Large group activities

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alicemouse's picture
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Joined: 10/22/2013
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Large group activities

Every year, a gymnastics meet called the Presidential Classic is hosted at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Since my boss is the Disney-hating sort, I just assumed that my team was never going to go to that meet. Well wouldn't ya know, we're going in 2016!

Now of course since my boss doesn't "get" Disney, she's reached out to me to try to plan the trip. It's going to be interesting because she is dead set on the team being together as much as possible. She wanted us to fly together--all approximately 90 of our kids, parents, and coaches. On Southwest, that's half of a plane. Today we got into a minor "discussion" because I was trying to explain to her that we can't "block" rooms like we would at a regular hotel. So as you can see, I've got an uphill battle to wage.

OH--and the meet happens over President's Day weekend, which happens to be the weekend before the Princess Half Marathon. Flights and rooms are outrageous and it's gonna be PACKED!

In an effort to appease her, I want to offer up some idea for things that we CAN try to meet up and do together, so I'm looking to my friends to help me beef up this list a little bit. So far I've got:

High Capacity Attractions - Ellen's Energy Adventure, Carousel of Progress (I feel like the kids would not probably enjoy either of these), Mickey's Philharmagic, walk though Pangani Forrest or Maharajah Jungle Trek.

We could also organize a group to "go left" at MK one morning. We could probably get a fairly large group through Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder, and Haunted Mansion before the park gets super crazy.

Shows - Flights of Wonder, Indiana Jones (we don't have a closure date yet, right?), Fantasmic, Beauty and the Beast. I would LOVE to do Festival of the Lion King since we're taking a group of gymnasts, but I feel like the likelihood that I'll get 90 people to be able to book FP for the same show is rather small and there's no way I'm getting 90 people in on standby.

Food - I feel like the All-Star Sports food court is the best venue to handle that many people. The only other places I could see working for a lunch meet-up are Sunshine Seasons, Cosmic Rays, or maybe ABC Commissary. Even then, until everyone gets through the line, the first people will be finished. There's no way we're getting table service anywhere for even half or a quarter of the group. We're less than 5 months out.

Has anyone done any other special events that are high capacity? What's the largest Wishes cruise you've ever been on? Does anyone have any other ideas? I feel like it would be obnoxious to crash Chip & Dales Campfire with that many people. I think it would be nice to have a park meet-up activity and a non-park meet-up activity.

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

crazycatperson's picture
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Have you considered contacting a travel agent in South America and asking how those huge South American tour groups manage? I'm actually not joking. I have no clue how you would keep a group that huge together.

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Joined: 03/22/2014
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Yikes! 15 would be a large group to keep together, let alone 90! You have a challenge on your hands (explaining to your boss how it all works and doesn't work AND coming up with ideas.)

I personally would call Disney and talk to a CM. They must have ideas on what could accommodate that many people. Just picturing 90 people all together at WDW makes my head spin. Meals seems like the best place to try and I think dining halls sound like the best idea.

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Nyxess's picture
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Any of the shows type rides should be able to handle your group - though I know they're not the most exciting for kids (O'Canada, Impressions de France, Hall of Presidents, etc.).

Understanding that it's not ideal, it's probably best to split the group up into more manageable sizes. Possibly three groups of 30 - that way it'll be a bit easier to keep an eye on everyone when you're doing rides where you can't all ride together. Plan a few meet-ups during the day for the rides or restaurants that can accommodate everyone, but don't get so hung up on trying to herd 90 people through everything together.

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NikkiMouse's picture
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I agree with what has already been said here. I also agree calling a CM would be a great starting point, but I just do not see how it would be possible with such a large group, other than meals maybe, to really get around. We met up with SIL and her family last year bringing us to a grand total of 8 and by the end of the first day we agreed that staying together was impractical. So we meet for some pictures during the day and ate breakfast together every day to catch up.

I think your best bet after contacting a CM is to really explain to your boss the logistics of getting such a large group through the parks together and how breaking up into smaller groups would make the trip better for everyone.

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AnnielovesDisney's picture
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I am thinking about this in terms of a teacher and I would never take that many children to WDW and keep them in a group that large. Aside from the logistical nightmare of keeping that many people together, I would be concerned about safety issues for the children in a group that big. I lose my DH for a few seconds all the time in the parks. He steps out of the way of a stroller or waits for an EVC, and I don't realize it and I keep walking. In a group that large, it would be SO easy to lose a girl and not realize it. If you have any "Helicopter Mothers" in your group of children, I'm certain they would not be happy with a group that large for several reasons.

Maybe if you could get your boss to understand that 90 people staying together at all times at WDW is a safety issue, she might be more willing to let you separate into safer and more manageable groups. If she relents you could set up 4 groups of 22. You could choose 4 moms that are willing and able to be group leaders and they could set up FP+ times 60 days out for their group of 22. 22 would still be difficult to manage, but not impossible. You could all meet up at designated times if your boss insists on it.

I know you "get it" but I think unless you can get your boss to understand that 90 won't work, you're going to have some disappointed children and mothers on your hands.

Good Luck!

alicemouse's picture
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The 90 people are parents, kids, and coaches. We're talking around 30 kids and the rest are adults. I tried googling a South American travel agent, but no matter how I worded it, I got travel agents specializing in South American travels.

We used to go to a National competition every year, but we've stopped going because attendance at the event is starting to dwindle. So we're doing a destination travel meet each year to replace it. At the national competitions, we would always have some sort of opening ceremony and a group activity that followed. When we hosted Nationals here, we had our opening ceremony at the Hershey Arena and then everyone went to Hershey Park. When the meet was in Toledo, we went to a Mud Hens game. In Savannah we had a picnic at a local park. So that's the kind of thing that the boss has in her head from past experiences.

There's no way that we're going to be able to stay completely together going through a park, but we could work out a meet-up at a high capacity attraction or show without too much of an issue. I think Fantasmic is probably the best thing. It's got tons of capacity and it's something that the kids will enjoy. And if we go early enough, it's fairly easy to get seats. It would be really cool to get a reserved spot for IllumiNations or Wishes, but I'm sure that would involve an extra fee.

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

alicemouse's picture
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*facepalm* so my boss wants us to try to stay together long enough at rope drop to try to do Jungle Cruise and Pirates on a crowd level 6 day. We have 38 families confirmed so far. This is going to be interesting...

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

ScottFL's picture
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Joined: 01/28/2014
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Call Disney. This is not the first large group they've experienced - why re-invent the wheel?

alicemouse's picture
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Here's a first. I called Disney about what we could do with a large group. A coordinator was supposed to get in touch with me and I've heard...nothing. It's been 4 days. Very strange.

We are now up to 68 families + 6 coaches and thankfully, registration is now closed. Fortunately, not everyone will get theme park tickets, so our group on Thursday won't actually be 150-200 people...EEK.

__________________

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

Find me on Facebook

Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

MrHub's picture
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Joined: 10/29/2009
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I can see it taking a while to get back to you. Just imagine the amount of people that call Disney about the same thing. Now I wouldn't think it would hurt to call again just to double check that your name got put on some sort of list for someone to call.

X-busman's picture
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WDW Park Events CM here. The link below may get you started or call 407-827-5079.
Private message me if you have any specific questions.

WDW Park Events

Kristen K.'s picture
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I think crashing the Ft. Wilderness Campfire would actually work, there's a lot of space there if I remember. Is everyone staying at one hotel or will you be at several? I was going to say a movie float-in might be fun.

Just a quick note on the group ride-a-long, they are a blast and waiting in line is always fun with friends. Unless of course your large group fits everyone into boats except for the last family. I've been that last family that got separated and it sort of sucked. Make sure that whoever is "hosting" the ride-a-long is one of the last people to board the attraction so that whoever is at the end has some company.

Be sure to have a meet-up in front of the Castle for a group picture!