I’ve had my hand in planning quite a few of these extended family vacations, and I’ve learned a thing or two about what to expect, what to focus on in the planning process, and what to not get caught up in during the process. Here are a few tips I’ve adopted in planning a Disney trip for a large group.
- Start early — Set a travel date set as soon as possible. 8-12 months in advance, depending on group size, isn’t unrealistic. As I already mentioned, people need to request time off work, and/or navigate school and sports schedules for kids. The sooner you have that date set on the calendar, the sooner everything else is able to fall in to place.
- Communicate — Set a Point Person in the group to coordinate all information and pass it along to all the other members of the travel party.
- Enlist the help of a Travel Agent — Booking for your family is one thing, but when you have to book and coordinate the flights and resort rooms for 8 different families traveling from 5 different airports, all arriving at different times and requiring different tickets and dining plans, you’re on a whole other level of travel planning. While it can be done, your Travel Agent has expertise in this area that can prove to be invaluable to you and the entire group.
- Get input from the group — You’re doing the Dining Plan, right? Ask each family to choose 1 restaurant that is a MUST DO. You all have your faves that you do every trip, but wouldn’t you like to try a couple new spots, too? This will give you an opportunity to all get together over a nice meal and talk about the day’s activities.
- Did I already mention start early? — Because you are a large group, you’ll want to make those dining reservations right at the start of your 180 day window. You need Boma for 26 guests on the 24th of February? Be Our Guest for 18 adults on the 14th of March and Chef Mickey’s Breakfast on the last day of your trip for 22 Adults and 9 children? Calling right at 7am the morning of your 180 day window is key.
- Be flexible — I know you’ve planned to stick together with all the members of your group, but