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    10 Key Factors to Consider When Planning Your Big Family’s Disney World Vacation

    Welcome to the magical world of Disney! Planning a trip to Disney World is an exciting adventure, especially for big families. This enchanting destination offers something special for everyone, from thrilling rides to captivating parades, making it a dream vacation spot for families with children of all ages. Whether you have toddlers, teens, or a mix of both, Disney World promises an unforgettable experience filled with joy, laughter, and memories to cherish.

    In this series, we’ll guide you through every step of planning your Disney World vacation. We understand the unique challenges and joys that come with traveling as a big family, and we’re here to help you plan a trip as magical and hassle-free as possible.

    This article presents an overview of ten essential elements to keep in mind while planning your Disney World visit. In upcoming posts, we will delve deeper into each of these areas. Additionally, we’ll invite our Facebook community to contribute their experiences and thoughts. We’ll discuss tips, tricks, and how to save on our Disney World Big Family Travel group page.

    Best Times to Visit: Considering Crowds and Weather

    To determine the ideal time for a Disney World vacation, it’s crucial to consider both crowd levels and weather conditions. Utilizing crowd planning tools like and can be invaluable. These resources offer crowd calendars predicting daily park attendance levels, aiding in avoiding the busiest times. Weather-wise, each season offers distinct characteristics. Additionally, special events, particularly during Halloween and Christmas, can also significantly impact crowd sizes.

    • Crowd Planning:
      • Offers a crowd calendar that predicts crowd levels at Disney parks on specific days, helping you plan your visit to avoid peak times.
      • Another useful resource providing a crowd calendar, this site also offers insights on the best days to visit each park.
    • Weather Considerations:
      • Winter (December-February): Cooler temperatures, with occasional cold snaps. Crowds are typically larger around holidays.
      • Spring (March-May): Pleasant weather with moderate temperatures. Spring break can see higher crowd levels.
      • Summer (June-August): Hot and humid, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. This is a peak season, so expect larger crowds.
      • Fall (September-November): Lower humidity and milder temperatures. Crowds start to thin out after Labor Day, making it a great time for larger families to visit.
    • Special Events:
      • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: Typically from late August to early November, this event features special parades, fireworks, and character meet-and-greets, all themed around Halloween.
      • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Starting in early November and running through December, this event includes themed parades, spectacular holiday fireworks, and unique character experiences. The parks are adorned with festive lights and decorations, and special holiday-themed shows and attractions are available.

    Budgeting for Big Families: Tips and Tricks

    For large families planning a Disney World vacation, budgeting is key. Establish a clear budget to cover expenses like tickets, accommodation, meals, and souvenirs. Opt for value-for-money accommodations, look for ticket discounts, and save on meals by choosing budget-friendly dining options. Planning during off-peak seasons can also lead to significant savings.

    1. Establish a Budget: Start by setting a clear budget, considering expenses such as tickets, accommodation, food, transportation, and souvenirs.
    2. Accommodation Choices: Opt for accommodations that offer value for money. Consider staying at Disney resorts for exclusive benefits or explore nearby hotels and vacation rentals for budget-friendly options.
    3. Meal Planning: Save on food by packing snacks and choosing quick-service restaurants within the parks. Some off-site restaurants can also offer more affordable meals.
    4. Park Tickets: Look for ticket discounts, especially for longer stays. Sometimes, adding extra days to a park ticket can cost significantly less per day.
    5. Souvenirs and Extras: Set a limit for souvenirs and stick to it. Prioritize experiences over material items.
    6. Travel During Off-Peak Seasons: Plan your visit during less busy times to avail of lower hotel rates and special offers.
    7. Early planning is vital: Securing flights, hotels, and park tickets well in advance can lead to significant savings.
    8. Disney offers special promotions or packages that include extras like dining plans or additional FastPass+ selections. Remember, a little research and early booking can go a long way in making your Disney vacation more affordable and enjoyable for the entire family.

    Overview of Accommodation Options: Staying Inside vs. Outside the Park

    When planning a Disney World vacation for a big family, choosing the right accommodation is crucial. Disney Resort Hotels offer various options that cater to big families, such as family suites and villas in the Disney Deluxe Resorts that can accommodate larger groups comfortably. These accommodations often come with added benefits like early access to FastPass+ planning and extra Magic Hours. Additionally, staying on-site at a Disney hotel enhances the magical experience with themed rooms and proximity to the parks.

    Alternatively, staying outside the park in nearby big family friendly hotels and vacation rentals can be a budget-friendly option. These accommodations might offer more space at a lower cost, and some provide complimentary shuttle services to the Disney parks. When booking, consider group discounts and the layout of the accommodation to ensure it meets the needs of all family members, from babies to adults.

    Check out these Disney-themed vacation rentals. Have a large family? See our list of hotels that sleep 9, 10, 11, 12.

    Brief on Dining Options: Kid-Friendly and Budget-Friendly Choices

    Dining at Disney World offers many options that cater to all tastes. The park boasts a wide range of dining experiences, from quick-service eateries to upscale table-service restaurants. Many of the restaurants in Disney World are themed, adding an extra layer of excitement and immersion into the Disney experience. Kid-friendly menus are available at most dining locations, ensuring that even the pickiest eaters are catered to.

    For families looking to save on dining costs, planning meals ahead is key. Consider quick-service options for breakfast and lunch, which are typically cheaper and faster, allowing more time for park exploration. For dinner, table-service restaurants offer a more relaxed atmosphere to wind down after a busy day, though it’s advisable to make reservations well in advance. Additionally, families can bring their own snacks and water into the parks, which can help in reducing expenses. Some families may also benefit from Disney Dining Plans, which can be included in vacation packages and offer convenient pre-paid meal options.

    Making meals in your hotel room and taking advantage of a free breakfast can be practical and budget-friendly options for staying at Disney World. To facilitate in-room cooking, look for hotels with kitchenettes or at least a microwave and refrigerator. Simple, no-cook recipes like salads and sandwiches are easy to prepare and ideal for quick lunches or dinners. For more substantial meals, portable appliances like electric skillets or induction cooktops can be useful for preparing dishes such as sautéed vegetables, pasta, or grilled sandwiches. Remember to bring essential cooking utensils and ingredients. Utilizing the hotel room for meal preparation not only saves money but also allows for family bonding time and can be particularly helpful for families with dietary restrictions or young children.

    A Sneak Peek into the Itinerary Planning

    Itinerary planning for a big family trip to Disney World involves balancing attractions, rest, and mealtimes to ensure a smooth experience for everyone. Start by prioritizing the must-see attractions and shows for your family. With a big group, it’s important to manage expectations and understand that you might not be able to see everything. Utilize Disney’s FastPass+ system to reserve access to popular attractions, minimizing wait times.

    Plan for breaks throughout the day, especially if you have young children or elderly members in your group. These breaks are essential to rest, hydrate, and regroup, especially during hotter months. Consider dining reservations for sit-down meals to relax and enjoy some family time. Also, be flexible with your plan to accommodate spontaneous moments or changes in the weather. Remember, the key to a successful Disney World visit with a big family is planning mixed with flexibility to adapt as needed.

    Navigating Your Journey: Transportation Options from Airport to Hotel and Park

    When arriving in Orlando, families have various transportation options to reach their Disney World hotel. These include Disney’s Magical Express service, which is a complimentary bus service offered for guests staying at Disney Resort hotels. This service offers convenience as it handles your luggage and transports you directly to your hotel. Other options include renting a car, which offers flexibility for families who might want to explore areas outside Disney World or using ride-sharing services for a more direct and private mode of transport. If staying off-site, look for hotels with a free airport shuttle.

    Once settled in the hotel, getting to the Disney parks is the next step. Most Disney Resort hotels offer free shuttle services to and from the theme parks. These shuttles run at regular intervals, making park-hopping convenient and stress-free. For those staying off-site, many hotels provide shuttle services as well, though some may charge a fee. Alternatively, families can drive to the parks, where parking is available for a daily rate.

    Choosing the Right Ticket: A Guide to Disney World Theme Park Tickets

    Disney offers various ticket options, including standard date-based tickets that allow admission to one park per day, as well as Park Hopper options for visiting multiple parks in a single day. It’s important to consider the length of your stay and the interests of your family when selecting tickets, as well as linking them to your MyDisneyExperience account for easy management and planning.

    A MyDisneyExperience account is a free online system and mobile app that allows guests to manage their entire Disney vacation experience. Through MyDisneyExperience, guests can book and modify park tickets, make dining reservations, select FastPass+ experiences, and access detailed park maps and wait times.

    Exploring the Magic: A Breakdown of Disney World Theme Parks

    Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is home to four major theme parks and two water parks, each with its distinct charm and attractions.

    1. Magic Kingdom Park: As the most iconic park, Magic Kingdom is where classic Disney magic comes to life. Covering approximately 107 acres, it features six themed lands, including Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Tomorrowland. Highlights include the Cinderella Castle, Space Mountain, and the festive Main Street, U.S.A. parade. It’s a must-visit for timeless Disney characters and enchanting experiences.
    2. EPCOT: Spanning over 300 acres, EPCOT is known for its celebration of technological innovation and international cultures. The park is divided into two sections: Future World, showcasing technological advancements, and the World Showcase, offering cultural experiences from 11 countries. Signature attractions include Spaceship Earth and seasonal festivals like the Flower and Garden Festival.
    3. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: This park, about 135 acres, offers a glimpse into the world of movies, television, music, and theater. It’s home to popular attractions like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The park’s immersive experiences, such as Toy Story Land and the thrilling Star Wars rides, are highlights for movie buffs and adventure seekers.
    4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park: The largest park, covering over 580 acres, this park is a blend of a zoo, theme park, and conservation center. It’s known for the Tree of Life and the thrilling Expedition Everest roller coaster. The park’s unique experiences include the Pandora – The World of Avatar and the Kilimanjaro Safaris take visitors through African landscapes to view exotic animals.
    5. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park: This tropical oasis offers a wave pool known for its large, surfable waves, relaxing lazy rivers, and exhilarating waterslides. Themed around a “typhoon-lashed” island, Typhoon Lagoon provides a mix of sun-soaked relaxation and water-based adventure, suitable for all ages.
    6. Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park: Inspired by a ski resort that has melted into a watery wonderland, Blizzard Beach offers a range of slides and rides, including one of the world’s tallest and fastest free-falling waterslides. With its unique snow-capped theme, this park combines the thrills of water slides with the whimsical atmosphere of a snowy ski resort in sunny Florida.

    Vacation Packages: Simplifying Your Disney World Experience

    Disney World vacation packages typically combine accommodations, theme park tickets, and sometimes a dining plan. They are designed to fit a range of styles and budgets, making the planning process much more straightforward and convenient. By bundling these elements, guests often find it easier to manage their vacation details and budget, as most major aspects of the trip are covered in one comprehensive package.

    Maximizing Your Day: Essential Tips for Enjoying Disney Parks

    As you research your family’s Disney trip, you’ll find hundreds of how-to-visit tip articles. We’ll cover some basic tips here and write another article to dive into tips for big families. We’ll also consult our Facebook fan page for tips from families like yours.

    • An essential tip is to start your day early, aiming to be at the parks right when they open. This strategy allows you to enjoy popular attractions with shorter wait times.
    • Utilizing the Disney FastPass+ system is also key; by reserving access to select attractions, entertainment, and character greetings in advance, you can significantly reduce the time spent in lines.
    • Planning your park itinerary based on the layout and attractions can also help minimize backtracking and wasted time.
    • Consider taking a midday break, especially on hot or crowded days, to rest and recharge before returning for evening activities and fireworks.
    • Another tip is to stay at one of the Disney Resort hotels, which often offer extra perks like early entry to the parks or extended evening hours. These advantages can be game changers in experiencing more with less hassle.

    We hope this comprehensive guide has made organizing your Disney World trip more manageable by dividing it into clear, manageable sections. By doing so, the planning process becomes less daunting and more enjoyable. Keep in mind, the sheer joy and excitement your children will experience just by being in the magical atmosphere of the park is the true highlight. And as for the rest? Whether it’s picking out the coolest rides or deciding where to grab a bite, these are just extra bits of fun that make your whole trip even more awesome. Ultimately, the memories you’ll create as a family are what make the journey truly special.



    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa Jorgensen is a mother to four children including twins. She recognized the necessity for a comprehensive resource of hotels that cater to big families with rooms and suites for 5, 6, 7, or 8 people in a single room while traveling with her own family. In 2008, she established SixSuitcaseTravel to compile a database of such hotels. Over time, the website has grown to include travel advice, itineraries, road trip suggestions, national park guides, and more. Theresa takes pleasure in assisting other big families in creating unforgettable travel experiences.