The Big Family Event

Plan One for the Big Family Event has already come and gone. The original idea for our 2023 Big Family Event came together and then crumbled quickly as other events rose up to overtake it.

The original idea was a five-day family reunion at Walt Disney World in Orlando. WDW was not Brett’s nor my favorite choice for a location, but the kids all have fond memories of our visits there and have always wanted to go back, and we knew the grandkids would love it. The plan was to go in early January of 2024, when crowds were smaller, and Brett and I would have less trouble getting rooms for everyone at the military resort (Shades of Green). However, no matter which way we sliced things pulling it off was going to be expensive for everyone. It was doable but we were all going to have to stay very focused throughout the year.

But then Meiling and KN got engaged, and with that everything changed. Our one big plan has ended up broken into several smaller (and thankfully more affordable) plans and ideas:

  • M & KN are going to have a small, family-only wedding in the New England area this summer, so we will be heading up there for that, and we’ll add on a few days in Maine.
  • WenYu and I have talked about possibly making a 10-day visit to England (London, Oxford, and the Cotswolds) in September of this year. WenYu was supposed to spend a few weeks with us in Oxford this past summer, and she and I would still like to go if we can. If it happens, Brett would stay home with Kai and he’s fine with that. However, both she and I are also willing to wait and go to Mexico in 2024 along with YaYu.
  • We may possibly visit Washington D.C. with our son and family this summer.
  • The entire family agreed that we’d like to get together again for Christmas this year, so there will be planning going on for that as well throughout the year. We may gather here again but WenYu’s home in the Boston area may be another possible location.

So, there will be no one big encompassing family event happening but rather a set of smaller gatherings and travels throughout 2023 and into 2024 to keep us connected. All the ideas are exciting, we’ll still be saving like crazy, and there’s still much to look forward to this year!


10 thoughts on “The Big Family Event

  1. Big family events are great, but they can also be draining. Our family (all 21 of us) is going to Disneyland next week for five days to celebrate Brian’s 65th birthday. I’ve done all the planning and I know we’ll have a fabulous time, but I’m not sure I’ll ever again want to plan something for everyone.


    1. Debbie – I got exhausted just thinking about it, plus getting reservations at Shades of Green can be difficult and the timing would be very tight (and prices would go up again before we go). I’m glad we’ve decided to forego Disney (although the girls are still going late summer this year).. The wedding this summer is shaping up to be our big event with lots of organization, and along with Christmas next year those could be enough. Brett and I are excited about spending a few days in Maine, and Washington, D.C. may still happen as well (late summer).

      Happy birthday to Brian!


  2. That sounds great! I am not a Disney fan but I suppose I will go when grandchildren are older… maybe. My son in law and daughter are not fans either. I would prefer to go to National and state parks.


    1. Brett and I are not Disney fans either, but we’re willing to go along if that’s what everyone else wanted to do. We tried to suggest a Caribbean location, but that didn’t fly. Like you, I’d prefer visiting a national park, so that’s what we’re going to do: Acadia in Maine this summer!


  3. Big family events are hard, very hard. But, it certainly is sweet when they occur. 🙂

    At this point we seem to be able to swing things in twos. Us and one daughter, us and the other daughter, the two daughters together. This should change once our Germany based daughter returns to the States in two years. Until then,, we’re doing the best we can.

    One thing we’re excited about is taking our Europe-based daughter and her family on a Greek Island cruise this summer. We’ll be driving to the embarkation port thanks to our son-in-law, so absent transportation costs, and with my daughter’s family of four sharing one cabin, it’s really not that expensive.

    The other daughter, who lives near us, gets our complimentary Sherpa services whenever she and her partner do an endurance event around the US, plus we frequently treat them to dinner, so it averages out.


    1. A cruise through the Greek Islands – swoon! I am genuinely envious.

      We are all looking forward to this summer’s wedding – they’ve booked a location in Vermont, our entire family will be there (13 of us), and then Brett and I will take off on our own for a few days in Maine before driving back to Tennessee. For now Meiling is the chief wrangler, but Brett and I will step in once we get to Vermont.

      Brett and I are so happy now to be spending time with our grandkids and daughter-in-law, and seeing our son more than we’ve seen him in years as well. Eventually we’ll return to the status quo, but for now we’re all grateful for this opportunity to spend time together.


  4. Indeed, having the family together for the wedding will be A LOT although so nice!!

    We try to do big family events at least every 5 years, but now that the grandkids are getting older, they have their activities and responsibilities that come first. It’ll just make it even more special when we can work it out.


    1. We are taking as much advantage as we can of our daughter-in-law and grandkids being in the U.S. for a few years. The wedding this year is another great reason for us all to gather, even if only for a couple of days, but it’s the same with us . . . as everyone grows and moves on, it becomes more difficult to coordinate getting together. Once our son’t family is back in Japan, getting us all together will once again be nearly impossible.


  5. I was so excited that my daughter and son-in-law had wanted me to go with them to Ireland in March as they have a newborn, December 10 and son-in-law was in a wedding there with lots of activities planned and I’d get to be the “nanny” yeah! Everything was purchased and planned but the engagement broke up so scratched. But at least I have a Delta credit of 600. But my daughter wants the two of us and the baby to go to London in October. I’m hoping to stay longer for at least a month (or go early and meet her) and travel around the uk. I do a lot of US solo travel but I am kind of scared. I’m going to pour over your blog for ideas! Cotswolds?


    1. First, I’m sorry your trip to Ireland didn’t happen, especially with all the joyous things going on and after you’d purchased and planned everything. But . . . a month in England . . . in October! Such a great month to be there, and yes, head to the Cotswolds! Besides the beautiful scenery and charming scenery, there’s much to see and do. I would go back in a heartbeat – Brett and I talk about it all the time. We found it very easy to get around there without a car, whether by walking or using local buses (choose a base to stay that has good bus service). We loved both the north and south Cotswolds – I don’t think you can go wrong with either.


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