Family planning a trip
  • On Dec 9, 2021
    Sheri from TX Asked

    Our family will be visiting WDW in Feb 2022 with the High School Band. This is our first family trip to WDW. What types of questions should we ask the trip planner so we can make the most out of our trip? I am not even sure where to start!

    Hello Sheri!

    Group visits to the Walt Disney World Resort are extra magical! Some of my favorite experiences as a teenager were our band’s trips to march down Main Street, U.S.A. And as a parent, I found myself a little misty-eyed when I watched my son do the same. In my experience going on two high school marching band trips with a music travel company, these companies' primary concerns are getting a large group of kids and chaperones from one place to another, housing, tickets, meal cards, and student safety. The actual itinerary planning for having a well planned day at the theme parks is largely left up to the individuals on the trip.

    If you booked your trip with the tour company, you’ll be at the mercy of their timeline. You may be arriving after park opening, and leaving before the park closes. Compare the itinerary timeline with the theme park hours so you’ll be prepared. If you are booked on your own, plan to arrive an hour before park opening for a jump start on the day. Hit one or two popular attractions right when the park opens for some of the shortest queues of the day!

    Ask them if you’ll be receiving your tickets in advance or not until arrival at the parks. Ask if your tickets include Genie+ and if not, can it be added if you’d like to? Genie+ is an optional add-on that allows you to select, one at a time, entrance to an attraction’s Lightning Lane, meaning shorter than typical waits. For a shorter visit, I would recommend you consider purchasing it.

    Having your ticket in advance means you can link it to your My Disney Experience Account before arrival, add Genie+, and book your first Lightning Lane attraction as early as 7 AM. Genie+ can be added at the time of ticket purchase, or after midnight on the morning of your visit. This will give you a jump start on the day.

    Look at each theme park's guide map (link found at the bottom of each theme park's webpage), and make a list of priorities for each park. Here is the guide map for Magic Kingdom! Have each person in your group choose the one attraction they don’t want to miss and focus on those. Use Genie+ if you can for the most popular attractions, and then fill the in-between time with attractions that have shorter queues. If you haven’t already, download the My Disney Experience Mobile App to your mobile device, and have the kids on the trip do the same.

    For your band kid, even though this is the first family trip to Walt Disney World, let them go off on their own with their group. It’s tempting to want to spend the day with them, but this trip is geared towards the kids experiencing it with their friends. Maybe make a date to meet for a few minutes in front of Cinderella Castle to get that perfect family photo, but then send them off to conquer the world with the band.

    Sheri, I also recommend you explore some of the other Guests’ questions and answers here on planDisney, and check out other popular planning sites such as Touring Plans for ideas on step-by-step plans for each park. And feel free to send more questions!

    - Kate
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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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