As you may know, I visited Disneyland back in February with my family – and there were 13 of us there together ranging from 9 months to 52 years old. It was a wonderful experience, but could be hectic at times trying to keep everyone together and going on a schedule that everyone was happy with. It generally seems that the larger the group, the more difficult it is to maneuver your way through the park, but I am happy to report that we did a pretty great job at it. Though your party may not be quite as large as ours, I decided to share some of the helpful tips for visiting Disney Parks with a large group.
1. Don’t feel like you have to spend you entire trip with EVERYONE in your group. This can come across as a little harsh, but trust me – I don’t mean it that way. In your group you might have different age groups, interests, or ideas of a vacation. Some of your group may love thrill rides, while others just want to keep it calm. Or perhaps you have some people who think that shopping is relaxing, while other would much rather sit and watch a parade. That is just a part of life! Instead of spending your vacation debating about what rides to visit again or whether or not you should see that parade, feel free to break into smaller groups. Once you spend some time apart doing the things that make your vacation special, meet up again and go on your way. This might save you some frustration and will assure that everyone has the vacation they were hoping for!
2. Plan your seating arrangements while in line for the rides. Ride vehicles for different rides hold different amounts of people. When you get to the loading zone for a ride, you can bet that a cast member will be there to ask you how many are in your party. Don’t be afraid to give them your number, but know that they are going to split you into smaller groups that will fit into the ride vehicles. Instead of having to figure out who is sitting where when you get to the loading zone, take some time to figure it out in line and stay close to your buddies for that ride. This will not only help you utilize your time in line, but will also help you to avoid any chaos right before loading. Nothing says stress like trying to hop on the moving cars of the Haunted Mansion while still figuring out who you are riding with.
3. Have a meeting time/place whenever you split your group up. If you do decide to break up into smaller groups, it is helpful to have an established time and place to meet up again. Even though most people have cell phones to communicate with, your phone won’t get reception in every area of the park and you most likely won’t hear or feel it if you are on a ride. This helps you to know that everyone is still doing fine and will allow you a chance to regroup and decide where to go from there.
4. Don’t be afraid to eat back outside of the parks or hang out at your hotel. If you are looking to spend quality time with a large group in the parks, you most definitely will. However, you might not really get to relax and just talk with them. By going back and hanging out in your hotel rooms, swimming in the pool or soaking in the hot tub, or going out to eat at a quiet, sit-down restaurant you can spend a little time just talking and relaxing with everyone in your group.
5. Swap it out. Wanting to get food and save a spot in line for Fantasmic? Have some people in your group run off to grab food while the others wait. Want to go on a ride, but also want to grab fastpasses for another ride with a ridiculous wait? Send one person off with your tickets and then meet your party back in line. Have a member of your party who can’t go on a particular ride? Have some of your party go on the ride while others hang out with those who can’t ride, and then swap it out. When you have a large group this can make things so much easier and faster!
6. Cherish the time with your group! Going will a large group offers you the opportunity to experience the parks from many different points of view. Cherish all that the park has to offer and have fun with your group!
– Melissa H.