Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Minnie Moms: Multi-Generation/Multi-Family Travel Part 2

Minnie Moms are back from summer vacation and ready to share our tips and memories with you. This month we are discussing traveling with multiple generations and/or multiple families. The more people you travel with the more you need to be organized and think through the needs of your group. The Minnie Moms have learned a thing or two about this topic...


Nine: I have learnt many things about travelling with family. I have been to Walt Disney World as a couple only, with just my in-laws and with my in-laws plus my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. I have yet to travel with both my in-laws and Tink to America, but we have had two family holidays to France. We will be all be going to Florida together in 2014. I'll draw on a mixture of both past experiences for this article.

So, what are my high-points of travelling with family? Two big ones spring to mind. For us, if we are travelling with my dear husband's (DH) parents, then they have paid for the trip, either in whole, or the vast majority. In fact our last trip over to Florida was courtesy of my father-in-law's 60th birthday treat and he financed the entire holiday. So this is obviously a massive plus point. Also, you have a built in babysitter. I don't even mean for luxuries such as going out for dinner on your own or anything, but just being able to have a shower in peace, which is something a parent of a toddler can only dream of, unless granny and grandad are there to help out. But since we're on the subject, why can't you also ask if you can have a date night whilst on your vacation? They look after the kiddos while you get to go somewhere like The California Grill or if you're really posh (or lucky), Victoria and Albert's, or while you head off to Downtown Disney for a movie. You can return the favour another night while they go out and you stay home with the little ones.

This also works well in the parks. You don't have to use the parent switch/child swap option and ride alone, you can leave kiddo and bags with the grandparents while you go off and ride Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and then vice versa if required. This is also a big help for the thrill rides in, ahem, that other well known park in Orlando, as you need to rent lockers for rucksacks, etc.

But the biggest bonus that I've personally experienced regarding travelling with my in-laws (who are just like another set of parents to me as we are really close), is just being together to share memories. We don't have to try to explain funny stories or magic moments to them when we get back, because we all experienced them together. They actually understand my Disney obsession and even fuel it by buying me little presents when they're over there to give me at a later date.

That being all said and done, there are some lows to travelling with family too. You may have already seen my piece about our last time in France, and the friction that was caused with decisions over nap times and routines etc. for my toddler.

Even without a kid it can be difficult when there are a lot of you to decide what you're doing and get ready. When we were last at WDW with my brother-in-law (BIL) and his girlfriend too, that meant there were 6 adults to get ready each morning. (Usually I would be the first and would be shooing everyone into the car but I was pregnant with Tink on that trip and struggled in the mornings.) My BIL and girlfriend are notoriously late for everything and there were several threats that holiday to leave them behind! One thing I have heard other families do is to actually hire 2 cars if you're in need of them. If we all go together in the future, and stay in and off-site villa again, this will definitely happen. If you're on-site and using Disney travel, then you may like to arrange to meet slower members of the party at a later time in the parks. We did split up a few times when we were in the parks too to all have some time in our own. DH and I had not done this before with his parents but his brother and girlfriend are both smokers and we seemed to stop every 5 minutes to find a smoking spot. This became a real bone of contention for me in particular, but I'm sure they were just as fed up with my constant restroom breaks (at least I had the pregnant excuse this time). Splitting up, even if just for an hour or so gives you some time to do exactly what you want.

We found that eating could be a problem when there were 6 of us. DH and I were used to eating quite early and had favourite spots from previous trips at WDW and around Orlando in general. However, again rallying up 6 of us to go out and then to all get served often meant we didn't get to eat until sometimes 2 hours after DH and I especially would have preferred. Also bear in mind if one of the party has any food issues/intolerances that this can cause a problem. Luckily for me, I'm the fussy one in our party being a strict vegetarian so I am the one kicking up a storm.

Another high or low point depending on which party you belong to, can be if you're used to being a follower or a leader. I'm lucky insofar as the family (rightfully) consider me to be the Disney expert and therefore the itinerary was completely up to me. Had this not have been the case, I would not have been happy following someone else around the parks. Don't get me wrong, I was open to suggestions and my 'touring plan' was not set in stone, but it would have been hard for me to not be in charge whilst at WDW.

For someone else, they may be just as happy that another member of the family as planned it all out, so they don't have to think of what to do, where to go, which show is on next, where to eat etc. It's all about personal preference.

But if I could some up multi generational travelling, to WDW or anywhere, then there is one very important word to remember - compromise!


Thanks to our regular contributor Janine for this post. Be sure to check out all of the stories and ideas from our Minnie Moms on this topic!

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