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'We're Going to Disney World!!!' 5 Ways to Surprise Your Kids

by Mommy Frog on February 20, 2012

Related: 'Surprise! We’re Going to Disney World!' — Our Latest Trip and Stealth Planning Tips

Here are five ideas that are sure to make your kids' reactions as priceless as Tad and Lily's were when they finallyCelebrate a Dream Come True Parade at Magic Kingdom figured out...WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!

Send It In the Mail

Tad and Lily LOVE getting their own mail, so when they started receiving letters with clues they were so excited to have something addressed to them that it never dawned on them that these letters may mean something. I started about a month before our trip and sent a letter every few days. The first one was vague: "Dear Tad and Lily, It's been a while since we've seen you. We're beginning to think you've forgotten about us. We hope you can come back soon." (They were convinced it was a letter from their grandparents.) The clues got a little more specific each time until they received the last one which read: "We talked to your parents and they said it was OK. You're going to Walt Disney World in just a few days! Love, Mickey and the Gang."

Put the Puzzle Together

Here's how I did it: I got one of those huge foam boards (but a poster board would work just fine) and a package of markers. I wrote "You're going to Disney World!!!" in big, bright letters. Then I cut it in about 20 puzzle pieces and hid them all over the house...taped to the bottom of the coffee table, in the linen closet, under the popsicles in the freezer, everywhere. Tad and Lily are like bloodhounds when they think there's a surprise involved, so finding the pieces took all of about 10 minutes. After they gathered all the pieces, I video taped them arguing as they put the puzzle together, only to break into a full-on "happy dance" when they figured out what it said. We still watch it for great memories and a great laugh.

Pack Your Bags

This one takes a bit of preparation, but the result is phenomenal. A few days before the trip, I packaged things up that the kids would be taking with them on vacation. I put their toiletries in one bag, Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Paradetheir pajamas in another, I got them both new autograph books and markers that I put in gift get the idea. Then the day before the trip while they were in school, I hid the packages around the house. When they got home, the fun began. Tad grumbled all the way to the dishwasher, but when he found his toothbrush and toothpaste where clean dishes should have been, he didn't know what was going on. Lily complained about having to get the clothes out of the dryer until she found their Disney pajamas inside. When they had gathered all the packages, I told them to bring them into our bedroom where they found their suitcases. Tad's had a stuffed Mickey Mouse inside and Lily's had a stuffed Minnie Mouse. Both had a note that read "Now that you're all packed, you're going to Disney World!"

Give Video Clues

Use videos from our YouTube channel of attractions your kids don't necessarily know are at a Disney park. Here's a sample list of video clues: Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Finding Nemo - The Musical, Jedi Training Academy, Disney Junior - Live On Stage, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and of course, the Park Opening when Mickey officially opens Magic Kingdom. You could also make a video of yourself announcing "We're going to Disney World!" as the final clue. You can tailor the list to suit your children's ages and likes.

Keep It a Secret

This one is either the absolute best way to surprise your kids OR the absolute worst way to surprise your kids. Here's what happened when I kept our trip a secret up until the moment we drove under the big Walt Disney World sign...Tad and Lily Magic Kingdomliterally thought we were going to a local park. When I turned around in my seat and announced, "Surprise!!! You're at Disney World!!!" Lily screamed with joy. She began thanking her father and me for being the best parents in the whole entire world, she promised that she would be a good girl and never get in any trouble the rest of her life, she announced "Watch out, Mickey! I'm on my way!" It honestly sounded like an Academy Award acceptance speech. Tad, on the other hand, went into a panic. The spontaneity of the whole thing did not sit well with him at all. Keep these two scenarios in mind if you're thinking of keeping it a secret up until the last minute.

If you want more ideas, read our most recent post on how we surprised our kids and see how our friends on Facebook surprised their kids.

After you've announced the big surprise, you are going to need a few ways to pass the time until your trip. Read Countdown to Disney - Ways to Get 'Hopped' Up For Your Vacation.

Happy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Sort newest to oldest Sort oldest to newest
Brianne Apr 17, 2012 at 3:52 p.m.

Last year all my son wanted was to be at Mickey's House for his 5th birthday and if he couldn't have it, he was just going to skip 5 and turn 6. I bought a few Vinylmations and sent him on a treasure hunt - each one had a new clue that ultimately let him to a treasure chest in his sandbox where he found park maps, a toy airplane and a shirt that said, "I'm Going to Mickey's House for my 5th Birthday!" I don't think he fully understood because he kept saying are we really going tomorrow Mommy and we have to pack (which of course I had done). Early the next morning we got up for our 6am flight and he didn't really believe it until he got his Birthday ears and new shirt on to head for the airport. He had the best birthday!

dejiana Nov 21, 2014 at 4:48 p.m.

is it fun were is it at

Jacob May 14, 2012 at 6:25 a.m.

I think i'll skip 4. My kids litrally know everyride in disney

Paula Sep 5, 2012 at 6:32 p.m.

We just returned from a surprise Disney World trip for the kids, and it was a great success! We woke our son and daughter up at 5am, since we had an early flight, and gave them cards with all the letters in "Disney World". They had to figure out our destination by using the letters on the cards. The kids are 9 and 5 and together they worked it out. The 5 year old actually figured it out first! Both were surprised and shocked; and, of course, we were the "best mommy and daddy EVER".

I think the hardest thing about the surprise was packing the bags in secret.

Eric Sep 5, 2012 at 9:46 p.m.

A year in the making, our 2010 visit was a complete surprise for our boys, then twelve and ten. In fact, they didn't know until we got on the Disney bus at MCO. Imagine keeping a secret for months, creating a complete ruse at the airport, on the plane and landing. Parents, this is exhausting on so many levels. But the excitement on their face is so worth the effort.

‘Surprise! We’re Going to Disney World!’ — Our Latest Trip and Stealth Planning Tips Dec 13, 2012 at 1:45 p.m.

[...] we’ve surprised Tad and Lily with trips to Disney World before, I am keeping it simple this time. My plan is to pick up Tad and [...]

Disneylover8 Jun 8, 2014 at 9:25 p.m.

I know every ride at Walt disney world so 4 is off but I would be happy if u could add more I love all the ideas

Marin Jul 8, 2014 at 10:53 p.m.

These are such great ideas post more

Lisa Robertson Nov 3, 2014 at 7:45 p.m.

We just surprised my 7 year old with a trip to Disney the week of Oct 27- 31. We gave him clues at the front door. The first one was a free pass out of school for 1 week. The second one was Get ready for a trip of a life time. He enter the door to see all of his family waiting for him to a sign that that he was going to Disneyland. We have it on video and it is amazing to see him speechless. Everyone in the room had tears in their eyes. It was GREAT!!!! We had a AWESOME time at DISNEY......

Sarah Nov 8, 2014 at 5:10 a.m.

We are headed to Disney World for the first time this week and are surprising our 7yo daughter. We are picking her up from school and I made a hangman puzzle that will spell out "We are going to Disney World...tonight!!!" We will then get picked up and taken to the airport!!! SO EXCITED!

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