By Pink Diva
For whatever reason my family had the idea to do a big trip to Disney World. Together. All 10 of us. That 10 would include my parents, my family-myself, my husband, my four-year old and my two-year old, my sister’s family-her, her husband, her five-year old and her two-year old. All of us together at the Happiest Place on Earth.
My husband is an only child, so after discussing it with my family, we invited his parents to come along as well. We already had 10, what was 2 more? Besides, that made two adults for every child. Much better than the one/one ratio we are used to.
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We started planning early-about 10 months in advance. It seems like a lot of time, but it helped us figure out what we wanted to do and how to do it. We picked the month we wanted to go (October) and went from there. We knew we wanted to stay on-property at one of the value hotels. I wanted Movies, but since they were full we ended up at Music. We went back and forth with Shades of Green (military hotel) and Music. After comparing transportation options, food court availability, free parking and hotel price All-Star Music won. When we made the reservation we made sure to let them know we were a group and we were able to get rooms close together.
We all signed up for the MyDisneyExperience App. Call and make sure you have a Cast Member link all of your accounts. This can be a huge issue if you want to pre-plan Fastpasses and dining for everyone. We decided I was the one in charge of making all the arrangement. We were able to get everyone linked and under my control!
Food was the next thing we wanted to plan. Since everyone was arriving Wednesday by late afternoon we wanted a character meal. We didn’t want to go into a park, so we looked at all of our options. We choose Chef Mickey so that we could meet the Fab 5 and not have to wait at any of the parks.
We also wanted a princess meal since three of the four kids are princess-loving girls. We once again compared our options. Cinderella’s Royal Table or Akershus Royal Banquet Hall? After careful consideration we opted for Akershus. It came down to being able to spend more time at the Magic Kingdom. We were not disappointed! The atmosphere was great, the princesses were beautiful, and the food was delicious.
We made our decisions and exactly 180 days out I was on MyDisneyExperience App getting the reservations. Akershus wasn’t a problem, but the only time for Chef Mickey’s was 8:45pm. Not ideal, but we made it work.
As we were getting closer to the big day I asked everyone to send me a list of things they wanted to see/do. Most of the adults didn’t care, but my sister had a few requests for the kids. Some of us rode roller coasters, others did not and knowing this ahead of time helped me plan our days.
Do your research. I figured out which days we were going to which parks. Magic Kingdom was only open all day Saturday because Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was going on the other nights. Akershus only had availability on Friday. Hollywood Studios had Magic Hours on Thursday. That left Animal Kingdom as our final day on Sunday.
We knew we wanted to marathon our way through the days. Not everyone has this plan-especially with little kids. I took out some paper and pencil and started planning our days. I wrote down every attraction/experience that was at the park. I looked at the map to know where they were located. I checked the times of shows, parades and fireworks. I made a chart with times and filled it in with attractions. I started getting FastPasses for early in the day knowing we could add them one at a time once we used our three. Every time I scheduled an attraction, I crossed it off my list. I did this with every park. I added in food stops and possible locations. After lunch I made sure things either slowed down or was for the adults only. This down time for the little ones allowed them to relax and nap while we didn’t lose any park time.
I typed up my schedules and printed them for everyone. I also included everyone’s cell numbers, hotel information, breakfast and late-night snack menu for the food court at the hotel. I assembled all of this information in a binder for each family. Every day we took the page we needed out of the binder and used it to keep us on track.
All of the planning definitely played off. We rode/saw/experienced almost everything at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. We almost did all of the Magic Kingdom, but the kids were getting tired and we opted to head back to the room around 9pm. Epcot was the hardest, since we had a character meal and arrived late. We opted to do a princess makeover for the little girls and we didn’t get to the park until 11:30am.
Overall we had a great time. There were very little meltdowns or arguing. Having planned everything out kept us focused and not asking “what should we do now?” If you are going as a big group here is my advice to you: Plan as much as you possibly can, but stay flexible. Things happen. Time happens. Magic Happens. Enjoy it.
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