Need Advice: What is Disney like with all 3 generations on the trip?

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by Leelo, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. Leelo

    Leelo Never grow up. It's a trap!

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    My husband and I are taking my entire family to Disney in October: my mother (63), father (65), sister (36), brother-in-law (35), 2 nephews (2 and 6), my husband (33), and myself (33). My husband and I are Disney regulars and are the trip planners for this event but we have never been to Disney with children in our group and need advice.

    What information can I pass on to my family of what it will realistically be like on our trip so that they can mentally prepare? They tend to set too high of expectations for things and can be easily disappointed.
     
  2. stace1214

    stace1214 Mouseketeer

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    We did a trip like that a few years ago. My mom had thought we would all stick together the whole week and with such a variety of ages, it wasn't possible and I think she was very disappointed. It might be a good idea to plan times to stick together and some meals together, but also plan to do things apart. Kids at those ages will likely need a break each day, and probably a nap for the littlest. My kids are a little older and still need some down time back at our resort almost every afternoon. My husband, kids and I like to move quickly- get to rope drop to do as much as possible as early as possible. Not everyone is like that and we had to really slow our pace down to accommodate everyone. It was a very fun trip, but if we were to do it again, I would plan a few meals, some set rides/shows to do together and then have everyone kind of do their own thing. Have a great trip!
     
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  4. MNDisneyMommy

    MNDisneyMommy Mouseketeer

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    We did this a few years ago. I was the parent of the only little kids, so that might have helped me a bit since I was the planner. I did all of the FP and ADR booking (and made sure we were linked in the app, etc). I told folks they were welcome to change anything they wanted individually afterwards but we were the ones doing the initial bookings. We helped with hotels also, but it was up to them to book it. We talked about attractions a lot before the trip, and timelines... (no one could believe how early we had to plan things)...and I had everyone give me their three things they really wanted to do (including restaurants). I worked the plans so everyone's three things would make it into the primary park morning touring plans and FP plans, and there was a "thrill ride" group and a "kiddo" group. (For example, you guys go ride Rock n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror while we go see Disney Jr).

    We also set some expectations - we said we would have a group table service meal per day and a primary park, and that everything else was flexible. That worked well too. We made touring plans, which were rope drop, hitting some headliners, using FP in late morning, and then our big family lunch. After that our kids needed a nap, so it was free time for everyone else. We had plans from 4-7 or so but they were more flexible - sometimes folks came with and sometimes not. There were several mornings where some grandparents were late arrivals. Some afternoons where my brother and SIL kept touring a park we had left. We had some ADRs set up for subgroups to go do things too (like my family went over to Ft Wilderness but the grandparents and my brother SIL went back to DHS for Fantasmic and Sci Fi Drive In).

    The thing we made clear was that everyone was free to do what they wanted to, but the group meal and us following our touring plans were non-negotiable. If anyone wanted to spend more time in a shop, skip a ride, come to the park later, etc. we were 100% onboard with that (I would help make their alternate plans if they wanted) but we wouldn't be changing the main plans for it. So if my brother suddenly saw a character he wanted to meet, he could go right ahead, but the other nine of us wouldn't all be sitting there waiting... we would do our next ride and he could catch up when he was done. He could do the ride later during the break or just skip it. It sounds kind of heartless, but it made a WORLD of difference for the trip.

    There were still some problems (for example, I had picked a night for Wishes and the Electrical Parade but my parents were tired, they didn't hear me saying this was the only night for it since there were Halloween parties the other remaining nights of our trip, so they went back and rested and then were upset when there were no more nights to see it...).

    But overall, having the FP and meals together and otherwise giving people flexibility meant everyone had fun.

    I would also remember that things you may think are a definite skip attraction as an adult can be the best things of your trip with kids. For example, we had never done Enchanted Tales with Belle before. Suddenly we go with kids, my daughter ends up being the Beast, and it was one of the most memorable things of the whole trip. :) My 13-mo son was absolutely enchanted with the Tiki Room and street musicians, and my daughter with the fountain outside Muppets. And plan that everything is going to take a LOT more time...

    Good luck!
     
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  5. QueenIsabella

    QueenIsabella DIS Veteran

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    We've been with as many as 11 family members. After many attempts, the system that worked best for our herd was to be in the same park on the same day, but not necessarily all in a lump. We found the the grandparents sometimes would be with one family, sometimes the other, sometimes on their own (mostly in Epcot--MIL liked the gardens and a slower pace in World Showcase). We found it best to meet up for one sitdown meal a day--in our case, dinner, but you might want to ask your sister if her kids would be better with a big lunch. The rest of the meals were up to the individual groups.

    Just so you know, our immediate family was more the rope drop, afternoon break type of family. BIL and his gang preferred to sleep in and get a later start, but their little one would sleep in a stroller (which mine wouldn't. Ever. Any of them. Not that I'm bitter...). MIL and her friend didn't typically take a break, but would sometimes leave the parks earlier than everyone else.

    We found sticking all together to be very cumbersome, particularly for meals. For example, they won't seat you until everyone is there, so you spend a lot of time waiting for others, getting to your restaurant, that sort of stuff. We would go on a plan that included all meals--this was before the DDP as we know it today. And of course, good luck getting a table for 11! But when we did the one meal a day, it was a good time for everyone to catch up and hear about each other's experiences.

    Again, this was a while back. BIL and I were the big planners--each would get their family's input as to restaurants, then he and I would hash out where/when. This worked well--everyone felt like they were listened to, nobody got 100% of what they wanted, but got enough to be happy.
     
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  6. holden

    holden DIS Veteran

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    We all eat dinner together but usually separate during the day. My parents would join us in the morning but head back to the resort after lunch. They needed the afternoon break while we kept going. Same with my brother. His kids are younger, so they tired out more quickly. Plus it’s nice to get a break from one another for a little while.
     
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  7. mydisneyanytime

    mydisneyanytime Mouseketeer

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    We went this past summer for 2 days with 3 generations. We (myself, DD 11, DS 10 in a wheelchair) are movers and just walk fast. We see a hole in the crowds and go. My dad isn't so much and though we tried to slow down but he really struggled with the amount of walking. We did schedule lunches in the middle of the day both days to help. They are both early risers (we aren't) but we were still at the parks at rope drop (we never do this on our own) but left early in the night. We did have a good time but it was definitely more stressful with worrying about making sure that both of them are doing okay. The last day, my dad ended up going back to the hotel while we finished up the evening (we left the park at 6:30) with my mom. All in all it was a good trip but more stressful than most of our trips. I would go with them again as it is memories for my kids that they will never forget.
     
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  8. allison8033

    allison8033 Earning My Ears

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    Sounds like our family trips, the last one was DH & I (38,39) Kids 7 & 5, my sister and brother, 33 & 31, and my parents (both 66, 1 active and 1 with limited mobility and all sorts of health issues). Our first trip everyone stuck together like glue. The 2nd trip I made it clear to everyone that splitting up is not only ok, it's necessary. Silly me thought that everyone would just know that the first time, but it turns out everyone was soldiering on to keep the group together. It caused a lot of unnecessary tension. On our second family trip my sister and brother rented a car for themselves and took time to hit flea markets and do other stuff they wanted to. My parents took off to explore the Flower & Garden displays. Making it very clear that we didn't need to be joined at the hip the whole time made a HUGE difference for everyone! My parents watched the kids one night so DH & my sibs and I could hit a park. That was one of the best parts of the whole trip. It was awesome to relive our childhood vacations. My brother had not been to Disney since elementary school and I think he had the most fun out of all of us.
     
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  9. katyjeka

    katyjeka DIS Veteran

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    We've done this twice and both trips where great. I planned for an entire year and made a shirt for each person for ten 10 days(total of 80 shirts each trip). My dh thought I'd lost my mind but it all came together in the end. It takes a lot longer to tour the parks with a large group, dining takes longer as does finding spots for parades. I had a hard time convincing my brother-in-law to skip the first ride he saw to head to another but I had a plan and made sure we stuck to it!!! I planned downtime for each day and we were able to go our own way, keep in mind we traveled with my In-laws and brother-in-law who had no desire to do anything on their own. If your group has a desire to split up I would plan for that. I was a bit skeptical traveling with my sweet mother-in-law as she is VERY tight with her money. My husband is the youngest of 10 kids and they had to budget every penny while he was growing up so she is not used to spending at Disney prices. On the third night we were watching IllumiNations she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said this is the best time I've ever had. I knew it was a success. I will admit by day 8 we were starting to get on each others nerves a little but we laughed more than we cried if that makes sense. We've been to WDW with them a second time, Vegas and Arizona once, and one cruise, all were just as memorable. To this day they have a picture of our group at the Spirt of Aloha wearing our "3 Generations soarin thru Epcot" shirts and we laugh. Great memories especially now that my father-in-law has passed away.
     
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  10. sponica

    sponica DIS Veteran

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    I've done a multigenerational trip but not with little kids (the youngest one was somewhere around 9). I think we broke off into small groups: my aunt, uncle and cousins mainly had a family trip of their own and would meet my grandparents, my sister and I once a day. Usually my sister and I did our own thing. I remember we usually had one thing we'd all do together (I distinctly remember starting the day in MK but being told we had dinner plans at Epcot at such and such a time).

    I'm in the final stages of planning a small multi generational trip (in laws, hubby, me and kiddo) and we'll probably stick together as a herd more often than not.
     
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  11. tiredsportsmom

    tiredsportsmom Mouseketeer

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    I'm concerned about us traveling as a group of 8. It will be myself (54), DH (57), youngest StepDS (34), DIL (33), DGD(10), DGD (8). We have had custody of my oldest stepson's son since he was 9 months so he's our DS(11) and we are taking middle stepson's daughter. DGD (10), she has been to MK several times. Myself, DH & DS(11) went in 2013, DS(34) hasn't been since he was freshman in high school, DIL, and 2 other DGD's have never been.

    We are staying off site in 4 bedroom condo about 10 min drive to Disney. (We stayed in same complex 2013). We are also doing Universal park to park 1 day, Sea World 1 day, going to a beach or 2 and deep sea fishing. The parks are what concern me. DIL get motion sick alot and DGD(8) is scared of so many things I'm not sure where to start with rides/parks! We aren't doing any character meals. Will do breakfast in condo and eat when we get hungry. Trying to decide whether to plan some break apart time for us or just stick together through it all. DIL says she will try any ride I suggest and wants to stick together but I don't want to start her or DGD8 on anything that may spoil the rest of the day. Such as Haunted Mansion for DGD8!!

    Any suggestions?
     
  12. sponica

    sponica DIS Veteran

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    Honestly if anyone's prone to motion sickness or scared of rides, don't bring them to Universal (unless they're diehard harry potter fans). It's not worth the money to have a ton of rides you can't do. I have friends who skip Universal days on large group trips and hang out at the pool or go to disney springs.
     
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  13. KenHutch

    KenHutch DIS Veteran

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    I have a wide age range and VERY different tastes in the group I pay for (8 people) what I do now is first ask about restaurants likes or dislikes, I make the reservations at 180 days and you can give me input until day 181. Next my daughters mother and stepfather think vacations are for sleeping in, so I make all Fastpasses for after 11:00 hours and me and the 2 girls are there before rope drops. I tell everyone what time the faspasses are and the meals are. If you show up for a ride fine, if you don't show up for the restaurant fine. But I am not paying for you to eat elsewhere. This seems to make everyone happy. A couple of my daughters relatives show up for meals and that's it. But no one gets angry for being ignored.
     
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  14. Surgie2

    Surgie2 DIS Veteran

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    We have a multi-gen trip this coming May - grandparents, two sets of parents and 4 kids (ages 13 months through 5 1/2). We have traveled together often so that helps. The OP has gotten lots of great advice so far. We are planning very few TS dinners due to the ages of the little ones and their stamina. We have a few character breakfasts planned late morning to take advantage of early park time. Everyone is on board with this plan. We will have the same 3 FP each day with a few exceptions...rides that require 48"; then we will do rider swap. All of our FP will start around 10 so that we are done shortly after noon and people can decide if they are staying on or want some resort time.

    We decided to splurge with Hopper tickets (Nana and Papa paying:) That way after our morning FPs, people can decide to return to the resort (staying at Poly to make the easier) or move on to a different park and we definitely won't all be doing the same thing. Also the parents might want to go to a different park for the evening while the little ones are in bed and the grandparents babysit so the Hoppers will make that very doable.
     
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  15. dledger

    dledger Mouseketeer

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    I agree with this! I don’t normally get motion sickness often, but universal with their multitudes of 3-d rides really pushes me over the edge. It is a hard park to tour if you can’t do these types of rides.
     
  16. MommyBryn

    MommyBryn DIS Veteran

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    We've done 4 generations multiple times, up to 24 people in our party on one trip. The great grandparents generally have to take it a bit slower by the end of the day, if not quit entirely and relax at the resort. They didn't particularly like rooms that had a lot of walking involved too and from. They also didn't really participate in many rides, mostly just accompanied us places (meals especially) and watched the little ones. Overall though they were troopers each time and we have great memories as a family.
     
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  17. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

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    I'm somewhat in the same situation with planning a Dec 2018 trip.

    I've done a few posts about it, too. I learned you have to compromise to make a good trip happen.

    Anyway, I think my number one concern would be when everyone can get to a park. We are early morning people and love doing extra magic hours in the morning; we stay onsite. Well, not everyone wants to get up at 6 am on vacation. Our granddaughter would be lucky to get to a park by noon. She's mom to our great grandsons. You may not have that exact same problem, but I would ask the question of everyone going what's doable for them on time getting to the park. Will the two year old need a nap? Will the two year old nap in the park in the stroller? Or need to go back to the resort? Will your parents want a break back at the resort?

    Next, with your age mix I think you need to think about mixing rides with shows; so, there are some rest periods. The average trek is 6 miles of walking in the parks.

    Will everyone eat at the same time? Some only do two meals a day and others want three. Can you determine a good time to eat a meal together? Does everyones finances allow them to eat wherever?

    If some don't like thrill rides that can lead to hard feelings. The thrill rides are longer waits. The downtime by those not doing thrill rides has to be dealt with and there may not be enough to do nearby while they wait for you.

    You may want to pick some core hours to be together, but then have separate times from one another.
     
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  18. chloelovesdisney

    chloelovesdisney DIS Veteran

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    We go with extended family all the time. With the group you've described we'd all stay together, possibly the grandparents and BIL can take the kids one evening so you can get a dinner date in. When my brother and his wife come they like to get a couple days alone so that's what they do. One sister and BIL may leave the park early here and there. Pretty much we otherwise stay together but it's not a forced requirement, lol.
     
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  19. bigbabyblues

    bigbabyblues DIS Veteran

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    I get motion sickness, and I cannot handle Star Tours (had to go back and lie down for a few hours after that), Mission Space (honestly haven't tried it), the movie in China that is 360 made me nauseous, and Everest bothered me enough that I won't ride it again. Tower of Terror, Soarin', BTMRR, Splash don't bother me at all.
     
  20. disneyseniors

    disneyseniors DIS Veteran

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    All of the above advice, with emphasis on:
    1) the 3 and 6 y/o will probably only want to play at the pool, LOL. Honestly, that's what our kids wanted on a visit at that age to WDW.
    Another great place for you to rest a bit and let the kids play is in HS at the dinosaur boneyard play area. Kids just love playing in the sand looking for dino bones and climbing on the rope walkways. A really nice rest/play area.
    2) Don't try to organize everyone each day. It works better, trust me, to let everyone do there own thing and meet for dinner or sometime during the day for together time. No one is happy if they have to trail along with everyone else if they don't want to go.
    3) naptime is a must.
    We have done this several times and always had a blast! Have fun and don't worry so much.
     
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  21. Pesky

    Pesky "Who's the monkey?!"

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    We did this for our DLR trip and I researched your same question then. We just planned at least one meal a day together and then gave people a rough idea of what we were going to do and provided suggestions for other things. That seemed to work. We did one character meal and a fancy adults-only meal and that was great. For example, I knew FIL would not have any interest in the thrill rides or anything remotely jerky so I saved those FP for the afternoon when he usually peeled off to go for a nap. I also provided him and MIL with a list of places they might like to hang out both at the hotel, surrounding area, and parks. Just set everyone's expectation that you might not be together 24/7 and that's okay. The 2YO will also throw things off a bit because the 2YO will not be able to or have interest in riding certain rides. I'd likely make sure your sis and family know the height restrictions of rides so they can be prepared. Be sure you educate the group on rider swap and also I'd probably let them know if they need to go back so the 2YO can nap, fine. I agree with putting in some shows or parade watching with the walking about and also setting people's expectations for wait time and the sheer amount of time for walking (set their expectations for average walking amount -- that might impact their decision for bringing a double stroller and such). Like the benefits of rope drop to avoid long wait times. I am prone to motion sickness and honestly it has gotten worse as I've grown older (yay?) so I would be sure you check in with your group if anyone has food allergies (and educate them as to how to handle) or other issues like motion sickness, back problems, etc.. Which brings me to this:

    I tend to agree. I am prone to motion sickness. Now I will say I loved Universal. But I am a huge HP fan and I also wore the motion sickness patch behind my ear for my Universal days. I will say the rides I had issues with were not expected -- FJ, FoH, a wee bit on Spiderman because you are spun around a lot. Simpsons, which is notorious for causing motion sickness and I'd avoided the first time the family rode, no issues (I was in the back row so maybe that helped). And I just plain avoided a number of the coasters. But yes, there are a LOT of rides that will affect motion sickness so if motion sickness is more severe I wouldn't even try them. At Disney, I didn't bother with a patch and was fine. I didn't even try Mission Space, Soarin' and Star Tours I even have to focus on the edge of the screen or my feet at times, but otherwise didn't really have a problem. I will also warn you to look at which rides are a bit jerky. Space Mountain can be jerky and I didn't want to feel like I'd been in a bar fight so I passed on it.

    Again, I think it all boils down to expectations and education. FWIW, I am thinking about bringing both my mom and my MIL for the next trip we have to WDW. Yes, more difficult trying to coordinate with so many people and schedules and issues but I know for my kids, having their grandmas there will be wonderful. Your trip will be one you'll all remember and love. Have fun!
     
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