First Big Family Trip

d2z&t

Member
My family of 4 has been to wdw several times, but my wife and sister-in-law started talking about a combined family trip. We will have a total of 9 (my 4, brother’s 4, and mom/grandma). My brother’s kids will be 7 and 9 at the time, and this will most likely be their only trip. We are thinking of a 2022 trip, and I have been put in charge of planning.

My only question at this point is what recommendations do you have for where to stay? My family of four has always stayed on property (value or moderate). Is it better for all 9 to stay together? If so, where would you recommend? Same question if we split up into a group of 5 and group of 4. We would also consider three rooms with groups of 2, 3, and 4. The thinking behind this last option would be that my brother’s kids would like the theming at AS Movies, AS Sports, or Pop. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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bnoble

he's right
If you want to stay in "one place" I'd consider a larger pool home offsite---at least five bedrooms. (One per couple, one for grandma, two for the four kids). I like having the mix of bedrooms plus living spaces that let people congregate together but retreat separately if necessary. Having a pool right outside the living room is a *lot* more convenient than shlepping down to the resort pool.
 

Strangeite

Well-known member
Echoing Brian's advice, when we have traveled with multiple families, I have noticed how important it is to have a communal space. For example, you can have someone sleep on the hide-a-bed in the living of a DVC villa, but then there is always this dance between those that want to relax in the communal area and not infringing on the space of whomever is sleeping there.

I have noticed that trips where there is a neutral communal space are far more relaxing and less stressful.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
I agree with advice given. We’ve vacationed with extended family, both onsite with adjoining rooms and offsite in a large home with a pool, and we definitely preferred the latter. You’d have to run the numbers to see if it is a better deal to stay offsite and whether you have to rent a car, pay to park, etc. you could probably rent a five or six bedroom house with a pool in Windsor Hills for around $400/night.
 

Strangeite

Well-known member
I agree with advice given. We’ve vacationed with extended family, both onsite with adjoining rooms and offsite in a large home with a pool, and we definitely preferred the latter. You’d have to run the numbers to see if it is a better deal to stay offsite and whether you have to rent a car, pay to park, etc. you could probably rent a five or six bedroom house with a pool in Windsor Hills for around $400/night.
I have to admit that I have never calculated parking costs into my calculations.
 

bnoble

he's right
...and now that the resorts also charge for parking (unless it is a DVC-eligible reservation) it's even less important.
 

d2z&t

Member
Thanks for all the advice. We will be talking over the next few evenings to see what most people prefer.
 

Mrs Darling

Well-known member
I (by a large margin) prefer staying onsite, but we’ve done both on & offsite with large groups and there is no contest - a house in Windsor Hills is the way to go. We’ve done 2 trips with 9 (2 families) & 1 trip with 13 (3 families + grandparents) Many of our best memories from those trips are from the end of day around the pool or living room rehashing our day with a lot of laughs, planning the next day etc. I will also mention renting separate cars. Although we always travel to the parks together, being able to have one group leave early or have a separate itinerary for a day, greatly reduces the stress on the planner to meet everyone’s needs/expectations.
 

Micah008

Moderator
Staff member
I agree with everything said above about advantages of off-site. I wanted to also say that we have done a larger group on-site two different times, and it did have some advantages.

We did 3 separate rooms (2 families + grandparents, 11 total) at the same resort (AKV-Jambo). Although we didn't have a common space for everyone, we did have our own separate areas for each family to be on their own... which I think is also important at times. For us this worked well, we could meet up for breakfast and to spend time in the parks (which was the majority of the day anyway), but then we could have our own time and space at the end of the day.

For us, it was about finding the right balance between doing things as a large group vs doing things as individual families, which includes attractions, shows, etc. On-site or off-site, I think this balance is important to making your trip a success for everyone.
 

TiggerGirl

Well-known member
I've done 8 and 12 on site - at the same resort - some adjoining rooms - some different buildings.

I think we would have preferred the house

the one piece of advice I will offer is you can't make everyone happy. So just go with the flow and do what's best for your little family.

Also - when one person has to use the bathroom - we all try to go :)
 

bnoble

he's right
Also - when one person has to use the bathroom - we all try to go :)
This is one of our Noble Family Amusement Park Rules. They are:

1: If one goes (to the bathroom), we all go.
2: No one rides if they don't want to. No shaming the platform exit.
3: No one rides alone. If no one else wants to try it this time, we'll be back.
 
We're in the "everyone gets their own accomodations" camp. We've done several family trips to DW (DH & I, our 3 teens/young adults, 2 married sons, 1 grandchild). While we could save a ton of money by renting an offsite house, that thought never even enters our mind when planning. We all live within 30 minutes of each other at home and see each other frequently. We might feel differently about sharing a house if we only saw each other once or twice a year. We all prefer the convenience and flexibility of being on property. None of us wants to drive back and forth to the parks every day. We drive 1,000+ miles to get to DW so that last thing we want to do when we get there is to do more driving -- especially in an unfamiliar area full of tourists. We prefer to let someone else take care of transportation for us while we're there. We tend to do an afternoon break most days to cool off and relax (due to work & school schedules we have to travel to DW in June) so that adds another layer of inconvenience if staying off property. It's so much easier for us to just hop on a bus/monorail/skyliner to head back to the resort. That also means we don't all have to do the same thing -- if someone wants to stay at a park a little longer, they can because we didn't all drive to the park in one or two vehicles. Ditto for someone wanting to get an earlier start than the rest of the group (like for a Character breakfast that no one else wants to do). DH & I and the "littles" (I guess I should stop calling them that -- the youngest is 16) stay in a suite at AoA and the older kids/spouses/child have stayed either in a LM room at AoA or a room at Pop. That arrangement works well for us because we can hang out in our suite if we want to. However, out of 4 extended family trips I can remember everyone hanging out in our room exactly once for about 30 minutes while we were waiting to head to MK for an ADR. So 30 minutes out of 32 total days. For us, it works best for every family unit to have their own private space to head back to at the end of a long day. This is also important for us because we don't spend every minute of every day together while we're there. We usually either start and/or end the day together but we often go our separate ways at some point during the day. The different schedules would be more challenging if we were all under one roof. Not to mention, we all need our "space" after a few days of togetherness. Our next trip is scheduled for June (fingers crossed) and our 4 adult children will all be staying in their own rooms with their spouse/SO. So far we're at AoA, AsMo (2), CBR, and the last one hasn't decided which DVC resort they're staying at yet. This is the most "spread out" we have been on a trip, but there will still be plenty of together time and many, many good memories made.
 
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Anne

Well-known member
We are in the "prefer to have our own space" camp. We try to all stay at the same resort, but have our own room for our nuclear family of 4 (or share a 2 bedroom with grandparents). We love traveling with my brother's family, but their kids are mostly older and sleep habits are different enough it would be hard to share a house. And we all have a strong preference for staying on site. The one thing tempting the kids to off site is there is a Star Wars themed rental house they saw on you tube (there's a Harry Potter one too by the same group).

We are looking at a grand villa trip with extended family in 2022 or 2023 but will probably get a separate studio too just to make sure the younger light sleepers get enough rest.
 
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