Walt Disney World is our family’s favorite vacation destination. We try our best to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth as often as possible. My parents usually join us when we travel — sometimes my brother and his family do, as well! When that happens, we are traveling with 10 people! Some might think we’re crazy, but we love multi-generational vacations. In fact, it seems we’re not alone! It’s becoming a popular thing to plan a multi-generational Disney World vacation.
WHY? Well, that’s an easy question! Today’s grandparents want to be part of the MAGIC! Let’s face it…their grandchildren are their entire WORLD. Why WOULDN’T they want to be included?! While it can seem overwhelming planning a trip for so many people, with such a variety of ages, I can assure you it’s completely doable — and even FUN! Here are a few tips I have found helpful for our family.
Tips for Planning a Multi-Generational Disney World Vacation
1. Put someone in charge
Have someone in your group who knows the ins-and-outs of Disney? Put that person in charge. If too many people are trying to plan, your plans will turn chaotic very quickly. You will all get frustrated and overwhelmed…and what fun is that?!
2. Stay at a Disney Resort
Staying at a Disney resort puts you right in the middle of the magic. Disney makes traveling easy for their guests staying on property. From the moment you arrive at Orlando International Airport, your Disney experience begins! Hop on Disney’s Magical Express for complimentary transportation to your resort. While visiting the parks during your stay, utilize the FREE Disney transportation buses.
Aside from making transportation a breeze, there are several reasons why you should stay on Disney property. From fun resort theming, to Extra Magic Hours, being in the heart of Disney makes your vacation more magical!
3. Download the My Disney Experience App
The My Disney Experience App is your lifeline while you’re on vacation. All members of your party can be connected to the app. This enables everyone to view any FastPasses, dining reservations, literally any and all plans that have been made. My Disney Experience also has park maps and hours, as well as attraction wait times. Everyone NEEDS this app. It’s a MUST.
4. It’s OK to split-up!
Keeping a large group with various interests together at all times, AND keeping everyone happy, can be difficult to say the least. It’s perfectly okay to split-up into smaller groups so everyone can tackle their must-do’s! For example, you might have teenagers who love thrill rides AND toddlers who are happiest in Fantasyland. Split your party up for a bit and meet up later!!
5. Make Dining Reservations
Disney guests who stay on property can begin making their dining reservations 180 days before the start of their trip! There are so many wonderful dining options at Walt Disney World Resort, and the most popular ones book up fast!! If you have a large party, you should especially begin making your dining plans ASAP. Having a reservation also allows your entire party to reconnect if you choose to split-up for a while. I always try to book one sit down meal per day to recharge. Having a dining reservation is a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the parks, and spend time with your family.
6. Take a midday break
When traveling with younger children and grandparents (heck, even parents!), sometimes it’s best to head back to the resort for a midday break. When Lincoln was 3-years old and I was pregnant with Avery, we would head back to our resort for a nap. Afterwards, we would wake up refreshed and head back to the parks. Now that our kids no longer nap (sad face), we will sometimes head back and relax by the pool! Disney resorts have some really amazing pools and splash areas!
7. Purchase Memory Maker
This is another MUST DO. Purchasing Memory Maker allows you access to all of your Disney PhotoPass photos and videos, including those taken on attractions! Disney PhotoPass Photographers are located in every single Disney Park, and are easy to find. Sometimes photographers will even offer a “magic” shot — which is really fun! Because this is a multi-generational Disney World vacation, I think it’s even more of a necessity to purchase Memory Maker! This service allows EVERYONE to be in the picture. These are memories you will have forever. In the past, we have ended up with 500+ photos taken when purchasing Memory Maker. It is worth every penny.
8. Let the little ones lead the way
I hate to break it to you, but your practically perfect plans may change. AND THAT’S OKAY!!! When traveling with kids, especially younger ones, sometimes it’s best to follow their lead. If your preschooler doesn’t want to ride the Haunted Mansion, please don’t force them. Ask them what do they want to do? As much as I love Disney, I always let my children lead the way. More than anything, I love seeing the magic in their eyes. For me, it’s all about them.
9. Have Fun
You’re at the Most Magical Place on Earth!! You’re with those you love most, making magical memories. You will remember this multi-generational Disney World vacation forever! Take your time. Enjoy each moment. And above all, really be present with your family! While my family is lucky to be able to take multiple multi-generational Disney trips, for most families, this is a once in a lifetime event! Make it count!! Make it FUN!!
Have you planned a multi-generational Disney World Vacation? What tips would you add?
I was invited to the 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Our family continued our tradition of a multi-generational trip by including my mom. I paid a nominal conference fee to attend and received discounted and complimentary items from Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, and their sponsors. All opinions are my own.