Friday, July 11, 2014

Adventures in Big Family Vacation Planning (part 1)

And here we are again. It's time to plan another Disney trip!

We are planning a very long trip to Walt Disney World in Florida to celebrate the New Year with a big old family trip this year. Our last Disney trip was in December 2013 with just me and my husband, to celebrate the craziness of law school and him passing the bar in 2013 and starting his new big job after graduating law school.

This upcoming trip would make my 11th to the World - I've had to start a spreadsheet with a list of the times that we have gone to keep track! It goes back to my first trip in (about) 1993 with my family. I really started to fall in love with the Mouse when I went with my husband's family in 2007 for New Year's. My mother-in-law and father-in-law went for their honeymoon in the early 1980s and have been every year since. The boys have grown up at Walt Disney World and they have so many memories from all the parks and resorts. A few years ago, they purchased a piece of the magic and now we can stay at the Disney Vacation Club when we go. It's becoming a bigger and bigger piece of our lives!

After seeing Sonya's planning of her Disney trip, I thought I'd start a not-so-regular blog series of our planning of our big trip coming up in December.

So first thing up, when to go?

When you're planning any kind of vacation, whether you have a location in mind or not, the first step is to determine WHEN to go. Do you brave the crowds on the busiest weekend of the year or do you save some money by going on an off-week?

We are the crazy people who throw in our lot with the unwashed masses for New Year's Eve. Out of all the 365 days on the calendar, this one would rank the top in their crowd calendars. Imagine the most packed outdoor festival you have ever been to, and add 10% and you're getting close to what it seems like. I mean, even the bathroom gets a half hour wait on this night. Everything is busy. Everyone is hot. EVERYWHERE you go there is a line.

But that's half the fun! Seeing all those people in one spot getting to experience a shared moment during the fireworks is pretty amazing. There are always tears in my eye when I ring in the new year at the parks. We love it and that makes it worth all the stress.

So, we knew New Year's was going to be the one for us this year - the in-laws went in March without us and we've been planning since our December trip for a big one with the whole family. Husband and I wanted to the day before New Year's, December 30. Disney has two nights of New Year's fireworks (as they do for the Fourth of July). If we saw these fireworks on the 30th, that allows us the 31st to spend in Epcot. This park isn't as family friendly but they celebrate the new year with the different countries around World Showcase Lagoon. You get to see one of the evening spectaculars in the early part of the evening and then another huge fireworks show at midnight. We haven't ever experienced that, so going down a day early allows us to accommodate both shows. It's a win-win, even though we do have an extra night in the hotel at the most expensive rate.

We had our arrival date - Tuesday, December 30. Now, how long to stay?

Traditionally, we stay in the World for one week. That would be checking out on Tuesday, January 6. When we started talking as a family, my husband and I floated the idea that we would stay an extra night, to leave on the 7th. When my MIL heard that, she thought they could do that as well. So now we're leaving on the 7th.

When we looked at the calendar, we realized that it was two days before my MIL's birthday. We've never celebrated her birthday in the World before and she thought it would be fun to do so this year. So since we couldn't leave ON her birthday (where's the fun in that?), that meant our check out date would be January 10th. Yikes, 11 nights?!

With lots of activities coming in the next year or so with jobs and other vacations, there may not be another time for a good long trip so we are going to seize the opportunity and make this happen! 11 nights in Walt Disney World, here we come!


  1. 11 nights?! That's both awesome and crazy! If you need someone else to go I have a 3 week Christmas vacation this year:)

  2. OMG squeal. Take me. Pretty please? with sugar on top?