Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Disney for Multiple Generations!

 

Cinderella Castle

Welcome to the Bonus Installment of Disney for…Everyone! (But specifically broken down into guides of Disney for: Little Kids {Toddlers and Preschoolers}, Kids {Grade-schoolers, age 5-11}, Teenagers, Adults, and Bonus – Disney for Multiple Generations). 

If you missed the first few blogs in this series and would like the full introduction, or if you are traveling with Little Kids, click here for full details, if you are planning a Disney vacation for grade-school age Kids, click here for the guide, for the Teen/Tween guide, click here, and because Disney is just as magical for Adults, too, click here for the Adults guide.  

And if you are looking to jump right into the best tips for going to Disney with Multiple Generations, you’re in the right place! 

In this blog, we will cover: 

How to Prepare for a Disney Vacation with Multiple Generations

The Top Five Attractions at Each Park that Every Generation Will Love

Strategies for Fun, Successful and of course, Magical Days at the Parks

Disney Springs

But first:

Why a Multi-Generation Disney Vacation is Magical for Everyone Involved

If you can’t keep your own eyes dry as you watch your children light up seeing Cinderella’s Castle or Mickey Mouse for the first time (or the first time in forever), can you imagine the reaction of grandparents seeing their grandchildren’s faces sparkle with Magic? Truly, there may be no greater Magic than experiencing Disney as a whole family. And although it may take some extra thoughtfulness to keep a two-year-old, a seventy-five-year-old, and everyone in between entertained at almost all times, the memories you make and bonds you forge as a family traveling together will make it all worthwhile (plus, of course, having the expertise of your Love of the Magic Travel Agent will make the process seamless and exciting). 

Fireworks

How to Prepare for a Disney Vacation with Multiple Generations

While a Disney Vacation with the whole family can be one of the most memorable vacations of a lifetime, it does require a bit of extra forethought to make sure everything goes smoothly. Here are a few things you can do to make your Multi-Generation Disney Vacation starts and ends in a Happily Ever After state of mind:

1. Make a List of Everyone’s “Must-Do” for the Trip

With a group of people varying in age so much, the top priorities of each age group, and maybe even each person (depending on personalities) may be vastly different. My suggestion is to have each person in your group decide on the one thing they would be heartbroken to miss or not do, and make a list of everyone’s “Must-Do” activities as soon as you book your trip; that way, you can organize your daily park reservations, and also dining reservations (if possible) around trying to accommodate each person’s “Must-Do” wish (though if someone’s choice is a very-hard-to-get dining experience, let them know you’ll try, but can’t make any guarantees). 

Your family’s “Must-Do” List will also help you start structuring your itinerary; for example, if the majority of choices are at Magic Kingdom, you might want to plan for two days at that park, or if a bunch of the choices are rides, you’ll be able to make decisions about purchasing Genie+ or Lightning Lane passes. Of course, your Love of the Magic Travel Agent can be involved as much or as little in this process as you wish, from taking your family’s “Must-Do” list and creating the entire itinerary for you, to making suggestions wherever you would like input. 

Gideon's cookies

2. Prep Everyone to have Extra Patience

Even with a planned-ahead list, and a ride-by-ride itinerary, there is still going to be down time for certain family members throughout the day, especially if you have teens and/or tweens in your group. Often, older kids and teenagers will want to ride the bigger, faster rides that little ones are still too small for, and that grandparents may not care for anymore. This works out well for grandparents, since they usually don’t mind a few breaks throughout the day (as long as there’s a shady spot to sit nearby), and can work especially well if the big rides happen to coincide with the little ones’ naps, so parents can get on a few big rides with the big kids and leave sleeping kiddos in the shade with the grandparents. But if that dream scenario doesn’t exactly play out, you may need to get creative with ride-swaps, snacks for the littles, and an activity or two from your bag of tricks. 

For grade-school-age kids, and even tweens and teens, it will definitely help to have a few conversations before leaving home about having the patience to ride some of the rides that everyone can go on (even if they protest that they’re too old for Dumbo now, more than likely, once they get on, they’ll have more fun than they expected to), and also having patience to wait it out if someone in the group really wants to go on a ride, or see a character, or shop in a store that they are not interested in. In their over-excitement, many kids tend to forget that the vacation is meant to be for everyone to enjoy, not just them (which is understandable for grade-schoolers), but hopefully a few conversations before the trip, and a few reminders throughout the parks, will keep everyone happy, and hopefully even reinforce the importance of learning to have patience.

Matching shirts

3. Order the Shirts and Book the Photo Session

If you’re not a fan of the whole matching/coordinating shirts trend that’s taken over Disney for the last ten years or so, feel free to skip this section, but if you’re anything like 95% of people who go to Disney these days, you are going to want to order your family shirts right after booking your vacation. Trust me! I can’t tell you how many people I know who have waited until the last weeks before traveling, only to find out that every Etsy shop has a six week wait time for custom shirt orders. 

Or, if you’re crafty, make your own shirts! But do it right after booking instead of the week before your trip when you’re trying to pack for your entire family, tie up loose ends at work, and leave the house in a state that isn’t a total disaster to come home to; do not make the mistake of thinking you will have last minute time to whip up DIY family shirts, and do not add that kind of unnecessary pressure to your life! 

And if you’re taking the time and spending the money to do the whole matching shirts thing (or honestly, even if you’re opting out of matching shirts), why not spend 20 minutes out of your day with a professional photographer at one of the parks to document how adorably coordinated you all look together. These 20 minute photo sessions are called Capture Your Moment, and are available at all four parks (though they are the toughest to get at Magic Kingdom). 

Like dining reservations, you book these sessions through the My Disney Experience App, where you will be able to choose your time (depending what’s available), and pay the $79 fee with whatever card you have linked to your account. The fee covers your whole group (up to 8 people), and if you purchased the PhotoPass with your vacation package (as you 100% should, since it’s absolutely worth it), the photos from your session are included with your PhotoPass and show up right in your App. My family actually did two of these sessions (both in matching shirts, because that’s how we roll) on our last trip, each in a different park, and that’s where we got the best photos of our whole trip; totally worth the time and money spent getting them. 

Riviera

A Disney vacation with Multiple Generations may take a little extra prep work (which, as you know by now, your Love of the Magic Travel Agent can help you with), but it will all be worth it once you’re in Disney, having the most Magical time of your lives. 

The Top Five Attractions at Each Park that Every Generation Will Love

Disney was literally designed to be inclusive to everyone, and conducive to the perfect family vacation, so no matter what park you’re in, there will be a variety of attractions that everyone in your group can take part in. And remember that nostalgia goes a long way (so your occasionally surly teenagers will likely wind up singing, or at the very least bopping, along to “it’s a small world”), and also that trying new things (especially for those little ones) often results in incredible learning experiences (though obviously I’m not suggesting trying to bring your toddler on Big Thunder Mountain, which isn’t allowed anyway, I’m referring to a situation like, “Oh Little Susie has never been to the zoo before, let’s introduce some animals on the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride”).

Slinky Dog Dash

With all that said, here are the top five attractions at each park that every generation in your group will love:

Magic Kingdom

Mickey Mouse

1. Mickey Mouse at Liberty Square on Main Street U.S.A. (because what is a visit to Disney without a picture with the Main Mouse himself, whatever age you are?)

2. Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover in Tomorrowland (because it’s a nice long, relaxing ride with great views of the park, an awesome breeze along the way, and quick curves just enough to keep it from being boring, but also not too scary either)

3. “it’s a small world” in Fantasyland (because the boats are big enough that your whole family can likely sit in a few rows and actually enjoy a nice long ride all together)

4. Jungle Cruise in Adventureland (because, now that it’s been refurbished, it’s a more appropriate and fun boat ride for kids, and the Skippers driving the boats are always funny for the adults, too)

5. Enchantment, the new fireworks show, running nightly with the projection show on the castle (because Disney does fireworks like no one else, and it’s the best way to end your night at Magic Kingdom, though if your littles are noise sensitive, think about either bringing baby-noise-canceling-headphones, or watching from an area further away in the park, or even from one of the nearby hotels, which have great views, too)

Hollywood Studios

Runaway Railway

1. Minnie & Mickey’s Runaway Railway (because this new immersive ride is not like anything else in the parks, and great for all ages)

2. Toy Story Mania! (because even if your littlest is too small to operate the interactive part of the game, it’s still a super fun experience, especially for anyone old enough to compete)

3. Minnie and Mickey Mouse on Commissary Lane at Red Carpet Dreams (because it’s exciting to see our main couple all dressed up in different costumes, and no one can ever get enough of M&M, especially while at Disney!)

4. *Muppet*Vision 3D (because it’s nostalgic enough for parents and grandparents, while still being entertaining for younger kids)

5. Pixar Pals Motorcade on Hollywood Boulevard (because everyone loves a good parade, especially one with some different characters than you may have seen at the Magic Kingdom parades)

Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safari

1. Kilimanjaro Safaris (because it’s always amazing for anyone to see a giraffe or a rhino striding right by your safari vehicle)

2. Na’vi River Journey (because it’s tamer than Flight of Passage, but still a visually exciting experience, though if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you know how I feel about Flight of Passage, and anyone in your group who CAN do it, definitely SHOULD)

3. TriceraTop Spin (because it’s a Dumbo-like ride that’s perfect for little ones, but also has some levers to control the height and bumpiness of the ride, which older kids will find fun, especially if they have grandma or grandpa sitting with them)

4. Disney KiteTails (because who doesn’t love kites, especially ones made into Disney characters, and watching them crash-land will be somewhat unbelievably entertaining for older kids and tweens)

5. A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King (because live entertainment was almost a lost art form for two years and whether your family is full of Broadway fans or not, there’s something spectacular about a live performance that everyone can appreciate)

EPCOT

Remy's Ratatouille

1. Frozen Ever After in World Showcase at Norway (because Frozen, of course, but also it’s just tame enough for little ones, and just thrilling enough for big kids)

2. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in World Showcase at France (um, because it may be the best recent addition available to all ages, and it’s just simply amazing)

3. Living with the Land in World Nature (because it’s another nice, long boat ride, and kids of all ages and especially grandparents, really love seeing plants for some reason, plus there are a bunch of fun hidden Mickeys to find along the way)

4. Spaceship Earth in World Celebration (because it’s a classic. That is all.)

5. Harmonious, the new fireworks, light and water show taking place nightly on the World Showcase Lagoon (because it’s gorgeous, and different enough from Enchantment to make it a unique experience that should not be missed, though, again, plan ahead for any little ones with noise sensitivity)

There are, of course, way more than five things suitable for multiple generations at each park, but these should give you a great starting point, and depending on your family’s preferences, you can continue to fill your days from there! 

Storm Troopers

Personally, I love seeing the characters, and I especially love watching my kids with the characters, so I like to fill my days with characters, and also rides that everyone can go on together, which Magic Kingdom and EPCOT are full of, so I tend to plan most of my time at those parks, but your family might be huge Star Wars fans and want more time at Hollywood Studios. The important things are knowing the general tastes of your family, and having everyone’s “Must-Do” activity, so that you can organize your Disney Days with confidence!

Strategies for Fun, Successful and of course, Magical Days at the Parks

EPCOT China

Days at the Parks, while incredibly fun and exciting, can also be long and exhausting (and yes all of those things can be true at once); add to that spending 24/7 with your whole family, and you may find yourself in need of a few tricks up your sleeve. Which is exactly what you’ll find here:

1. Be Flexible

As always in the Parks, flexibility will be your best friend. Rides break down, little ones nap through return times, and don’t forget that it rains almost everyday in Florida, albeit usually for only a few minutes, but it never ceases to shock people when it happens. Those moments when things don’t go exactly as expected are yet another time when knowing the preferences of the group, and the “Must-Do” of each individual, will help you, since you won’t be scrambling to figure out what to do next, but instead will be able to pivot to whatever the next available choice is. 

Winter Summerland Sign

In addition, the ability to be flexible, and also manage disappointment, are learned skills that our kids need to see us model in order to acquire them themselves. Of course it’s okay to be upset and disappointed, but it’s what we do with those emotions, and how we respond to the unexpected, especially when it’s negative, where the real work comes in. When we as parents acknowledge our disappointment, and show that it’s hard but possible to accept the circumstance and shift to something else positive, we are teaching our kids some of the most important life skills (which just goes to show how multi-faceted and even educational a Disney Vacation can be!).

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Split Up

Yes, it’s a Disney Family Vacation, and yes, the reason you’re all there is to be together, but also, shoving any group of people, family or not, together 24/7 for a week is bound to cause a little friction at times. Even with all the patience and flexibility of Cinderella herself, we all need a little space sometimes. 

Toy Story Line

As long as everyone is aware of when and where to meet up, it’s not a bad idea to spend even just a half hour each day letting grandma get some shopping in, letting the teenagers ride one of big coasters (depending of course on their maturity and responsibility levels), and maybe even letting mom and dad sip a cold drink of their choice while the little kiddos nap or even get to have a Mickey ice cream pop. That way, everyone gets a bit of time to reset doing something of their choice, and are better able to bring their best self to the together-time. 

3. Always Remember the Magic Comes From Family as Much as It Does from Disney

In the midst of all the saving and spending and planning and pivoting and “Did anyone see my MagicBand?”s, it actually takes work to take a breath, look around at your beautiful family together in the Most Magical Place on Earth, and take it all in. I can almost guarantee you that if you take that moment, the gratitude that washes over you will choke you up and blur your vision for a second. 

Getting your whole family together for a Disney Vacation is a feat in itself between schedules and geography and budgeting, and you should congratulate yourself for making it happen (especially if you did the smart thing and enlisted the help of your trusty Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Agent to plan and streamline the process for you), but even before all that, what really deserves to be celebrated is that your family is one that actually wants to spend time together, and spend their precious, hard-earned vacation time together, no less! 

Cinderella Castle at night

The love and mutual appreciation of a family who enjoys spending time together is one of life’s greatest gifts, and one that not everyone is fortunate enough to have. So, even though when you are in Disney at any of the Parks, the Magic is on display all around you, don’t ever forget that the Magic in you, and within your family, is even more majestic and awe-inspiring than any castle or fireworks show could ever be. 

Ready to Plan?

Now that you have the inside tips and tricks on how to make a Disney Vacation with Multiple Generations work, are you ready to book your next Family Trip to Disney? I would love to help you plan your next Disney Vacation to make the most out of it, no matter who you’re traveling with! Click here for your free quote from me, Gina Pantina, a proud member of the Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Agent team! 

Disney for Multiple Generations

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