Trying to plan a trip for larger families can be a daunting task. Last year, we visited Walt Disney World as a group of 10! It was a lot of work but so worth it in the end! Disney World knows that many large groups of families like to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth together and has many accommodations to make your trip both fun and practical. Here are some tips on how to plan a Disney World trip for a big family!
Let’s Check Out the Lodging
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Staying on Disney property is part of the magical experience. Having a larger family means that you might want to check out the suites and villas offered by some of the on-site resorts.
First up, we have themed family suites offered at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. These suites can accommodate up to six guests and include a separate bedroom, two bathrooms, and a kitchenette. The rooms are themed according to the movie of your choosing: Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid.
From the carpet to the artwork, these suites do not disappoint! Art of Animation has multiple pools including the largest resort pool in Walt Disney World Resort! The Big Blue Pool, as it is known, has underwater speakers and is inspired by Finding Nemo. It’s sure to take you “somewhere beyond the sea” on a hot day!
Disney’s Deluxe Villa Resorts
If you’re looking for a more luxurious stay, Disney’s Deluxe Villa Resorts are the way to go. These villas are fully furnished, boost multiple bedrooms, a full kitchen and all the amenities of home, such as a washer and dryer. These posh villas have differing maximum occupancies with the largest being 12 guests.
They also offer varying floor plans depending on the resort you choose. Head over to the Disney World website and search for “Deluxe Villas’ to browse through the 12 different resorts, floor plans, and prices to determine which would work best for your party.
Each resort offers a different experience from savanna views at the Animal Kingdom Villas to island vibes at the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows.
On our last trip, we stayed at Disney’s Boardwalk Villas. To accommodate our group of 10, we stayed in a 2 bedroom villa. It features 1 king size bed, 1 queen size bed, 1 full size sleeper sofa, 1 queen size sleeper sofa and a pull down bed. It also included 2 bathrooms, a washer and dryer, a balcony and a kitchen! The perfect amount of space for a large group to spread out in.
Check out our video tour below of the 1 bedroom villa at the Boardwalk!
Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
If the posh life is not your style, perhaps the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort will pique your interest. This resort offers a unique, outdoor experience with all the accommodations of a charming cabin that can sleep six.
Cabins are surrounded by 750 acres of forest and wildlife galore, including armadillo and deer. Walking trails and pools round out the entertainment, as well as night time bonfires.
Dining – So many Options!
As a resort staying guest, you have the option of purchasing a Disney Dining Plan for each ticket holder in your party.
Dining on the property doesn’t just allow you to experience all that Disney has to offer in terms of cuisine, it saves precious time. Trying to dine off property, specifically with a large family can eat up chunks of park time (pun intended).
From making your way to the park exits, waiting on shuttles or getting to your vehicle plus, the actual drive time to off-site dining, you run the risk of returning to the parks exhausted rather than refreshed! Disney offers three tiers of dining plans.
Quick-Service Dining Plan – This plan offers 2 quick service meals, which is the equivalent of fast food service and 2 snacks per night of stay at a resort. Beverages are included in meals.
Disney Dining Plan – Probably the most popular option, this plan allows each ticket holding guest 1 quick service meal, 1 table service meal and 2 snacks per night of stay at a resort. Beverages are included in meals.
Disney Deluxe Dining Plan – This plan gives you the most meals, at 3 per night stay and 2 snacks. Guests can choose to dine at a table service or quick service spot. Beverages are also included.
The dining plan is on a per night price per guest, which means there is a flat price each night regardless of what is ordered at each meal. This can allow a larger family to dine at pricier eateries, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table, for considerably less money than if you were to pay out of pocket without the dining plan.
Last year, alcoholic beverages were added to all tiers of the dining plans. Included with each dining plan are refillable drink mugs for each guest over age 3. The self serves beverage islands are available at all Disney Resorts and refills are valid for your entire stay. Private In-room dining at select resorts is also available.
My favorite places to eat with a large family – Via Napoli, Bon Voyage Breakfast, Be Our Guest and any counter service!
Need more information on dining at Walt Disney World? Check out the Disney Food Blog, my favorite site for all Disney food!
Staying on Disney property offers you magical perks. These perks allow larger families to make the most of their time at the parks.
- Disney Transportation- If you stay at select resorts, Disney offers a complimentary motorcoach to and from the Orlando International Airport and complimentary luggage delivery right to your room.
- Extra Magic Hours – Extra Magic Hours (or EMH) are only available to Disney resort guests. They are extended theme park times that allow resort guests to enter a park an extra hour early or stay in a park up to two hours after normal closing time. Guests can enjoy select attractions and amenities. Planning your park days around the EMH can mean quicker lines at the rides, fewer crowds at your favorite selfie spots and more time explore the always changing attractions.
- MagicBands – MagicBands are included in your resort stay for each ticket holding guest. The bands offer the convenience of storing all your park tickets for quick, one-touch access park entry. You can also use your band to: Charge merchandise and food to your resort room, Unlock resort room door, Check in at FastPass+, Connect your Disney PhotoPass pictures to your Disney account. Bands are waterproof, reusable for future trips and color customizable.
- FastPass+ – While FastPass+ selections are offered to all ticket-holding guests, those staying at a Disney resort have access to book selections up to 60 days in advance rather than 30 days for non-resort guests. Having a FastPass+ for an attraction allows you to secure your ride or show time in advance. This allows you to plan your trip to accommodate rides, shows, and dining without missing a beat.
- My Disney Experience – The My Disney Experience app allows you to manage your vacation plans all in one place. From booking the resort hotel and dining reservations, purchasing park tickets, adding FastPass+ to viewing PhotoPass pictures, this app has it all. Guests can add everyone to their party so each person can plan and view every detail of the trip. The mobile app is free to download. Tip: Only one family has to purchase a Memory Maker package to get unlimited photo downloads. If you’re linked in the My Disney Experience app, you’ll be able to see each other’s photos.
Going with a large group can be a ton of fun but make sure that you know you don’t have to do EVERYTHING together. Everyone will be happier if they know they can split up without someone else in the party being upset. If someone wants to go back to the hotel room because they are exhausted, let them! It will make for a happier trip for everyone!
Make sure to check out my Disney Trip Countdown Ideas if you’re headed there soon!
With a little bit of planning and some tips shared here, you can make your big family’s Disney dreams come true. Have you traveled to Walt Disney World with a big family?