I grew up in a Disney family. No really, like a Disney family. We’ve had a family trip to Walt Disney World every year since the early 90s, and what started with 6-10 people is now a 30 person multi-gen family trip spanning a 70+ year age range. So how exactly does someone plan a trip with that many people, travel plans, + opinions/wishlists? I’ve got you!
Planning + Booking
• What dates work for the most people?
Everyone doesn’t have to be there for the whole trip if it’s just not working. We’ve had some people there for the whole 7 day trip and some who could only make it for 2 nights, so we made sure to schedule our big family celebration dinner on a night where everyone was there. (we’ll get to dining in a minute)
• What is the room situation?
Is each family responsible for finding + booking their own room? Is everyone staying at the same resort? What about a Villa to fit more people than a standard room? Do you need connecting rooms? Once you know where you want to stay, you can start booking rooms for everyone! A room + ticket package requires a $200 deposit (per room) to book, and a room only booking requires first night payment.
• How is everyone getting there?
Is anyone flying? What flights are available? What about transportation from/to the airport? Does anyone need a rental car? Do you need carseats once you get there? Is anyone driving? Parking is now free at Disney Resorts (and Disney Parks if you’re staying on property), so we love having a car with us. We had people flying and driving in from four different states on our last trip, so everyone definitely doesn’t have to do the same thing. The important thing is that you just all get there!
• How exactly do you book dining for this many people?
My biggest recommendation regardless of party size is to book your most wanted dining reservation as late into your trip as possible! We managed to get Ohana for 24 people on the last night of our last trip plus a few other reservations for 16-20 on the other days of our trip.
There are a few tricks to make this happen, but the biggest thing is that you need to be staying on property so your dining opens for your entire trip at the same time instead of booking it one day at a time to get the best availability. Next you need to have multiple devices each logged in on a different Disney account and ready to go at 6:00am EST at your 60 day window. My general rule is one Disney account per 6-8 people in your group because most restaurants can seat 6-8 easier than 10+ at a single table. We got Ohana for 24 because we booked 3 separate reservations of 8 people at 5:00pm, 5:05pm, + 5:10pm. It’s not guaranteed that your tables will be next to each other, but I recommend calling the restaurant directly or stopping by a few hours before your reservation to let them know that you’re all together for a better chance of being seated by each other.
Travel + Fun
• What are your must do items?
With this many people going, you likely aren’t going to get a 100% consensus on what to do each day or maybe even which quick service to grab lunch at during the day. I highly suggest each person/family unit fill out this checklist to figure out what you want to do in each park! These lists include every attraction + dining option by park, resort, + Disney Springs, and it’s much easier to come up with a plan for the group once you have this checklist to compare.
• How are we all going to be together all of the time?
Honestly, you aren’t. Someone is going to want to sleep in one day or stay out later or grab a coffee while other people want to ride Space Mountain or a million other things that will come up. It’s in your best interest to NOT be together all day every day especially if you have that many people who will want to do different things.
I highly suggest planning a couple of times a day to meet up with the group like a set dining reservation or maybe riding a favorite ride or seeing a show together. If your grandmother loves Festival of the Lion King, get everyone together to go watch it with her. If your dad loves the aquarium at The Seas, go spend a few minutes looking at the fish (and enjoying the AC) with him. No matter what you do, PLEASE take all of the photos + videos that you can!
Magic + Memories
• This seems like a lot. Is it really worth it?
Yes. A million times yes. I grew up with memories with my grandparents, parents, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, + friends, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. We’ve literally grown up surrounded by magic, and knowing that my daughter is getting to do the same thing is absolutely incredible.