Get creative with your Disney character autographs. Here are some unique ideas for you to consider.…
Disney Tips & Tricks
Traveling with a big group to the Walt Disney World Resort is BIG fun. With so many Disney dining experiences to choose from, you can find a fun spot for each day of vacation.
If you plan on making reservations for a large group while visiting Disney World, here are some tips and a list of available Table Service restaurants with their maximum party sizes to help you plan.…
It is inevitable that someone in your party, or everyone, will want to stop by souvenir store and get some shopping done. Instead of denying them the ability to look around and make a few purchases, go in with a few facts and tips to reduce the stress and increase the enjoyment of such an experience.
This article will outline our shopping tips for Disney World, including the best places to shop at Walt Disney World, tips for buying Disney merchandise on the cheap, when to shop and how to make the most of your shopping experience.…
Walt Disney World is the most visited vacation resort in the world. Yet as magical as it is, it can also be extremely overwhelming for parents, grandparents, and even children themselves. No matter how much research or planning you do, there will be things that surprise you on your first trip (and your second and third and…).
Here is our list of 101 things not to do at Walt Disney World to increase the magic and decrease meltdowns and disappointment for all involved.…
While researching the best ways to protect your skin, I came across a lot of parents expressing concern over wiggly babies and uncooperative toddlers when it comes to application. An article about the best sunscreens for kids at Disney & Theme Parks was a logical idea.…
Managing vacation fatigue is tough when you are at the happiest place on Earth and want to accomplish EVERYTHING on your Disney bucket list. Disney Burnout is when you are so exhausted and tired you simply can’t enjoy your vacation anymore – here is how to avoid it!
Stay close to the parks
Staying close to the parks doesn’t mean you HAVE to stay onsite but there is nothing closer to the parks than staying within Walt Disney World itself.
Avoiding or minimizing the amount of time you are in transit will help reduce Disney anxiety and keep everyone relaxed.
Staying onsite also means you can take advantage of Early Magic Hours and reduce the amount of time you spend in long lines at attractions.
Using your Fast pass selections wisely will go a long way to reducing exhaustion at Walt Disney World. It would surprise you to know how draining it can be just standing around and waiting. The act of not doing anything, while simultaneously enduring others’ impatience and crowding
Make your fast passes for the most popular rides on YOUR bucket list. It doesn’t matter what others think are the best rides, look at what are the popular rides aka rides with the longest queues. Once you have decided what your priorities are, and which rides are destined to be the longest wait,
Bring your own snacks
Instead of stop everywhere to buy snacks, which may or may not include long lines, bring your own. This also means you will have exactly what you need to meet your energy requirements.
Snacking often is also a great way to save money, as you will be less likely to eat large meals.
Have A Touring Plan
Know what you are going to ride and when. Standing around or walking aimlessly just wastes time and energy. Based on strategic information gathered in the planning stages of your vacation, have an idea of what attractions or shows you plan on visiting, and in which order.
Ideally, these will be clumped together to avoid rushing back and forth across the Park
Advanced Dining Reservations
Knowing you have a nice meal and comfortable chair waiting for you after this next ride can be just enough to make it through the long queue. Again, wasting time jumping from one restaurant to another, hoping there is a seat available for your group, is not conducive to saving energy.
When you choose to schedule your meals is also important. We prefer to have our larger, sit down meals, in the evening, when everyone is tired. Lunch is a quick service meal but dinner is more elaborate. We require more calories and a good rest by this point and a character meal can typically last 60-90 minutes.
Go at your own pace
Just because everyone is pushing and running around, doesn’t mean you have to as well. Go as slow or fast as you are comfortable with. The attractions will still be there when you get to where you are going.
The waiting game
There will be times when you can’t avoid a queue. Have a plan on what to do when you get to long lines in order to keep those with a short supply of patience on track.
There are many interactive and themed queues, including Toy Story Mania, Soarin’ and Pirates of the Caribean. These will surely keep everyone entertained and relaxed while waiting.
For everything else, have a list of things to do with the kids while waiting. Play games, read a book, tell stories. Anything to keep the stress low.
There is so much walking at Walt Disney World. Readers have reported walking anywhere from 9-14 miles (14.4 – 22.5 km) per day, every day, of their 7-10 day Disney vacation. That is a lot of walking!
Proper shoes will absolutely save you and your vacation. Make sure they are supportive, breathable,
Bringing a change of socks can help with the walking as well. Once those feet start to sweat, or you have removed the shoes for one reason or another, changing up the socks will help reduce the swelling and keep you comfortable. Look for white cotton socks, and avoid nylon.
Have frequent breaks within the parks, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. Find the nearest park bench and just sit. People watch, rock the kids to sleep, have a snack or wait for the next parade.
Meal times are our favorite ways to take a break. It lasts just long enough to recover from the morning and re-energize before heading back out. Our lunches tend to be quick service so we can focus more on touring during the day, but 30 minutes is better than nothing. We do, however, suggest eating at odd times; before or after the regular meal hours, in order to avoid long lines when ordered and not enough seats when eating.
Check out some Low Key rides at each Park and see if that is enough to revive your enthusiasm. Sometimes a little rest is all you need to refresh. Magic Kingdon’s People Mover and Carousel of Progress, Epcot’s American Adventure, Animal Kingdom’s Finding Nemo and Hollywood Studio’s Muppey Vision 3D come to mind.
Back at the hotel for a swim or a midday nap. There is no right or wrong way to vacation at Disney. Taking a break for a nap isn’t my jam but it’s totally up his alley. To each their own, you do you. If you feel you are overwhelmed with the crowds, the heat or Disney in general, take a breather, head back for a cooling swim and start fresh when you are ready.
Skip the Hopper Pass
Until teleportation is invented, using the Hopper Pass is exhausting in its own right. The time it takes to exit one park, transportation and entering a second park, security check included, will eat
Dates and Flight times
This is another big area that contributes to exhaustion. Choose dates that aren’t too crowded, not too hot and humid (summer months and hurricane season) and choose flights that don’t interrupt your natural sleep patterns too much.
I’ve mentioned it a few times on the travel blog; Opportunity Cost. Just because it’s cheaper, it doesn’t make it the best deal.
Having everything you need to stay comfortable is very relaxing. Not having to worry about where to pick something up in the middle of “nowhere” or how much it will cost you.
Have a day off
There is so much to do without actually going into the parks. Sleeping in and spending the after at the pool is a great way to decompress, let your body recuperate from the toll that touring has done to your joints and just relax.
Getting dehydrated or overheated is going to put a serious dampener on your vacation and absolutely contribute to exhaustion at Walt Disney World.
- Best Water Bottles for Disney
- Dehydration and Heat Stroke on Your Disney Holiday
- Where to Get Wet at Walt Disney World
- How to Stay Cool at Walt Disney World this Summer
Disney has a huge selection of guided tours that will take you behind the scenes at a slow and steady pace. They can also fast track your fast passes by getting you on all the Classic Rides or all the Thrill rides. The possibilities are endless when you have the know-how and the resources to ask for them.
Arrival Day plans
Definitely don’t waste an expensive park ticket for 2 hours in the evening.
When you arrive at your hotel, after a day of traveling, stay there. Don’t have anything planned. Just relax, enjoy the resort, maybe go shopping. Starting your vacation on the right foot sets the tone for the rest of your stay.
Please share your thoughts in the comments or reach out on social media...We would love to hear from you.
Doing a Disney World with a group
A lot of extended families toy with the idea of going on vacation together. More often than not, Disney is on the short list of destinations that everyone would be willing to attempt this family-dynamic experiment. There is a catch, however. Everyone has their own idea of what a Disney vacation looks like. And when time and money are on the line, everyone wants to have their fair share ideas heard and accommodated. Here are a few tips and strategies to successfully visiting Disney World as a group.
Appoint a team leader
Usually, I would say “many hands make light work” but when it comes to planning and organizing a vacation as epic as Walt Disney World for 10+ people, I need to change my tune. “Too many cooks in the kitchen” is the song of choice this time around.
A team leader can divide and conquer the tasks, sure. Delegation is the key to sanity and success. Know what can be handled by others and allow them to help, leaving the big picture and more important tasks to yourself and co-leader.
Since I’m the team leader for the planning stage of our “big group” vacations, I’m usually the team leader during the trip by default. I keep track of our dining reservations and basic schedule details that were finalized well before our trip, but I’m also the “point person” for issues that arise during the trip. My need for control and Type A organizing personality were made for this.
Nothing will be achieved except bitterness and stress, if all parties can’t be open and communicate their objectives for this holiday.
Objectives? It’s Disney! That’s the objective!
Sure, but that could easily have been achieved separately. Why are we all going together instead of as 3 separate families? Because being at Disney as a whole family is part of the experience.
Here are a few tips and questions to ask each member of the group;
Setting the groundwork
In order to set the groundwork for a touring plan, it is important that everyone who is part of the group be honest with themselves and each other.
- What time do you like to be up and ready in the mornings?
- Which parks would you like to visit first?
- Will you want pool time built into your plans?
- Would you like to spend all day every day of the vacation together? Or would half days together be better?
Just because you can spend every moment together, doesn’t mean you should
- Do the kids have different sleep requirements?
- Does everyone meet the height requirement for bucket list rides?
- Can everyone handle the epic amount of walking or do you need to slow your pace?
What are you expecting from this vacation, what is on your bucket list and how will you handle the compromise? If you have something on your bucket list and not everyone can go, what will you do? What will we do if the first, second or even third choice of dining or FastPass+ reservation can’t be secured?
Set up My Disney Experience ASAP
By setting everything up as soon as possible, this leaves wiggle room for any mistakes or technical problems. Can’t add someone to your account? No problem, you still have 3 weeks before you need to book anything. Plenty of time to have I.T to sort it out.
Purchase rooms and tickets early
Also another great thing to have under your belt as soon as can be. Planning ahead and scheduling time off of work as a group can be difficult, but the earlier you do it, the easier it will be for the boss to say yes – no one else to compete with.
Also, by booking far in advance, your hotel of choice will have more rooms available and at a lower cost. Need an accessible room, adjoining or family suite? There are only so many available and they tend to go quickly. Book early and scoop them up before someone else does.
How exactly is everyone going to get to Disney, around Disney and what type of budget are we looking at? Knowing every detail about the vacation in the pre-planning stages makes it easier to plan and schedule later. This also means most of the important conversations have taken place before anything is set in stone.
Questions to ask:
- Is everyone ok with making dining reservations and FastPass+ reservations on the date those open?
- What sort of attractions appeal to the group?
- Do you have any picky eaters or foodies in the group? Allergies?
- Does the group want to split at certain points?
[thrive_text_block color=”green” headline=””] Check out our Touring plan strategies for Disney World with large families [/thrive_text_block]
Coordinate packing and purchasing
Everyone doesn’t need to bring a giant bottle of sunscreen and pool toys. Especially if sharing a common space, like in a family suite or villa, one bottle should be enough for a 10-day stay. This is the same for snacks and souvenir purchases – grandma can carry all the Amazon pre-ordered souvenirs in her suitcase since mum and dad’s luggage is apparently a free-for-all for the kids.
If the group wants to have matching t-shirts each day, even if they aren’t sticking together for the whole day, only one person needs to be in charge of purchasing. Bulk orders from vendors tend to get discounts, so having one person order 100 shirts (10 people x 10 days) will get you a lot further than 3 families ordering 30 shirts each. Bulk purchases also mean the vendor can order their supplies in bulk, and not risk them running out of stock by the time the 3rd family’s order rolls around. Bulk is where it’s at.
Organize carry-on bags and day packs to compliment each other, instead of duplicating.
Where to stay
There are a number of hotels that are available for groups of 5 or larger. This may or may not be an option for your family. Here’s why.
Suites and other styles of rooms that accommodate large groups of people are both amazing and a horrible idea at the same time; they are a single living space. Everyone gets their own bedroom, sure, but sharing a kitchen and living room? Maybe you don’t want to be that close to your in-laws.
Check out our newest article about hotel rooms on-site that accommodate families of 5+ as well as the different things you will want to take into consideration when choosing a hotel room for such a large group of people.
Where to eat
Plan restaurants carefully
Knowing whether there are any can’t-miss restaurants in advance will help immensely when it’s time to make advanced dining reservations at the 180-day mark. I recommend looking at menus beforehand to make sure that not only is there variety in the type of food offered but also a variety of price points.
There are a variety of restaurant styles, but for larger groups, we recommend Buffet, Family Style and Dinner shows.
Plan for everything to take longer (especially meals)
Since everything is timed perfected to be served at the same time; the larger the group, the longer the wait. Then you need to wait until everyone has completed their meals. Between the slow eaters, the talkers and the multi-course meals, it can be a real problem for those that purposefully order smaller lunches in order to “get back out there”.
This is also a discussion that needs to be made – how long will meals take and what do you plan on ordering? I want to know that you aren’t going to order your kid the ice cream sandwich for dessert because then I have to order one for mine… and I don’t want to.
Is the Disney Dining Plan an option?
Once restaurants have been chosen, and menu selections roughly planned out (this is how Type A I am, I will plan my menu selection 180 days out so I am not surprised when I sit down on the day of), this is the time to bust out your high school math supplies and start calculating the pros and cons of Disney Dining Plan. Having extra credits at the end just means you can convert them all into snack credits and come home with a TON of Disney exclusive treats. With 10 people, probably enough to warrant a new suitcase and last for the year.
I’m kidding. I give it a week. TOPS.
If your reservation suddenly pops up as being eligible for free Disney Dining, look at your other options as well. Sometimes this will be in lieu of room discounts or ticket discounts. They will also want you to forfeit any discounts already on your account and add a few more options to your package. This is when Free Disney Dining is no longer free. Look at all of your options and decide what is best for the whole group. If booking as a group, it is an all-or-nothing scenario. Everyone takes the discount or no one takes it. Discuss your options and budget with the family and see what happens.
Advice for larger groups
Your group can also share a Memory Maker. You can save a lot of money on pictures by having the same Memory Maker rather than separate ones. Designate one member, usually the Team Leader, to be the admin on the accounts so no one can accidentally delete or change anything without consent from the group. This may or may not be a true story.
Break up the big group into sub-groups.
If you do want to spend the time mixed together, have themes for the day; Rides at Magic Kingdom day, for example. Little ones in one group, and big kids in another. This way, no one is waiting during Rider Swap and no one is doing “baby rides” against their will. This is Disney, not a hostage situation.
Have a backup plan for those who need a break from the action
Have one adult volunteer to be the “backup plan” each day of your big group vacation. If the backup is activated, have a plan to relieve them of their duties later in the day, or at least thank them for their sacrifice.
Recover quickly from tense situations
Kids bounce back from arguments like it never happened. Adults on the other hand, not so much. Agree to disagree, bit your tongue and move on. If there are members of the group that you know just don’t get along, pair each of them up with a neutral member that is willing and able to diffuse the situation.
Heat, crowds, and stress can bring out the worst in people, even those with the best of intentions. Keep this in mind and everything will be just fine… eventually.
Please share your thoughts in the comments or reach out on social media...We would love to hear from you.
You May Also Like
- 9 Rookie Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Made on Your Last Disney Trip
- 10 Tips to Exponentially Improve Your Next Trip to Walt Disney World
- Finding a Hotel for a Family of 5 or More
- Touring Strategies – visiting with your extended family
- 10 Things You Absolutely Must Do Before Your Walt Disney World Vacation
We present here some Disneyland Paris packing tips for winter with an essential overview of items for exploring Paris, France and Europe’s busiest theme park during the cold/winter months.
The meteorologist does there best to predict what the weather will be from one day to the next, as do the locals. All we know for sure is to expect the unexpected. One day it can rain, another it can snow, and on the third
To which I earn a small commission, at zero cost to you!
Get Winter Ready for Disneyland Paris
Pack for layers and warm waterproofs; that doesn’t mean wear your nicest pair of wellies (rain boots). Pack warm, lined, cold weather items that also have a waterproof rating.
Would you enjoy continuing to take photos with your camera or smartphone without removing your gloves? Here is the low down.
More and more inexpensive gloves are coming out with touchscreen capable fingertips. Not interested in buying them? Why not make them?!
Capacitive screens use electricity to sense your fingertips on the screen, forming a connection. Insulating gloves don’t pass electricity, thus blocking the connection. Stitch connective thread on your gloves’ fingertips – where your fingers touch the glove, which can differ from person to person.
As a DIY crafting project the sky is the limit with touchscreen gloves.
You can also use AnyGlove, this is a liquid – similar to nail polish – that you spread on the fingertips and turning your fabric or leather gloves into touchscreen gloves.
Certain types of screen protectors and waterproof cases will block touchscreen glove technology, including AnyGlove.
As Canadians, we used these well walking to school in the middle of the harsh Canadian winter. They are great for generating heat within your gloves, socks or even inside your jacket.
If you are not used to the cold weather, or simply can’t stand it, grab a box and make sure to always have a few pairs on your person if you plan on spending a long time outside; when waiting for parade or fireworks.
Microfleece Travel Blankets
Another great add-on for parades and fireworks; A microfleece blanket will keep you nice and warm, and tends to take up less room than a traditional cotton blanket.
If you really need extra warmth, we suggest a camping-level thermal blanket. With the coated backside, you can use this blanket to sit on the cold pavement while waiting as well.
Mickey Mouse Winter Hat Option
You need to wear a good winter hat ( called a Tuque in Canada) so why not make it Disney themed. You could grab some amazing ears and add them to your existing hat but I wouldn’t want to see them ruined.
Results may vary with the fabric and other elements of personalized ears with regards to there waterproofing.
Thermal Shirt Basics
Thermal layers are definitely for mid-winter guests and those unaccustomed to cold climates. As an international destination, there is bound to be a significant number of visitors that are unaware of the French weather or how to deal with large amounts of snow.
Thermals are great because they are lightweight and can keep you warm without adding an outside layer – always thinking of those Disney pictures.
This is one of my favourite layers. Your coat is the largest piece of your winter kit and the focus of most pictures. If you don’t want to stand out like a tourist, it is important to get something that is both functional and fashionable.
Down Coat – Comfort
A down coat may
The fluffy hood will keep you warm when the winds start to blow and the pockets are great for holding your wallet and cell phone.
Snowboard Ski Pants
Personally, I prefer to dress the kids in ski pants instead of thermal layers. They tend to be less careful where they are walking and wanting to play in the snow. I wouldn’t want their jeans or trousers to get wet.
If you purchase a pair with removable shoulder straps, like the ones from Amazon above, it makes toilet time much, much easier.
Waterproof shoes don’t have to mean rain boots, though that would work great with a solid pair of wool socks. Grab a pair of great looking, cost-effective, waterproof winter boots – if you search snow boots, you will most likely get hiking boots or ski boots.
Winter boots are great for walking around town and looking amazing while on holiday.
These will keep your toes warm, dry and prevent the majority of slips and falls due to black ice.
There will be a handful of occasions when you will get to take off your jacket. This includes inside during character meet and greets, well dining, and souvenir shopping. If you start in the arcades, you won’t even need to go outside to access the next store.
During these times, it’s great to show off your Christmas spirit with a few well-positioned accessories. Some great options include necklace, scarfs, and novelty Christmas sweaters.
Please share your thoughts in the comments or reach out on social media...We would love to hear from you.
You May Also Like…