Today’s article is one that was originally written for WDW Fan Zone. Enjoy!!
Although I am an only child I seem to always travel in apack. My husband Dan and I LOVE to bring people with us when we travel to WaltDisney World. In fact, now that I think of it, we have never been to Disneyalone. Traveling in a pack to me means 8or more people, so to Disney this is called a Grand Gathering. When you are traveling to Disney as a GrandGathering it can become very stressful to plan around what everyone wants todo. There are actually ways to travel asa Grand Gathering and keep it stress free…I can honestly say the larger mygroup the more fun we have!!
Let the planning begin!!
Oh yeah…before we begin, you maywant to have a designated Disney notebook so that you can take notes as youplan. :0)
Gather Your Facts
There is always going to be at least one person that willlead the trip planning. In the case of my family it is yours truly. :0) Thereis also the case of there being too many people that all want to plan at thesame time. In this case allow everyone to gather their facts…this way you canall divide out tasks once you are ready to truly plan your trip. So what facts do you need to gather? Research online about the various resortoptions and pricing, times of year to visit, along with weather patterns. Priceout park tickets, transportation and anything else that will help you get ahandle on just how much this trip is going to cost you and your family/friends.
Plan a Trip PlanningMeeting
Part of the fun in vacationing to Walt Disney World is theplanning. I have said it time and time again, that I love planning my tripsalmost as much as I love going on them. Before traveling in a large group go online and order the DisneyVacation Planning DVD. Then invite everyone over for pizza and to watch the DVD.Not only is the DVD very informational but there is no better way to pump upyour friends and family about your upcoming trip. Now it can happen that possibly some of thepeople that will be traveling with you do not live close enough to come overfor pizza and a movie. If this is the case it is very important that they alsohave a copy of the free vacation planning DVD and that you include them in onyour meeting somehow.
Before you invite everyone over be sure that they come witha few things in mind; a budget, a time of year that they would like to traveland some possible vacation dates. At this meeting your goal should be to watchthe DVD, pick your accommodations, and dates of travel. Now keep in mind thatyou do not all have to be at Disney World for the exact same amount of time andon the same days. As long as you all try to be there for at least a few days atthe same time it will make for a wonderful vacation.
One person should be appointed the lead of the group. Thisperson will call and make their reservation first so that they can let thereservation agent know that this is a Grand Gathering. Once the lead makes their reservation theywill be given a group number. When everyone else makes their reservation theyshould mention the group number. The number will help tie together roomassignments and dinner reservations. Asyou can tell I think it is best if each party makes their own reservation, itis just much easier that way.
This is by far the most fun we have as a group…planningthose dining reservations. We love it!! When we travel we eat all together every day…nothing is done seprate.But I know that you can also decide to do a few meals together and some on yourown. This is a topic that should be discussed at your meeting. Assuming that you are all eating together,have everyone do a little research on the web about the different diningoptions that Walt Disney World has to offer. Usually we have each personprovide 2-3 places that they really want to go to. From there I copy and pastethe description and the name on a word document. This document becomes a votingsheet. If we have 7 ADR’s then we each get to pick our top 7, (in noparticular order) that we would like to go to. The vote is the final answer.Everyone LOVES finding out where we are eating after the vote.
In a perfect world everyone will be on the same page withhow they would like to travel to Walt Disney World. But we all know that is notalways possible when you are dealing with a large crowd. Don’t feel bad if somepeople decide to fly, while others may decide to drive. The most important partis being together at Walt Disney World. :0)
Once we are there aside from our dining reservations andextra magic hours, we do what we want. Again, we all stay together as a group,but this may not work for all large groups. At the end of each day we alwaysdiscuss what time we are going to meet at the bus stop and what park we arehitting in the morning. The rest of the day we wing it!!
When you have a largecrowd the best advice I have for you is to be structured in your planning butlose once you are on your trip. Be ready for anything and everything and youwill have a fantastic time!!
I would love to hear your thoughts about how you brave“Traveling with a Pack.”
See ya real soon!!