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Old 12-08-2012, 01:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Planning Extended Family Trip

We are planning a trip for sometime in 2014 with my extended family. When we've stayed on points, it has only been the 3 of us (DH & our DD, now 7 1/2) with one trip with my DSis1 (mid 30s). It was easy to incorporate my DSis into our plans, as she would gladly share a bed with our DD or sleep on the fold out chair in a BLT 1BR, if sharing or giving up the sofa sleeper was an issue for DD.

In 2014, the plan would be for my parents, DSis1, DSis2 + her DH (aka my BIL) and their DS (aka my DNephew) will be 3 at time of trip), and DB to join us on a trip. We would like to use points for the rooms, to help with the cost for everyone (they are coming from the Twin Cities area). It would also make it easier for us to know that things are really booked and in motion, as my family has been known to miss a deadline or two in the past. I love my family, but they can be a bit much day in day out (there is a reason I live in Upstate NY).

With that in mind, we do not really want to share a Villa with all of them...I think DH would even favor different resorts for us. DH and I are ok with DSis1 staying with us, while the others stay together (need 2-3 beds for 4 people in one room and 4 beds for 6 people in the other) for room logistics. unfortunately DSis1 is the most reliable/consistent person of the adults in the family, so I'd hate to lose her as a motivator/contact in the other room. Just works best for beds.

We are also looking into a Grand Villa, but aren't sure how that would work out for personal space. Plus, with 10 people (or 11 as I wouldn't be surprised if DSis2 announces a pregnancy in the next year or so), with at least 2 kids under 10, it would be very handy to have access to 2 in room washer/dryer combos.

DH and I really enjoy staying at our home resort (BLT) and have stayed at VWL and BWV. We love monorail, boat or foot as an option for getting to the parks. Since we haven't stayed at sprawling resorts like OKW or SSR, we aren't sure if these resorts would make our stay as magical as the other resorts have considering that Bus Service is the only transportation option to the parks. I know both have boat service to DTD, but we likely would not use it. we aren't big shoppers and have maybe spent a grand total of 4.5 hours at DTD over 5 trips to WDW, which included only 2 trips to DTD for a meal 1 time and a movie the other.

So, has anyone navigated a big group with dynamics similar to this? What type of accommodations did you ultimately end up booking? What worked/what didn't? Would a 1 BR + 2 BR work? Would you even dream of being in different resorts? What would you do differently?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have planned a trip for party of 12. Keep in mind you can't keep everyone happy. We ended up getting a treehouse, and a studio. THe treehouse served as our central base of meals and get togethers. The studio was for the times when you needed to be away from everyone! The treehouse wonderful. the 3 bedrooms was nice. Plus a pull out sofa. and pull out chair (we never used it). You didn't have to worry about keeping noise level as much. You have only to worry about your space not who is on the other side of the wall, or who is underneath or above you. But we rented a van and my brother drove with his van. I would never attempt this if we didn't have a rental. We did look at a 2 bedroom plus a studio. Again not worth it for us in the long run. I would pick your top fav's. and get everyone's view.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Here is my somewhat curmudgeonly--but very realistic--response:

Structure the trip however YOU think is best, and be prepared for people to drop out at the last minute. Sounds like your family is already a little flakey about these sorts of things (don't mean that as an insult). Chances are they will never be able to appreciate how YOU value the points, how much you really do pay for them, how point banking / borrowing impacts the use of the points, etc.

I would probably recommend staying at the same resort. Otherwise the trip could be marred by some resentment ("why are they staying at Bay Lake while we are at Old Key West?") and you'll also have to deal with the unpredictability of transportation. If you're meeting up with others coming from a different resort, chances are you'll lose a few hours of your trip waiting for one party or the other to arrive for each meet.

I would suggest whatever rooms give you the greatest flexibility to cancel as people drop out. Maybe 1B for you and studios for the others. That way if (when) one family drops out, you can easily cancel. If you get a 2B for the rest of your party and end up with just 2 or 3 people staying in that room, it will be a pretty big waste of points.

I would also recommend setting checkpoints for everyone in terms of buying park tickets, getting plane tickets, etc. Make it a "put up or shut up" situation. Tell them that if they don't have their park tickets purchased by "X" date, you'll assume they aren't serious about coming and will cancel their room.

I know this seems harsh and you can sugar coat it a bit. Biggest thing to realize is that a room is only part of the cost of a Disney trip. Yes it's very generous to provide the room--and our family has done so many times ourselves. But each family is likely to spend thousands more on tickets, food, transportation and incidentals. If they aren't making progress toward those purchases in a reasonable time frame, you are going to get stuck losing points if you give them too much benefit of the doubt.

Good luck!
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree with Tim. Might me best for each family to have it's own space. We shared a two bedroom with our best friends and their DD, and it was nice to have the space. And the extra bathroom.

We then did a one bedroom with my Mom during a family trip with family at other resorts and it was crazy.

Also a piece of advice, set your day. Tell them what you are doing and where you will be if they want to join you. If I had not done this with my family we would have never made it to a park before 2 in the afternoon. They like to decide when they get up in the morning and have had showers and food etc.....

We had one group meal and it went well, but I really wish that I had booked a few days before or after just for me and DH.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Agree with Tim too.. Nothing fun about getting "Stuck" When things change with others plans.
We had 8 in a 2 Bedroom at AKL Savanna view, It was tight & I would never do that again..
Not to mention Some folks whining about how much everything costs at WDW.. I gave them all costs of tickets etc up front, we used the dining plan too..
To top it off not one Thank you for providing the room that would have cost them plenty..
OK, Off Soap Box
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Extended family trip

I agree with "tjkraz" ........... especially about these points that were made:

Structure the trip however YOU think is best, and be prepared for people to drop out at the last minute.

staying at the same resort. chances are you'll lose a few hours of your trip waiting for one party or the other to arrive for each meet.

I would suggest whatever rooms give you the greatest flexibility to cancel as people drop out. Maybe 1B for you and studios for the others. That way if (when) one family drops out, you can easily cancel

I would also recommend setting checkpoints for everyone in terms of buying park tickets, getting plane tickets, etc. has done so many times ourselves.


WHY I AGREE with "tjkraz" .............. MY STORY

We are DVC Members ( Bay Lake Tower). My family of 4 (hubby, me, son 21 and son 25). We went to Disney in January 2011, this was our first time using our home resort villa. We had so much fun that when we returned home, my husband and I thought it would be a great idea to invite his sister and brother (each have a family of 4) on a family trip to Disney using our points.

So we called a family meeting in March 2011 and showed them the Disney DVD. We told them we would like to invite them to stay in our villa (which means they would save on hotel cost). I mentioned that they would still have to come up with money for the following: airfare, park tickets and food (but you can save on food if you cook in the villa). They all said they were not cooking on vacation.

Everyone was very excited because they have always wanted to go to Disney. A few people said it seems expensive, but they wanted to go because they have never been.

I said to them that I wanted them to pay something by Feb 2012. I knew my 11 month window would have been opened for me to make the reservation for Bay Lake Tower and i wanted to make sure they were serious about going. They said no problem we have plenty of time to save and we will use some of our income tax money we get in 2012 to help pay for it too.

Now keep in mind this family meeting took place in March 2011.....
which means they have almost 2 years (1 year and 10 months to be exact) to save money.

So it was set to make plans to go to Disney .. Dec 30, 2012 - Jan 5, 2013
I was going to call DVC in Feb 2012 to reserve the following:

1 bedroom villa for my family
Studio for - brother-in-law (family of 4)
Studio for - sister-in-law (family of 4)

Fast forward to this year (2012) .....

Feb 2012:
I call DVC to make room reservations, they only had the 1 bedroom available at Bay Lake. The only studios available were 1 at Old Key West and 1 at Saratoga Springs. I took what they had and asked if I could be put on the wait list at Bay Lake for the studios.

March 2012: sister-in-law cancels. She gave us her reasons, which I won't go into. So now I have an extra room or cancel her studio.

So now I need to collect money from brother-in-law for his family. When I asked for payment, he said that his car broke down and they needed to use the money to buy a cheap vehicle (roughly in the $3k cost). Now they assured me that they will still be saving money because they really want to go.

June 2012
Oh the other studio that my Sister in law is not using, my son asked his 2 friends to go. So now the room will be used by them.

Found out that airfare was about $500+ for a round trip ticket. I wasn't expecting that much. When we went in Jan 2011, my family paid about $325 r/t airfare ticket. So I looked into renting a 12 passenger van. We decided to drive the 19 hours. Getting the van saved everyone money. it average to 175.00/person
(this covers the van rental for a week and gas to/from Disney)

July 2012
end of July .... brother-in-law calls and says that they may not be able to go because of financial reasons. They have the van money, but didn't have the $1200.00 for the tickets. If they do go, they will just enjoy the resorts and downtown Disney but probably wouldn't be able to afford the park tickets.

August 2012
they are going, came up with the money for the tickets. I think back in July they had some of it, but needed to use the money for something more important

At this point all this going back and forth was getting crazy. I told him that if they felt they were going to cancel, PLEASE do not wait to the last minute to tell us. I said if you cancel, my husband would need to downsize the rental which would be less money for the rest of us. We wouldn't need a 12 passenger van.
Also mentioned that because we are going during the holiday season, there may not be a smaller vechicle available for us to rent.

He promised not to wait if it would come to that.

So now they are ready, they have the van money, money for the tickets. All they need to do is have food money....... remember they don't want to cook on vacation.

December 6th, 2012 (leaving in 3 weeks on 12/29th)
brother-in-law calls his brother (my husband) and said that they think they need to cancel. My husband says you think you have to cancel or you are cancelling.
Then I hear my husband yell into the phone........ YOU HAD 19 MONTHS TO SAVE.

At this point I was PISSED because the one thing I asked them NOT to do was to wait until the last minute to cancel. I was concerned that there wouldn't be a smaller vehicle available to rent and everyone left would have to pay extra money.

So then my brother-in-law says that his job let him go (he was hurt on the job about a month ago, so time off work). He goes on to say they had not really saved any money towards their food. oh and get this... he admits that they really didn't have all their money for the park tickets too.

Once I heard he lost his job, I did calm down a bit.

December 10th
my father-in-law heard what happen and what was going on with his son.
He knew that his son had been struggling since June with his finances. My father-in-law also wanted his grandsons to go to Disney.

So my father-in-law agrees to cover his son (family of 4) park tickets.
My brother-in-law and his wife finally said they are going to cook to help
with the cost of their food.

One wait list came thru for the studio at Bay Lake tower.

So now with 2 1/2 weeks to go.......... we are going to Disney.
driving in a 12 passenger van. everyone has their park tickets

if anyone cancels, I will personally go over to their house and strangle them.

the last 6 months with my brother-in-law drove me crazy. I was really ready to give up on him. I should of collected the money instead of trusting everyone would pay when they said they would.

Everyone just knew that because they have almost 2 years to save that is was going to be no problem coming up with the money.

Although we not gone yet .... leaving at the end of this month. If we decide to do Disney again as one big family. I will not offer my points. They will have to make their own reservations thru Disney and therefore pay Disney directly. Let them become someone elses pain.


good luck with your extended family vacation
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bev in Zion View Post
Although we not gone yet .... leaving at the end of this month. If we decide to do Disney again as one big family. I will not offer my points. They will have to make their own reservations thru Disney and therefore pay Disney directly. Let them become someone elses pain.
Wow -- what a nightmare you went through! I went through something similar (although not nearly as stressful) last year, when planning a trip for early December 2011. When you're a year away, everyone says, "yes, yes, yes - we want to go!" And then as the date approaches and reality sets in, people start to flake... Yes, I understand there are job situations, etc., that can get in the way. But people can also be more honest with themselves (finances, etc.), before commiting to others who are then on the hook.

Anyway, I am glad that it all seems to be working out. I hope you have the best trip ever! Sounds like you really deserve it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a similar story. I know people thinks points are free. All I can say is Good Luck.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzspal2 View Post
I have a similar story. I know people thinks points are free.
That's pretty much it. The uninformed public tends to have a very poor understanding of timeshares, In general, they think that you've paid a lot of money for something and it's "free" from that point forward.

They don't understand that a Two Bedroom villa costs a lot more than the Studio or 1B you'd need just for your own family. They don't understand what owners may lose when rooms are cancelled on short notice, or that it isn't even practical to think that you could cancel a BLT Two Bedroom 30 days before arrival and downsize to something smaller at the same resort.

And many don't realize that a DVC Two Bedroom villa can have a cash value of $700+ per night.

We have actually had a lot of success treating family. But we usually phrase the offer in this manner: "we are going on ___ dates and have extra space in our room if you wish to stay with us." In doing so, we set the terms. Our choice of dates...our choice of resort...our choice of sleeping arrangements.

If they cancel at the last minute, we wouldn't really care. Their loss. But we would never go to extremes in terms of borrowing points or making special arrangements for the guests in the first place.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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We're doing the same thing this year and we currently have a studio and a 2 BR lockoff at SSR reserved. We didn't have enough points for a GV so that wasn't an option. I think the studios will give the others their own private space and (being the point owners) we'll have our space in the 1 BR. I'm hoping we can move our group to OKW for a little more space (and since the 1BR sleeps 5).

I hope or trip works out well. I think the key part is having the realistic expectations for the vacation.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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We did a trip 2011 with 5 adults, and 7 children 2 of whom were under 2. We did 3 studios at WLV. Daughter has DVC but even so we bought points from a friend of thiers in order to do the trip. Next year we are doing 4 adults and 6 children and staying in 2 bedroom. We have taken many trips together so we dont have any issues getting along. I really dont like staying in different resorts we have done that as well, It is harder getting together and to us just is not as much fun. With the cousins not staying at the same place it is hard for them to part from each other and go to different resorts. Sometimes the trip is already planned then others join in on the trip and it just was not fesable to be at the same place. Hope it all works out for you.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Sorry it has been a while since I posted. End of the year stuff at work and at home has been insane/taking up a lot of time. Thank you all for the sage advice and candid personal experiences. The Posts have given me a lot of points to consider.

Next week, we are flying out to Minnesota to spend time with my extended family for Christmas. I will have time to sit with my sisters, brother, BIL (if DSis#2 wants her husband involved in the discussion ) and parents to discuss the plans. Based on the posts here, I think it will be best to have a frank conversation with everyone regarding possibilities, timing, payment, and expectations for the trip. In the end, it may work out best to have each group book directly with Disney or coordinate through a TA. Of course, I'd help them navigate Disney math to work out the best value for their families.

Thanks again.
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