Planning for a large group trip to the most magical place on earth is only half the battle! Surviving the trip with several people, and many opinions and all different eating and sleeping patterns for many age groups is a completely different animal.
Here are some of my helpful tips when planning a group (large or small) trip to Walt Disney World:
Follow a Schedule but be Flexible:
Having a plan and a schedule is a must, but make sure you do not over-schedule your days. If the schedule is too strict, it becomes frustrating and hard to follow, especially if you fall behind on times, and end up missing important things on your agenda. Be flexible! If everyone is showing up 15-20 minutes late for your meeting time, be prepared to adjust a few things for the remainder of the day to stay happy and realistic.
Wear the Same Color:
Seriously. You don’t have to be twinning, but the same color shirt makes life so much easier when at a theme park. People are everywhere, and when you can spot the same blue/yellow/green (whatever color) colored shirt, you can gather much more quickly. Bright colored shirts do work best. If you are the one organizing the shirts to be ordered ahead of time, put the names on a spreadsheet, sizes next to it and order in bulk.
Appoint a Leader:
Most of the time, the person planning the trip, by default, becomes the leader during the trip as well. You really need one person sort of in charge of the timeline, the schedule, the reservations, and the point person if problems arise during the trip. Grab a co-leader to help if you need assistance getting the messages out to the other group members, maybe it’s via text, or calling. Work together as leaders to corral everyone before a show or meal and help keep each other calm and happy.
Remind Everyone of Meet Times Each Day:
It’s always good to have a printed/emailed schedule for the entire trip, but daily reminders of what is happening that day and/or the next day, before going your separate ways that night are good. Designated meet-up times are important for group photos, communication of any last minute changes, or problem/issues.
Plan for Everything to Take Longer:
If a normal meal will take you 45 minutes to an hour, add on another hour to that. For groups to be seated, brought their drinks, appetizers, food, desserts, etc always takes so much longer. Relax and enjoy the experience and understand that basically everything takes about twice as long as normal. Communicate that to the group as well, so they are just as relaxed and are expecting it to take longer also.
Good luck in your group adventure to the most magical place on earth. I have helped many groups, multigenerational families, and my own family and friends take wonderful trips, and we not only survived, but we had a ton of fun! I can help you too!