We've all seen them: Crowds of people at Walt Disney World wearing matching shirts, playing follow the leader as they rush to cross off the next item on a park to-do list. And maybe you've thought about gathering up a bunch of your family members and friends for a big group trip too. Planning such a trip can be a huge undertaking, but there are ways to make the process more stress-free and increase your chances of creating a lot of happy memories for your group members. Here are 10 tips for planning a Walt Disney World group trip:
10. Choose the leader
Group trips involve a lot of different variables, so it will help to pick an organized member to keep track of all of the details (such as Advance Dining Reservations, confirmation numbers and FastPass+ selections) and help ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. The leader can also designate other people in the group to help with the arrangements but one person should definitely be the one to keep everyone in the loop about the plans, whether it's through emails or a private Facebook event page.
9. Pick dates
Give people a choice of a few dates to avoid that awkward "I don't know, when do you want to go?" exchange. The people in your party probably have all sorts of previous commitments at various times, so it's best to start the planning as early as possible. It will also help to plan a trip at times of lower attendance — not only to save money but to help make it easier for your group to find each other and stay together in the parks. Walt Disney World typically sees its lowest attendance in January, February, October, November and December, except on holidays.
8. Get a helping hand
Walt Disney World has Disney Group Specialists who will work with you to help manage room blocks, plan private events if needed and answer questions. They also offer free marketing tools to help promote and generate excitement for the vacation (as if more excitement could be generated). The services of the Disney Group Specialists are free and very valuable for group trip planning.
7. Arrange transportation
Many airlines offer group rates for 10 or more passengers traveling on the same flight, and Disney's Magical Express can take the stress out of whisking your group to the resort. Rental cars provide more flexibility, though, in case some group members want to venture off of Disney property. Many rental car companies provide group rates too.
6. Make resort reservations
Disney offers discounts for blocks of 10 rooms or more but there are other options for accommodations as well. You might consider renting a vacation home so your entire group can feel more at home, but you'll also have to keep in mind that this option will mean you'll need to arrange for transportation to get your group to and from the parks. If you start planning early, you can make sure your whole group spends their nights in the same place — which makes planning so much easier.