How did you let your children know that the family was going to Disney?

Edited: September 17, 2018, 7:15 PM

The other day I was asked how my wife and I let our children know we were going to Orlando and that started me thinking how others let their children know. We kept the trip a secret as we wanted to surprise them, this we found out was a mistake with our youngest. We have two boys and the youngest has Asperger's Syndrome and a surprise trip was not a good idea, he had only flown once before and that was a short trip we took to Calgary Alberta to see how they would react to flying. So now as I said I'm curious how others let their children in on a trip.

Replies (8)

September 17, 2018, 4:37 PM

I know it's really popular, especially with Disney vacations, to let the kids know on a special day (birthday, Christmas, graduation, etc...). I've seen others still try to keep the secret until the family is in the car going to the airport, or starting the drive down to Florida. I think the surprise trip is a big mistake unless you really know how your kids will react. It sounds like such a great idea to have them fall asleep in the car on the way to Grandma's House only to wake up the next morning driving through the WDW gates, but rarely does that dream scenario ever play out the way you plan.

I tend to think that the anticipation of the vacation can be as fun as the vacation itself. The planning, exploring from afar, and learning about the nearly infinite possibilities is far more fun for the kids than springing it on them last minute. Plus, the planning of a Disney vacation can really teach kids about organization, money/time management, and simple travel planning. Lot's of people also like to do countdown clocks with their kids (almost like Advent calendars) that help to build the anticipation even further. Now, the building of anticipation also assumes that you have enough experience and confidence to make sure that the trip lives up to the anticipation (probably why you see so many parents dragging their kids through the parks making sure they see everything on their touring plan), but I think if you're planning to visit WDW/DLR more than a couple of times during your children's lives, you should be able to deliver a vacation that lives up to expectation more often than not.

Plus, I have no idea how the surprise trippers can keep a WDW secret from their kids for so long, especially considering how far in advance a Disney trip needs to be planned. Our son is already aware of our tentative plan to visit Southern California/Disneyland next summer, but we've also made it clear to him that it's not set in stone.

September 18, 2018, 1:47 PM

Send them a Text.... HAhahahaahahaha...

Even better Go to Universal....

September 18, 2018, 5:15 PM

Brian, it doesn't have to be a trip to Disney but a trip to any vacation destination. As I said we were able to keep the trip a secret from our two and it didn't turn out as planned, due to our youngest having Asperger's. We learned that he needed to be in on the planning so if one is in both are in so for all other trips of this nature we went on we made sure that the boys were involved as much or a little as they wanted. We have one friend who simply has everyone in the family write down where they want to go and then the youngest picks from the hat, the rule is if Orlando is picked this time it is not entered for 5 years,

September 20, 2018, 9:42 AM

Everyone should be in on the plan! My kids are still 3 and 5, so at max we only have 5-6 hours at a place like Disney or Universal. We always talked about what a ride is before trying to get on it. We look at it and I let them think and ask questions.

Now when friends or family come down as a group to get comp tickets (visit us?!?), I tell them to include the kids on the plan and then ask questions as they stay in touch leading up to the trip. "What ride are the kids looking forward to most? What are you looking forward to most? Where are you going to eat? Want any cool merch? How are you going to take a break from the heat? What characters do they want to meet? How do they feel about how big the characters are?" The feedback is always the same. They were surprised by something a kids wanted, or DIDN'T want.

September 20, 2018, 5:11 PM

There are so many great videos of families making the big reveal. My favorites are the ones where they don't tell the kids until they have reached the property. Big fun!

October 5, 2018, 4:10 PM

With Disney requiring you to pre-plan everything to the minute detail, you can't spring it on them, at least not with mine, as they have to be able to pick what they do and where they eat. The first time we went to Universal, it was at the beginning of a Disney trip, and we thought they would be excited. They were not. They did not want to go. They only wanted to go to Disney, so the springing the Universal at the last minute was a mistake. Then they did not want to leave and never wanted to go back to Disney. They kept saying why do we have to stand in all of these lines? Our next trip was Universal only.

October 10, 2018, 10:53 AM

How would a 3 to 5 year old really be surprised to know about a Disney World vacation? They're too young to build anticipation. A bigger surprise is a Disney fan who never went to Disneyland or Disney World their entire life because they are poor like dirt. Then when they're 25 years or much much older, they are gifted an amazing Disney vacation. This happens a lot and in fact, sponsored by Disney and made into Disney infomercials.

October 10, 2018, 12:13 PM

And even if you were a rich tycoon, you would be as poor as dirt after the vacation nowadays.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Need Discount Tickets?

  Now open, or date announced:

  Still waiting on these:

Get Our Newsletter

Read Robert's Book

Stories from a Theme Park Insider