by Peter Hastings
So you’ve broken the “average” family barrier by becoming a family of more than four. It seems like almost everything today is made for families of four and once you add the next child and become a group of five or more, things just get harder. Booths at restaurants are made for four, cars seat four comfortably, the parent to kid ratio becomes disproportionate, heck even family vacation packages are usually geared for groups of four. So what is the impact to your Disney vacation? We recently ran into this scenario about four years ago when our third little one joined our family. Before that time, our quaint family of four had made trips to Disney fitting into the “normal” definition of a family. Now as a family of six, we have learned how to adjust and get the most out of our trips. In this series of blogs, we’ll take a look at different areas that change when that fifth member comes along including accommodations, attractions, dining and traveling and different strategies for managing the changes.
My first initial thought when we started planning our first Disney trip as a family of five was “where are we going to stay?”. Typical hotel rooms are meant for and have a capacity limit of four. Luckily, for new families of five, Disney provides you an easy option for the majority of their hotels. Children under the age of three can sleep in pack ‘n plays provided by Disney and not count against the four person maximum. This includes rooms from the values to deluxe resorts, although you may want to consider what having a pack n’ play in your room does to the real estate/floor space. For instance, on one of our trips we had a pack n play setup in a park view hotel room at the Grand Californian. We found the room to be a bit tight/small with five people, especially with the pack n play setup. If this is an option you think might work for your family, be sure to check out the room sizes at each of the resorts you are planning on staying.
The next option provided by Disney, is to look at resorts that have room types that will accommodate five or more regardless of age. Disney’s newest resort, the Art of Animation has new family suites that will allow up to six occupants.
There is a queen-size bed available, along with a double size sleeper sofa, and a table that converts into a double bed as well. This may be a pretty good option for families with small kids, but may be a bit tight as the kiddos get older. If you’d like to stay in a moderate, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside resort has some rooms available with two double beds and a small pull out trundle bed. The bed is only about 5 and ½ feet long, so take that into consideration when deciding which ‘little’ one might sleeping on it.If you’re looking for a bit more space, the cabins at Fort Wilderness also sleep 5, but this option is a lot different than standard hotel rooms.
You’re thinking to yourself, “Those may be ok options, but we’re planning on following the advice of preschoolears.com and working in rest periods back at the resort during the day. We’d like to actually be able to rest while we’re in our room instead of stepping on top of one another. What other options are there?” Insert here Disney’s Best Kept Secret, Disney Vacation Club Villas. In most of the Deluxe resorts, DVC villas are available that provide 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and Grand Villa accommodations. Some of the 1 bedroom units (at Bay Lake Tower, Animal Kingdom Villas, and Old Key West resort) will sleep 5 people more than comfortably thanks to a King size bed in the Master bedroom, a queen size pull out sofa in the living room and a twin sleeper chair in the family room. On our last trip to WDW, we stayed in a 1 bedroom unit at BLT and absolutely loved the space for our family of 5 at that time. There was plenty of sleeping space and the extra room, bathroom, kitchen and dining room made it seem more like a home. In addition, a child under 3 can sleep in the provided pack n play which is what we plan on doing during our upcoming trip in a 1 bedroom. For bigger families, the 2 bedroom units will sleep between 8-9 people plus one under 3, and the Grand Villas can sleep up to 12 plus one under 3. If you aren’t a DVC member, you can book these rooms directly through Disney or consider renting points from a current member for a reduced cost.
Now that you know your options for where to stay, we’ll talk about what happens when you hit the park with your new crew of 5+ in our next post in this series.
What are your favorite Disney places to stay as a family of 5+?