I just booked what I consider to be the most confusing vacation package(s) I’ve ever done, but it will all be worth it because this will be one of the best vacations we’ll ever take!
Later this year, my husband and I will take our son to Disney World for the first time, which is pretty magical in itself. However, my parents will also be joining us! My mom was there in the mid-70s, but my dad has never been. I’ve waited over 30 years to ride Space Mountain with him, and it’s finally going to happen!!
Confusion Before Fun
Before the excitement of the vacation comes the excitement, and confusion, of planning though, and I love the planning phase! Like I said though, booking this vacation was a lot different from booking a long weekend trip for two adults with very few requirements. We never even made Advanced Dining Reservations! (More on this later.)
Let’s take a look at five tips for booking a successful multi-generational Disney vacation.
1. Indicate guests and ages
One of the first things you’ll do when you start searching for vacation is indicate who will be joining you. Our son will be one month from being three, and since kids are free before three, he doesn’t need a ticket.
At first, I thought I didn’t have to include him on the reservation because he wasn’t getting a ticket. However, after a quick call to a Disney Cast Member, I found out that I did indeed need to add “1 child” to the reservation. The system then asks how old the child is and knows not to calculate him into the cost.
Even though our little one doesn’t get a ticket, he will get a MagicBand, which he’ll love because he always plays with our old ones. This is a pretty cool souvenir for a little kid!
2. Book Packages Separately and Link Them Later
If you’re paying for the vacation packages separately, which we are, it’s easiest to book them separately and link them later on (more later on why this is important) mostly so you can pay separately.
To make this as efficient as possible, I built a couple packages in my MyDisneyExperience account, compared cost, then chose the one we wanted. I paid for ours first then I mirrored that package in my parents’ account. It took me several days to build and choose the perfect vacation, but once I booked ours, it took me only a few minutes to book the second one.
3. Request Adjoined (vs. Adjacent) Rooms
Most families who travel together want to be close to each other in their resort hotel rooms. Disney offers adjacent and adjoined rooms. Adjacent rooms will be next to each other or at least very close, and adjoined rooms will have a door between them so you can walk freely between rooms without going outside.
This is part of the final booking process under “Request Amenities.” Disney says they can’t guarantee adjacent or adjoining rooms unless it’s a large family with young children who need to be accessible to parents. However, they do say they’ll do everything they can to oblige. Since we’re going during a less busy time (considered the Adventure Season for those familiar with the seasonal schedules), I fully expect that they will be able to fulfill this request.
Why is this nice? Not only are you closer to your family making it easier to meet up and get to the parks faster, but we can hang out in my parents’ room during our mid-day break while our son naps.
4. Link MyDisneyExperience (MDE) Accounts
Once your vacations are booked, it’s time to move along with planning. We’re still a while away from our vacation, so we can’t make any FastPass+ (FP) or Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) yet, but we can make preparations.
Since I will be the Vacation Controller (insert evil laugh here), I will be making all of these reservations for our group, which means I need access to everyone’s plans. If members of your family have a MyDisneyExperience account, you’ll need to link them. You can do this by searching by reservation number and finding your family member(s). If any members of your traveling party do not have an MDE account, you can add them by providing their name and age. Linking accounts will give me the ability to control every one else’s plans.
5. Schedule around nap times
When the time comes to make ADRs and FP+ reservations, I will assess our son’s current nap schedule and try to make reservations around these times. This is probably going to be the most different from our previous Disney vacations. We always stayed in the least expensive resort on property because we got up early in the morning, went to the parks, spent all day there, and came back late in the evening. It’s not going to be that way with an almost three-year-old.
If your child still takes regular naps, it’s pretty obvious that you should plan a mid-day break back at your hotel room during this time or at least provide the opportunity to nap in the stroller. If your child isn’t a regular napper, schedule reservations according to when he or she is most awake for dining and most tired for FP+.
Our son still takes pretty regular naps, but this is probably going to change as he matures this year. He is most awake in the morning, so I’ve decided that a Character Breakfast is our best option. Right now, he naps (sometimes reluctantly) in the early afternoon hours so booking FP+ reservations during this time will mean less grumpiness waiting in line especially for attractions with long wait times.
Multi-Generational Vacation: too much work or totally worth it?