Input on Planning WDW Trip for 4 Families

We are meeting DW’s parents and siblings and their families at WDW in October 2021. None of the others have been to WDW since the early 90s. My in-law were at WDW for their Honeymoon in 1971 so this will be my in-laws 50th in addition to Disney’s. DW’s parents and siblings have asked me to come up with the TPs and dining schedule since they are clueless about planning a WDW trip.

The crew consists of 8 adults and 5 kids (ages 7, 6, 4, 3 and almost 2). Each of the 4 families has booked a Garden Wing room at CR.

I will ask each family if there are any attractions they are particular interested in and then I will make the TPs. Everyone has agreed that the focus will be on the kids. We won’t be doing any rides with a height requirement more than 41".

I imagine there are some major pitfalls and issue I will encounter planning for a group this large.

For those that have planned for a large multi-family group, what should I be aware that is different from planning for one’s own family only?


I made a google survey for each member to complete. I listed dinning and rides/attractions by park. We did a similar trip in Sept 2018 with 4 families. Anyway, the google survey helped me create a TP for our trip. I hope you have a wonderful time and that everyone behaves :wink: I had a SiL act like a jerk :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:


Take turns watching the kids, while the other adults go out for romantic couple dinners.


I have been on non-Disney vacations with this group, and, fortunately, I don’t think we will have anyone acting like a jerk. What I do envision, however, is a lot of trouble getting this crew out the door early enough each morning.


I would seriously recommend that you perhaps consider creating a TP for each park maybe until after lunch and then leave things free.

With four families, sounds like at least 2 or 3 of which have young kids, it’s going to be inevitable that some families will want to go back and nap or swim, whilst others may want to continue in the park.

Planning for family time until lunch and then dinner somewhere later, whether in a park or at a resort would give everyone some “me time” whilst still having a great time together.

So having given you that unsolicited advice, some practical tips.

Presumably since each family have booked their own room, at least one person in each family has an MDE account, with the others either managed by them or linked.

Now get everyone linked to you as the planner. Do this now and make sure you can see everyone in MDE. You could try booking an ADR, any ADR, and include everyone to check the links are OK. Then cancel it!

Show the “leader” of each family how to sign into the app and encourage them to get to know it, so they can deal with mobile ordering etc when the time comes.

Sort out now how meals will be paid for of dining altogether at a TS. Will each family pay for their own? Will you split the costs? Talk about tipping - if you all dine together the tip will automatically be added so you need to work out how that will work.

Create the TPs, show them, but don’t be offended if & when they decide they want to do their own thing! At least you don’t have FPs to deal with. Yet! That’s risky if they do return, because anyone could end up cancelling them inadvertently. :fearful:

Pack patience, lots of it! That’s why I said plan for some time alone. :joy::joy:

By the way, this is mostly gleaned from … let’s just say a close family member whose big extended family trip had a few “issues”. :joy::joy:


Well getting ppl up at the crack of dawn on vacation is always a challenge. I’m glad you have other vacation experience with these families b/c I won’t do another :crazy_face:


Great idea! I need to do this and hadn’t thought about it yet. Not the kind of thing to do last minute.

I can see how this would be a good idea for some groups, but won’t be a good plan for ours. My in-laws are adamant about staying together except if the 2 year old needs to leave to nap with DW’s brother. Also my 2 kids (will be 6 and 4) and DW’s sister’s 2 kids (will be 7 and 4) are best friends and will want to be together. DW’s sister will be upset if I don’t plan the afternoon for her family to be with my kids.

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Agree. I won’t be offended if anyone wants to do something else.

I did a very large family trip. #1 rule is keep expectations LOW. I did the 2-3 mornings rope drop and then we stopped touring at lunch. Afternoons were free for grandparent to rest, kids to paly in room or arcades. Dinners were planned together(at resorts or in parks) and then people were on their own for the evening. I had a TP done for the mornings that everyone could do, and Evenings were for rollercoasters and other rides not everyone could do(or shopping for others. People had time to shop At DS and minigolf time for 2 1/2 days. 4 hours was tops. Best advice I heard was when one person had to go to the restroom, then everyone went(build in that bathroom break as a rest). Think I did not realize was the noise level would get to my disabled sister so that sent my parents back with her a lot and I would go with them. We all had rooms at BWV so being together is great. Have fun and realize that only part of your day will be together. Breaks make for a better trip


I see that you think most of your group will be together all the time- I would just make sure that they understand that people might be waiting around for others to do things then- I get that the experience is part of it for them. My parents were older and could not do it, my disabled sister could not do it- BUT that one trip together I will always have and the few hours a day that we were together was great


As has been mentioned: bathrooms. Big time sink. Especially with kids.

I planned for 21 for September 2019 but only 19 actually came along. Planning was easy as the focus of the trip was the birthday person and particular family members were doing specific things. There was a 4 park wipe out day for four folks. The rest of us had other things going on.
One day was a water park day for the birthday person’s mom and step dad.

Probably the biggest change was in dining - which was all at the birthday person’s request. We usually had a late breakfast and a supper planned with lunches and snacks as needed.

I made small ADRs and for odd numbers. Instead of tables for 4 and 6, I’d make them for 5 and 7. For nearly every meal we rearranged the groups, usually losing a whole table.

Disney won’t seat you until everyone’s there, and we were splitting off into groups. Having smaller reservations allowed those at the restaurant to be seated. Having the odd number allowed extras to be seated when table shuffling was needed. We usually got seated at the same table but sometimes at two tables, near each other.

For a large group, I’d do the smaller, odd number ADRs again. Worked smoothly.


Where were you 2 years ago ??? :tired_face:

I gave everyone a TP to use if they wanted. But we met for dinner every evening. Teenagers ran in their pack.

Since you mentioned getting out the door being a challenge maybe you do something similar but not. Leave the mornings open. Let families who want to get up early and RD do that. Those that want a little extra time to wake up can do that too. Make lunch your meet up and then spend the afternoon + evening touring together.


I imagine those are wonderful memories!

The comments have me thinking about things. My in-laws will be upset if I make plans that involve the group splitting. Personally, I won’t be offended if anyone wants to split off and do their own thing.

Maybe the best plan is to make the complete TP for all day and then ask my in-laws to think about whether they want to include any free time for people to do their own thing either at the start of the day or the afternoon. I will leave that part up to them.


Yikes :grimacing: might want to start breaking down that insistence ASAP. A group that big will move slow and spend a lot of time waiting on each other. Especially with little kids. I would NOT want to start each day trying to get 4 separate families out the door at the same time, relatively early in the morning. Recipe for frustration.

Disney is overwhelming (even for adults) and a little (lot of) flexibility and grace will go a long way to actually making it enjoyable for everyone.

I’d pick 2-4 activities per day to do all together (a meal and a couple rides or shows) and leave the rest open. Make more detailed plans for your family and the in laws, and others are welcome to join or bail depending on their preferences/mood.


Do you know if you can make dining res for a group of 13? Do different restaurants have different limits of the number of people per seated party?

We had a part of 9 and had to split the reservation in two and when we checked in we told them we wanted to be seated together. All restaurants were awesome with putting our group together

For that size group - in the past - I’ve called group dining. That’s worked ok.

I wanted more flexibility for dining in 2019 since we did have break out groups at times. So I did the smaller ADRs at the same time frames.

For most of the touring we did tour together as a group. We had newbies and folks who’ve been numerous times. Ages 5 up to 83. We did have waiting around while some rode, but we had plenty of time to visit, too. We had 3 families from Missouri, a family each from CA, LA and VA. Folks arrived and departed at different times. Only the CA and LA folk flew. Everyone else drove. The CA folk had a rental car.

For us, big groups are less about the number of rides and more about visiting with each other. The core group might normally be Disney nuts, while the extras are along for the ride and not necessarily interested in return visits. We’ve usually stayed on property to utilize Disney transport to facilitate return to resorts for napping and swimming.

So yes, there’s a lot of waiting around but our groups at least have not considered it wasted time. We did five big group trips before anyone started exploring on their own.

eta: places like Biergarten and Teppan Edo do not normally work for big groups. One trip tho, at Teppan Edo, DH and I had all the kids at our table while the parents ate at another table.

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We will mostly do quick service. The TS that I plan to include in the TPs are dinner at Cali Grill, lunch or dinner at CRT, dinner at Hacienda de San Angel, and if the there are normal character interactions by then, lunch or dinner at Chef Mickey’s.

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