mar 3, 2013
    I went to DLR with a group of my dancers and some parents. We would all eat breakfast together at the hotel and the leave for the parks. Once at the parks we just naturally split off into groups. We would meet for lunch and sometimes the kids would switch groups. We would meet for fireworks and then head back to the hotel together. This worked very well for our group as we had one pregnant lady who couldn't ride as much and didn't want to walk as much. My mother who isn't big into rides and likes to go at a relaxed pace joined her with the two youngest kids in the group and kinda just followed the lead of the kiddos. The two teenagers took off with another mother and oddly enough spent the bulk of their time doing character meetings. My husband and I took the two kids we know the best and our group ended up being a very fast paced group who tried to get in as many rides as possible.

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