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Old 09-20-2012, 11:06 AM   #1
thr33boys's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 410

1st Family Trip - need advice please!

How do you tell/surprise your kids about going to Disney if they really don't have an understanding about what it actually is?

I remember going as a young child, 8 years old and being really excited. I don't know how I knew about Disney, maybe because it was relatively new and had a lot of publicity but somehow I just knew.

So now we are taking our 1st family trip. My boys are 8, 5, and 3 1/2. We asked the 8 year old if he knew what Disney was and he mentioned the movies. We said no it's a park, would you like to go and he said not really. He loves Wonderland so we told him that is a park as well but Disney is much bigger. He was interested. We also told him that the castle image you see before every Disney movie is actually a real thing at Disney, he didn't really have a reaction.

Now, they've never been on a plane before, so I know they'll be over the moon excited about that.

I've tried to expose them to Disney without being obvious. Every time they want to watch a movie, I make sure it's one that will serve a purpose, so they can relate when they are there.

Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas that I haven't thought of? I'd really like to hear them.

We'll be there in November and I'm super excited!

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Old 09-20-2012, 11:51 AM   #2
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Location: Baltimore, MD
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Congratulations on your first time at Disney! I'm sure that you guys will love it as much as we did our first time!

I'm sure that the concept of such a big park (or group of parks) is hard for a little one to relate to. Heck, it was difficult for us adults to wrap our brains around too!

Have you tried perusing YouTube for videos and such? There's an actual channel called DisneyParks with fantastic videos for all kinds of areas and things to do. I also believe that Disney has a YouTube channel as well.

edit: DisneyParks is the official channel. Search for "PopSong1" and you'll see another awesome channel of great tour videos about the park and resorts without commentary. I really like this guy!!!

The free planning DVDs that Disney World sends out to you are a wonderful way to explore and preview what the park has to offer. There are also maps you can get on the WDW website, and they are quite beautiful.

The internet has a lot of great resources to check out and introduce your little ones to the awesomeness that is WDW - just watch / see it first to make sure that the content is appropriate for your kids (sometimes they might get a little apprehensive if it's a video of a scary ride or something, especially with the Halloween stuff right now). Only you know what your kids can handle and what will be too much for them.

Good luck!
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)DisneyWitch ~~ Magick is not just for vacations! ~~
(¸.•´ (¸.•`Holiday Hullabulloo 2014!

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Old 09-20-2012, 12:06 PM   #3
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
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We took our 2 kids in March, our DD then 16 months didn't get it. Our Ds who was almost 4 had Ben before but had no memory of it. We woke them up early in the morning, told the, we were going for a drive. DS saw planes taking off and new it was the airport, but tout we were going to Calgary, a city 3-1/2 hours away we only ever drive to. He even told the West Jet agents that was where he was going and was excited. We waited till the plane landed in LAX then told him Disneyland, he went nuts. Not because he really understood or remembered what it was so much as just loving being tricked and surprised. But my kids can't read so it was easier to trick them.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:03 PM   #4
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Have you been to any other theme parks? Canada's Wonderland? West Edmonton Mall? That give a bit of an idea of the size and scope, even though they are much smaller than WDW. I too found some on line videos and the Disney DVD which the boys enjoyed.
I do think that part of the fun is the kids exploring the parks and realizing how big they are and how much there is to do
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:44 PM   #5
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How fun for you. But at the end of the day, we parents tend to get more excited than the kids. I think it's too much to comprehend at a young age. Best to stick with one experience and focus on that......the plane ride, the park rides or meeting characters. Just let them be excited about that and the rest will be better understood when it surrounds them.

A few things you can do.......have a character call like Mickey Mouse and tell them ( there's a number you call for this - google it). Rent or buy a Disney park video and have a movie night. Make a countdown chain of Disney movies - I printed them online.

The kids in videos who jump up and down when told they're going to DisneyWorld have been before I am sure........it's not a place they'll soon forget. Mine have been going every year since they were 1. They still get excited and they are 13 and 16!
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:51 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: AB, Canada
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Here's what we did last year when we surprised our four kids for our first ever WDW trip:

Months before I told them we were planning to go in a couple years so I started showing them the website, watching the videos, watching youtube videos about other people's trips, etc. So they knew how AMAZING it would be.

Then the night before we were staying at a hotel by the airport as our flight was really early. So I told them we were going down to the city to go to the waterpark the next day. The next morning, I slipped invite cards from Mickey mouse (A DISer on here made them up for me) under the door, then woke them up. The cards basically said that we were leaving right then to go to WDW for 10 days. I had the video camera out, and taped their reaction as they read the cards. The reaction wasn't as great as it could've been as it was 3:30 in the morning so they were exhausted still, but it was still priceless!

So however you decide on telling them, maybe you could do the same and start showing them the WDW site and youtube videos and such so they understand what WDW is, but just tell them that you're hoping to be able to plan a trip in a couple years so they don't get suspicious.

Either way, you guys will have an AMAZING trip!! There's nothing like Disney for the first time, especially with little ones.
Me , DH , DS (12) , DD (9) , DS (6) , DS (5)
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:28 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: East Coast Canada
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I have 3 kids. The first year we went I made special "tickets" for them with their name, and dates we were going, along with a Mickey character, Laminated them and cut them out. Then I made a countdown calendar with disney stickers and every day they could peel a day off, and it would tell them how many more days until we were actually leaving. They were 2 1/2 and 10 and 12 at the time.
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