Planning advice welcomed

So we just got back from our best WDW vacation ever. It was DD13, DW and myself. First time staying on property and we loved the resort (SSR), buses, Disney Springs, themed dining, Waterpark, and of course the parks themselves. Was without doubt the best trip ever for us. This trip was mainly for our DD13 so we left the rest of the crew behind.

Found the trip easy to plan for. Received the UG for a Christmas present and finished reading by Mid January. Started booking by end of January and we went on our magical vacation in May.

Now it’s time to start planning for the next trip. Not so easy this time. This past trip I focused on DD13 and DW and planned things around them. Had a short window but didn’t matter. Got to do everything we wanted. (Stay in a nice resort, visit all 4 parks + waterpark, multiple EMH, EMM, HDDR, character dining, Disney Springs, MM, resort time, afternoon breaks, fast pass galore via the loophole, etc…) The next trip will involve multi generations but I have more time to plan ( and save).

So no dates are set in stone but we are thinking around December of 2018. It will be my 50th B-day and when DW asked what I wanted to do, naturally I said “WDW”. (Place just makes me smile, what can say. ) So anytime within a few months of Dec. 2018 will work for us. Will be looking for some feedback on best dates to go.

It will be 8 of us this time. 3 groups per say. 1st group will be DD14, DW, and I. (Same 3 that just went). 2nd group will be DD29, her DH30, and their DD3 (our granddaughter), 3rd group will be my mother in law and my sister in law. Everyone has different type tastes. If I had to explain the best way I could it would be like this…

1st group is resort moderate type ( prefers moderate type resort, loves rides, RD, EMH, and the occasional show)

2nd group is resort value type ( prefers a value type resort with lots of theming for the 3yo, limited to rides for toddler but the adults in this group would love some thrill rides as well, will need afternoon breaks/naps or early evenings)

and 3 group is resort deluxe type. (Prefer a more adult themed resort, love to walk, explore, dine and shop, laying out in the sun is their idea of a vaction, little to no rides, occasional
show and signature dining,)

Trying to come up with one resort to fit everyone. Not necessarily one room. I’m thinking if we go with a DVC resort (rent points) either 3 studios for overall privacy, or a 1-2 bedroom for groups 1&3, and a studio for group 2. If we stay moderate or value it would be 3 preferred rooms or a family suite and an additional room. I’m leaning towards AKL but welcome any insight on other options. I figure AKL meets most of the standards for all groups. (Theming for both adult and little one, moderately priced but deluxe type grounds, signature dining, beautiful landscape for walking)

So dates and location are the first of my worries. I’d like to get them out of the way right off the back. Thought about polling the group but not sure that would go well. I will be funding the lodging aspect for everyone. And will also be funding the transportation and park tickets for groups 1 & 2. So I feel comfortable making the decision regarding resort. Also im the only one with Disney knowledge. As for dates I will get input/availability from all parties and come up with a few different options for the group to choose from. We have barriers like grade school, college classes, work schedules to deal with. 2 of the adults are limited and can’t go during week of Xmas due to job requirements (retail).

Never been to Disney during Nov., Dec., Jan., or Feb. And those are the months we have to choose from . I know there is Christmas parties in Nov and Dec, which can reduce park times. Id like it to still be warm enough to enjoy the pool and laying out for group 3. Thanksgiving time is an option but I hear it’s super busy as is around Presidents day in February but that is also a good time for school vacations.

So I guess my first 2 questions to all of you is… Now that you know a little about our group what would your choices be for resort and dates?

After I can make decision about resorts and dates it comes to itinerary. I’ll leave that for a later post. Right know I just need input on resorts and dates. So what do you think?

P.s. the vacation will be for 7 nights and 8 days.

I’m a hard core AKL lover; it would always be my first choice if cost was not a factor. Animals aside, it has two beautiful pools, two of my favorite WDW restaurants (Jiko and Sanaa), and “better than most” buffet and QS (Boma and Mara). And the Jambi House lobby may be the most beautiful enclosed space in WDW. There are also regular children’s activities.

Hi! So I’m taking our first family Disney trip THIS December, and it’s an extended group too, but I’ve been the primary planner. It’s me, my DH, our DD6 & our DS4 (ages at time of trip). Then also coming along is my Mom, my sister & her husband, and their 3 kids - 6, 4 and almost 2 - all told, we are 10 people.

Reading your descriptions, I think if you are going to “poll” your group at all, you should probably narrow it down to 3 places or less first, better even to only have 2 choices. Otherwise I agree that you should just pick the location if you are funding it! While I will give the caveat that I last went to Disney years ago as an adult and have NOT stayed in many of these places, I’ve been to most of them since I like to check out the resorts. So, that’s where my two cents comes in.

My first thought is that although AK is beautiful and a wonderful place with fantastic dining, it would not be MY first choice with the group you described. This is because if I were going to splurge on a more expensive resort, I’d want one on the monorail & boat line to accommodate both ease of travel & time convenience for the couple with a small child, and to accommodate those that like to wander around.

We looked into many similar considerations like you did, and ultimately we chose a split stay in early Dec this year, going to WL and AoA. At WL, each family will have their own room, my Mom also. But at AoA, my Mom will join my family of 4 in a Finding Nemo family suite to save her a bit of money after the WL splurge. Maybe a split stay isn’t for your group, but keep in mind that it could be an option if the value/moderate people in your group want to downgrade or upgrade in price shorter term. From everything I have read, our transition should be very smooth (knock wood) and we don’t mind taking a half hour or so at night to pack our luggage again after the first hotel ends - to us it seems like a small price to pay to get to check out another resort, but maybe it would be a hassle for someone else.

If I had a vote, based on what you’ve posted, I’d look in to Wilderness Lodge & the various room options they have, but I know WL gets busy in December so that could make it harder for you. If that’s not an option, renting points at Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary would certainly give your group a lot of options for a close location to MK and easy ability to resort hop for those that like to explore.

Lots of luck! We are really looking forward to our trip as extended family. I’ll probably do a trip report once we return, and thanks for posting yours!

Early December is good. Resorts are all decorated for Christmas.

Why not rent points and stay at Wilderness Lodge. It is beautiful at Christmas. Also MK is a boat ride away and would be convenient for taking 3 yo for naps.

Wilderness Lodge is beautiful at Christmas.


DD16 and I went during President’s week last year, and we found the crowds to be pretty tolerable and the weather was great. Plenty warm enough to enjoy the pool and tolerable to be walking around the parks. This year we’re going after Thanksgiving which I venture is a problem for not only school but also retail work based on what you had said. I agree that staying perhaps closer to the MK on the monorail loop may work well for nap time, or Wilderness lodge for theming that’s not too “kiddie” but still enough that you can tell you’re in The World. My other thought is perhaps Beach Club- Yacht Club may be a bit more mature for the littles but Beach Club is still family friendly with the Stormalong Bay pool.


Our favorite time of year is December the week or two before Christmas low crowds and beautiful decorations … /land sometimes the park is open later

I’m going to give my opinion with a caveat that I do not have children, and have only ever stayed at POFQ. However, I will agree with those who have suggested WL and say I think that is your best bet for the groups you have. At 3 years old, your grandchild won’t remember a whole lot from the trip, and given that they are the only child going, I would not pick a Value or overly “Disney”-themed resort. That said, WL rooms have a lot of animal characters in the decor of the room and resort, so the touches are there for a child. And as has been said it’s close enough to MK for a nap and other MK resorts for hopping around and whatnot, but secluded enough to feel different than the others. Price is also better than the other deluxes.