Advice on a Multi-Generational Trip

Hi Liners!

For our next trip, our immediate family (me, DW, DD12, DD9, DD6, DS2) will be joined by my mom and step-dad.

My immediate family is staying in a cabin at Ft. Wilderness while my parents will be bringing their pop-up camper and staying at one of the campsites there.

I’m excited about this trip, and as the planner, I am the initiating force for pulling us all together.

My parents love spending time with our kids… but heads up, my 4 kids are wild and thus can be exhausting.

For those of you who have taken multi-generational trips - what advice would you give?

Right now, we are scheduling a meeting before I book FP+'s to talk through boundaries and expectations that each party brings to the trip. I am not under the delusion that this will be a conflict-free trip. I simply want guidelines in place that we all have agreed on for when conflict does arise.

I am also preparing my parents with lists of Touring Plans top attractions as rated by seniors.

What thoughts or advice do you have… besides “don’t do it!”

Thanks in advance, Liners!


I think it is important to make sure everyone is on the same page as to the amount of “all together” time you want to spend. Determine if your parents want you to do all of the planning or if you need to identify key times you are going to be together and for those other times your parents will plan their time accordingly. We try to make sure that we have a couple of meals together and a ride some rides together, but it isn’t an all-day, every-day type of thing.

You also need to be willing to ask whether your parents are open to keeping your kids while you and your wife go out alone one or more times. I didn’t ask this of my mom in advance and, while I was really excited that she offered once we were at Disney, I probably would have planned something special for my husband and I had I known this offer would come.

Being flexible is key, especially given all the walking that is involved. I made sure to check-in with my parents before each day when we were on sight and look over the next day’s plans to make sure everyone felt good about what the plan was. A few times we made alterations and even cancelled one full afternoon of plans so the kids could have more pool time. It was completely fine and everyone had a great time.

The multi-generational trip can be great! Best of luck to you as you navigate through the planning!


Thanks @Gnatjo. Very helpful. Did you write up a trip report on this trip anywhere?

Also - to your point… I’ve got Cali Grill reserved for a special anniversary date night for my DW and I. Now just to make the babysitting ask of my parents!

Sadly, I did not write up a trip report. I really need to do that for our next trip though!

Another thought about dining…I found this to be a challenge because I know my kids and what they will and will not eat. Let me tell…the “will eat” list is limited. However, I know there are restaurants who have menu items that aren’t on the menu that they can serve kids. For instance, at 'Ohana they have kid friendly options that aren’t listed on their menu…you just have to ask. So, don’t shy away from table service restaurants that the adults might enjoy more.

Also, there is nothing saying that you have to use a table service credit for your kids. We ordered an appetizer for a kiddo one time instead of a child table service credit. Table service and quick service credits can be converted into 3 snack credits if it doesn’t look like you will use them. My kids love the Disney snacks and I try to look for opportunities to say yes as much as I can.

I hope you have a fabulous time at California grill! I’ve heard great things and hope to cross that off my Disney bucket list one day.

Finally, when it comes to attractions/rides, here are the things that all generations loved:

  • Magic Kingdom - People Mover, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Dumbo, Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Mickey’s Philharmagic, and the parade and fireworks

  • Epcot - Soarin, Frozen Ever After, Test Track, Space Ship Earth, Meeting Baymax and Joy & Sadness, eating at the Norway bakery, and Illuminations

  • Animal Kingdom - Flights of Passage, Kilimanjaro Safari, Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo

  • Hollywood Studios - Toy Story Midway Mania, Star Tours…and that was pretty much it for everyone agreeing that they liked the attraction


Family is like fish - it can start to stink after 3 days. We have done multi - generational and also big groups (25 of us went on a Disney Cruise together)

The key for us is distance. We LOVE getting together and doing things - but everyone has the “no questions asked / guilt free option” of going and doing their own thing.

We all basically plan what we want to do - and if things match up great - if they don’t that is ok. We do always meet up for dinner.

So if you want to do MK and they want to do Epcot - great - we will see you for dinner at Wherever.

The only this the required was a “neutral” dining location

So KNOW your comfort level of “togetherness” and go from there.

We continue (after many years) to vacation in a large group because everyone has their own room

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Kind of what others have said, but be willing to split up. There are many things that all ages can enjoy together - but not all things. Your parents might enjoy some “alone time” exploring WS, which might not be to your kids’ liking. Your kids might want to go RD to closing commando style, but your parents might want to sleep in on some mornings - or go back to the resort early and relax. Your parents might do better with only a couple of the grand kids at a time. Ask up front how “ambitious” everyone is going to feel and plan accordingly. And most important - realize that things will change once you’re there, and be willing to adjust as needed.

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Our fam, during last trip, decided to sign up for the Beach Club children’s camp, so that DS & DDIL could have a relaxed, longish evening on the “world”, including dinner and night @one of the parks.

I, the grandmother (Babska if you please), had babysat one night while the littles slept, so the littles stayed with me in my connecting room.

The reason we opted for the childrens’ club was Mom & Dad wanted a lengthier night out, during a full evening, & it started to sound a bit daunting for me with 2 very active preschoolers.

The littles absolutely loved the club. I was a little concerned re that, so I stayed there with them for about 1 hour. I don’t think they even noticed I was there, haha.

Club Dolphin also has a very good club, but we couldn’t do that b/c have to be 4yr or older. The reason I’m mentioning this (I do see that you have a 2yr old) is that they have a great deal: If you dine @BlueZoo (really cool place) or Shula’s Steakhouse, you get 2 hours free per entree. So that would be a break for you somewhat, hopefully that your parents could be with the 2yr old.

That’s a whole lot of active kiddos for even 2 grandparents maybe, especially if you & your spouse would like a more leisurely timeframe for the evening.

Also, there’s a coupon @ for those restaurants. I’m pretty sure you can combine both offers, but I myself would check how the voucher works with that, with the hotel folks.

The club cost the fam a bit. But I saw that it really was a treat for Ds & Ddil to have a full date night evening to themselves

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I was part of a multi-generation trip with my husband’s father and step-mother. 6 adult children, plus spouses, plus kids we totaled over 20. They paid for everyone (it was great!) and their only requirement was that we all eat dinner together every night. That worked out great for us because DH and I had never been before and we were (for lack of a better term) balls to the wall the whole week while others were FL residents so they meandered through the parks arriving at 12pm while DH and I had already been there 3-4 hours. I think the best rule of thumb is to have VERY clear expectations before going and knowing that sometimes people need to do their own thing.


Thanks y’all. Some very very helpful tips here.