A multigenerational trip is a chance to get together the whole family, bonding over travel, and creating shared memories. We have done many of them since our kids were young and, still, even now as teenagers. Our multigenerational travels have taken us, skiing the mountains of Colorado, zip-lining down a volcano in Costa Rica, swimming and rock scrambling deep in a cave while searching out Mayan sacrifices in Belize, jeep safaris in the Ramon Crater of Israel, discovering the dense jungle of the Amazon in Peru and then heading to high heights at Machu Picchu. We have been fortunate to have grandparents that were able to handle all of these adventures but are aware not all generations or all families can.
When creating a multigenerational trip, there are many things to take into consideration. You must consider the trip type to accommodate all that are traveling. If the grandkids are toddlers, then perhaps hiking through a jungle in heat and rain is not going to be the best idea. Perhaps the grandparents are older or have underlying conditions, then a multi-destination, i.e. traveling to many different locations within the whole vacation, would be too taxing and wear out the grandparents. You also should consider putting one person in charge to develop the itinerary as with many planners come many different opinions.
The one multigenerational trip that has been a constant in our lives is Disney World. I happen to have a dad who is a closeted Disney fanatic. He’ll never come right out and say it, but every year and half he gets the itch and wants to go. At one point, he even thought about retiring there to become a cast member but my mom, his wife, gave a firm “no” to that. He scratches his Disney itch by bringing us all to Disney for a great multigenerational trip.
Every time we have gone to Disney with the entire family, it has been a great success with great memories. Our approach is to reduce or eliminate stress. By staying in the parks, we all know what to expect and it essentially becomes an all-inclusive experience. Disney also offers all types of special events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, or Star Wars, A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party: A Full Review, these let you create special event memories. Disney also offers upgraded services like Disney VIP Tour Service at an extra cost.
Sometimes, we split up during the day and come back together later as a family. There are many reasons why Disney is a great place with the extended family; after all, it is the happiest place on earth.
Getting to Orlando is relatively simple if you are flying in the USA. There are many direct flights with the airport allowing many flights in and out throughout the day. Flights tend to be less expensive flying to Orlando on airlines like Spirit, Frontier, Jet Blue, Southwest, and lately American Airlines. If family members are flying from different locations throughout the country, Orlando tends to be an easy destination for all parties involved to get to. We do fly from different hubs but have always managed to coordinate our arrival (given flights run on time), around the same time.
If you booked a Disney World family vacation package and are staying on site, Disney provides free bus service to and from the Disney properties on the Magical Express bus. Disney will even pick up your luggage at the Orlando airport, bring it to the hotel and put it in your room when the room becomes available. Leaving you with worry-free hassle of waiting for the luggage and then dragging it to the bus. The convenience and excitement of all being together on the Magical Express is a smooth transition to the start of your multigenerational trip.
If you don’t want to take the Magical Express bus provided by Disney, there are plenty other options like Mears, UBER/LYFT, and private car services. However, with these services, you will have to get your luggage from the baggage claim and take it to the hotel yourself.
On Disney Property Hotels
Staying on property at Disney is a convenient way to all be together yet have your time to yourselves when needed. Disney offers hotels on property for all budgets. Disney World family vacation packages gives you the option of staying in a villa, which have 1-3 bedrooms, all together or traditional hotel rooms. Disney property hotels also offer transportation to and from the parks all day. If you are traveling with a young kid and they need to leave to take a nap, a parent or grandparent can take the kid while you stay in the parks with the rest of the family.
We have loved staying on property as it gives us the perks of Extra Magic Hours. Extra Magic Hours are times when the parks open early only for guests staying on property. Perhaps the grandparents are early risers along with the young kids, and the parent/s need just a little more time to get ready. The grandparents can leave early for the Extra Magic Hours with the grandkids, while the parent/s take a moment to breathe, organize, and get ready.
Another perk is the ability to make dining reservations in advance to your stay. You can get better options of eating together at one of the many restaurants in Disney. Same goes for FastPasses. You can make ride reservations in advance, giving your family the chance to ride three Disney rides per day at one park without waiting in line.
Disney has something for every age. Our kids have forced their grandparents to ride the more thrilling rides like Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios while also delighting at classic rides like It’s a Small World. Throughout the day, there are various parades for the multigenerational group to enjoy and then discuss their favorite part after it is over.
Character meet-and-greets are a great way to get family portraits, maybe a photo in front of Cinderella’s castle in Magic Kingdom, or a photo together in EPCOT. We have done tons through the years. The cast members will even take pictures with your phones, so you can share it with the family immediately and post it to your social media app of choice.
Disney World ends their evenings with shows or fireworks. These can be late at night but are definitely worth seeing. They may be late for some of the younger kids or older grandparents. This is a great time to split up and some leave while those who have the energy can stay and watch.
Disney has a great variety of dining options at all the parks and hotels. You can eat in Germany one night in EPCOT, while dining with Winnie the Pooh and friends another night in the Crystal Pavillion. You can even enjoy dinner with preferential seating to Fantasmic show in Hollywood Studios or River of Lights in Animal Kingdom. One way to make dining easy is to add dining to your Disney package. This way you don’t have to worry about paying while there or even splitting the check. Disney dining is essentially the equivalent of all -inclusive depending on the plan, although it does not include gratuities. The most popular plan allows for one quick-service (counter) meal and one table service meal per day along with two snacks. Depending on how you have booked your meals you may end up paying for breakfast. You can always use a snack credit for a quick breakfast bite.
If you have ever been to the parks, you will know how large they are. We have clocked nine to ten miles of walking in a day. This is great way to balance all the delicious treats you are eating, but for some (like grandparents or young kids), that’s a lot of walking. Disney offers additional ways to get around.
For the youngest of the multigenerational crew, you can rent strollers throughout Disney. However, you cannot bring Disney strollers from one park to another, or back to your hotel. Another option is using one of the many companies that rent strollers and deliver them right to your Disney hotel or home rental. These strollers stay with you your entire time you need it. The option that we’ve used is to bring our own.
Disney accommodates those travelers with mobility issues by allowing them to rent scooters right on site. The cast members at Disney are very accommodating to those on scooters and sometimes will park it for you. If you don’t want to rent a scooter through Disney, there are other companies off-site you can rent with.
At any age, Disney World is a great place to visit. It has some sort of magic for those of all ages, a perfect place to get the entire extended family together.
I love Disney and love sharing what I’ve learned. If you are planning your own trip, I can help. Check me out at alison-wishesandwizardstravelco or email me at alison@
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