Last month, my whole family packed up and headed to Disney World.

I always thought I had a fairly small family until we all rolled into the Art of Animation Resort’s lobby, pulling suitcases and kids behind us. It was the three of us plus my parents, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my brother, his wife and his three girls.

That’s 10 adults and 4 kids, in case you lost count. It’s a small family but a big group, you know?

We were there in honor of my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, which is so awesome and yet slightly unfair considering they were the ones funding most of the trip. (Hey, thanks and Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!)

Anyway, the trip. Was all kinds of amazing. Thus, I feel it my duty to offer you my very best advice on navigating such a trip with a young one/multiple young ones.

How to make the Magic Kingdom extra magical with littles

DisneyTips

1. Stay someplace awesome. We stayed in the Nemo wing of the Art of Animation Resort, which was great because it was located front and center of the resort, putting it closest in proximity to the lobby, the gift shop, the cafeteria and the resort’s largest pool (i.e., the least amount of walking at the end of the day).

Also? Our whole room looked like this:

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One cannot possibly dwell on the fact that one’s feet feel like they are about to fall off when one is sitting in a room room where the lights look like bubbles and the headboards are painted with fish. It’s psychologically impossible.

2. Get the cheesy group T-shirts. If you’re not sure how 10 independent, opinionated adults are going to mesh for days on end, just buy them all matching family T-shirts. The camaraderie we felt wearing shirts that proclaimed our family was “celebrating 35 magical years” – and the shouts of congratulations we got along the way – made us grin and pose for several (hundred) photos.

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My parents and all their grandkids.

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My grandparents and all their great-grandkids.

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My uncle and aunt.

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Me and my youngest niece, Kyleigh, anxiously awaiting the magic carpet ride.

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One of the best moments of the trip: Looking ahead of me and seeing a sea of blue shirts and thumbs up. Love, love, love.

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Mike and our middle niece, Kaitlyn. (The kids had matching Mickey shirts that color-coordinated with the adults’ shirts.)

3. Decide what is really important to you. Let the rest go.

What was important for us was that Ryan had fun and made a couple of lasting memories.

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Like riding the Dumbo ride a half a dozen times because it was his absolute favorite.

Also? Mickey ice cream bars = very important.

Also, Mickey ice cream bars? So important for a successful Disney trip, as far as my dad, my brother and I are concerned. While the rest of the family was licking some boring vanilla cones, we snuck off for this must-have treat. SUCKERS.

These are vital to a successful Disney trip, as far as my dad, my brother and I are concerned. While the rest of the family was licking some boring vanilla cones, we snuck off for this must-have treat. SUCKERS.

And, of course, an epic group picture of the kids is a goal of any outing. We got a few good ones.

Pretty sure they weren't supposed to be wet.

Pretty sure they weren’t supposed to be wet.

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Don’t worry. If it falls, they’ve totally got it under control.

Just 7 months apart and could be twins from behind.

Unprompted hand-holding makes me swoon. Just 7 months apart and could be twins from behind.

4. Don’t push it. We recognized that Ryan is a mere three-and-a-half years old. He’s not built to walk the Magic Kingdom/Epcot all day long for four straight days. We paced ourselves, we did half days at the park whenever possible and we got back to the hotel (see also: #1 Stay Someplace Awesome) with plenty of time left for this sort of stuff:

Splash pad

Splash pad

Pool

Pool

Playground

Playground

Random resort tours with Mom and Dad the allow for family photos on the top of Cars movie props.

Random resort walks with Mom and Dad to take family photos on top of Cars movie props.

The whole trip was … well, magical. Naturally.

2 Responses to The time 10 adults and 4 kids went to Disney World.

  1. Jaclyn says:

    I WANT TO GO TO DISNEY.

    Also, that hand-holding picture is the bee’s knees. I don’t often find situations where that cliche is appropriate, but in this case, it absolutely is.

    • Um, I am loving that you said “the bee’s knees.” It’s awesome in an innocent 1950s sort of way. ;) Also, you should take Jeff to Disney. Have you ever been there? It is so fun for couples. Especially Epcot. Walking through all the countries is really cool (and not very kid-friendly, which is why we skipped it this time).

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