Family Reunion in Vancouver + Alaska (Part I.)

We started this summer off with a really special trip. Together with my parents, my in laws, my sister’s family, and my uncle James’ family, we met up in Vancouver for a few days and then embarked on a 7-night Disney Cruise together to Alaska.

I was the main planner for this big family trip, and I spent months planning out every last detail. I had a comprehensive spreadsheet with everyone’s passport info, travel reservations, projected costs, booked activities, and every other information on the planet. I did all this because I knew what it’s like to travel with a large group, and I wanted to make it as smooth as possible for all of us.

Ofcourse, that’s just not how things work. We really have very little control of anything, though we like to think that we do. Even prior to landing in Vancouver, we were dealt some pretty stressful cards–cancelled flight, missing reservations, forgotten baby items, and the list goes on. At one point I didn’t quite know whether to laugh or cry…..all that meticulous planning and everything that could go wrong still went wrong.

Tip #1: When traveling with a large group, always buffer in time. Lots of time. Moving our group from one location to the next was very much like herding cats. I love my family, but man, they love to loiter. 

By the time we all finally arrived to Vancouver and got our two rental minivans, it was well past midnight. We headed straight to our Airbnb in the Richmond area to retreat for the evening.

Tip #2: When traveling in large groups, we almost always stay at Airbnbs. Not only is it the more economical way to go, but it’s also a lot more fun to be able to share communal areas together when we’re not sleeping. 

We had 3 full days in Vancouver before embarking on the Disney Cruise, but we weren’t overly ambitious with our itinerary because amongst our group of 14 included 4 elderlies, 2 kids, and 1 baby. To keep everyone relatively sane, we needed to schedule in nap times and breaks throughout the day. 🙂

Since most of us had been to Vancouver multiple times in the past, we didn’t try to hit all the touristy spots. Instagram was my go-to for many of the activities I picked for our group, and I’ll share here some of our favorites:

Terra Nova Adventure Playground– this is probably one of our favorite playgrounds ever! Tucked away in a beautiful residential area, this playground includes obstacle courses, tandem ziplines, and a twisting stainless steel slide amongst other fun things. Not only did the kiddos have a blast, but even my soon-to-be 80 year old dad had fun on the zipline!

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Granville Island–we loved the vibe at this public market right by the marina! It felt like a hybrid of a farmer’s market and art festival, with lots of great eateries. We spent an entire afternoon there, and even took the Aquabus to tour around False Creek.

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Sun Shui Wah–this restaurant is our “must-go” every time we visit Vancouver, because we LOVE their Alaskan King Crabs that can be prepared 3 ways. We celebrated Father’s Day there this time around, and indulged in a 14 pound king crab that was soooooo delicious!

Capilano Suspension Bridge–even though we’ve visited this sight 5+ times already in previous trips to Vancouver, we still had to go again since a few in our group have never been. It’s probably one of our favorite “touristy sights” in Vancouver. We love watching people nervously walk across the swaying bridge! After you cross the main bridge, there are a number of shorter suspension bridges as a part of their Treetop Adventures, and it’s a lot of fun for the kids. You can easily spend the entire afternoon there if you’re also interested in learning more about the rainforest through their guided nature and history tours.

 

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