Friday, July 16, 2010

One, Two, Three, Four: Who Do You Bring?

When you're thinking about going on a Disney trip, one of the first things you usually have to know is how many people you'll have in your party.  And to know this, you'll have to know who you're going with.  From just yourself to your extended family, there's a huge range of the people you can bring, and there are pros and cons to each group.

Solo.  Firstly, you can go by yourself if you're comfortable doing so.  On the plus side, you can do, see, stay, and eat wherever you want.  You are the sole decision maker, so if you want to ride the TTA for an hour straight, go right ahead.  On the minus side, however, you may find some things lonely or awkward.  Taking a long solo trip may cause loneliness, but with your smartphone, you can find yourself staying connected with not only your family but with the whole Disney community.  Also, some may find it awkward to eat alone, especially at table service restaurants.  This can be remedied, however, by eating at bars of restaurants that have them.  You can often order off of the restaurant menu, and it's less awkward than getting a whole table.

As a couple.  Two's company, and if you want to keep your party small but not solo, going with a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/what have you is a great option.  It's less expensive to travel with just two people than a big group, and the Disney parks can be super romantic.  Having nice dinners and just spending time together will make any trip as a couple wonderful.  The only negative of going as a couple that I can think of is the jealousy that your family/friends will experience that you went without them!

With family.  Whether you're visiting with parents, kids, extended family, or some combination of all of them, the Disney parks are very magical as a family.  The family time can't be beat, and remember to take pictures to remember the time you spend together!  Some negatives, however, include a higher cost if you're the only one paying, and it can become hectic.  Especially if the different family members don't agree on touring strategies, you may find that the family time is less abundant than you had thought.  To remedy this, schedule at least one meal together each day.  You can discuss what you've done so far, and spend some time relaxing for an hour or two!

With friends.  If you have friends that enjoy Disney as well, more power to you!  Either bringing friends or meeting friends at the Disney parks can be a ton of fun.  You can hang out, and, especially if you're meeting them down there, there's no pressure to be together the entire time if you want to split up and do different things.  To meet a whole lot of friends at once, schedule a trip during a Disney meet-up, such as WDW Today's Reunion.  The only downside to going to Disney with friends is that, if you're bringing a friend from home, keep in mind that they might not be ready for commando touring.  Take it at their pace, especially if it's their first time down.

So those are your four options, and you can combine them all too!  I most often have visited with family, but we have also gone with friends a few times.  In August, my boyfriend and I are going as a couple, and though we've never met anyone from the Disney community down there yet, we'd love to!

Who do you bring/meet at the Disney parks?  How many are usually in your party?  Do you all stay together, or do you split up for a while?  Let me know in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!


  1. I have only ever gone with family, both as a kid and now with my wife and little girls. This fall I'll be going to Disneyland solo and I am looking forward to some of the freedoms I 'think' I'll have because I won't have children with me.

  2. I have never been to WDW with friends, so I can't comment on that one but it sounds fun!

    For years I only went to Disney World with my family and we had great times and fun memories. In 2007 my boyfriend and I went on our first WDW trip by ourselves, and I must admit that the two-person trip has been my favorite ever since. I realized how "commando" my family's Disney trips were when Rob and I were touring the parks alone. It was so much more relaxing to me because we could really take our time with everything and there were aspects of the parks I realized I had never before experienced! We were even able to spend an afternoon walking around other resorts as a break, which my family members consider a waste of your park time but we enjoyed it.

    As for my family trips, there are four of us (although in the past we used to bring grandparents as well). Since we are older now my sister and I can separate from my parents and go visit attractions while they rest or eat, or we can even leave the resort separately and meet up later. We've tried to take turns when it comes to picking what to do next, and this is great in theory. But if I pick Big Thunder Mountain, and then my sister chooses Space Mountain, and then Dad decides on Pirates, it can wind up being a bit obnoxious and we get tired quickly. Why we can't just leisurely work our way around the park, I don't know. But it's one of the many reasons that I think I prefer two-person trips, depending on who my travel buddy is.

    Gosh, this comment is long! I'm getting my first taste of solo WDW experience this fall during my CP. I won't be on a trip by myself, of course. But I look forward to wandering the parks by myself when I can!

  3. Scott, you'll have to let me know how going solo is different from going as a family.

    Anna, my family trips were opposite. Instead of touring commando, we'd arrive at the parks at 11 am, and we'd wait on lines all day and hardly ride anything. With just my boyfriend, we arrive early, use a touring plan, and ride everything we want.

  4. When I was younger it would be just my parents, my brother and I. Now (12 trips later) it is my parents, my brother, sister in law, nephew, my husband and my three kids. For our next trip, it will be one more with addition of my new nephew (I couldn't help mentioning that!). The best part is I am the Disney fanatic of the group, which means I get to plan the entire thing. Of course, I do take input from everyone when deciding dinners and such, but I then do all the planning and itinerary. Important for those travelling in large groups, it is always important to plan together time, but also time to yourself. Luckily, my parents will babysit, so it gives my husband and I a night out and we always plan one meal that is just us with our kids.

    Here is one tip when travelling with a large group/family. Synchronize your camera times as soon as you arrive in WDW. On our trip in 2008, my mom, sister in law and I took about 1000 photos. My sister in law lives in another time zone, and my mom's camera time was off by about 10 minutes from mine, so to organize them into one organized album took a lot of time!

  5. I've gone with many people a few times, it was always a little too hectic for me.

    I've also gone solo several times. It took some getting used to, especially with dining. After room service and quick serve the first couple of trips, I read an article about doing Disney solo and decided to try table service. It was great; the cast members always went out of their way to give the extra attention to me, from seating to service, and I was never self-conscious again. Having freedom to do what you want, when you want, is great.

    But of course, sharing WDW with my wife is my favorite. She hadn't been there since HS, and now we're days away from trip #3 together. She's loving all the things that I love about Disney, and I'm loving all those things all over again. It's great to point out all of the Imagineering to her that so often goes overlooked by 90% of the guests. She's becoming a pro!

  6. Elizabeth, wow, what a big group! And good tip!

    Sanford, it's great that you weren't self conscious at table service restaurants. And great that you're getting your wife into the magic!

  7. I've done all of those except for solo.

    As a family I've gone with my immediate family (5 of us) which was fun as a kid, and then every year since grade 9 my family has gone with about 3-6 other families of aunts and uncles and cousins. Not to Disney, but to Orlando... and on more than one occasion we all spent the day at a Disney park. I think the most was once we had 17 or 18 of us at the Magic Kingdom! Now, my parents like Disney, but there are a couple cousins and aunts and uncles that I wish never went with me to Disney... because now they can state their opinions about how horrible they think it is and make me feel horrible. Luckily I've inherited a "mother in law" (not legally... yet) who loves Disney World! That makes up for it a bit haha.

    I've also been with friends before, especially my best friend who is actually MORE into Disney than me if you can believe it. She goes solo all the time, but I've gone with just the two of us, with her and one other friend, and with a group of about 7 or 8 friends as well.

    Last March was the first that I've gone with just my boyfriend. I've been with just one other person before (my best friend) but like I said, she's even more an expert than me, so it's a bit different with my boyfriend. Although... in 3 weeks it will be our 4th time going together and we've only been dating 3 years so I'm sure I'll make him an expert in no time!

    I would for sure go solo, but I'm not comfortable driving all that way by myself and I'm afraid of flying so I won't do that alone either. I do have an annual pass this year though, so if there is time in Feb. when we're there and my bf wants to relax or golf, I'll gladly go by myself for the day!

  8. Angela, awesome! You've had so many experiences with different people!