I never turn down an opportunity to visit Walt Disney World if it is at all possible. Because of that I have been fortunate to visit with a variety of friends and family members, including both of my kids and all 4 of my grandchildren. However, one of my favorite trips was a family reunion with my grandmother, my parents, my son, my step-children and their children, my brother in law and his family and well you get the idea! This trip happened about 15 years ago and although most of the people in the group I no longer have daily contact with, it is still one of my all time favorite trips that will never be duplicated.
I planned this trip for almost a year ahead of time. I was able to sit down with each family group and really got an idea of everyone’s “must-do’s”! . You see, we were the only one who had really visited Walt Disney and knew what to expect – WOW, what a task. My goal was to let everyone have their space, but also for us to spend time with each family. We knew in the very beginning, you simply could not keep 13 people from ages 2 up to 70 all going in the same direction for 8 full days! Obviously this was before all the wonderful blogs available today, so I relied on Birnbaum’s Guide making sure everyone had my infamous marked up copies.
We all agreed that September would be the perfect time to visit. We had 3 kids who would be affected with school – the youngest was in kindergarten, one was in 1st grade and the oldest was a sophomore in high school. All had very good grades and after discussing the plan with the teachers involved we were set. We planned for the 3rd week in September so it was also early enough in the year, the kids wouldn’t be affected by tests. Oh – yea – surprise – the trip also would be over my 40th birthday! Ok, plan one evening alone for dinner and dancing. Well – forget the dancing – my feet ended up hurting too much, but dinner was very nice.
Now that the dates were planned, next up was the hotel. I love French Quarter – it is small, quant and I love the theme. We were also able to get four rooms side by side. As Disney magic would have it, we also got four rooms on the first floor that opened into a private courtyard. Perfect for the little ones!
We broke the week into 16 different time frames – an early morning and then an evening time for each day. The only time we all stayed together was mid week when we all went to Magic Kingdom. The one thing I have learned with little ones is to keep Magic Kingdom for last. Young ones tend to relate Disney and Mickey to Magic Kingdom so visiting the other parks afterward can be not as exciting. My oldest step daughter was also planning one day at the beach with her family to break up the week for her son. Breaking into smaller groups was much easier with smaller ones and allowed all the adults some grown-up time also. Also breaking the day into two parts left time for mid-day break for the little ones to nap and some swim time, so I don’t remember any melt-downs that week at all.
Having our own private court yard, also allowed the adults to sit and enjoy each other’s company while the kids could run around without us worrying where the kids were. This was the first time one side of the family had the opportunity to get to know the other side and we all thoroughly enjoyed sharing stories of our day with each other.
While I don’t necessarily remember every single minute and what all we rode, I do remember one afternoon taking the 3 little boys over to Mark Twain Island with their newly purchased toy rifles and let them have a ball running off some of their excess energy. It was so much fun! My son at the time was only 6, but he discovered EPCOT being his favorite park, which pleased me. In fact it is still the park he’d visit if he only had time for one day.
I loved that trip since I really got to spend some time with my grandmother and also my parents, seeing Walt Disney at a slower, more detail pace. I learned something that week also – that no matter who you enjoy spending time with in Walt Disney World it will be special and each trip is unique! Disney has so many wonderful opportunities to celebrate either with family or friends, so start planning your next trip. Just visit Nancy here at The Affordable Mouse for your free quote!
I am already thinking about my next trip to celebrate our Family!