Advice for planning multi-family trip

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by MommaBerd, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    Though I’ve planned multiple trips for my family, this will be my first time planning a trip with another family - my brother’s. I have a good relationship with him and his family, and I CANNOT WAIT for my nephews to experience the Disney Magic!

    For those of you who have planned successful multi-family trips, I would love to get your thoughts, primarily about the planning timeline. How far out would you advise having the first “planning meeting”? I was thinking about 7 mos out, but maybe that is not far enough out?

    We are DVC, so we have taken care of rooms, and tickets have already been purchased (prior to ticketing changes). So, I’m not sure when I should get together with them to start the REAL planning. Did any of you ask your family members to do some “homework” by reading like the Unofficial Guide or The Easy Guide? It’s been a long time since my brother has been to WDW, and I’m not sure if SIL has ever been or only went as a child/teen. So, I’d like for them to be able to actively and knowledgeably plan with me.

    Anyway, would love to hear from y’all about when (and how) you got the planning kicked off! Thanks!!!
     
  2. Tiggerlover91

    Tiggerlover91 DIS Veteran

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    I believe I can speak on this from the aspect back in 1999 I took my mother, sister, and her three daughters to Disney. Prior, it was just me and hubby who went to Disney, so I have a little bit of input for you. I basically planned the WHOLE trip. The ONLY thing I asked my mom and sister to do was to read some guides I told them about and provided one to them and find out what specifically they wanted to do, character wise and ride wise. We stayed at the Shades Of Green because back them my hubby was in the Air Force. That saved us tons of money! I purchased the tickets through the base ticket office as it came out just a tad cheaper than the FL ressie ticket. I would be the only one using it anyway, so it just made since to get all tickets through the office on base. I told them around the six month point that I was taking them to Disney and we talked about things that whole time. Back then it was paper fast pass and I explained we would handle getting those once we got there and saw what the lines were like. I don't think we waited beyond 30 minutes in any line....and this was in June. It was unfortunate, however, that trip was one of the WORSE trips I've ever had at Disney. All the hard work I did, wasn't appreciated and all I got from my neices, who were 2, 7, and 9 at that time was how come we can't have this? Why can't we do that? How come Aunt Denise won't spend money on that? I took them to Universal too and the money I dropped on that trip should have hurt my pocket, but only because hubby and I lived on base had very little bills to pay and a VERY nice refund that year, was the reason it didn't.

    Get input from everyone you're travelling with and remember, while there, it is quite alright to split up on one or two of your days. You don't have to spend every waking moment together. Maybe plan a nice lunch or dinner together on those days and make sure on the day or days you are all together, everyone is as much in sync as possible. I remember the time I left my family and went off to EPCOT on my own. THAT was the ONLY time I enjoyed myself on that trip. Over 7 or 8 days I fully enjoyed that half day I spent at EPCOT on my own. It was either EPCOT or AK, I truly can't remember, but the point is, when I went off on my own, that was exactly what I needed. My mom, sister, and her girls have never been back to Disney. Myself, I have returned 3 times since then. I asked hubby could we go in 2000 on our anniversary to make up for that horrible trip and he said absolutely. THAT trip was near perfect and I was very thankful that my husband was okay with us going. Since then, we've been with our son in 2011 and 2015 and the trip in 2015 was a bit disappointing. My son, who was 7 by that time, just had this thing about the dark that he wasn't ready to deal with and all the rides that was dark, except Test Track, he had issues with. :sad2: His first trip in 2011 he was only 3 and was much more laid back about the dark then, so all the rides were easy. My son LOVED the characters and had I known that before the trip, then you better believe I would have focused on character greets more so than rides and would have been just fine with that. THIS time, it's just going to be him and I next summer, but I've showed him videos of most rides and his thing with the dark isn't an issue anymore. :D The only issues we both have are scary or intense rides....so Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, and Flight of Passage are no gos for both of us. :rolleyes1

    I'm sorry I went off on my own story, but I hope I've helped you somehow. No matter what...enjoy! You're going to be at Disney!!!! :jumping1:
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
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  4. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    @Tiggerlover91 - Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry it was not a fun or positive trip for you (or anyone else it seems). I have read on here enough to know that having the option of splitting up and having times where we all gather are important!

    This trip isn’t that we are taking them to WDW; it is that we are going together to WDW, and Aunt & Uncle (me & DH) are providing the room. I want brother and SIL to have skin in the planning game. That way, if and when we need to split up, they’ll be prepared. So, I guess I answered part of my own question - they need some WDW Park education! :teacher:
     
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  5. KayaWildfire

    KayaWildfire Earning My Ears

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    I think 7 months out is a good time frame. I wouldn't necessarily have them read a guide book, but maybe have them spend some time reading about the various restaurants, dessert parties, anything that needs to be booked at 180 days before your first meeting. I assume how everyone is getting to Disney has been covered as well since you have a hotel booked, but making sure Magical Express if applicable and pre arrival things are done is a good thing to do at this meeting. I would have another one maybe three months before the trip to discuss rides and shows to decide FP's. You can all have different FP's so don't be afraid to split them up. Your family can spend the time between your two meetings looking up various rides on YouTube, etc to see how your nephews might react. You might want to draft a general itinerary, with the caveat that anyone can join in or miss any of the things on it, just to give everyone an idea of the plan.
    I'm not sure I would have them do any of the actual planning or booking of things, I think that's the overwhelming part for people, just discuss what everyone wants to get out of the trip. Splitting up really is a good thing to do, and not necessarily along family lines. The uncles and big kids want to ride Space Mountain for the 34th time in a row, awesome, the aunts and littles can go ride Buzz again. This works well for when we come with our extended family who live in Florida. Their older kids love the thrill rides and QS, we like its a small world and TS. Too much togetherness is a recipe for disaster! Best of luck with your trip!
     
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  6. Specter

    Specter Earning My Ears

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    DW and I have been to WDW with parts of my family on a few occasions. Twice now with my parents, my sister, BIL, and nephew, and once with my parents, sister, BIL, and niece, as well as my grandparents, my aunts and uncle, so there was a wide age range and a pretty varied interest level as my aunts and uncle are not big Disney people, but they still had fun.

    I think how much time in advance you start really planning is going to be dependent on how much time you all plan to spend together and then, from there, what everyone is interested in doing and dining preferences.

    Typically when we go with family and not just DW and I, we try to have one meal a day all together and then...anything else is just sort of impromptu unless there is a special occasion. If we all happen to want to ride the same ride at the same time we'll all go and get in line together, ride, talk, and maybe wander to the next. Many days, though, we aren't even in the same park at the same time, or maybe we are only in the same park for the morning or evening. This way we all get together at whatever meal we agreed on and talk about what we have done or, if it's breakfast, what our plans are for the day. Trying to coordinate a larger number of peoples likes and dislikes means more prep time.

    Also, if you have eaters with you that are either picky or adventurous, you may want to start talking a little bit earlier. My wife and I are adventurous eaters and we love the nice break we get from one of the sit down restaurants. We usually start looking at menus to get an idea of where we want to go about 8-9 months out, come up with an initial list and then whittle it down based on how many days/nights we'll be there.

    WDW with family can be a lot of fun and we enjoy it, in fact we're doing it again next year, but I definitely recommend establishing what the expectation is for the level of time spent together and then, from there, the rest will pretty easily sort itself out. But if one group thinks that you'll be together all the time and the other expects the freedom to go and do as they please, that will lead to issues. Good luck and I hope it turns out great for you.
     
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  7. sunflowerfields

    sunflowerfields Mouseketeer

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    Two years ago we took our children and grands to DW for our 45th anniversary. I am not joking, we started planning by getting together about 18 mos. ahead, but for us the planning is a huge part of the fun! We suggested that everyone read the unofficial guide, and get on the disboard and read EVERYTHING posted, and we encouraged everyone to ask questions. I think the best tips and ideas come from those that have already been there. Our group was 16 people, age 6mos. to 65, so for instance when our daughter needed stroller advise, she came here to hear from others with the same needs. Our early planning paid off-we had a wonderful trip with really no problems. Wishing your families a magical trip.
     
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  8. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    I agree with you that the planning is a huge part of the fun (or otherwise I wouldn’t be here, right? :laughing:), and I am hoping I can convince them of the same. I love that you told them to come here to read and ask questions. It had to have taken the pressure off of you to know *everything*.
     
  9. Jodi-Lee

    Jodi-Lee Earning My Ears

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    My parents were having a hard time understanding the Dining Plan and the 4 Theme Parks, so my sister and I made up a Powerpoint presentation for them, this helped them understand the difference between counter service, table service and snacks. We also showed them pictures of our hotel rooms, and had sample itineraries with different activities we could do as a family. We showed pictures of some of the different places to eat and the experiences that went with those restaurants.
    Since my parents were paying for the whole trip (11 of us) we wanted them to fully understand what they were paying for.

    We were then able to understand what types of dining reservations they wanted us to book for the group and what types of rides they wanted FastPasses for. they appreciated all our work and felt like their voice was heard in the planning process. They also appreciated that my sister and i booked all the ADR and FP's. One less thing for them to do.
     
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  10. sunflowerfields

    sunflowerfields Mouseketeer

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    I was reading all the post on this board right along with them. That's how I found out about all the things I didn't know. My adult daughters and a friend of mine are going in May 2020. We have already had planning meetings, and we are still reading the boards to pick up all the info that is new since our last trip!
     
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  11. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    @Jodi-Lee - That was very ingenious of you and your sister!!!
     
  12. kiramay

    kiramay DIS Veteran

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    Hi! I was about to post something similar, so I’m just going to tag along here. My parents took us yearly as kids, and once I had kids we’ve gone a handful of times. My kids are pretty seasoned Disney goers now.

    Next year we’re going with my mom, little brother, and older brother and his family (wife and 2 girls, this will be their “one and only” Disney trip). So much pressure to make it amazing. (My SIL doesn’t “get” Disney. Lol) There’s also a chance my younger sister’s family might come, and I really hope my older half-sister can come (she’s also never been). (That would be 6 rooms and 15 people.)

    We used a TA to help with the room bookings but I’m doing all the plans. Right now I have a very tentative schedule based on 2018 hours. Around the 7-8 month mark I’m going to email a schedule and a list of “definitely doing” and “maybe” restaurants with links to the menus. My brothers and I are menu readers, so this way they have plenty of time to read menus and give me feedback.

    Once dining is booked I’ll start stressing out over fastpasses. This is when we’ll probably split up some times due to different ages and interests. Maybe a family meeting around 3 months our?
     
  13. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

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    I also think it is a good idea to find out if the folks joining you want to plan with you, how much input they want, or really do not want to be involved.

    My nieces are joining us on this trip os we are 7. DD started planning with one over a year ago, but the other one really does not care about what we do, so other than one restaurant, she had no requests.
    Book it and she will be along for the ride, and will enjoy it all when we get there.

    My DDIL on the other hand, would want to be included in every aspect of the trip, so we would use a different planning strategy if she and DS were joining us.

    The larger and more diverse your group, I think that more thought needs to go into planning, because youi need to have a good idea how people look at the trip. SOme families feel that a WDW is a family trip and you all stay together, and others look at it as a destination where you meet up Occasionally. Best to sort that out upfront to mitigate any hard feelings that a misunderstanding can cause.
     
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  14. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    Good advice @Nancyg56! We haven’t really talked about how involved they actually want to be. I know they need to be at least somewhat involved because we have talked about not having to do *everything* together. Their boys are much younger than mine, so there will be times when they will want to spend more time on the smaller rides and some of my boys will want the “thrill”.
     
  15. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

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    WE usually start slowly, asking for feedback on attractions preferences, etc. If they have not been before that is when I know if they have done any research. I also ask about dining preferences such as character meals, Buffets or no, and send them to a menu website.

    I ask about how much time they want to spend as a group, if any, and if they want meals together as a group. I always ask if a family wants a meal together without the rest of the group as well, and I make sure they all know this is not an empty request.

    My crew generally begins the day together at the same park. We may or may not have a scheduled breakfast. WE may split up, but usually have most FP together, so we meet up occasionally. We almost always have a TS dinner together later on.

    Even if you need to have that group more active in the planning, it will help knowing what their expectations are in terms of family time, dining time and if the kids melt down without rest, or if they get overstimulated.
     
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  16. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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  17. sponica

    sponica DIS Veteran

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    I only perused the thread but my advice is to make sure everyone's on the same page. I'm in the early planning stages of a multi family trip to WDW, but it's "we're all going to Disney around the same time" NOT a "we're doing everything together all the time" trip. Our component groups aren't even staying in the same spot. My mother's one request is that we all do ONE thing together every day (probably a meal).

    Any group trip whether it's 5 or 15 succeeds or fails based on how expectations are managed.
     
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  18. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    So true!!!
     

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