Planning a Multigenerational Disney Vacation – Getting Ready to Go

We know that families take advantage of the summer time to take trips together and enjoy new experiences.

For some, the family vacation includes visiting far away family and for others it may be going somewhere new for an exciting adventure.

Families also like to travel together to places that are meant for fun, such as theme parks.

Families take vacations to create shared memories of doing activities everyone loves. These family trips are multigenerational with kids, adults and parents/grandparents — maybe even the family pet — jumping into the car and hitting the open road.

Well, maybe “jumping into the car” makes it sounds a bit easier than it is, especially with extended family.

One trip that many families look forward all year and plan and save up money to do is visiting the happiest place on earth and meeting Mickey and Minnie.

It is time to get ready because the trip is getting closer.

Planning for the Trip

The family decided that going to Disney is the travel experience they all want. The plan has been made, the date set, the hotel reservations are booked and the transportation determined.

Everyone will travel in a vehicle designed to carry eight passengers so there will be room to stretch out, carry the supplies and even the baby seat has room!

Here are a few other things that need to be done for a safe family trip:

  1. The vehicle has to have preventive maintenance for the long trip. It will need an oil change, tire pressure checked and rotated and any scheduled maintenance completed. We will check the windshield wipers and wiper fluid as well as other fluids to be sure that the drive will be safe.
  2. The family car will be cleaned inside and out so that everyone will be comfortable. The windows will be washed too so everyone will have a clear view especially the driver.
  3. We will check to be sure we have planned the route, have coins for any tolls and emergency supplies in case of a breakdown, such as flashlight, basic tools and jumper cables. There is a first aid kit in the car too.
  4. We need to plan for snacks or meals along the way. Everyone will be on a different eating schedule since the young ones need to eat more often and the older ones may need special types of foods or to avoid certain foods. Let’s go shopping and buy snacks, drinks, and foods for the hotel room too. Plan on storing them and keeping any cold foods cold.
  5. Because the family is going to Disney World, there will be many options for dining and activities. Now is the time to discuss what each person would like to do and even make reservations in the park or town for restaurants to stay on schedule. A little flexibility is fine and spontaneous adventure too, but some planning will make the trip more successful.
  6. The family can also purchase theme park tickets ahead of time and get their ‘magic bands’ so that quick entry into the park and any transportation systems within the park are handled smoothly.
  7. Investigating family activities that can be done outside of the theme park around town should be discussed and planned to fit into the park hopping days so that there is no confusion and everyone has a good experience.
  8. Let’s buy fresh sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, new clothes if needed, and tote bags to keep everything together. Are there supplies we need to carry into the park and how will we carry them – backpack, fanny pack or bag that can be stored in a locker? Does anyone need a swimsuit for the hotel pool?
  9. Do we have a stroller that can be used in the park or umbrellas? Do we need walkers or canes or other medical equipment? Will it all fit in the car?
  10. Do the seniors have their medications ready? How about pets medicine or vaccination record?
  11. Do we need a dog sitter at home or reservations for boarding for pets? Did we stop the paper and the mail yet? Can someone water the plants or check the house? Will we need to put the lights on timers to thwart criminals?

Packing Up the Bags

There are many things we need to remember to bring with us not just for fun but for health and safety too.

These are the things we need to pack:

  • Clothes, lightweight and quick drying as well as a jacket or sweater for cool areas.
  • Shoes – sneakers for the park, sandals for the pool
  • Hats, sunglasses
  • Swimsuit and cover-up
  • Phones and chargers
  • Cameras, games, batteries
  • Medications and needs for seniors
  • Toys, stroller, cups, diapers, wipes, bibs, and other baby supplies
  • Pet needs, water bowl, food, rabies tag, leash, bed, toy

If only we could remember to pack that one thing we always seem to forget!

Setting Up the Ground Rules

Because this is a multigenerational endeavor, we have to think of the needs of each one of the family members.

  • Do our senior loved ones need to stop every one or two hours to stretch their legs or go to the bathroom?
  • Does the baby need a diaper change in between the usual stops?
  • Will someone need to eat at an unusual time in order to take their medications?
  • Is there a particular temperature at which the car needs to be held in order to satisfy different people who may want it hot or cold? Is everyone properly prepared for a variation in temperature?
  • Does everyone like the family pet, who might be along for the ride, or would they prefer to be seated away from the pet for the duration?
  • Does the hotel accommodate the youngsters and seniors with amenities to meet their diverse needs?
  • Can we agree to the activities we all enjoy once we reach the Magic Kingdom or will we need to spend some time each day split up to be certain everyone gets a chance to do exactly what they dream of doing?
  • Have we planned in naptimes and sleep times and wake up times that are mutually agreeable? Once they are determined, will everyone comply so some aren’t left waiting around to get the day started?
  • Can we agree to disagree sometimes, to forgive and forget? Sometimes family vacations can be stressful for the family harmony.
  • Does one person love to shop and others just want to ride the rides while another just wants to see all the shows? Discuss how much time is going to be spent pleasing each person.

Making Memories Last

Being with the family, doing things together, having time to talk and getting opportunities to create memories are all major benefits of taking a family trip.

While every minute will not be joyous, most will be!

Be sure to capture the memories in photo, video or in your own hand. Create a video diary or photo album to savor these memories for years to come. It’s is so easy to do, with most of the family carrying smartphones.

Record the stories that come unbidden between your seniors and the younger kids. These are stories of a life well lived that will be worth remembering.

Drag out the albums, the photos, the videos and the stories at the next holiday family gathering. Everyone will enjoy reliving the fun times and sharing them with other family members when everyone gathers around the family dinner table.

We should live every day like it is a holiday, being thankful and spending time with family, and looking hopefully to the future. ~ Unknown

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”  ~ Michael J. Fox