Disney World planning for families of 5


For any one looking into planning a Disney World vacation, it’s no big secret that families of 5 are a bit left out in the cold in terms of choices for resorts. While all Disney world resorts have rooms that sleep up to 4, not every location sleep up to 5 guests. As a family of 5, you’re automatically excluded from the standard rooms at all value resorts and 2 of the moderate resorts as well!

What if one of my kids is willing to sleep on the floor or a cot? 

Sorry! Disney’s room maximums are based on legal precedents and fire codes, so the only way you can have more than 4 guests in a room in a value resort is if one of the children are under age 3 (as they do not count toward the room max).

Where can we stay as a family of 5?

You have some really great options! In the value category, Art of Animation family suites sleep up to 6 guests. Be aware that these rooms are spacious, so cost wise they are at times similar to the cost of a deluxe resort. You do have the bonus of 2 full bathrooms as well as a suite style room with a separate bedroom from the living area.

In the moderate resort category, you have the option of Caribbean Beach (new as of 2014) and Port Orleans Riverside. Many (but not all) of these rooms sleep up to 5 guests with 2 queen beds and a small fold down bunk style bed. This bed is not a full size bed or a full size mattress so its best suited for one of your tiny travelers (ideally someone age 9 or younger or a short 10 or 11 year old). The bed itself is only 60 inches in length and not as wide as a twin mattress.

In the deluxe resort category, your options are more wide open. Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club, and Yacht Club all have rooms that sleep up to 5 guests in their standard rooms. Room set up is 2 queen beds plus a day bed. Unlike its moderate resort counterparts, the day bed in this resort is large enough to sleep an adult comfortably! Standard rooms at Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge only sleep up to 4 guests. There are club level rooms that sleep more guests but again, you go up in cost.

In the deluxe villa category, many of the studios sleep up to 5 guests now including Villas at Wilderness Lodge, Polynesian Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Villas at Grand Floridian, and Boardwalk Villas. Some of these resorts were built originally to sleep 5 guests and others added the option more recently. Either way, you can have a comfortable stay with 1 queen bed, a sleeper sofa, and fold down bed. This fold down bunk style bed could definitely sleep an adult based on overall size! (at least as a tall adult, I could say I would be comfortable sleeping on the bunk bed if necessary).

Park touring…who sits alone?

It’s a big question for families of 5 – on rides that seat up to 2 guests per row, who sits alone? It’s a tough question. For many families the oldest child is the one that often goes alone. It’s an important conversation to have with your oldest to see if he or she is comfortable with the experience. With teens and tweens this typically isn’t an issue but if your oldest is under 10, it may be a concern for them. You can talk to Disney cast members and discuss the option of rider switch so everyone can comfortably ride together (and one of the lucky adults will get to ride twice!) A bit more about rider switch can be found in a previous post (Mom’s guide to rider switch). It’s a bit unconventional way to use the service, but Disney will likely allow it given the circumstances.

Rides that would require an older child to sit alone…

  • Splash Mountain (you may be able to fit 2 smaller children + 1 adult in a row here but not always)
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Expedition Everest
  • Toy Story Midway Mania (if everyone wants to “play” – if one of the adults is willing to sit on the sidelines, then 3 can fit in a car)
  • Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (similar experience to Toy Story Mania above)
  • Tomorrowland Speedway (this also has height requirements to reach the pedals so it may be a tough one to do as a family of 5)
  • Barnstormer
  • Dumbo

All things considered for the volume of Disney’s available attractions, it’s not many that you’d have to split up. The other attractions not listed are either open seating or have wide benches that can seat 3 or more guests in a row which would allow mom to be in one row and dad to be in another (splitting kids to and 1).

Dining as a family of 5.

Is it more difficult to find a table for 5 than it is to find a table for 4 when making dining reservations? With Disney, the answer is the same for almost all questions…sometimes/it depends. If you’re booking at the 180 day mark, you may not have any issues getting into even the big ticket locations. As time comes a bit closer to your arrival, those larger tables tend to be in higher demand (or there are just less of them overall) so it may be more difficult to find a table of 5 vs a table of 4.

What would you do if you had a family of 5?

Well, I’m a deluxe resort type of person and I don’t like waiting – yes, as an impatient person, I still love all things Disney! I would stay at one of the deluxe resorts near Magic Kingdom – likely Polynesian because it just has a little bit of magic! If that doesn’t fit your budget, either of the moderate resorts would do you just fine as long as you don’t have 3 older children (as that bed would be uncomfortable for them)!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

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