Planning your trip to the happiest place on earth is part of all of the fun of a Walt Disney World trip. The planning process can seem quite stressful when you’re planning not only for your immediate family, but if you have a slew of family members for a reunion. Here are nine steps to planning a family reunion at Disney!
9. Book Your Dates
A family reunion obviously consists of many people. Your first step is to select dates for your trip. This can be very challenging to accommodate everyone considering work and school schedules and sports or clubs that kids may be involved in. If you start to notice that every date you choose is a problem, you will eventually have to just set a date and hope that everyone will be able to make it. Sometimes this is just what needs to happen instead of having to continuously choose dates to accommodate everyone.
8. Make Hotel Reservations
Once your dates have been chosen, its time to book your hotel. Make sure you choose one that everyone is interested in or is near the theme park that you will be at the most (for shorter travel distances). If you are in a large group, be sure to ask for group rates or special discounts for large parties over the phone. Also, be sure to mention any special requests when you make your reservation. Let the agent you speak to know that you would prefer your family’s rooms near each other, if you need a crib, etc. Once you’ve decided on your resort of choice, you will want to see what your resort offers (dining, recreation activities, etc.) that your family may want to experience. You can use this information in the next two steps of this list.
7. Make Dining and Travel Reservations
Once you’ve for your dates set and your hotel is booked, it is time to book your flights and make dining reservations. With large groups this can be very difficult to figure out due to the variety of cuisine that everyone enjoys or doesn’t care for. It is important to view the menus for the restaurants your interested in prior to booking your dining reservations. The best advice I can give is to just book a restaurant that has a buffet or family style dining. These restaurants usually have a variety of choices that everyone will like. The great thing about Disney dining is that many of the chefs will prepare food for guests that have allergies or special diets no matter what restaurant you choose from! You may also want to look into the Disney Dining Plan to see if you will save money in the long run. If you have a very large party, be sure to let an agent know incase there are deals.
6. Create an Itinerary
Having a plan is really important because the spontaneous days that used to exist are no longer a common thing amongst Disney park guests with the popularity of rides, fastpasses, and dining, reservations. Having a plan also allows you to use your time wisely and explore as many experiences as possible. This can be hard to do in a family reunion (due to the large number of people in your party), so it may be best to prioritize throughout your itinerary to ensure that everyone gets to experience what they want.
5. Purchase Tickets
Purchasing tickets ahead of time has its perks. Not only can you skip the lines (that are usually very long), but it will save you time and money too. You can decide what kind of tickets will work best with your itinerary (park hoppers or more days) and purchase them online. Then, link your tickets directly to you’re My Disney Experience. Doing this allows you to skip the line, just go straight to will call and grab your tickets. The biggest advantage to purchasing your tickets ahead of time is the option to select your fastpasses up to 60 days prior to your visit!
4. Select Fastpasses
As I said above, selecting fastpasses ahead of time is key in fitting in some of the most popular rides and attractions at Walt Disney World. The only way to do this is to purchase and link your tickets to you’re My Disney Experience Account at least 60 days prior to your arrival. Once the dates become available, schedule your fastpasses quickly they fill up fast! If you aren’t able to select your fastpasses ahead of time, you can visit a fastpass kiosk at the park when you arrive and select whatever is left of the fastpasses for that day. Since selecting fastpasses ahead of time is popular, there aren’t many left of those more demanding rides or attractions so it can be difficult to snag at the park. This is very challenging to do with a large group, but if you insist on staying together and not splitting up, I highly recommend linking all of the tickets so that one person can select and assign fastpasses for the entire party. That way, each person doesn’t have to worry about selecting their own.
3. Create your Wardrobe
Having festive attire is part of the fun of visiting the Walt Disney World resort. Making matching shirts is a great way to spot a family member around the park as well as be apart of the magic! Making shirts for a large party doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. If you prefer contacting a local shirt shop or company, then by all means go ahead! If you’re looking to save a few dollars, you can purchase a few shirts at your local craft store and design them yourself! There are also many other clothing ideas and options for Disney park guests online, so be sure to check it out!
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2. Check the Weather
Florida weather can be very, very unpredictable. One minute it is raining cats and dogs and the next there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun is shining bright. It’s important to check the weather before arriving to pack clothing that is suitable for the conditions you will be experiencing.
1. Purchase Memory Maker
Memory Maker is the best way to capture all of the wonderful moments that your family will have when visiting the Walt Disney World Resort. Memory Maker allows you to digitally keep every single picture taken by a Disney photographer, ride, or attraction of you and your family throughout your entire stay. The beauty of purchasing Memory Maker with a large party is that only one person has to purchase it, and everyone in the party will receive the pictures taken. The photographers are in al four theme parks, both water parks, Disney Springs, restaurants, and sometimes even at the resorts. Keep in mind that in order for you to have all of the pictures from each day of your trip, you must purchase this package at least three days prior to your trip. If you purchase it on your first day there, you will have to wait three days to keep any pictures. That means that your first three days worth of pictures won’t be covered under your package. If you want great quality pictures for a low price, this is the way to go!
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!