Going to Disney in Jan- Magical Gatherings

Updated on September 15, 2009
A.C. asks from Barrington, NJ
14 answers

We're going on a family vaca in Jan 2010 with my husband, MIL and 2 dts (will be 3 1/2 and almost 2). Also going are my sister, BIL, and 4 y/o twin boys. And my other sister, BIL, 8 1/2 y/o son (with autism) and 7 y/o dtr. We are planning to stay in the park, but here is our dilemma: With so many people, we are wondering which is best to book for accomodations- rent adjoining hotel rooms (1 per family) with doors that open and hope for the best when it comes to sleeping (the cheapest version), but tight quarters. MIL does snore, however! Other option would be a much more expensive suite or apartment-style setting with several bedrooms for privacy and large central gathering area (living room, kitchen) which is good if we need our space & kids have room to run & play, but at least one couple would probably have to sleep on sofa bed (or put the kids there when we want to go to sleep). Am I missing another option? Money is a consideration of course, but I need my sleep for sure and would like to have a little room to spread out.
Other concern would be the amount of visual/auditory stimulation with my nephew- gets easily overwhelmed and I know the transition on the monorail/bus rides to parks everyday & crowds will be tough for him already & I don't want to make it worse.
I've beeen to WDW many times in the past but never w/a large group. Any ideas? Experience with the timeshares? Thanks Moms!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Rent a house outside of Disney instead. My co-worker is going in December with a large group of people (children included). The house has an enclosed pool, 5 bedrooms...Kissimmee Rental Company...They are paying $1000 for the week. Good luck!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Are you set on staying in the park? My husband's cousin has a house that is literally 5 minutes from Magic Kingdom (http://www.mickeysgetaway.com/). I only suggest this because we stayed there in January 2009 and had a really great experience. We had our then 15-month old with us, so we spent a decent amount of time at the house, as she would only nap in the crib (not in the stroller). That being said, it was nice to have a house, and not a tiny hotel room. Also, we ate breakfast & most dinners at home, and packed our lunch, saving tons of money on food in the park. Everyone had their own space, and we had our own heated pool. Even if this particular house doesn't work for your needs, you might consider something like this.



answers from Philadelphia on

Having planned many family vacations to WDW, I can't say enough good things about staying on property in suites or villas!

By staying on property with so many people, you qualify as a Grand Gathering and that gets you certain privileges like having a Disney specialist help plan your vacation, and the ability to book certain "special events". I highly recommend the Magical Fireworks Voyage and Sunrise Safari.
Definitely get the doctor's note for your nephew, for the reasons already listed.

As far as accommodations, there are a couple of places in particular that I'd recommend:

Disney’s Old Key West Villas are the largest villas on property and are very spread out. It’s a bit of an escape from “all things Disney” as there are lots of quiet areas and a few quiet pools that your family might enjoy. However, they are a bit far from the action of the 4 parks. If you want someplace closer to the heart of Disney, either the Boardwalk or Beach Club Villas would allow you to walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, only needing to take a bus to the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.

Also, there are family suites at the All Star Music resort, which are much more budget friendly than staying at a vacation club property. Perhaps a combination of suites and connecting rooms might meet your family’s needs.

Although, you need to remember that while Disney makes “every attempt” to meet room requests, they guarantee nothing as far as connecting and adjoining rooms. Also, it’s important to note that “connecting” and “adjoining” are words with two very different definitions to Disney.



answers from Erie on

This is not a comment on Disney, but I will offer a comment on a vacation we just took (with three generations) . . . We had booked a suite that we later found out could be rented as two separate rooms. The issue wuth this arrangement was that the doors between the "rooms" couldn't be opened from both sides if they were completely closed - there were two doors, each that opened from only one side. Since we didn't want to lock anyone out completely, we left them cracked open -which mean we had minimal privacy :( Just something to check before you go that route . . .



answers from Harrisburg on

Maybe having an autistic child changes this, but we've found when we go to Disney, we spend minimal time in our room so choose not to splurge there. By the time we got back to our room, everyone (me included) was so exhausted that someone else snoring was not an issue. Also, most of the Disney properties have huge grounds and you can walk around or go to one of their many pool when not at the parks so I wouldn't expect to spend much time in the room. I think the key is staying on the WDW property so you can take advantage of their transportation system and split up and some can return to the rooms to rest/sleep when tired without worrying about having to make the whole group go back.

Have fun!



answers from Philadelphia on

Rooms for 5 Guests or More

Room for the whole family!

Discover an array of spacious accommodations for parties with 5 or more people at Walt Disney World Resort.

Here are 4 great options:

Treehouse Villas at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Sleeps Up to 9
The Treehouse Villas at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa are stand-alone Disney Deluxe Villas nestled in natural forest glens just around the river bend from the bustling Downtown Disney Area. The 60 three-bedroom vacation homes—elevated 10 feet off the ground on pedestals and beams designed to blend into the lush wilderness environment—sleep 9 Guests and feature modern luxuries such as cathedral ceilings, granite countertops and flat-panel TVs. Scheduled to open summer 2009.

Deluxe Villa Resort Hotels – Sleeps Up to 8 Guests
Relish the roominess of Disney Deluxe Villa Resort Hotels, which include one and two-bedroom villas. Each two-bedroom villa sleeps up to 8 Guests and includes home-like amenities such as a full kitchen, a whirlpool tub, DVD player, washer and dryer. Choose from locations in 6 delightful Deluxe Villa Resort Hotels:

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
Disney's Beach Club Villas
Disney's BoardWalk Villas
Disney's Old Key West Resort
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas — Jambo House
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas — Kidani Village
The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Moderate Resort Hotel – Sleeps Up to 6 Guests
Spread out and relax in the home-style comfort at The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort! The spacious, secluded Wilderness Cabins sleep up to 6 Guests and feature more than 500 square feet of living, dining and sleeping area, as well as a private patio with BBQ grill and picnic table. The kitchen is fully equipped, but don't worry about the dishes—we'll do them for you!

Value Resort Hotel – Sleeps Up to 6 Guests
Enjoy a jazzy location at Disney's All-Star Music Resort, a Resort Hotel located near Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park. The Disney Resort Hotel's family suites, which sleep up to 6 Guests, have a separate bedroom, pull-out sofas in the living room, 2 bathrooms and a kitchenette.

Check availability for one of the locations described above, call us at ###-###-#### or contact your travel agent for rooms for 5 or more Guests. If you are under 18 years of age, you must have your parent or guardian's permission to call.

I copied this from the disney website. I like the campground the best. It would be less stimulating for the autistic child, and they have campfires, relaxing hay rides, you can get several cabins close together. Have a wonderful time! D.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My suggestion would be to get a written document from your nephews doctor with his diagnosis. This will quailfy him for a disability pass which wil allow up to 8 people to go right to the front of every line. It limits waiting completely. Also if he finds a ride that is soothing he can almost get right on it. Will also help out the other little people. We traveled in a large group and were able to all ride together on some and split into groups on others. The disney hotels can also offer some OT stuff, just let them know ahead of thime. This pass will also allow you entry into specially designated areas for parade routes and some specialty seating at resteraunts. Your AAA card will also save you 10% off any purchase you make. We had a BLAST and I hope your trip goes well!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I've not gone to Disney yet, but I just wanted to mention that having a private house might allow some quiet "down" time options for your nephew and a bedroom he can get comfortable with....



answers from Philadelphia on

Yeah Disney! We LOVE Disney! We are Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members so we stay at the DVC villas.

With this many people I would avoid the Value Resorts - they can be very overwhelming as the crowds are always great. They can also be very overstimulating.

Moderates offer some suites which may work well for your group but if you are determined to stay on property (which has many advantages - free transportation from airport & around property being the most obvious) I would try to go with renting someone's points for Villa accomodations. The rack rates are outrageous but you can usually find points for rent for anywhere between $8-11 each...lots of people are forgoing a vacation and are happy to do a contract to rent their points for the year. Go to DISboards.com, and check out the "DVC Rent/Trade" board there to see if you can make a match.

Finally, I have also stayed at an off-property rental home which was fabulous. We had a 15-passenger van and traveled together everywhere so it worked well for saving on parking and whatnot but if you are not planning to have a vehicle - on-property is the only way to go. All the best and feel free to contact me directly if you have specific questions.

Happy planning!
- J. :)



answers from Philadelphia on

I've been to Disney with In-Laws as well. Not as many people though. The last trip there were 10 of us. My husband, my 3 kids (14,8,1), MIL, FIL, BIL, SIL, and their 1 year old. We did Disneyland this summer. It's ALWAYS nice to have a kitchen and laundry in your room, especially with kids. It's also nice to be able to "get away" from people. This past trip, my MIL and FIL had their own room. The rest of us were in a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom place. There was plenty of room and grandparents were close by, but not too close.
We've also done Disneyworld many times. My MIL and FIL have Disney timeshare. We stay at the Boardwalk and LOVE it! Last summer both babies were 4 months old. It would've been nice to have more room, but it was do-able. My family stayed in studio room (bed, pull-out sofa, mini fride, coffemaker, microwave). All of the in-laws stayed in a 1 bedroom with pull-out sofa. Kind of tight with 2 adults and an infant sleeping in the living room. I know there are some nice places with multiple bedrooms there. We once spent a night at Old Key West. Very roomy, but probably pricey. I was actually just looking up some prices today to see if we could swing ever going on our own. (In-laws pay most of the $) You could always get rooms near each other. That way you can be close, but not too close. Trust me, by the end of the vacation, you will be tired of them.
Good luck, do some searching on the Disney site to see what's available. They do have some suites in the lower priced resorts.



answers from Philadelphia on

Your trip sounds fun!!!! I don't have any experience with the facilities and am not sure if Disneyland does this but I know that there are some parks that give accommodations for the long lines at the park for children with special needs - some call it "fast pass". A lot of places now are more aware of children with disabilities and give free passes to families when they come to visit because they know that the children can't wait in long lines. You might want to call to see if they have such a program and if so what you need to do to get the passes. It might make the trip more enjoyable for everyone!



answers from Philadelphia on

I second the suggestion of renting a house. In addition to the extra room, kitchen and laundry facilities, many of the rental homes in that area also have private pools. The last time I was there, we rented a 4-BR, 3-BA house with private pool for around $800 for the whole week. Total, not per family. Try vacationrentals.com.



answers from Philadelphia on

I vote for getting a house, its more room plus with the kitchen and laundry facilities it will would be great with the amt of people and children that are going. It maybe a little more expensive in price but if you add up the hotel costs with meals. You will come out even or cheaper in the long run. Oh by the way I total agree that you will be tired of you in-laws and family by the end of the week so go with the house.


answers from Allentown on

My family goes to Disney every year and we have found the best is to rent a house. This way everyone has thier own space and we can cook some meals there instead of going out. Right now there are some really good deals in the Kissimmee, Clermont and Davenport area (like 20 minutes to Disney). Also for your nephew with autism, they will bring you to front of all the lines (for rides) with a Dr's note, my nephew also has autism.

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