December TP for 8 (what have I done!?!?!?)

Hello, after a few weeks of what has felt like herding cats, I am trying to get prepared for our upcoming ADR window (this Saturday). This is the first Disney trip for most of the group and we are going light on ADRs for a variety of reasons. We are paying for the hotel, park tickets, “extras” for everyone so ADR’s will be limited due to piggy bank going broke!

Our group consists of myself (DF46) and my Fiance (becoming DF47) - this will be our third trip together to Disney (we have NEVER travelled with kids - this will be an important reminder throughout our planning :slight_smile: ). The two of us arrive 12/5 and have 1 night at Poly club-level, checking out 12/6. At that time, we will check into POP for the rest of our stay from 12-6 to 12-12.

On 12/6 we will be joined by

  1. My Fiance’s son (DS24),(DDIL23) and (DGS18mos). First time to Disney for All!
  2. My Fiance’s daughter (DD30), (DSIL31) and DD7. Also first time to Disney for all!
    We are all flying in from different parts of the country and the kids will arrive 12-6, with the plan to meet at the hotel in the afternoon and head to Disney Springs for early dinner, possibly check out The Void, see Christmas decorations, then checking out the hotel.

A few notes:
• DD7 loves princesses and we will try for BBB and CRT; FEA dessert party is also on the consideration list

  • We have the advantage of the group not knowing what they don’t know - they are not planners and usually
    approach things by just showing up. So, no pressure if I can’t find the “perfect” plans
    *We will have 3 rooms at POP, bringing a stroller for the youngest (18 mos)
  • Will not have a car - relay on /DME/bus/monorail/Minnie van when needed

Only planning the following ADR (if we can get):
CRT at MK;
GG at EP;
BOG at MK;
Tusker House at AK.
Remaining meals will be quick service to save costs. We have lots of basic/picky eaters so bland offerings are best. We have no dining plan so kids pay for their own food!

  • We are unsure how the youngest will do with seeing characters his first time so we want to keep character meals limited - only Tusker House and Garden Grill

(12/7 )Day 1 Park MK - Will try for BBB and CRT, optional mid-day break for those who want it, fast passes for those who stay, will return for MVMCP - parade, projection, and fireworks (7 dwarfs and Pooh if time)
Day 2 Park Hollywood Studio and Optional Resort Day; those at resort day can come to HS for the afternoon, Jingle Bell Jingle Bam
Day 3 Park MK - BOG breakfast, more relaxed day riding top rides, meeting characters; festival of fantasy parade, early evening for some or park hop for others
Day 4 Park Epcot- GG breakfast do top rides then casual afternoon around world showcase, optional stay for illuminations for those who want to
Day 5 Park AK - RD for FOP if no FPP; optionally, Tusker House breakfast PPO and secure FOP FPP and stay at the park through ROL (option to return to the hotel for those who need it)

Given the wide age range, schedules of the kids and interest levels, yet the common desire to have at least some time together each day (ie arrive at parks together for photo pass pictures),does this seem doable at first glance? This is my basic framework, the next challenge will be figuring out which rides people want to go on, how much walking is acceptable for the group and how often and when to split apart and putting the touring plan together.

I really want to splurge on extras like dessert parties and wonderful experiences but after adding up all of the $$ for those plus what we have already spent (and we are getting married in Jan…:scream:

Would love your thoughts, especially those who have traveled with larger families with children of different ages. This will be an adventure!


No advice on the TP, but maybe there is something local with characters that the 18-month old could try before Dec. to see how he does with characters? Sometimes local restaurants will have character dining, or a local theme park.

Um, yeah. We have the same parks planned on the same days. (12/8 to 12/11). So, see you there! :smiley:

I won’t see you in the parks but maybe on my last day at Pop! We are there 12/4-7.

I think your plans sound perfect! I wouldn’t worry about dessert parties. You already have so many other wonderful experiences scheduled. You even have the holiday fireworks covered through MVMCP. I hear illuminations is awesome too in Dec with a special peace on earth finale.

I was in your shoes a few years ago when DH and I took 4 sons, 3 DiL and 2 DGD to DLR. I gifted each couple with an Unofficial Guide and asked each person to give me a list of their 3, can’t miss rides in each park. We had one TS meal a day (paid by us) and everyone was on their own the rest of the day. We would start the day with 2-3 rides with the whole group and then have our TS lunch. After lunch couples broke off to do their own thing. We would usually arrange a time and place to meet up later in the day but kept in touch with texts, etc and often crossed paths. One son and DGD12 rushed from thrill ride to thrill ride all afternoon. DH and I rediscovered Disney through the eyes of DGD4. One day DGD4 was surprised at her father rushing halfway across the park just to meet Chip and Dale.
I will say that my DHdid have to pull one son aside and remind him that we were paying for the trip and it was MY dream vacation not his. So, if mom wanted the whole group to ride together first thing in the morning he would just have to do it. He realized that we really weren’t demanding a lot from him and went back to having a great time. We all had a great time and, I think, it was because we gave everyone a chance to go do their own thing instead of keeping everyone together.
I know you will have a fabulous time looking at the parks through eyes of your first-timers!

Yes! This is exactly what we are trying to do too. Balance some family time with some time to do things on their own. I am mostly excited to live Disney again through the eyes of the two kids. One parent is super excited to the going, one is eh. Hoping once they get there, the magic will take over a little bit!

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Every family is different, but we have a DD7 and on our MVMCP day it would be too much to do RD that morning even with an afternoon break.

If CRT is an important reservation for you and you can’t get your reservation on Day 1 you may need to look at swapping days or hoping reservation finder can come through for you.

I wouldn’t worry about the extras like dessert parties - a group of first timers isn’t going to miss them.

In Aug last year my 2 DSs, DSil & there kids (DD15, DS,13, DS 8, DD 9 & DS 5) went to Disney. They had teams :slight_smile: - the two older kids went with the mother of the 13yr old, wanted to do as many thrill rides as they could, the 8&9 went with the mother of the 8, they did more of the middle of the road stuff, the youngest went with his aunt. They were driving and staying off site, so they had to travel together. They had certain rides that they had all planned on doing together, and certain meals they planned on together, other than that they were with their ‘teams’. It worked out pretty well. Although my Sil thought they didn’t need a break - my sister assured her that there was no way they would not have melt-downs trying to do RD to close in Aug LOL

Why don’t you get the DDDP for you and your fiance that would be 6 ts credit a day so 36 ts credits to share with everyone. This might help take a bite out of the cost. You should be able to choose what meal you want to use credit for and what ones you want to pay out of pocket. Example: If someone orders something that costs $50 and someone else orders something that costs $30 use the DDDP on the $50 meal. Also with the DDDP you get 24 snack credits 2 mugs and with every meal you get a desert and appetizer wich you could share with the whole table. You could even go as far as to getting a DDP or QSDP for one of the other rooms if needed.

Just a thought hope it helps.

Oh gosh, you have given me something to think about! Because we were making the kids all pay for their dining, it really never occurred to me to get a dining plan for just us!
This may be a silly question but we booked a room only plan because we bought all of the park tickets through the military so we couldn’t do the room and tickets through Disney. Does that impact whether we add a dining plan or not?

I don’t know sorry.

I am almost positive you can’t add dining - you have to book it all though Disney

If you are booked as a military salute room offer, you can add dining to the room. Because the special military salute tickets have to be purchased seperately you can get a package that is room and dining under the military salute code. I have done this 3 times before (last 2015) but I don’t believe it has changed. If you are not booked as military salute discount for your room and they don’t have rooms left as military salute discount I don’t if it is possible to add the dining.

You can add dining. You just have to call to add it.