Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our Second Trip: 2001 Family Reunion - A Poor Mom's Testimonial

Back in early 2001, I decided to plan a family reunion for my husband's family at Disney World. No one in his family (other than him) had ever gone before. I started by sending out a letter to each family and letting them know that I wanted to do this and got everyone's reaction - they were all on board. Next I sought out pricing from all of the resort categories and let each family choose which resort they wanted to stay at - hoping that we would not all be joined at the hip.

We were.

We all decided on the All-Star Movies Resort. We were going to be a total of 13 people for five days with 2 extra people one of the days. We booked four rooms and everyone was responsible for getting in their own deposits/payments/monies. I sent out newsletters each month updating everyone on what aspect of our trip needed to be planned next. I did this so that everyone was aware of our dining options, park options, park hours, ride info, etc.

Everyone was responsible for their own transportation to and from Florida. My in-laws and one sister-in-law (along with her husband and 2 kids) were flying in from New York. They had the same flight down but different flights home. My other sister-in-law was coming from Washington state and she decided to fly to us in North Carolina and then we rented a minivan and all drove down together (there were 7 of us in the van).

I was a little bummed at first that we were all going to be at the same hotel but it kind of worked out nicely. At night, we'd all sit outside our rooms and just hang out and talk. All of our room doors were open and the kids just sort of ran about in and out. My in-laws spent one day each with the individual families and one day on their own. I made dining reservations for our sit-down meals and whoever wanted to come, came, otherwise they were on their own.

The important thing to remember if you do this is to NOT make yourselves be joined at the hip the entire time. Take time out away from each other and do things on your own. Less chance of getting on each other's nerves that way! The trip worked out nicely because we got to spend time together but each family really had their own vacation.

It was after that trip that Disney introduced it's Magical Gatherings where they help you coordinate your group's activities and what not. Personally, I didn't find it that hard to do. We didn't do matching outfits or anything, we were just a large group on vacation together. With everyone staying at a value resort, we had free dining, park hopper plus was all very reasonable and the pictures that we have from that trip are priceless!

Have you ever considered planning a family reunion to Disney? Don't be afraid! It can be done!

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