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MouseStation 328 - Party of 23: Planning Large Group Trips

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On today's show, Mark talks about things to consider when planning trips for large groups. Mike was unavailable to record the show as he was busy becoming an uncle.

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Feature: Party of 23: Planning Large Group Trips

On today's show, Mark talks about things to consider when planning trips for large groups.

Mark started out by giving a little information about a trip for 23 people that he planned back in 1999.

The big key is communication. Include everyone in the discussions and big decisions like where to stay and where to have big group dinners. Set up a small web site, email list, or some other way to disseminate information and for everyone to discuss issues or questions. Stay flexible because things will change.

Relax - everything will be OK.

In planning lodging, figure out what will work best. Should everyone share a villa or multiple villas, or would it be better for everyone to have individual hotel rooms? If you're using a villa, are you staying at a DVC resort or off-site such as Advantage Vacation Homes?

If you're not having everyone travel via Disney's Magical Express and Disney buses, plan transportation. Everybody doesn't necessarily need their own vehicle. Share vehicles and give people lifts. Just make sure that everyone is accounted for when splitting up into multiple vehicles.

Don't force everyone to travel as a pack. Instead, plan a few group events and let everyone explore on their own, especially as the group grows. Have a handful of meals for everyone and make the rest optional. Don't forget the mass group photo opportunities. You can also schedule special group events through Disney's Grand Gatherings group at 407-934-7639. Pick a park of the day, and you can meet up for a meal or an attraction, or just run into other members of your group during the day. That keeps everyone from getting on each other's nerves over the course of the trip.

At the end of the day, everyone can hang out in the larger rooms of the villa (if in a villa) or a couple of rooms (make sure that you're not keeping kids awake.

Create stuff for everyone. Mark created a logo and had it printed on T-shirts of various sizes for everyone. It was mandatory for the photo opportunity and some of Mark's friends still wear the shirt occasionally, 10 years later. It's a lot easier to create T-shirts these days, with sites like CafePress and Zazzle. In addition to the T-shirts, goodie bags were given out to each family on the trip with autograph books and fat pens for the kids, the overall schedule and list of group events and so forth. You can do mouse ear hats, stickers or other stuff. It's great for people to have something to welcome them. Don't forget that those matching T-shirts are necessary for that group photo.


This is the logo that Mark designed for his group trip.

Share information that will help the group to prepare for the trip. Send people links to MousePlanet and other planning sites. Point out specific articles that you think will be informative. This will let everyone get excited about the trip and to better set their expectations.

In the end, just relax - you can't control everything so don't let it drive you crazy. Enjoy the trip. Take care of the big things and don't sweat the small stuff. Have a loose plan and be flexible.

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).