How to Plan a Family Reunion at Disneyland

Posted By Kimberly on Apr 23, 2018


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Hi everyone,

It’s Kimberly with Get Away Today, here to talk to you about how to plan a family reunion at Disneyland. While this might seem overwhelming at first, the phrase “the more the merrier” can come true while you’re at The Happiest Place on Earth. This is why I’ve created a guide filled with expert tips to show you how to plan a family reunion at Disneyland.

It's a Small World exterior at Disneyland with text: How to Plan a Family Reunion at Disneyland

Pick a Date

The hardest part of planning a family reunion at Disneyland is finding a date that works for everyone. With school schedules, dance recitals, baseball practice and work meetings, it can seem impossible to plan a vacation.

There are tools that can help make things easier. I recommend the free Doodle scheduling tool at doodle.com. Simply invite family members and have them fill out the dates that they are available. Doodle is available as a mobile app too, which makes it even easier. Once everyone has responded, you’ll be able to see dates in an organized way.

Disneyland entrance - How to plan a family reunion at Disneyland

Make Hotel Reservations

Next, make hotel reservations for your group as soon as possible. Disneyland is busy year-round, so the earlier you can book, the better! Plus, you can always take advantage of Get Away Today’s Layaway Plan to book your vacation package for just $125 down per room.

Get Away Today can reserve rooms up to a year in advance, so Layaway is the perfect option for families who want the flexibility of paying for their vacation over a long period of time. The best part? It only costs a $50 non-refundable fee per package. You don’t have to worry about interest – all we ask is that everything is paid off at least two-weeks before your check-in date.

If you’re not sure what hotel to choose, no worries! We work with dozens of hotels in the Anaheim area ranging from value to deluxe, and our team visits them every year, so we can help find the best one for your family and budget.

In order to save the most money possible, I would recommend staying at a hotel that offers either a One or Two-Bedroom Suite. These suites typically include accommodations for up to eight people, so if you split the hotel room between two families, or one large family it usually is less expensive.

If privacy is more your thing, you can always stay in your own room, or even at a different hotel that fits your family’s needs. Every family’s budget and preferences are different, so don’t be afraid to stay somewhere else and meet up with everyone at Disneyland.

Whatever hotel you decide to stay at, make sure it includes as many free amenities as possible. Hotels that offer free breakfast, free parking and even a free shuttle is a great money saving tip for your family reunion at Disneyland.

monte cristo sandwich at Cafe Orleans at Disneyland - family reunion at Disneyland

Schedule Meals    

While it’s unlikely that you’ll eat every single meal together, plan to meet up for at least two or three meals in the park. Depending on your budget, you can make reservations anywhere from a Disneyland Quick Service restaurant to a Deluxe Dining experience. Make sure the restaurant you choose has a big enough space for everyone. Because of this, I’ve listed restaurants below that would be great for family gatherings at the Disneyland Resort:

Disneyland Park

Value:

  • Carnation Café (Reservations can be made in advance)
  • French Market
  • The Golden Horseshoe
  • Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante

Moderate:

  • Cafe Orleans (Reservations can be made in advance)
  • Plaza Inn (Reservations can be made in advance)
  • River Belle Terrace (Reservations can be made in advance)

Deluxe:

  • Blue Bayou
  • Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience

Disney’s California Adventure

Value:

  • Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta
  • Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill
  • Flo’s V8 Café
  • Lucky Fortune Cookery
  • Pacific Wharf Café
  • Smokejumpers Grill

Moderate:

  • Carthay Circle Lounge
  • Alfresco Tasting Terrace

Deluxe:

  • Carthay Circle Restaurant (Reservations can be made in advance)
  • Wine Country Trattoria (Reservations can be made in advance)

Downtown Disney

  • Catal Restaurant
  • La Brea Bakery Café
  • Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria
  • Rainforest Cafe
  • Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
  • Tortilla Jo’s

You also might want to consider doing a Character Dining or a Dining Package for your family reunion at Disneyland. You can reserve dining and dessert packages for entertainment like World of Color, Fantasmic!, Frozen and more. Plus if you’re planning on traveling between April 13th – September 3rd, 2018, you can reserve dining packages for Paint the Night Parade. Not only do dining packages make your vacation even more magical, but you’ll be able to get premium seating for the show.

Character Dining is also a great option for family gatherings, especially for families with small children. Even though Character Dining experiences can be pricey, it’s important to remember that they are all-you-can-eat buffets. Each restaurant includes a wide variety of meats, sides and desserts. Plus, they even have special menu items for children, to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

Big Thunder Mountain coaster at Disneyland - family reunion at Disneyland

Plan Activities

Since you’re at Disneyland together as a family, make sure you spend time as one! Because of varying ages and ride preferences, you might not be able to ride every attraction together. However, plan a few rides to meet up at throughout the day to check-in at.

Luckily, there are attractions at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure that are big enough to hold a large group. That way, you can experience some of your favorite rides with your favorite people. Some attractions to consider include

  • Pirates of the Caribbean,
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage,
  • Grizzly River Run,
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!,
  • “It’s a small world”,
  • Indiana Jones Adventure,
  • Jungle Cruise,
  • Star Tours,
  • Splash Mountain
  • Soarin’ Around the World

Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disneyland - family reunion at Disneyland

Have FUN

Although planning a family reunion at Disneyland can be a big job, the memories you make will be totally worth it. A great way to capture all of the fun you’ll have is to invest in Disney’s MaxPass.

MaxPass has many benefits, but the one I want to highlight is Disney PhotoPass. Instead of purchasing PhotoPass directly through Disney, have at least one person purchase MaxPass each day. For just $10, you can download all of the Disney PhotoPass photos that your family takes that day. Meet at popular photo spots like the Disneyland entrance, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle or Buena Vista Street to get professional group photos with your entire family.

If you’re thinking about booking a Disneyland vacation, check out our Disneyland packages at getawaytoday.com or call any of our reservation agents at 855-GET-AWAY. Not only will our travel experts provide you with exceptional service, but we will always guarantee you get the best deal.

Save $10 on any Southern California vacation package at Get Away Today when you use Tips for Family Trips’ exclusive coupon code: Tips10Trips.


Read more about our partnership with Get Away Today here.

Kimberly works at Get Away Today Vacations and is an expert on Disneyland and Southern California vacations for families. She also has three young children, so she knows first-hand what families need to know to make the most of any Southern California trip.

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