Large or Extended Family
Get everyone's input on attraction preferences (and adults' lodging and dining budgets), and draft an itinerary with agreed-upon choices. Factor in time for splitting up. (Grandparents might golf or see Cirque du Soleil while you hit a water park.)
Where to Stay
Book a three- to six-bedroom house with a private pool at Windsor Palms resort, a 15-minute drive from Disney's gates; $159 to $269 a night, plus a 15 percent discount for Parents readers and an extra 5 percent discount for groups with extended family members (888-464-6353, www.windsorpalmsresort.com). Or stay at Marriott's Orlando World Center, just 1 1/2 miles from Disney. It's got something for everyone, including a huge lagoon-shaped pool with a water slide, two kiddie pools, and ten restaurants. Vacation packages start at $119 a night and include unlimited golf (800-621-0638, www.marriottworldcenter.com).
Age-spanning parades and sit-down shows, such as The Disney Stars and Motor Cars parade, and Fantasmic! in Disney-MGM Studios; Animal Kingdom's Lion King festival; and Epcot's Tapestry of Dreams procession and Illuminations fireworks.
Restaurants with buffets and family-style service satisfy the widest variety of tastes. Sample the South African-inspired food at Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Or head to Ohana at the Polynesian resort or Whispering Canyon Café at the Wilderness Lodge for barbecues.
Spend mornings together at classic attractions like It's a Small World; then split up. Mom might take the tots to meet characters; Dad can conquer Space Mountain with the daredevils; older adults can enjoy the Hall of Presidents.
Words of Wisdom
"Don't sweat it if someone wants to do something unexpected," says Scott Avery, a father of two from Naperville, Illinois. "Once, we ducked into Epcot's Innoventions and found enough fun for everyone in our group of 11. Now it's on our itinerary every year!"