Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Joined: Aug. 2001
||Posted: Oct. 26, 2003 9:53 am/pm
Coming Together: The More The Merrier
New trend in travel: Guests are discovering parks in packs
by Mark Sunderland
It's almost three o'clock in the afternoon. The matriarch of the McCormick Family stands in a huddle around a Magic Kingdom@ Park map with her two sons.
The sons strategize the best route to Pirates of the Caribbean once the parade is done. But Barbara McCormick isn't listening. Instead she gazes just over the map, smiling at the rare sight of her six grandchildren all together, jostling for the best spot to see the parade. They've all been to Disney before, but never like this, never all together, sharing every magical moment.
Three generations of McCormicks gather around a Disney-MGM Studios park map.
Something compelled three generations of McCormicks to gather together from as far away as San Diego for a week-long adventure. And they're not alone.
Each year more than five million family vacations include three generations, according to the Travel Industry Association.
Families gather to enjoy a parade at the Disney-MGM Studios.
In fact, multigenerational travel has become one of the fastest growing areas of the travel industry, as many families are now including grandparents, aunts, and uncles in the family vacation.
And according to Walt Disney World@ Senior Vice President Alice Norsworthy, it's not just families but also groups made up of friends and neighbors that are traveling together more often.
Adventurers spin their way through Kali River Rapids.
Always the innovators, Walt Disney World Resort is not only recognizing the group travel trend, they're celebrating it.
“With so much to see and do for everyone, Walt Disney World really is the perfect place to celebrate the magic that happens when people come together -- Magical Gatherings," said Norsworthy.
The Ratliffs of Memphis recent1y visited with their longtime friends and next-door neighbors.
“We've all been here before, either with our families or for Spring Break,” Christopher Ratliff said. "We've been telling each other stories about coming here as kids. It's just a completely different experience coming here with people that also have a Disney history. We've already decided to do it again.
The architects of Magical Gatherings™ vacations have created a variety of planning tools for small groups like the Ratliffs, for instance, pre-arrival' online assistance. And for larger groups, like the McCormicks, there are additional services, like group dining arrangements, theme park. experiences and itinerary planning assistance.
“We're going to make planning a group vacation not just easy, but fun also,” Norsworthy said.
“There really is something here for everyone, and if you can experience it all and still stay close to your group, well, that's where the magic is."
Whether it's a large family like the McCormicks, a few couples getting together or vanload of soccer moms, when it comes to Walt Disney World vacations, the more the merrier.
Copyright 2003, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY.