How many of you have ever thought of planning, or have already planned, a Magical Gathering at Walt Disney World? Sean and I have made countless trips to WDW by ourselves, and after our last trip, we decided we wanted to do a group trip. The last time the whole family really spent any significant time together (not including the one-off holidays like Thanksgiving) was at our wedding. So, we thought a trip to WDW would be great. We would all be together; there are lots of things to do to please everyone’s adventure level; there’s amazing food; it’ll be a new experience for most people; and most of all, it will create priceless memories.
We’ve realized, however, that planning this group trip is proving to be 10 times harder than planning our own wedding!!! Here’s why: A wedding is a must-attend event. You tell guests when to show up and on what date and that’s it. They will rearrange schedules and do whatever it takes to be there. A vacation, on the other hand, is a voluntary event. No one is obligated to come; and even though you are still spending time with the family and friends you love, for whatever reason, others don’t see it the same way.
Here’s the reality we’ve been dealing with the last few months:
People got really excited over the idea and a buzz began to brew within the family and our friends. Then, when it came down to actually planning the trip, people started making excuses. Here are some examples of what we’ve heard…
“It’s too hot” – Well, it IS Florida, and it’s not ALWAYS hot!
“There’s too much walking” – Well, OK, but there are benches and wheelchairs you can rent.
“I’ve already been there” – You go to the grocery store every week and don’t complain about that!
“There are too many kids” – Yeah, but there are a lot of kids at the local mall, too. What’s your point?
“I can’t take a full week off of work unless I know a year out” – Seriously? OK, then just spend a long weekend.
“I can’t afford it” – I can give a little slack here, but WDW is cheaper than you might think. AND, if you know a year out that we are going – and if you really want to go – you can start saving money now, or consider rooming with another family member and split the cost.
“I don’t like rides” – Ahem, they are called “attractions,” and WDW is not all about them. I’m not a thrill seeker either, but I love it there.
We’ve actually thought about cancelling because this is becoming more frustrating than fun, but we don’t want to give up. We KNOW people will have a great time; just getting them to see that is tricky.
We’re realistic. We know we probably won’t get everyone on board, seeing as though the age range of those invited is from 2-80 yrs old. That’s okay, but we went from sixteen people being interested to six people actually going … maybe. Four are definite, and two of those are us!! That’s a big difference!!
While this might seem like I’m venting (which I kind of am), we have learned some tricks so far that have been pretty useful:
- Use a survey website like Survey Monkey to create a survey that you can share with everyone in your group to gage interest
- Give as much detail as possible to help others make an informed decision: ticket pricing, events, resort prices, a range of activities that would appeal to a wide range of likes, etc.
- Give them few choices. For example, instead of asking what time of the year they would like to go, give them a smaller sample, such as a few months
- Send them Lou’s book “102 Ways to Save Money for and at Walt Disney World”
(Magical Gatherings ©Disney)
Do you guys have any advice for those planning a trip? What tips, tricks, or ideas do you have that might make this easier for us? Do you think we are fighting a losing battle and should just do a solo sweetheart trip, like we always do? Any help would be appreciated.
“New Yorkas” Felicia and Sean are avid Disney fans. Their first vacation as a couple was in Walt Disney World. They were engaged there, and also honeymooned there. After a combined 30 trips to the World, they are self-professed Disney travel agents and enjoy helping family and friends plan magical Disney vacations.