Just this past week my family traveled down from Massachusetts to enjoy their annual(this year will be bi-annual) family vacation. Our trip included 2 pool days, 1 day at Gatorland, and 5 days in Disney World. This was a fun trip and I hope some of what I share with you can help you plan a long family vacation.
Something that gets forgotten when you live down here is that your family doesn’t get to just drive back down to Disney if they didn’t get on a certain ride. I have, many times, walked out of a park saying “oh I didn’t ride space mountain this time, I’ll just go on next week.” Well visitors don’t get that option! So when planning our days, I really planned out fastpasses.
One thing I really focused on with fastpasses is trying to not make them on top of each other. Having fastpass after fastpass is tiring especially if they are across the park. So in order to have a relaxing vacation I set them up 2-3 hours apart. This way we could actually have time to do other rides, in the same land then make our way over to the next fastpass. It worked very well and it kept the vacation somewhat relaxing.
The other aspect I had to keep in mind was where I parked. Going to Disney a lot I tend to find new places to park such as near the Boardwalk Hotel or even parking at a resort and bussing in. These are great when you have an hour to spare but with 6 guests just wanting to get into the park it’s just better to park at the park itself. My crazy parking ideas can be picked back up again when they are at home.
Now, I am a Disney Snob so I was not optimistic for our day trip here but Gatorland was a great experience for our family. The park is not big but has a lot to do. The best part of our stay was most of our party zip lining across an alligator filled pond! I suggest this for a low cost vacation day if you have extra days in central Florida.
Animal Kingdom was super fun. The kids enjoyed all of the rides. This was Patriots Day so the park was fuller than usual but we made the most of it. We decided to spend some extra time at Rafiki’s Planet Watch since it was not only busy but also very hot, especially to people who just left 35° weather 2 days prior. All of us got to get on all of the rides and took in some shows around the whole park. The key to today was taking our time and enjoying some Mickey Ears!
Time for what everyone’s been looking forward to; Magic Kingdom!! We did 2 days here and on one of those days we met some more family for the day. Anyways the park was actually not all that busy and we were able to get on most of the rides. One tip for people who keep track of wait times just remember that when the app says that Mine Train is a 40 minute wait everyone in the park is going to run to the ride so that 40 minute wait is going to turn into a 80 minute wait in moments.
They were great days and a lot of memories were made. One of the best moments for us was very simple. Being super warm we brought the kids over to the splash zone in Fantasy Land and they were able to play around and cool off.
Epcot is a difficult park right now since there is no Soarin which is everyone’s favorite ride and the World Showcase is “the worst thing ever” to Zachary but we made the most of it. It was one of those people watching days while enjoying some of EPCOT’s best snacks. We even got to meet up with Aunt Gina!
We went to Hollywood Studios and since we were wicked tired we decided to get a late start. We were able to ride all of the rides. For Zachary we did Star Tours two times since he is a huge Star Wars fan.
We didn’t stay for fireworks because the kids were just getting wiped out and we wanted the rest of our vacation to be enjoyable so we called it an early night(not all that early, we didn’t get home until 10:00 but compared to our other days, it was early).
We had 3 extra days this year. We used one on Gatorland which was great. Another day we did swimming and a night at Disney Springs and then just a full pool day with dinner at Golden Corral(kids absolute favorite).
So how do you guys vacation as a big group? And how do you do non-Disney days?