Larger family trip when you don't split up?

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by ninafeliz, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. ninafeliz

    ninafeliz DIS Veteran

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    So I've always read that the key to taking a multi generation family trip is to not spend every minute together, and to just plan events or meals together and otherwise break up into individual family groups. That sounds great, but for our family makeup I just can't get that to work. It will be my family (me, DH, 4 kids from 22 mos - 9 yrs), my parents, and my MIL. The problem with splitting up is then my MIL would be alone, and she is just not that kind of person if you know what I mean. She would probably stay in the room, and maybe venture to the food court or gift shop. So my DH won't go for that. She would also be nervous about taking any transportation by herself, and since my DH sort of babies her he would be very reluctant to have her meet us in a park, etc. and she would have to stay with us. Then my parents feel left out since the other grandparent is with us, so why can't they be? See what I mean? At the same time, if my parents want to take off and do something my DH comments that his mom stays with the grandkids, which implies why don't my parents want to :crazy2:. I love Disney, but feel the stress from this coming already.

    This leaves us as essentially a group of 9 going everywhere. I mean, someone will stay off of the rides with the toddlers, and some will hold seats with the kids while the rest of us get food, etc, but for the majority of the trip we'll all be doing the same stuff at the same time. I have 2 dessert parties scheduled, a candlelight processional dinner, and a scattering of ADRs. We might split up some back at the resorts, or for a brief time at the parks between FPs, etc. I didn't mention we will be there over New Years, Dec 27 -Jan 4, staying split between CBR and POR (it's even worse we aren't at a MK or Epcot resort so we can walk to some parks or at least monorail, but in another issue that comes up when traveling with others some weren't in a position to stay at a deluxe resort during that $$$ time of year).

    Has anyone done it this way? Any advice? How did it go for your group? I'm trying to have fun, but also minimize the family tension that comes from trying to keep things 50/50 with the grandparents :sad2:
     
  2. HopperFan

    HopperFan "It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."

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    I think most of us suggest splitting up & private time when you are talking multiple families etc. Your situation is slightly different, I've been with my Mom and she has stayed with us the entire time. The key is you are onsite so should someone need a break transportation, it is not an issue - and everyone doesn't have to leave because some do.

    I assume at this point you have all your FP+ and ADRs booked because you are going at probably the busiest time of the year. Your bigger issue will be the crowds and moving about with a large group, the long lines at food places, the possibility that CMs will not allow anyone to sit and hold tables while you wait in line for food, the lack of seating and benches for those watching toddlers, busy and slower transportation etc. You will need your patience and ability to be flexible at times. Everyone, particularly the Grands, need to understand how crowded it will be and that Disney may force some structure in respect to where you can move, lines etc.

    I would also have a convo with DH that everyone needs to have the ability to do what they need at the moment. So if his Mom feels after a couple days she might want to break half a day, that is okay. If your parents decide they would like to have a few hours alone, that is okay. If you need to take some littles back for a nap and some want to stay at park, that is okay. No need for comments that implies anything ...
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
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  4. sponica

    sponica DIS Veteran

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    Does MIL have a friend that can go with her?

    Really any multigenerational trip or multi family trip is making sure everyone's on the same page for expectations. Is this one big family Disney trip or are you all at disney for the same time?

    As long as you're not catering the itinerary to MIL's demands, I think it will be fine. If your parents want to go do their own thing, let them. It's their vacation too.

    But only you know your family dynamic.
     
  5. brockash

    brockash DIS Veteran

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    We do a party of 11 and stay together 95% of the time. It's myself and 3 kids (4-16), my sister/Dh and 2 kids, other sister/dh, and my mom. We've done it every year for over a decade without many issues. The only time we really separate is if some want to eat at 1 place and others don't - it's really only 1 or 2 times a trip and just for a few hours, otherwise we're pretty much always together except to sleep. It works out fine.

    I would probably send a rough draft of an itinerary out to both grandparents and let them know you're happy to have them along for any/all of it, but you're also completely fine if they stop and do something else at certain points, eat other places, go back earlier/come later etc.
     
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  6. KayaWildfire

    KayaWildfire Earning My Ears

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    Touring as a big group shouldn't be a big issue, we tour together most the time as a group of 8. I like the idea of sending out a general itinerary from the previous poster to give everyone an idea of what to expect.
    I think a bigger issue will be keeping everything fairish between the grandparents. Maybe have a discussion beforehand with them about only buying the kids one toy each, discuss who will buy snacks, etc so one grandparent is buying everything and the other isn't. And maybe discuss with your kids about taking turns sitting by each grandparent during rides or shows, especially older kids who might understand the concept of being left out a little bit better. Good luck with your trip!
     
  7. ninafeliz

    ninafeliz DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the input! It's helpful that you pointed out that this isn't quite the same as going with a friends family, or my brother's family, etc... I think I'll stop worrying about if we should plan on splitting up or not, and just plan as if we'll essentially be together and if we naturally decide to split for a while then great.

    we do have FPs and ADRs booked. We planned the entire trip on the late side, but I got most of what we wanted. I'm kind of wishing I had gotten a few more ADRs, just to give ourselves a guaranteed break from the crowds, but we'll work with what I have and I did set up a ton of searches through *********** to see if by chance any ADRs for 9 people for times I didn't book might pop up. Normally I wouldn't want that many, so I didn't cram our schedule, but I wasn't necessarily thinking about how crowded it will be and how crazy QS will be.

    I think more than talking to my DH I need to just not worry about things. The way it's going to work is his mom will be with us essentially any time we leave the room, and I have to decide that's ok. Then, if my parents want to do something else, we shouldn't worry/care, because why shouldn't they get some of their own time on vacation. Since there are two of them and they are used to Disney and my MIL is not, it's much easier for them to split off. If they decide they don't want to, because it's not "fair" that my MIL is with the kids and they aren't, then thats fine also.

    What might be an issue is if my parents want to take the older kids somewhere alone. My MIL won't ever do that, since she is by herself, not that knowledgeable about Disney, and by nature a more timid person, but my DH will think it isn't fair my parents do that if his mom won't. Family dynamics :sad2::crazy2::scared1:
     
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  8. ninafeliz

    ninafeliz DIS Veteran

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    Nope, no friends that she could take even if that were a possibility, but since we have plane fare, ADRs,etc it would be nearly impossible to add a person at this point anyway. That is a good idea, but in our case I don't know who she would take, the people I can think of as very remote possibilities would be much worse than the way it is now :rotfl:

    To answer your question, it's one big Family Disney trip. My parents would't normally go to disney at such a busy, expensive time of year. They weren't excited about the timing, but are always willing to go to disney with us so went along. my MIL definitely wouldn't be going without us, this is only her 4th trip to Disney ever and they were all with us.

    One interesting thing about this is that my MIL has no demands at all, she will essentially do whatever, whenever. Sounds great, and most of the time it is, but occasionally it would be nice if she would take some initiative. It's more my DH being so intent that because she has no demands and is so willing that she doesn't get the short end of the stick - meaning more babysitting, more staying off rides, more waiting with kids, etc. I say if she doesn't mind, what's the big deal, life isn't always 50/50. But he watches all of that like a hawk.
     
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  9. ninafeliz

    ninafeliz DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for letting me know how your trips go, it makes me feel better that there are families out there that spend pretty much the entire trip together. For some reason I was feeling like no one does. I know it shouldn't matter, but I still like hearing that we aren't alone!

    Your idea about an itinerary is a good idea. I will probably make copies of our plans, and we'll all go over them together at some point. Good wording on how to phrase it to them, I'll use that and see if anyone wants to be opt out of any of the plans. We'll have to know ahead of time for the Holiday Wishes dessert party, JBJB dessert party, and Candlelight processional dinner, but everything else they can decide more on the spur of the moment. I suspect we'll all do it, but that way it was discussed.
     
  10. ninafeliz

    ninafeliz DIS Veteran

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    Ding, ding, ding, ding -- you hit the nail on the head! It pretty much boils down to "fairness" between grandparents, and how my DH and I react to it. Purchases aren't an issue, pretty much all of that will be my DH and I and if they buy a few snacks or souvenirs I don't care. It's time and who they are with that become an issue. I will talk to the older 2 about making sure they trade off on who they sit with, or else one goes with each. As silly as it sounds, it becomes an issue that there are 2 of my parents and only one of my MIL. Because common sense would say my parents could just sit together, right? Wrong, it's still an issue all the time o_O Because why should MIL get to sit with a grandchild every time when they don't? Because there is only one of her and someone else has to sit with her, that's why! But somehow that doesn't always work without hard feelings :sad2:. Also my MIL doesn't really like rides and won't do coasters, even kiddie ones. So it should makes sense she stays off with the babies for those, right? Nope, then it isn't fair that she's always the one missing out while my parents ride with us >:(. My parents are the type to want to take the older kids off and do something briefly, my MIL is not. But then that isn't "fair", because they get something she doesn't. Fair is such a hard issue! Also TBH, it's more between my DH and I than anything. I'm not sure how much his mom would care or worry about this, it's him doing it for her. My parents do get offended and whip out the comparisons, so it isn't just me on our end.

    I want it to be a fun trip, I'm really going to try to relax a little and not worry so much about if someone else is offended, etc. Things can't always be 50/50. I just hope my DH can do the same, and if we talk about it beforehand we'll get into an argument so I might just see how it goes.
     
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  11. TheFloatingBear

    TheFloatingBear DIS Veteran

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    Family dynamics are definitely a challenge! I've never had extended family on a WDW trip so I haven't had to deal with the logistics first-hand, but even with the challenges, it really will be a wonderful experience for your kids. Maybe you can talk more with your husband about the fair/unfair mindset. Sometimes grandparents are just different in what stage of life they're in or what they enjoy with their grandkids, but that doesn't mean either experience has less value to the kids - or the grandparents! A key difference here is that your parents are familiar with WDW. Maybe you could plan something at the resort for your MIL to do alone with the kids? That way if your parents end up taking the kids somewhere, they will both have had some "special" alone time with the kids. In your first post, you mentioned you were staying at POR. Maybe she could take them for one of the horse-drawn carriage rides around the river, while you guys are still at the resort somewhere so she knows you're still close by? I think you said you have a split stay with the CBR so I don't know if they have anything similar there? I hope you have a great trip!
     
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  12. sponica

    sponica DIS Veteran

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    Well at least there's alcohol readily available in 3 of 4 parks. (joking, sort of)

    I do think all three component units should have some down time away from each other. We had connecting rooms for my first/last/only trip with my in-laws, it was super awkward when my MIL basically had a temper tantrum at dinner the first night.
     
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  13. ninafeliz

    ninafeliz DIS Veteran

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    Thanks, that's a very good suggestion about the carriage ride. Maybe I'll look into that - then she'll have that booked and if my parents do something spontaneous I can mention she has that planned! If it fits into our schedule and has openings - I tried to not over plan, but with a resort switch and New Years Eve in there, plus one day at each park, there isn't a ton or extra time around!

    I also like what you said about it being a wonderful experience for the kids. I need to remember that anytime something irritates me or doesn't go the way I would like! The kids do love this idea, we have gone with the grandparents 3x before (only one kid remembers that at all), so anytime we go they ask if everyone can go and don't understand why we don't want to take everyone every time :rotfl: So if I'm getting upset about something I need to calm down and remember how much the kids love everyone going, and how they simply love having all of the grandparents there. You're right, my kids don't really care that their grandparents do different things with them, they just like to spend time seeing them.
     
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  14. ninafeliz

    ninafeliz DIS Veteran

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    Haha, so true! I'm sure that could come in handy!

    We did have a connecting room to my MIL once on a previous trip, and the kids thought it was great. I myself would have preferred simply adjoining. Plus, of course, it was pure luck that we connected to my MIL instead of my parents, so they felt like she got an "in" with us that they didn't get :sad2:. If I could have had say in the block of 3 rooms I would have had them connect, and us simply be next door! You can have too little space between groups :D. I will say it made having her watch the kids easier, though.
     
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  15. sunflowerfields

    sunflowerfields Mouseketeer

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    I did not read others responses yet so don't know if any of this has been mentioned. We took our kids and grandkids in 2016. The ages ranged from 6 mos. to 65, and our one son is divorced and alone. Our other three kids have families. There were 16 of us total. We all live within 12 miles of each other. We started planning the trip long before we went by getting together many times and discussing every detail we could think of. We asked that everyone give their input, ideas, etc. and thoughts on what they wanted to do. Our family was really great about talking everything out so nobody felt they weren't getting to do things they wanted. We all went to the same parks every day, and we always ate a table service meal in the evening together but once we were at the park we did split up. However we never split by exact families. We knew in advance who wanted to do what and go where so it worked that sometimes two of our kids and for instance all the grandkids would head one way and others another direction. We studied the fastpast plus choices thoroughly and each person made their own selections. In the end it worked out that all most always we had all chosen the same rides, shows, etc. We just never divided much by families. Cousins, grandparents, aunts or uncles would just get on a ride with somebody in our group and no worries. I really feel for us the advance planning was key in making the trip successful. I honestly don't think we had a single family problem and nobody felt left out or alone. I know your situation is somewhat different with two sets of grandparents. And maybe you are not located close enough to each other to get together often to go over plans. I just think the more ahead of time everyone knows what to expect the smoother the trip might be. Wishing your family a wonderful time on your trip.
     
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  16. shoney

    shoney DIS Veteran

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    Why does MIL have to be by herself? Maybe she could take one of the kids off to do somethings that just one kids wants to do. Or maybe walk around with the 22 month old. Or MIL son and someone else. Not sure why splitting up has to be among family lines
     
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  17. Anabelletoronto

    Anabelletoronto Mouseketeer

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    This sounds like a nightmare.
    I would worry less about keeping the adults happy (including your husband) and remind everyone that Disney is for the kids. So whatever works best for them is the answer.
    My husband and I didn’t want to ‘waste’ FP to meet princesses but we did. We didn’t want to get out of a line we had waited in because our kid had to pee, but we did. Because it isn’t about the grownups.
    Seems like you get that. I wish you luck.
     
  18. tjmw2727

    tjmw2727 DIS Veteran

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    Wow - there is no way I could do a trip if my parents/in laws were in competition as you describe- so much stress for you - not to mention your kids. My kids love all their grands to the moon and back - but have different relationships with each and may choose to sit with one today and the other tomorrow! Way OT but if the grands in their life are in competition for the affection/attention of your kids they are going to notice and everyone will suffer. I agree with the PP it seems like you get it but it may also be something you would want to work on day to day prior to this trip. As I tell my kids fair doesn't always mean equal, fair means caring about each individual in the family and you or your kids shouldn't need to prove their love.

    Back OT, some thoughts without knowing the ages of all your kids but right off the bat there will have to be an adult with anyone under 7 so you may have to have some seating ideas in mind ahead of time. Also just go by your loose plan and see what happens, mil may really enjoy spending 1-1 time with the baby more than riding even if dh doesn't get it. I would be tempted to just go with the flow and see how things work out - if a child wants to ride say peter pan with grampa it may just mean they watched the movie together one night or read a book together, nothing more :))

    Research child swap as well, its changed recently but basically when your riding things the toddler can't ride you can use rider swap. One party rides first while someone waits with the toddler and then the non rider can return with 2 others via the FP line.

    Make sure your ADR's include suggestions/food preferences for everyone and just include the grands as much as you can. Once you arrive then know you have done your best to plan and let the "adult's" be adults and take responsibility for making their own vacation great. Not sure really what else you can do except try and lead by positive example. Good Luck!
     
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  19. NMAmy

    NMAmy Can speak food in German

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    Absolutely use the rider switch option! Then no one who doesn't want to skip a ride has to miss it.

    We vacation with DD and her family at WDW all the time - twice this year. We spend most of the time together although DH and I will often stay with the kids in the evening so dd and my SIL can go out.

    One thing that it doesn't feel like your DH gets is that, if you're not big on rides, sitting out with the little ones is not a punishment for a grandparent. We used rider swap and sometimes, DH and I just preferred to skip the ride and let DD and SIL ride twice using our magic bands while we played with the kids.

    It's a shame that the grandparents and your husband are keeping track of who sits by whom and when and choosing to be upset by that. Get the grandmas to ride together on some rides, for heaven's sake.

    ETA: Oh, one more thing--use mobile ordering instead of having some folks save a table while others are in line. It worked great for us, particularly those times when hungry toddlers are getting cranky.
     
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  20. kboo

    kboo DIS Veteran

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    We just returned from my 82 yo MIL's first trip. She's mellowed a lot over the years, but I completely could have pictured your dilemma if we had tried to do a trip with both sets of grandparents. We did also take a trip with my parents a couple of years ago, with my sister and her family. Family dynamics are hard, especially if there's one or more factions keeping track of what's "fair." While my mom is deep in dementia now, for many years of our marriage, my MIL was the one to feel all the perceived slights of unequal time with us (and my parents were more "fun"). One thing we get on board with early was that DH and I had to be a united front w/r/t our assessment of "fair." It was not easy to do with my DH. This was my assessment of the situation with my MIL too - if she is ok with something, my DH should not be the one counting minutes or activities:
    Would it be possible for your DH and MIL to take the younger kids while you and your parents take the older kids, and then switch? You and DH don't need to be together all the time. On this recent trip DH took my MIL and our DD2 (age 3) on some easy rides while I took DD1 on all the MK mountains and 7DMT. (His mom, he's the default one to stay with her) In retrospect I could have done without another ride on Space Mountain - I think I'm getting too old for that. :lol But you could do some version of that switch off, with you sticking with your parents and some subset of the kids, and him staying staying with his mom and the other kids. Or even switch off which set of grandparents has the kids, and the other set of grandparents (and you or DH) doing something that they would like.

    The kids can also get to ride 2x on some rides, and MIL can stay with the 22 mo old (and you, or DH, as the case may be). What we do with our little one while waiting on the rider switch riders is to take her to get a treat/snack, or go to something easy, like the carousel or tiki room. Again, if your MIL won't take the kid(s) alone (without another adult), it's sort of your DH's responsibility to go with her. Or, if you think this will help with DH's "counting" issues, offer to have the both of you take MIL (with some of the kids, or not) to do something that she'll go along with that is perceived to be more "fun."

    It's a tough time, to be sure. After Jan 1 it may be easier. You might want to look for ADRs booked 5-10 minutes apart for a group of 4 and a group of 5, and then when you check in ask if you can be seated near each other.
     
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  21. KateMW

    KateMW DIS Veteran

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    We did a similar trip with my mom and my aunt {who I'm very close to and so are my kids} back when my 14 year old was 5. Let's just say it was the last trip they were invited on.

    Somebody said this, and I agree, but you need to send an email {or carrier pigeon if they're not tech savvy} before the trip reminding EVERYBODY your husband included that this trip is for the kids and splitting time between the grandparents "fairly" will not be the main concern. Disney is for Children, not for adults to ACT like children.
     
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