Family Reunion in July 2013 [discounts for group of 18? + dining ideas?]
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Family Reunion in July 2013 [discounts for group of 18? + dining ideas?]
Anyone have any tips for a group of 18? We are using 3 timeshare units, traveling from different parts of the country next July. 5 of the group will be young children, one of the group is handicapped, the rest range in age from 21 to 58. We want to know if there are group discounts?? Ideas for reservations - we would like to do one character breakfast together.
It's been since 2009! I'm going to Disney World! July '13 - this time with 3 grandsons!
I don't have much advice, as I've never gone to WDW with that large a group. Since you are staying offsite, I'd suggest having plenty of cars available. It's important with a diverse age group to be able to come and go from the parks if needed (naps, different sleep schedules, etc).
I've traveled with groups (10) but not as large as yours. I concur with HiddenMickey regarding cars to/from the park, you don't want to be tied to someone elses plans and moods. I think a very important aspect of going with so many is to say up front 'We are not joined at the hip!' Everyone will need their own space and with various ages certain interests and wants will be diverse.
I am not an authority on character meals. We have done breakfast at the castle, Animal Kingdom, and many many years ago (on a boat with characters which they don't do anymore) all were enjoyable. To make a good choice you may want to investigate and read up on what people have to say and see what suits everyone.
Good luck with your plans, I envy your trip and hope everyone has safe travels!
I have travelled with a group of 22 twice to WDW. I scheduled dining arrangements for 1 meal each day. You will need to use the group dining folks. Our group was between 4 and 50+. I had a schedule posted in every cabin (we stayed at Ft Wilderness) that let everyone know where the dining was for that day, be it breakfast or dinner. It also indicated which park (4 major or WP) I would be in for the day. I told everyone the night before the time I was leaving but contined my motto that "I wait for no one". Even if others didn't leave at the same time as my small party of 3, we inevitably ran into others during the day. We would spend some time with other small groups, a ride or 3 and then break off or find another small group. Don't make the mistake of trying to keep everyone together every minute. People who don't regularly live together do things differently. Oh, we also had matching shirts and had our picture taken together in front of the castle after breakfast at the Crystal Palace with Pooh and friends.
WOW! I agree withthe matching tees, and breaking off into smaller groups, my biggest group was 10 however, but we just joined up for meals, and split into groups of 2 or 4. Worked out nicely!!! Good luck planning!!
We are doing a family group of 18 this May. We will be staying at 4 villas at the BC. I am having a BBQ and Disney planning day in a couple of weeks with all family members so we can get some ideas and expectations from the group. There will be 6 kids under the age of 6 with us. Trying to plan a manageable day with the little kids and then come back to the villas and let the bigger kids (parents) go back to the parks and the grandparents will stay behind and watch the little ones and take advantage of SAB. Of course we will have some late evenings with the little ones but trying to make it reasonable.
So far we have planned a character breakfast at Cape Maye at the beach club, especially since we will be staying there. We are also planning a dinner at Rose & Crown for later in the evening so we can take advantage of the viewing area at the restaurant and not worry about waiting around for a good spot to watch Illuminations. I know our family (of 8) will be going to the Hoop Dee Revue show but not sure if my sister's family will be joining us. We are also going to do Sci-Fi Dine in Theater. Thinking about doing the Crystal Palace at MK only because it might be a good place for a larger group to get together at the park. Our family is planning on doing the DDP, but not sure her's will yet.
I too would like any additional suggestions for a larger group.
Oh - BTW - the "older boys" will definately NOT DO the matching shirts - party poopers! We are thinking about just having the little kids do them.
Great ideas for the larger groups. I, too will be going with a group of 13 next fall. We decided to stay on property so that everyone can come and go as they want. We are also planning one sit down meal per day together.
I recommend having each 'family' or smaller group dine together and then as they finish they can continue exploring. The wait time after checking in is usually enough for a catch up. Also when booking dining they will not guarantee all of you will be seated together so best to arrange the smaller groups yourself.
I also agree with the PP about making a plan then having everyone come and go as they please. We found the people who insisted on planning to leave early for rope drop were the very same ones who were never ready on time. Save the bother and go when you want, meet at mealtimes and for parades and night time shows. Have fun!
One of the things we did about those who didn't want to wear matching shirts was to tell them they could wear a different shirt as long as they wore the group shirt of the day for our group picture. After having several conversations in line with other park goers about our shirts and were "his" was, they wore the shirts all day to cut down on the chiding in line
Sorry, you won't find group discounts for that number of people. Group hotel bookings start at 18 rooms, and pricing for that few isn't going to be different unless you're also booking meeting rooms, banquet halls, catered meals... Similar is true for park admission. Once you have a large meeting or convention, the convention organizer may be able to arrange special admission for the group. That won't be available for non-business/convention groups.
My biggest advice on meals is, avoid any situation that requires dealing with the Groups department. So, instead of trying to get a reservation for 18 at a table service restaurant, book 3 tables of 6. They won't guarantee the tables will be together, but you'll also avoid things like non-refundable deposits at restaurants that normally don't require them. Some restaurants do allow groups of 18 or more to book without the help of the Groups department. They're all either buffets or family-style meals. It's very possible, though, that they'll restrict those bookings to either before 5:30pm or after 8:00pm. So, even at those places, 3 separate reservations (or some variation on that) will give you more flexibility.
As to the logistics of the group... I recommend no more than two "everyone" events during the course of a day. That might be two meals, or a meal and a special event (gathering in the same place for a parade or fireworks, perhaps). The larger the group, the slower it moves - three or four different groups, each following a different itinerary in the same park is a better approach than moving all 18 around together. And, the more "must-do" plans you have, the more likely members of the group will resent the lack of freedom/flexibility.
Do plan to have everyone in the same park on the same day. That'll make gathering folks for an in-park meal a lot easier, facilitates other group meet-ups during the day (parades, fireworks, etc.), and it allows people to switch groups during the course of the day ("Who wants to meet at Soarin' at 3:00pm?").
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