Disney World Party of 16! - Pretty Real

Disney World Party of 16!

3:34 PM

Tips for going to Disney World with a big group

For Joe's parents 50th anniversary we gifted them a trip to Disney world...with all of us! Party of 16, please. I was nervous about going to Disney with a group but in the end, it was a GREAT time. That said, here's how we planned it and what I'd do differently next time! Keep reading for my tips on going to Disney world with a large group!

Do's for Traveling to Disney with a Group:

Tips for going to Disney World with a big group

Use a Disney Vacation Planner- especially if you are new to Disney. We used Nicole from Wassatch Travel and she kept us on track with all the deadlines that happen (ie- meal reservations open up 60 days prior to your trip and as a big party it's critical that you book ASAP so she got up early in the morning and took care of that for us!). This is the second time we've worked with her and we highly recommend her!

Tips for Going to Disney with a Big Group

Be flexible and communicate. In our group, the kids ranged in ages from 7 to 19 and my parents-in-law are older. We wanted to be mindful that not everyone would have the same amount of stamina or be interested in the same things. Funny enough Dax was the one who dictated that our party needed more breaks than the rest of the group- including the grandparents. ha. We realized pretty quickly that we needed to either leave the park and return or leave earlier than our group. We'd often split up and then meet back up and it was fiiiine.

Tips for Going to Disney with a Big Group

Have touch points- while you want to be flexible to do your own thing, what's the point of a group trip if you never see each other? We made a point to start most days together (see note above- our crew needed to sleep in one day!) and have dinner together. That way we got to go on a popular ride or two together upon entrance into the park. Side note: our kids handled the lines MUCH better with cousins! Then we could split up and meet up later. Everyone knew we'd see each other at dinner which was fun. We also all met up at the pool a couple of evenings.

Tips for Going to Disney with a Big Group

Have a buddy system- If there are young kiddos in the group make sure they are 'assigned' to someone. It's easier to lose a kid when everyone thinks someone else has him/her. We reviewed our phone numbers and full names with Dax and reminded him of what to do if he got separated from us. In the past, I put a slip of  paper with my phone number and name in his shorts pockets as well. I assume park employees could find parents with the magic band (or can they?!) but doesn't hurt to be extra careful. I don't judge the kid backpack (we do what we've gotta do!) but prefer these which I might have purchased if Dax was a tad younger. 

Tips for Going to Disney with a Big Group

Assign a leader or two- this will likely happen naturally but I was happy to let Joe and his older brother make most of the plans and then consult with us vs. standing around trying to allow for 8 adults to weigh in. Their general approach was to get to the park for rope drop (rope drop is the way the cool kids say 'when the park opens' haha), make a bee line to the most popular ride and schedule a genie pass for the next most popular one. This method worked really well until/unless that ride was closed so have a plan B ride in case your first choice isn't open. 

Things I'd Do Differently When Traveling with a Group to Disney

Be flexible with dinner reservations. We made specific restaurant requests but in order to accommodate them, we had to eat early...which meant leaving wherever we were to get to the restaurant. It was a bit of a hustle. Next time we might be flexible so that we can eat in the park we were in that day. As a side note, we ate at Boma, Ale and Compass, San Angel Inn, Napali, Ohana, Chef Mickey's, and Cape May Cafe. We generally did grab-n-go for lunch and ate breakfast in our rooms or on the way to the park (yogurt, cereal, muffins, etc). In general, I'm kind of "over" buffets. It feels germy and gluttonous. ha. Our favorites were San Angel Inn, Ohana, and Napali. My least favorite (by far) was Cape May Cafe. Tasted like a seminar function meal but cost us $300. yikes. All of this said, it's not easy planning meals for a party of 16 and our nightly dinners were so fun. 

Tips for Going to Disney World with a Big Group
Dax's tee  |  Nadia's hakuna matata tee  |  My tee  |  Genevieve's Best Day tee

Have a rest day- or maybe I should say just come to terms with the fact that the chosen itinerary may not work the best for everyone. We really needed a rest day in-between. 5 park days in a row was a bit much for our crew. But again, we powered through and it was a good time. Halfway through we slept in and left early to try to recharge a bit. 

All in all, it was a GREAT time and we can't wait to go back! The hustle is worth the fun and memories that last a lifetime!

MVPs of our group Disney trip

Tips for Going to Disney World with a Big Group

our cute tees- see here for sources!

misters and personal fans- Ours was more like this (and we all fought over it!) but I couldn't help but link this adorable one! These personal fans come as a pack of 3!

lots of water- Nadia used a camelbak. When I mentioned my aversion to FL tap water on Instagram, a lot of you suggested this filtered water bottle which is a brilliant idea!

Although I carried a backpack, I loved my belt bag for one debit card, feminine products, Chapstick, and sanitizer.

ponchos (last time)- seriously can't believe we only used them for rides this time. Last time it rained at some point literally every day.

These shorts for Genevieve- cool, comfy, cute (they come in so many fun colors!), and inexpensive. I saw lots of teens/young women wearing them.

portable phone charger- so helpful when we went from the park straight to dinner, especially our character dinner!

flexible band aids (we also bought moleskin but band aids worked for us)

hand sanitizer, because hands on everything- buses, rides, etc. We all have colds! 

lightweight backpack- A friend loaned me this one- now 50% off!- and even though I bought my Northface, I really liked this lighter-weight smaller bag!

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