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Moms Panel: Tips for Planning A Multi-generational Vacation

Enjoying a Multi-Generational Family Vacation

One of the things I love about Walt Disney World that it is a wonderful destination for families with people ranging in age from 2 months to centenarians. My most cherished memory is a trip I took with four generations of Princesses that included me, my mother, my grandmother and my brand new baby daughter.

Walt Disney World Moms Panelist Kaylene J, travels with many generations too, but as the mother of five, she often plans for large groups as well. Vacations at Walt Disney World Resort with many generations of your family can be some of the most magical. Here are her tips to creating that magic.

  1. Book your Advanced Dining Reservations 180 Days in Advance
    Securing seats is particularly important for large parties, where sitting together is half the fun. Tip: If you split up in the Parks, be aware that restaurants won’t seat you until the entire party is present, so make sure everyone arrives on time for your reservations.
  2. Designate one person as your “Travel Planner”
    Have everyone share their top 3 attractions that they must see and add them to the agenda. You’ll never do everything there is to do at Walt Disney World, but this way everyone gets to experience one of their favorites.
  3. Don’t Over-plan
    Have a general idea of what you’d like to do each day, but be flexible. This will allow for plenty of magical moments to happen and for spontaneity. For example, if Grandma and her 13 year old grandson are enjoying watching the meerkats in Animal Kingdom together, that is magic worth slowing down to experience.
  4. It’s OK to Separate
    Teenagers might want to ride a thrill ride and the toddlers may be enjoying a playground. It’s a good idea that when you do separate, to all remain in the same theme park. Navigating a park with large groups can be done with simple organization. Have a set time and place to meet at several times during the day and supply each group with a cell phone or long-range walkie talkie.
  5. Be a Kid Again
    Once you enter the gates of the Magic Kingdom and catch your first glimpse of Cinderella Castle, everyone magically becomes about aged 8! Don’t fight it! Skip down Main Street USA holding hands while wearing your Mickey ears. Ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror with your 5 year old granddaughter and holler the lyrics to “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” while riding Splash Mountain.


  • Travelling to WDW with grandparents is great when you plan activities that you love to do together. My parents have always supported physical activity and sports. The 3 generations did the Food and Wine running race together in 2009. My mom ran the 3k with my older daughter, my father ran the 300 meter dash with my younger daughter, while I ran the 10k. It was great! I love the photos from that day and cherish the memories that we made. We are doing the Princess Half Marathon weekend together in February and I know it will be just as great if not better. Find whatever you have in common and enjoy being together.

  • These are fabulous tips, Kaylene! I’m VERY excited to say that when we’ve had our family’s Grand Gatherings at Walt Disney World, we’ve followed each one of your tips! Especially number 5!

  • We have always traveled to WDW with 3 generations. Usually it is my parents, my kids and myself. I am definitely the planner. The other 4 just want to have fun and will go with whatever I plan. I am also the designated runner for fast-passes. Grandparents and kids don’t like lines. Breaks are also important. Sit down meals with reservations are great breaks. No one likes to look for tables when they are tired. After-hours events can be great for everyone, lines are down, and there is something special to focus on. We really enjoyed the Halloween Party in 2009.

  • Make sure to follow tip #5! It helps make the whole experience so much better and helps one deal with any little problems that may come up.

  • I agree with everything on the list!!! Just relax and have fun and go with the flow, you can not see All of Disney World in 90 seconds or less take time to feel the magic

  • Definitely feel okay to separate!

    When I find myself with a large group, we normally only plan a park, and dining. For instance, we may go to Animal Kingdom, and simply plan on meeting at Flame Tree Barbecue at 1pm for lunch. That’s it. Then if people want to split up, we still all can meet and see each other and share our adventures so far.

    Another fun tip (especially if you are staying Vacation Club and have access to included internet) is to make sure everyone takes PhotoPass Pictures. Sitting around a laptop at the end of the day and looking at all the different pictures people had taken is especially fun. Remember multiple PhotoPass cards can be tied to a single account, so just because the pictures were not taken on your card, does not mean they cannot be linked to your account.

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