How to do Disney with a large family and not break the bank  

Part one in a series of how to do Disney as a large family

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I grew up on Disney. My Dad was a weather man on TV in Florida and we were only about two and a half hours from ‘the happiest place on earth’ so we went quite often. Disney has a lot of nostalgia for me. From the cool air that you feel as you get closer and closer to the front of the line on water rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain to the spookiness of the haunted mansion looming at the back of liberty square on a breezy night. Well that was then and this is now and six kids later it’s a little hard to come up with the cash for a yearly visit. But just recently we did it! We pinched and saved and put in extra hours and we took the kids, all six of them, to Disney! And surprisingly with two double strollers, one teenager, two moody toddlers (who are under the impression they are princesses), two rambunctious boys, and a 9 month old it actually went great!! So great that three weeks later the lot of them are plotting how they can sell their toys and clothes and get back! We learned a few things on the trip. First of all staying on disney property is well worth it! We drove there, parked our car and didn’t have to step foot behind the drivers seat until we left six days later. I did a little investigating and found that the cheapest way to stay at Disney is either camping out (which I’m not against but wasn’t quite ready to do with a nine month old) or getting two adjoining rooms at a value resort. We have tried all three all star resorts. The pool at the all star movies resort is amazing. Even the look of the kiddie pool is pretty impressive compared to the other all star resorts.Although it helps to remember that this resort is the most popular of the three so it will always be slightly higher in cost than the all star sports or music resorts. The secondary pool at this resort is the mighty ducks pool. Nothing special, just a hockey themed pool. The music resort has a comparably great pool (I mean it’s not ‘sorcerer Mickey shooting out three sprays of water’ cool like the movies resort,but it’s good). The all stars music pool has three characters in the center of the guitar shaped main pool. Two of the characters spray water at passerbys. There is also an adjacent kiddie pool. The secondary pool at this resort is shaped like a piano but other than that no frills. It does have a cute Ariel statue that makes for a great photo op. all star sports character pool isn’t quite as visually impressive unless you just really like sports/baseball. The baseball diamond shaped pool has just one character who sprays water in the center. The main pool at the sports resort has a cool wavy shape to it and is surrounded by surfboards but for little ones the lack of characters might be a little disappointing compared to the others. And no getting sprayed for youngsters at this one either.The art of animation resort and the pop century resort are also value resorts but on the higher end cost wise of the five value resorts Disney offers. We have 8 in our family and you can technically get 10 people in your two adjoining rooms at the all star resort as long as 2 of those 10 people are under 3. Each room can have 4 occupants and one guest under 3, so five total per room. So we had grandparents join us on the trip and stay with us and still stayed within the occupancy limits. As the kids get older we won’t be able to do that and Mimi and Papa will be out of luck and booking their own room but it was nice this once. I’ll try to write a little each day about the tips and tricks I’ve learned in making a disney trip go just a little bit smoother with so many littles in tow. I came home with a feeling of ‘Wow, that actually went better than expected’ and it was as near perfect as you can get considering the age and number of kids. There are a few things I would do different next time and I’ll definitely be sharing those as well in the days to come. Planning the trip was almost as much fun as going so before I start planning again I’ll spend a little bit of time writing about it to feed my Disney appetite. Who am I kidding, it’s insatiable!!

Author: Heather Snyder

I'm a stay at home mom of six kids (ages: under 1,2,4,7,8,and 14). I love helping out with the local children's theater. I live on coffee (and when I say coffee I mean milk and sugar with a shot of espresso). I love writing. I grew up in Jacksonville,Florida but I now reside with my husband of 10 years in Greer, SC just outside of Greenville. I miss Florida and miss seeing the ocean. I am a huge fan of Disney! Some of my fondest memories of growing up are days spent at the Magic Kingdom with my family and so I decided to share that love of all things Disney and add a pinch of my knowledge of what's it's like to have a big family on vacation and a dash of living on a one-income budget and write it all out to help as you plan your own magical Disney vacation for you and your big family.

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