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7 Ways to Prevent Family Drama at Walt Disney World

3. Find common ground

Family enjoying Epcot Festival of the Arts food

Image: Disney

Most families include a wide range of personalities. One person may want to spend half the day wandering through World Showcase while another can’t stand the idea of doing anything but attractions. You are far more likely to be different than you are to agree on everything all the time.

While personalities may be different, it is usually possible to find some common ground in a family party. Maybe no one can agree on thrill rides, but everyone loves Italian food. Plan key moments in your trip where everyone can come together and enjoy each other’s company on something they agree on. Even if it is just for one meal, common ground can help bind families together and make magical moments.

Resist the temptation to force common ground. Finding common ground doesn’t mean letting one person in the party pick how every single element of the vacation goes. Resist the temptation to cater only to one party member’s needs and everyone else just has to tag along (this is most tempting when you have both small children—little ones can become demanding quickly when tears start to flow). Find true points of common ground and emphasize those.

4. Take time to do some things apart (or in smaller groups)

Dad eating ice cream with daughter

Image: Disney

Another mistake many families make during a Walt Disney World vacation is feeling like the family has to do absolutely everything together. This isn’t usually a problem for very small families (two parents + one child, for example), but the more people are visiting with you, the more likely you should consider spending a little time apart. Even many married couples could benefit from this.

Finding elements of common ground is great, but a Walt Disney World vacation can quickly turn miserable if everyone has to participate in everything just for the sake of family bonding. Plan some flex time where different members of the family who have common interests can do things together. Let one parent take the teens and thrill-ride lovers to go enjoy Tower of Terror while the others go shopping. Plan a flex day where half the party goes to Magic Kingdom while the other half goes to Epcot. Let your resident introvert have some alone time on Tom Sawyer Island while the extraverts revel in parade crowds. Parents can trade off who watches small children and takes them to enjoy their favorite attractions while the other parents takes a short relief break. Celebrate your differences by allowing family members time to be themselves during flex time on your vacation.

5. Have an easy way to find each other

Grandparents with child

Image: Disney

Ever run into family drama because you have no clue where your party is? The answer isn’t to hope everyone meets in front of Cinderella Castle (never EVER make that your meeting place). Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just magically figure out where an errant family member is?

Enter Life360.

There are a number of great family tracking apps available for smartphones, but Life360 is one of the most popular. It works on both Android and iOS, and it provides a simple, straightforward means of locating family members anywhere in the world. Before your trip, make sure everyone has the app installed and create a family circle (basically link your accounts so you can see each other). With the click of a button, you can figure out where in Walt Disney World your family member is as well as how much battery they have on their cell phone. Just knowing where people are can do much to prevent drama! It can also help parents of older kids feel more at ease knowing everyone is where they are supposed to be.

Don’t care for Life360? Trusted Contacts is another popular alternative. It’s a Google program, but Apple users can also use it.

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