large family coming out of Cinderella Castle
  • On Aug 22, 2021
    Amber from NJ Asked

    Is there any advice you can give me in planning a trip for 6 adults and 1 child? Four of the adults are staying on-property and two of the adults and child are staying off property.

    Hi Amber!

    With four kids and grandparents who like to tag along, most of our Walt Disney World vacations are as a large group. It is a bit more challenging, but friends and family make vacations even more magical!

    I do have some tips and tricks for you, Amber. First, it’s important to manage expectations. Know that as a party of 7, you will move a bit slower through the parks. I always say you are only as fast as your smallest bladder, so one of our rules is that if someone needs a washroom break, we all take a washroom break! Otherwise, you end up making a pit stop after every attraction and this can really slow your roll.

    Don’t be afraid to divide and conquer. Find out what each person’s top “Must Do” is for the day, and make a plan to hit those things. I recommend experiencing few attractions together on arrival, then perhaps split up for a bit, then meet back up again for a snack, meal, or other attraction. The family with the child may want to take on Dumbo the Flying Elephant more than once, while other adults want to conquer Space Mountain. Make sure that everyone knows it is okay to do different things, and don’t force the group to stick together for the entire trip. If someone says they need to head back to the resort for a nap, but the rest of the group wants to stay, be okay with that!

    A meal can be a great way to regroup and spend time together. Making Advance Dining Reservations for larger groups does take a bit more planning. Most locations aren’t booking tables larger than 6 right now, so you’ll need to book 2 tables, one for a party of 4 and one for a party of 3. The family off-site can only book one day at a time, but those staying on property can book for the length of their stay. However, one Guest cannot book two tables at the same time. I would recommend two of the on-property adults work to book two tables within 15 minutes of each other on their separate My Disney Experience Accounts. On the day of your reservation, visit the podium as early as you can and let them know your two tables are one party. While there are no guarantees, Cast Members will do their best to seat you near one another. Pro Tip: If the two people booking tables have the same last name, often the restaurant will realize in advance that you are a large party, and plan accordingly. On our most recent trip, my husband and I made the reservations and because we have the same last name, all of the restaurants had already planned on seating us near each other or at a large table!

    One more Pro Tip, Amber! We enjoy wearing bright, matching shirts for each day of our trip. While some folks may shy away from the fashion faux pas of matching attire, there is a practical side. First, it’s easy to find each other in a crowd. It helps Cast Members when you approach the boarding area of attractions to know that a big group is coming and to plan to seat you accordingly. Also, and most helpful, is that when in crowded situations where you need to merge, say at an attraction entrance, other families will see that you are one large group, and you are less likely to get separated. On our trip last month we took friends for their first visit. Initially, my friend was hesitant about the matching shirts, but by the end of the first morning, she was a matching shirt believer!

    Amber, I hope these tips are helpful! Please feel free to send me any additional questions you have. I love helping big groups plan their trips!

    Have a Magical Day!
    - Kate
thumbnail image for Kate

Meet the Panelist: Kate, Indiana

"Welcome Home!" I'm Kate, a mom and nurse from Indiana. A lifelong Disney fan, Disney Vacation Club opened a world of vacation possibilities for our family. I’ve traveled with young children and those young at heart, planned romantic trips for two and made FastPass+ reservations for an entire marching band! Whether dining with Mickey, surfing in Hawaii, or relaxing around the pool we make the most of our Disney Vacation Club Membership. For this nurse, every day is better with a little dose of Disney! Learn More About Kate

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