How We Survived Walt Disney World With 14 Family Members in Tow

“If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you’ll be going, ‘you know,we’re alright. We are dang near royalty.” Jeff Foxworthy

O-k, so we weren’t at a state fair, but I was so proud of the way everyone in our family cooperated among the throngs of people at Walt Disney World during Christmas week 2008.

My Father-in-Law passed away in February of 2008, and we did not want to face the traditional Christmas at home with our new loss, so I suggested we forego the gifts to extended family, and pack everybody up and head to Walt Disney World for the week of Christmas. Everybody was thrilled! It was so awesome not to have to do all that extra shopping! We had 7 adults and 7 children, ages 10-20.

We caravaned down to Orlando, and shared 2 two-bedroom condos at Bonnet Creek Resort, where my husband and I own time. It worked out perfectly- we used our points for the accommodations, and each family bought their own park tickets, and we all split food. We cooked a big breakfast every morning, and ate together, then we all picked a park and headed out en mass! We took snacks and bottled water in backpacks, which is allowed, to cut down on the expense of eating on site. We usually ate a late lunch or an early supper, somewhere in the park at one of the less expensive places, and our snacks held us the rest of the time.

We stuck with the basic pass, because, only having a week, we dedicated a day per park, instead of hopping around. We actually all stayed together most of the time, and the park employees were happy to let us all ride the rides together in one big group. It was so much fun to have an entire roller coaster train, or, as the case at the Haunted Mansion’s Tower of Terror, an entire elevator car full of our family. While there were big crowds everyday, it was not miserable. We usually go in and head toward the back of the park, and, of course, utilize the Fast Pass immediately for our favorite attractions.

Christmas time at Disney is a very magical time, with all the beautiful decorations, and lights. We all became kids again, and shared so much laughter, smiles, hugs and yes, healing! I felt that my Father-in-Law was pleased that we were taking care of his life’s partner, and I believe he shared in much of the fun! We could not wait to get up every morning and go again. It was truly an incredible time of healing and bonding that we will never forget. We have decided to take a Christmas trip every other year, so It looks like 2010 will be the year. We are considering Universal Studios and Sea World. I can’t wait!

Here is a consensus of our favorite rides:

Rockin’ Roller Coaster
Expedition Everest
Space Mountain
Tower of Terror
Soarin’
Mission Space
Test Track
Kali River Rapids

Our favorite shows:

Fantasmic!!
Beauty and the Beast-even my burly brother-in-law loved this!
Indiana Jones Stunt Show
Lights, Motor, Action
Turtle Talk With Crush
It’s a Bug’s Life
The Muppit Show

O-k, O-k, I know I listed most of the rides, and shows, but really, everything we did was fun! I love Walt Disney World! Please share with us what your favorites are,  under comments.

Tamyra Nash
My Savvy Vacation
tamyra@mysavvyvacation.com