How do YOU tell YOUR kids about the trip?


Elliot’s MiMi
Jan 9, 2001
I am trying to think of ways to tell the kids about the trip we are planning, but I cant decide weather or not to surprise them when it comes closer, or to tell them now and let them help with the planning. They are 10&7.

Do any of you have any stories of how you told your kids about the upcoming trip? Any creative ways to surprise them?

Our first trip we went, they were 4&7 and we sat them on the couch about a week before we were to leave and said we had a surprise. We handed them the park passes and let them look them over to see if they could guess. They liked the picture but didnt know what it was. So we yelled " WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!" One of them squeeled and jumped up and down and the other one started to cry and said she didnt want to fly on a big plane.
:)(She loved it once she was on board)
So that kind of bomed.

So, I am looking for any other good stories out there to give me some ideas for this time.
Thank you all... <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz">

All Star Music 10/4/98
Next trip Music or Movies, not sure yet 9/13/02
My kids are 4 and 7, and this May will be their first trip to Disney - first big trip period. The 7 year old has been waiting since she was 4 and first noticed the Disney commercials!

We gave them the specific time period (May) when we decided on it last fall. I always found that anticipation was one of the best parts of any fun event so I want them to have that experience too.

Also, I have to admit, my kids aren't all that into Disney. They know there is a fun theme park to go to, and they get to go on an airplane, so they want to go. But truthfully, they'd be way more into some vacation to something called "Pokemon Land" or "Digi World". I wanted them to have time to gain some perspective, so they will have some appreciation for the Disney theming can relate to the characters etc. Since they've known that they're going to Disney, they've been more aware of Disney things - as I'd hoped. They even like the current run of McDs disney toys - which whould normally have gotten a big "boring" from these two
I would suprise them a few weeks before you go. Kids really have no concept of time, and if you tell them too early, like I did with my son last year, you'll have to listen to it everyday.
When the Backstreet Boys were here last year, me and my friend thought it would be fun to surprise our girls. Well, it did not have the surprise quality we thought it would. (2- 8yo's & 1 9yo)
They would have enjoyed planning the evening with us more than being surprised.
Let them help you plan which attractions to see & ask about the character meals. My (now) 9yo is not thrilled about them, but I have done some tweaking to accomodate her & her 4yo sister.
Personally, I don't know how you could hide all this planning, it is too fun. JMHO

HRH/CBR June 2001

The two surprise ways we told the kids (now 4 & 8):

1 1/2 years ago, we had them go on a Blue's Clues hunt the day we left. The question was "Where are we going today?" They found the three clues (castle, airplane and a palm tree). It was adorable when they realized what it was..they were SCREAMING and laughing and hugging us. They kept saying the whole way there what a great game it was.

Last year, we ended up going to DL since I was going on a business trip. They knew I was going to CA but didn't know they were going. We gave our older daughter a word puzzle to do, where each number = letter and you decode a sentence (you definitely know the kind). When she finished, the sentence said "We are all going to California with Mom!) Again, it was so exciting to see their reaction.

I like doing it on the day of leaving..huge surprise and we are going right waiting.
I always try to involve our children in everything we do. When we plan a vacation, we go to the library, take out guide books and videos, plan what we want to do, the restaurants we want to eat at, the lodging, rides & attractions, etc. We make it a family "forum" event, complete with special nibbly foods and fun beverages. We take notes about our ideas. We research alternatives and possibilities. We really get into the planning of it. Then, with a list of priorities in hand, we begin our vacay.

I think the more involved your children will be the more invested they will be in having a good time and enjoying the experience...


Best Wishes,

Dr. Happy
Great ideas everyone, but I'm still pondering which to do....

All Star Music 10/4/98
Next trip Music or Movies, not sure yet 9/13/02

My kids 3, 7, 8, and 9 love to help planning with all of our trips to Disney. I think it helps make the trips more enjoyable for them.

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CBR Dec '95, Sept '97
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ASM Nov '99
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Zurg, Barbie, Buzz, Buzz, Jessie & Tinkerbell
Our trip is our daughter's 10th birthday present. Her birthday is in late october, but we can't go on the trip until November 10th. So, I am getting little disney things together, like disney pez, little figurines, t-shirts, mickey ears, and a guest of honor badge. I am going to fix all of those in a new suitcase with a huge bow on it. Then I am going to hide it and have her go on a treasure hunt and find it. That way, even though she won't be able to go on the trip exactly on her birthday, she will still get a present.
Each trip we have made (Disneyland and WDW) we have let our daughter in on in from the moment we decide. This has mean't different things to her at each age. The Disneyland trips were all at age 6 or younger for her... and so she thoroughly enjoyed them but didn't really connect with the planning stuff ahead of time. Last year's trip to WDW she started enjoying thinking about the trip a couple of weeks prior to leaving because I was busy packing and organizing things - but again I don't think she really knew what to get excited about and just went with the flow. (good kid!) This year, I booked our ressies on Christmas Eve Day and announced my gift to our family of a trip to WDW in late March/April. That got the excitement level up for the day and I hope they don't expect me to top that each year! Having been there last year and having had a tremendously great time... she was instantly ready to plan the trip! This year I got her the Birnbaum book - Disney for Kids by Kids. She read it from cover to cover and has made notes... a DISer in the making! She worked at extra chores starting during Christmas break and has earned almost $100 in Disney Dollars for her "mad" money on the trip. So, to suprise or not I think depends on the age of the child (she was 8 last year - 9 this year) and what basis they have for thinking about this trip. Having been to Disneyland several times... she knew going to WDW the first trip what to expect from the MK - but nothing else. Now she knows the "world" of things to do and is a partner in the planning process.


On our last two trips, we told the kids way too early (4-5mos) and it was the "countdown to Chirstmas syndrome." DD had trouble getting to sleep and the wait seemed painfully long to her. So this time, although we booked back in September, we didn't say anything to them until Valentine's day...and even then, it was a series of gifts (sunglasses,zip-off pants), and a series of poems/clues, leading to a calendar that had scrambled letters in March Break week, saying "We're going to Florida to visit DA and DU" (they just bought a place in Lauderdale area.) What they don't know is that we're going to Disney for 5 nights first. This they'll find out the day before or day of, by solving one more puzzle and opening All-Star gifts (Dalmation toys, Mighty Ducks t-shirt, Fantasia Mickey and Donald, Toy Story toothbrushes, Herbie the Love Bug car...) Last time, we stayed at ASMu, but we walked over to ASMo, and they really loved it. Actually, we're just spending three nights there and then movin' on up to the Swan for the last two nights (can't decide how to surprise them with that...pretend it's all over after 3 nights at ASM? then proceed to Swan? Regardless, I think it's going to be fun.
We've been saving up for a couple of years to make this trip. The kids know how much Mom LOVES WDW!! I'm alsways reminding them to save their $$ for WDW :) My plan is, they already know that we are going sometime this year. Just not exactly when. We're going to the DIS 2001, so we will start packing this summer, and I'll take care of final packing while they are in school. The night before we are to leave I plan on watching the WDW travel vacation tape again so they can go to bed and dream about Disney. Since they know we are going, they can help with the planning, but because they are so anxious over the trip, I'll wake them up early one m,orning and announce, "We're going to WDW today!" If that doesn't get them up and at it, I don't know what will!! :) Actually, I'm really looking forward to see the reactions when I wake them up. I just know that they'll love it! Gerri

My family is planning a trip to WDW this May. My boys are 10, 9 and 4. We wanted them to be part of the planning so we told them back in January (I think). BUT, they actually think we are going LATER than what we really have planned. This way, they can be part of the planning which is a big plus for kids their age, but yet the surprise will be there when we wake them up that morning to get going! I decided to do it this way because my older sons cannot sleep (like Mom) the night before we leave, and I want to make sure they each get a good night's sleep.

I think it all depends on the ages and personalities of your children.

Have FUN! :)
I have friends with kids almost your kids' ages (8 and 11), and they did a total surprise (came in to their bedroom that morning with Mickey Mouse ears on). The kids loved it, and were astonished.

My kids are much younger (oldest is almost 5), and we prep them pretty heavily. Watch the videos, read the Disney tales, read the Kid's guide to WDW, etc. Then 30 days before, we create a paper chain with one day for each one left. Each day we tear off a chain, which gives my kids a visual clue as to how much longer.

Someday I might try to surprise them, but I doubt I could keep it a secret for that long.
These are such great suggestions! I am so excited about this now! I have decided to do the double whammy. I am going to tell them about the trip, but not give them a date. So they are going to help plan and do things to save, but the actual trip will be a surprise.

All Star Music 10/4/98
Next trip Music or Movies, not sure yet 9/13/02
We have been telling our kids (Hayley 3, Holly 4) for weeks. With a month to go I created a countdown calendar on the 'puter with lots of disney pictures, one for each day. Each morning at breakfast they take it in turns to cross one day off with a big marker. They love it. Holly was so taken with it she has drawn her own and we had a big argument over it because we though it was brill and wanted to treasure it but she wanted to cross off the days. The drawings of twenty odd Mickeys were so good, but in the end we gave in. Now Holly gets to cross off every day. Also, for Christmas we bought each of them a kids luggage trolley thingy. They are like those businessmens travel briefcases with wheels and a pull up handle but much much more colourful. We noticed loads of then in the stores when we were last over (we're Brits). They got the deal right away. It seems every other day they are 'packing' for the holiday, making difficult and amusing decisions about what they will take. They both love the idea that they will have their own luggage - like the grown ups. It is so comical to watch. We are going for a pool home this year - the prices are so hard to refuse and having done it once we wouldn't really do anyhting else. We have been winding the kids up that they can go swimming every single day for a month (Yes, I know, we Brits get good vacations). Hayley will not let us take her swimsuit out of her trolley 'no! not forget it!' she keeps saying.

Tell them. The holiday need only be part of the fun. . .


Youngest DS and I are leaving April 1. He still doesn't know. Last year was our first time and he knew for 6 mos. and it took forever to get here! This time around I want to surprise him. We are leaving the day after oldest DS's wedding! I have thought about waking him early after I've loaded the car. I will say something to the affect: "DS we are going for a long car ride so let's ask God for a safe journey". "Dear God, Please watch over DS and me on our camping trip to WDW". I wonder how long it will take to sink in at that hour of the morning! :D TC
these are all really cute stories. i made the mistake of telling my ds that we are going. he is not quite 5. now every day i listen to "can we go to disney today?" about a million times. i am going with my older sister and my niece and got to hear my sister tell her over the phone. she got so excited that she was stuttering!!!! i loved it. i am way too excited! i havent been since i was 2 and i dont remember a thing so this is like my first trip!!!!
We surprised our 3 sons for Christmas last year.
(13, 11, and 5) We wrapped their Park Hopper
passes in small boxes, which were wrapped in big-
ger boxes. These boxes were hidden WAY under the
tree, so they did not see them right away. After
they had finished opening the other presents, my
husband suggested that maybe there was JUST ONE
MORE item left by Santa. They opened these two
boxes and just stared at the passes. But it did
not really "sink in",because my oldest son said,
"We have gift certificates to the Disney Store?"
it really took them a while, when suddenly, the
phone rang (part of the surprise was that we were
also taking my nephew, who is my son's best friend). The two of them were on the phone scream-
ing and screaming!! I guess they figured that we
weren't fibbing after all when the limo came to
our house later that Christmas Day to take us to
the airport.....This is one Christmas that we will
never forget!! :D
I love all these stories! There are some creative people out there!

All Star Music 10/4/98
Next trip All Star Movies 05/3/02-05/12/02


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