|DLT's 2005 Traveling Group - I even think a few are missing|
The hope is always to share Disneyland's magic, joy, and fun with family and friends. What better way than to get a group of Disneyland travelers together and make it one big party? The more the merrier, right? Well not so fast. Yes, traveling to Disneyland in a group can be huge fun, but I'm here to give just a few words of caution.
Watch out for high expectations. I'm amazed at seeing groups of people standing in line for attractions with matching T-Shirts saying something like "Jim Bob's Family Reunion 2011." My question is - how did you get all those people to the same line at the same time? From my experience, moving a group in unison is something akin to moving a boulder from one place in the park to another. There's dragging, rolling, and a fair amount of resistance. Oh the noble goal is to have everybody moving at the same time to the same place, but man is it hard. And yes, getting people in your party to move as a group can lead to a great deal of frustration.
You see, once at Disneyland, everyone has a different agenda and a lot of people, especially park veterans think their agenda is, of course, the best agenda because they are experts and know what's best. Some are thrill seekers, some aren't. Some like shows like Lincoln, the Tiki Room, or Muppets, for others the shows are inconsequential to the rides. Some defer to the fun for their kids while others in the group may be thinking "what about me?" Even getting people to the front gate in the morning is a challenge as some are early risers and others have a tough time getting going. Sometimes being in Disneyland with a group is the equivalent of beating your head against the wall.
Here are some things I have learned. Allow time for yourself. If you constantly try to stay on the schedule set by others, you will find yourself getting upset. Next lesson, you probably will get upset at some point traveling with a group, accept it. You may find yourself in the "middle" from time to time where one person wants to pull you this way, while another may want to pull you that way. Maybe that's the time you need to give yourself a time out and tell both to go on without you. If you are with your significant other, be prepared to have at least one "knock-down, drag-out" fight. Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I have kind of grown to expect this. It seems to go along with the territory. And do not try to do everything as a group - the best thing to do is have meet-ups - meet up at certain times, certain places, for dining, rides, or shows. If you meet up as a group at a certain time or place, they tend to gain some momentum for staying together but sooner or later, parties in the group will want to go their own way. That's just the way it is.
Also get plenty of rest. A tired Disneyland traveler is a cranky Disneyland traveler, so don't let your getting tired affect others in your group. And maybe at the end of a day, allow time to decompress. Some of my most memorable experiences traveling with groups have come at the end of the day when those in the group can meet up at someplace like the old Lost Bar (now Trader Sams) at the Disneyland Hotel and remember the fun you have had during the day.
Looking back, I have had a great time in each of my trips to Disneyland when I traveled with a group, but inside of those great times were moments when all did not seem like it was going very well at all. Just don't sweat the small stuff and remember the fun of the big picture.