Sunday, December 28, 2014

Adventures in Big Family Vacation Planning (part 6)

So Disney is all about planning - and now that we had our dining reservations, we had a few months to hang out and just wait for the next step.

We have the big spreadsheet that dictated which parks we would go to on which day, which was helpful. Looking ahead to the next step needed that info! Since the invention of the My Disney Experience app, you can now book up to 3 FastPass+ reservations a day - basically guaranteeing that you will ride your favorite three rides in any given day. Of course, some parks have rules about which rides can go together - there are tiers that prevent you from getting the most awesome rides in a single park each day. That means you have to strategize if you want to get all the rides in over a single stay, since they won't all be done in a single day.

With 23 people going over 11 days, it was going to be a challenge to get our rides booked. I read a bunch of blogs and got suggestions from the podcasts we listen to. They say to focus on the hardest to get rides or the ones of the busiest days. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (the new coaster in the Magic Kingdom) or the Anna/Elsa meet and greet (the new hotness) are the main ones you want to focus on, for example, since they are so hard to get at 60 days out.

I stayed up late on October 30 because I heard a rumor that the system opens up at midnight Eastern - or 11 pm central! Sure enough, I refreshed my browser at that time and the FP+ window had opened!

Since there were so many of us, I started booking a single FP+ for me for the rides on the busiest days, and for the 7DMT ride that we wanted both in the daytime and the evening. When I got all the days booked for me, I then started to copy those reservations over to the whole party. Which worked for a while.

And then we hit a roadblock. Apparently one cousin's annual pass expired before our trip started, so I couldn't book their passes. My in-laws weren't hooked up to my account appropriately in the system and so it didn't show them as eligible to get FP+ (since they didn't show as having a hotel reservation) and then something else went cattywompus.

UGH. So I did what I could and then went to bed. I woke up early the next morning when the customer service line opened up, I was one of the first to call. The lovely cast member spent over an hour on the phone with me to get everybody linked up appropriately (which I thought I had done weeks ago) and our cousin renewed her annual pass.

But it actually worked out in the end - the cast member was able to copy the FP+ I had for our family staying on property and then to those who are staying off property too! Plus, she was able to do the same for the family checking in later in the week who technically weren't able to get their reservations for a few more days. That was some Disney magic right there!

The planning is almost done at this point! Just a few more things to cross off the list now...


  1. You are amazing. This is going to be an awesome trip. As someone who has never been to Disney, just the thought of going overwhelms me. I would have no idea what to do or see or how to go about it. Please tell me that you'll help me plan a Disney vacay for us and the kids someday! :)

  2. That is quite a task! It was hard enough doing it for just two of us. I'm so glad Disney was helpful in getting you everything you needed for everyone.