By Erik Johnson
Last time, I wrote about traveling with my entire family after so many trips with only myself and my wife. It’s always an adjustment traveling with a different group, but going from two people to fourteen requires a pretty big one! Let’s scale it back a bit this time. Here are my thoughts on traveling with just an extra person or two.
First off, are you, the seasoned Disney traveler, meeting up with some old friends in the Parks or are you escorting rookies? This is important, folks. Both have their challenges, but both also require a similar level of flexibility and collaboration. Like any good team, you need to communicate! Who wants to do what and when? What are your trip priorities? It’s best to address these questions in advance.
In my experience, these questions are best answered over a dinner party or the like. Get everyone together in one place and build some excitement while you plan. Try to approach this trip like a school dance. What is the theme? Start with that and it should all fall into place.
For instance, say you’re trying to impress your foodie friend who thinks the Parks are all hot dogs and popcorn. Get on top of a few good reservations from the start. Build your day around mealtime, weaving in some quality attractions while you wait for dinner time. Going for a party vibe with some close friends? Lay out the best locations for cocktails and direct everyone that way. Don’t forget that even though the Magic Kingdom is half-dry, you can always hop a boat or monorail to multiple destinations around the Seven Seas Lagoon!
About those attractions: everybody has a favorite and it might not be possible to visit them all, depending on your plans. Settle on some clear expectations as to must-rides and maybes. Discuss how long you might be willing to wait in lines if you can’t snag a fast pass. Are you all willing to invest in Max Pass? How park-hoppy is your group? Don’t forget to include those in your group who might enjoy some time away from the crowds, too. Some pool time or a stroll through Downtown Disney or the Springs might be in order, especially if you have some shoppers amongst you.
Just like a giant family trip, it’s also worth talking about time lines. Are you going to marathon it, from rope drop to the Goodnight Kiss? Get that out in the open before you travel. You might be surprised who amongst your friends wants to emphasize the nightly fireworks over a quiet drink at the resort hotel lounge. Even Trader Sam’s isn’t for everybody!
It may sound like I’m emphasizing planning above all here. Come on. I work for a travel planner here. Of course I think plans are important! Maybe it’s my years of experience leading teams, but I think talking about wants and needs is pretty darn important. Even if you all you do is agree to show up at a park and go with the flow, that’s a plan worth making.
Your ConciEARS stand by, ready to help you with decisions like this. Consider arranging a big conference call and we can discuss the details together! No matter what kind of group you want to travel with, we are on board. Let’s get planning, folks!