Late entry or mid-day break?

What do you think would work best for a group of 11 of us (grandparents, parents, and 4 kids ages 6,8,9,13)? When we’ve been before with our 3 kids, we almost always rope dropped and either called it a day in the early afternoon, or took a long mid-day break and returned in the evening. However, that was staying on property and only having 5 of us to accommodate, and had the huge advantage of FPP. This time I’m tasked for planning the trip for the whole extended family, most of which have never been or not been in 15+ years. I’m just trying to make everyone happy and make sure everyone has a fun trip for our trip in October where we are staying off-site for the first time. Is it too much hassle staying off site taking a mid-day break? Is rope dropping the only way to get people on the headliners they want? Thanks for any input!

  • What are your specific dates in October?
  • How long is the drive on average from hotel to parks?
  • Do all 11 of you plan to stay together inside the parks?
  • How are the grandparents with walking a lot and getting around?
  • Is the youngest use to taking naps or sleeping in?

Offsite means no early entry. Midday shouldn’t be unbearably hot. Time would be lost in midday transit. Our family are naturally night owls, so weighing all that, I really might go later and close the place down. If your group are not night owls, maybe not though.

Looking at your group I’m seeing 3 kids + 2 parents, 1 kid + 2 parents and 2 grandparents which leaves out one from your group of 11. Are your kid ages doubled up on one year ?

Also, seeing that info - you’re going to have at least 2 vehicles?

First thought: no plan survives first contact.
Figure on rearranging, restructuring and maybe even despairing of your plans every day and maybe even often every day. But you’ll have so many great memories.

One schedule won’t fit everyone. Even amongst the kids. Try to identify these individuals:

early risers vs late (like noon!) risers

lotsa stamina (Energizer bunnies) vs couch potaoes

drivers vs non-drivers

who MUST ride/experience the headliners

who is more along for the experience and memories of being in this place with these people at this time

Believe it or not, an early riser can also be a couch potato. And a sleeper till noon can be an Energizer bunny. We’ve got both in our extended family.

Optimum is having an early riser driver and an Energizer bunny driver. Or a couch potato driver.

Make charts. Have large post-it “cars” with small post-it “people” to mimic comings and goings.

It may be that some go early, everyone lunches together, maybe some go back to the lodging for a break, some stay late. I have seen trip reports where folks do go back “home” for supper, and then close down a park.

Maybe it varies by park.

With no fast passes lines seem to move quickly and I’m thinking line time can be used as visiting time.

We often split up with less interested/energetic resting on a bench. One trip we left a ride-indifferent grandparent and a ride-anxious pre-teen on a bench outside Space Mountain. For whatever reason, it seemed we were a long time exiting SM - wondering how the bench people were faring. (Bench People weren’t always the same two)

No worries. The bench overlooked the Tomorrowland Speedway. Our old guy and the shy kid were thoroughly enjoying themselves heckling the drivers and passengers. Who also seemed to be having a good time. (Subsequent trips, I’ve not seen a bench in that spot . . . )

When you’ve identified items of greatest priority, your schedule will sort out. Hopefully. Maybe the older kids and an energetic adult or two remain in a park, while younger kids and rest-oriented adults take a break.


We are going Oct 2-9. We are renting a house about 20 minutes away from park. The grandparents are fairly spry! Haha, but a more relaxed walking spend than our usual im sure. The youngest hasn’t napped in years! My kids generally get up early but have no problem staying up until 10 pm… that being said though, I don’t think they could do many late nights in a row without being able to sleep in

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We are one couple with 3 kids, my sister and her husband and my nephew, my mom and step-dad, and the solo adult is my dad. Yes, my mom’s ex-husband is going on vacation with her. One big happy family! Haha

We are actually renting one 15 passenger van. I really wanted two vans for flexibility, but the money contentious (read penny pinchers) in the group over ruled. Also, no one else is looking to split up. They are all looking at me as the family “Disney expert” so I’ll be playing tour guide Barbie for the week. Most of the kids and adults like roller coasters, those who don’t are totally fine enjoying a snack on a bench while others ride. I think we’ll end up doing a combination of game plans, taking park hours and interests into account.


And I’m sure there will have to be plenty of adjusting on the fly. Here’s what I’m thinking:
Day 1: HS, not sure yet about mid-day break. Might do that if I’m able to score a late Oga’s res to get the boys an awesome Galaxys edge experience
Day 2: later start to MK. Let everyone sleep in, stay until everyone is done
Day 3: day off
Day 4: AK rope drop and stay until everyone is done, even until park close if people want whereas its not too late
Day 5: rope drop MK stay until mid afternoon or until everyone feels they’ve done what they want…or split Day, im not sure yet
Day 6: ?rope drop epcot or maybe head there after lunch? Then stay until close. Its our last night and would like to end the trip with Harmonious if possible. No early flight the next day, so its fine if we sleep in

Oh, what is your home time zone? That could also influence how easy RD is.

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Oh good thought, but we are EST (Maine)

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This was our extended family group for too many years. Decades, even. :crazy_face:

I kinda thought there was an ex in there as the 11th. It’s great that there’s family harmony. :heart_eyes:

We once had cousins join us with back issues so no coasters. I focused as much as possible on early attractions, channeling Walt. This reinvigorated our love of the Enchanted Tiki Room. The cousins also loved AK, spending an interminable amount of time looking for every bird in the big aviary. I found a nice bench near the exit and provided directions to an amazing number of preteen apparently Brazilian boys needing to know where the restrooms were. :thinking:

That’s the great thing about WDW - something for everyone.

I think y’all will have an amazing time - especially if you remember to allow plenty of extra time.

I think you have a good plan. We prefer early starts too, instead of late nights. Expect day one to be very busy, looks like the Sunday right after 10/1? Maybe a factor on how much time you spend at HS.

Since Early Entry starts 10/1 it will be interesting to hear how you’re “rope dropping” goes with staying off-site. I’m assuming they won’t let you through the gates until official time. Hopefully the crowds don’t turn out higher than what the crowd calendar is predicting, and your early starts are worthwhile.