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'We're Going to Disney!' How to Surprise Your Kids with a Disney Trip

by Mommy Frog on August 31, 2023 84 Orlando

"Surprise! We're going to Disney!"

How to Surprise Your Kids with a Disney Trip - We're Going to Disney Connect-the-Dots Printable

Are there any sweeter words a kid — or adult — can hear? If you're planning to say those words anytime soon, we are so excited for you! Having the opportunity to surprise your loved ones with a Disney trip is just about as good as it gets. Pulling off a great reveal can make the trip memorable before you’ve even left the house!

Today, we're sharing a few ways that Leap and I have surprised the tadpoles ... and a few ideas from Undercover Tourist customers too! You'll also find some tips and things to consider when planning the big surprise. No matter whether you're headed to Disney World or Disneyland, we've got plenty of ideas for telling the tadpoles, "We're going to Disney!"

Introducing ... 'Surprise! We're Going to Disney!' Printables

How to Surprise Your Kids with a Disney Trip - We're Going to Disney Word Search PrintableBefore we get into the frogciting details, we wanted to share some fun, froggy printables that can help you to surprise your kids with a Disney trip.

These Surprise! We're Going to Disney Word Search and Surprise! We're Going to Disney Connect-the-Dots Printables are perfect for ages 3 to 9. Plus, they're a fun and creative way to let your kids know where you're headed! The word scramble will send them piecing together a surprise sentence, while the connect-the-dots page will paint a hoppy picture. Download these Disney printables, give them to the kids and get the camera ready!

Two Approaches to Surprise Your Kids with a Disney Trip, Plus Tips

Before we leap into the ideas, it's important to discuss the act of surprising children. Not all children handle surprises well. It’s possible that your dream video moment — the one you want to get TONS of likes and shares — may not hoppen just as you've envisioned. If you're not sure how your tadpole will handle this surprise, this "We're going to Disney" moment may not be the route for you. Some children simply cannot process the magnificence of the words "Surprise! We're going to Disney" and have an immediate meltdown — it may take some time (and conversations) to process.

You should factor this in before deciding whether to create an elaborate plan for surprising your kids with a trip in the near future versus surprising your kids with a trip to Disney right now! This is especially true if you'll be pulling your kids from school. We've heard of tears from kids who found out their trip to Disney meant skipping an in-class event or holiday party. Older kids may have schoolwork to turn in early or projects to start ahead of the trip. So definitely give your star students a bit of notice to prepare.

Surprise! We're going to Disney - Kids in EARidescent Outfits

A few tips for surprising the tadpoles:

  • Be careful about misleading your children about where they are going. Many parents create a fake destination story, such as visiting a relative or hanging with mom/dad while they attend a conference. Children often get attached to the destination and then are disappointed when they learn they are actually going somewhere else ... even if that somewhere else is Disney.
  • If you’re planning a trip in the future, surprise the kids when the trip is within a relatively short period of time. For younger children especially, the future is a nebulous concept. A month to you could feel like YEARS to them. Depending on the child’s age, a few days might be in order. For older children, a month or even longer might be possible and would allow them to get involved in the planning. This can be a great bonding experience and create excitement about the trip. With advance planning, you can also create calendars or crafting projects to help children count down to the big day. If you don't want to extend it too long, use our Surprise! We're Going to Disney Word Search Printable and Surprise! We're Going to Disney Connect-the-Dots Printable to get the trip started in style!
  • Use a delayed approach to space out "clues." This helps children anticipate a big surprise and works especially well for birthday or Christmas surprises. Parents can theme gifts around Disney and the trip (Mickey PJs and backpacks, for example) with the last "present" as the big reveal.

'Surprise! We're Going to Disney!' Ideas

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Magic Kingdom – Meeting Cinderella

Advent Calendar

Christmas time is when we break out the Advent calendar. If you're planning the big Christmas Day reveal, leaving 25 days' worth of clues can definitely build curiosity. Depending on how big your Advent calendar is, you could even leave big clues such as a MagicBand, a Disney shirt, ear headbands or hats. Consider a word scramble and leave one of 25 letters every day. (You can use our Surprise! We're Going to Disney Word Scramble Printable for suggestions.) Make sure you leave them out of sequence! If your family has an Elf on the Shelf that comes during the holidays, they could also be the one to break the magical news!

Spread the Clues Over Eight Nights for Hanukkah

Hanukkah sometimes falls a little earlier in December than Christmas, giving you time to lay out the clues (and time to mentally prepare the kids for a winter break Disney trip). If you give gifts each night, the gift items may be clues that lead up to your trip. Some nights the kids can unwrap travel-size toiletries or luggage. Other nights might uncover Disney shirts, ear headbands, plushes or Disney accessories. You can buy a Disney dreidel or Hanukkah menorah to drop the clues as well.

Instead of gifts, you can instead create clues that lead to one big gift — the surprise Disney trip —  on the eighth night. It will be a miracle if they haven't figured out that they are going to Disney by the last night!

Send It in the Mail

Tad and Lily LOVE getting their own mail. One surprise announcement started via snail mail. The tadpoles started receiving letters with clues. They were so excited to have something addressed to them that it never dawned on them that these letters might 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 we see you real 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 Disney World in just a few days! Love, Mickey."

Put the Puzzle Together

During the time in the tadpoles' lives when they were into puzzles, I let them solve the surprise piece-by-piece. 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 "We're going to Disney World!!!" in big, bright letters. Next, I cut it into 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 videotaped them arguing as they put the puzzle together. Then they broke into a full-on happy dance when they figured out what it said. We still watch it for frogtastic memories and a great laugh.

Pack Your Bags

How to Surprise Your Kids with a Disney Trip - Minnie and Rapunzel Backpack

Like any trip to Disney, packing for the trip takes days of preparation. This surprise takes some planning, but the end result is phenomenal. A few days before the trip, I packaged up items that the kids would be taking with them on vacation. I put their toiletries in one bag and their pajamas in another. I got them both new autograph books and markers that I put in gift bags ... you get the idea. On the day before the trip, I hid the packages around the house while the kids were at school. When they got home, the fun began.

Tad is never a happy camper when it comes to cleaning the dishes. He had no idea what was going on when he found his toothbrush and toothpaste in the dishwasher. Lily always complains about having to get the clothes out of the dryer. She was puzzled when she opened the machine. The only things inside were her Disney pajamas. When they had gathered all of the packages, I told them to bring them into our bedroom, where they found their suitcases and backpacks. Tad's had a stuffed Mickey Mouse inside and Lily's had a stuffed Minnie Mouse. Both had a note that read "It's a good thing that you're packed — we're going to Disney World!"

Map It Out

If you have Disney park maps from past visits, you can use them to help spring this year's Disney World surprise. Stuff them in lunch bags. Put a stack inside the napkin holder on the kitchen table. When you're ready for the big reveal, write "We're Going to Disney World" on one in big black marker!

Small Gifts Lead to a Big Surprise

Surprise! We're Going to Disney - Ears

This is similar to the Pack Your Bags surprise, but it’s all done in one sitting. In this approach, you build up to the big reveal with smaller things. First, I purchased items that they would use on their trip — travel-size toothpaste, a book to read on the trip, sunscreen. Next, I bought some Disney vacation items — personalized ear hats, MagicBands and such. Once all the gifts were wrapped, I called a Frog Family meeting. First, I handed them each a box with an obscure item — I think it was toothpaste. From there, the gifts built up to the final item — the ear hats. Taped inside each hat was a note reading, "You’re Going To Disney World!" Tears of joy ensued.

The same can be said for fun items such as themed cupcakes, balloons or T-shirts. Small items can deliver a big message in a unique way!

Game Time 

If you thought yelling "Uno" on game night was fun, try "We're going to Disney!" Everyone's a winner with this approach. If game night is a thing at your lily pad, dealing out the surprise during the game will make everyone hoppy. Spell it out during a game of hangman, or draw Spaceship Earth or the Matterhorn in Pictionary. There's more fun if you create your own special card. Create your own Community Chest card for a Monopoly game or add a Disney cat into Exploding Kittens.

Status Update = OMG GOING 2 DISNEY!!!

If your older kids are on social media, give them the surprise status update of their life. The evening before your reveal, wait until they’re asleep. Before you head to bed, post a new status update announcing the trip and tag them in the update. Perhaps include a picture of a past trip or video announcing the trip. Be creative with the different platforms. Do a video for Snapchat or tag them in an Instagram photo of the matching vacation shirts you'll wear. #BestFrogParentsEver. If you're traveling with our discount Disney World tickets, we'd love to know. Tag us in your pics and posts @themeparkfrog!

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, Frozen Ever After, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. For the grand reveal, go with All Four Beacons of Magic, Including Cinderella Castle. 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 interests. If you are heading to Disneyland on a future trip, we have a lot of Disneyland videos as well. Our Top 10 Favorite Disneyland Rides is a good start. 

Making a surprise trip to Disney can be a surprise in itself. Find a way to reveal the trip when they least expect it. Hang a large "We’re Going to Disney!" sign in the shower or leave a small note in their lunchbox. Write the surprise on a window or leave a message at the bottom of a box of doughnuts. While we're all about leaping, we caution you about jumping out from behind a couch or door with a huge sign. (A scared tadpole won't be interested in any kind of vacation. Don't start the trip with a traumatic moment!)

Keep It a Secret Until You've Arrived

How to Surprise Your Kids with a Disney Trip - Car Ride

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 we did it: I kept our trip a secret up until the moment we drove under the big Walt Disney World sign. Tad and Lily literally 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 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.

The surprise arrival works best if your tadpoles don’t connect their destination with Disney. It’s possible to take a flight to Southern California, rent a car and drive right up to the Disneyland Resort — all without so much as a hint as to Disney being there. The Orlando airport features huge Disney, Universal and SeaWorld gift shops. While you may be able to get them to Orlando, it can be a challenge to keep your travel plans quiet upon landing. Think about springing the "We're going to Disney" surprise at the gate once you’ve landed. An even better idea? See if the flight attendant will make the announcement overhead while you're in the air.

Surprises for Local Theme Park Visitors

Surprise! We're going to Disney - Birthday Surprise with Friends

If you are lucky enough to live a short distance from Disneyland or Disney World, you can still plan a hoppy Disney surprise. Since locals often make day trips to Disney theme parks, you can plan an unfrogettable mini-vacation by surprising your kids with an overnight stay at a Disney hotel.

But you can also plan a surprise day trip without the vacation part. Birthdays are a popular time to surprise your kids with a day at Disney instead of a day at school. Some parents let the teacher in on the secret and send kids to school, but then surprise them by pulling kids out early to go to Disney. We know one mom who told the birthday girl she was taking her for a birthday treat before school. But instead of going to Starbucks, they pulled up to see some friends holding a big birthday sign. They yelled, "You're going to Disneyland!" and they all went to Disney together. This, of course, works better with preschool to elementary school kids. Older kids usually need a little more time to mentally prepare, especially if the surprise falls on a school day. Don't froget to pick up a free birthday button in the park!

Here are a few of the ways our readers have unveiled the "We're going to Disney!" surprise on their children:

From Karen: "My husband and I have maintained all summer that our before school trip is to Michigan to go bird watching. Won't they be surprised!"

From Carol: "We surprised our grandchildren by giving them a few clues like a number 2 and a number 7 for the 27th state of America, an orange ( fruit ) as the orange state of America, a Milky Way chocolate bar, as that's where you would find Pluto, an autograph book for all the characters at Disney and last of all a soft toy of Mickey. [Since] my son and daughter-in-law had no idea [the trip was planned] they could help the kids with the clues. My daughter-in-law was worse than the kids. It was worth every penny to those faces. Kids are 12 years, 8 years and 2."

From Angela: "We aren't going until the end of December. We are going to surprise our kids Christmas morning with tons of Disney stuff and tell them that we are going, but not tell them what day. Three days later, on the 28th, we are going to wake them up at 3 a.m. and give them one more present: An 'I'm going to Walt Disney World' shirt, tell them to put it on and get in the car. That's how I have it all planned out anyways, haha. Who knows what I'll decide on between now and then."

From Emma: "I'm going to tell my kids by sending them on a scavenger hunt and when they get to the end they will find a big box wrapped up like a present. Inside will be helium-filled balloons and they will come out and there will be a note that says WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY!!! They are ages 3 and 5. Super excited!!"

From Amber: "I just booked our trip to WDW for May. I plan on sending all kids to school, then packing the bags and loading the car up (we are driving, it's about 16 hours). I was going to pick them up after being at school for a few hours and hit the road. I got a hotel booked about 3 hours away from Disney World and have surprise boxes for each kid to open the next morning. They've always wanted to go but I've told them it's just too expensive. I have four kids ranging ages 11 to 5."

Parents, are you planning a surprise trip to Disney World or Disneyland? Share your ideas in the comments below! And for those of you who have done a "We're going to Disney" surprise, how did it go? For more vacation planning tips, check out the When to Visit Orlando page inside our Orlando Planning Timeline!

Related: Surprise! We're Going to Disney Word Search Printable

Related: Surprise! We're Going to Disney Connect-the-Dots Printable

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Jul 8, 2023 at 10:32 p.m. Fiona Says...

We are planning a surprise trip for Ms 11, all the way from New Zealand. America is just some “far away place” that she doesn’t think she’ll ever get to visit, and Disneyland is a complete dream to her. Can’t wait to drop this surprise - we are thinking of telling her the day we fly out, for maximum effect. This could be the stuff of legend for generations to come hahahahaa - oh the memories!

Jul 10, 2023 at 1:02 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Aww, that will be the most frogtastic surprise!! Thanks for sharing this with us, Fiona! We hope you'll have a magical time :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 16, 2021 at 3:22 p.m. Joseph Says...

Last year we went the week after Easter. We kept it a surprise and when they got home from school my wife and I were home. We gave them Disney gift bags that had snacks and games for a car ride, a small Disney stuffy and a $50 Disney GC. They were like thanks this is great. We asked what the theme was and after thinking it over they all screamed we are going to Disney!! We said yes, but when should we go. Thinking they were funny they said how about tomorrow and our comment was "No that is too long to wait, we are leaving in 4 hours!!!" I thought the energizer bunny had energy, but nothing compared to these kids running around for an hour.

Nov 16, 2021 at 9:33 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

That's a frogtastic memory, and I'm sure you had a magical trip! Thanks for sharing, Joseph!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 16, 2021 at 3:11 p.m. Rob W Says...

My wife and I surprised our 8 and 12 year old daughters with a Disney trip and got it all on video. They had no idea until we were under the welcome to Disney sign. We drove from Pennsylvania with vacation plans to spend a week at Hilton Head SC. What they didn't realize was that we had a four day plan all laid out at the parks with fast passes and dinner reservations already planned. The best part was they were asleep from our long drive and we woke them right at the entrance to the property. They were elated to say the least.

Nov 16, 2021 at 9:19 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

We love this, Rob :) So glad to hear it was magical for everyone! Thank you so much for hopping by!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 16, 2021 at 2:49 p.m. Chelsea Says...

We are planning on doing sort of the opposite of some of these, lol. Our kids know we are going to Disney and we've been involving them in the planning to get them excited. But we've told them that we are leaving a few days later than we really are. Our plan is to start a conversation about it on our departure day and say something like, "Wow, I'm so excited, I wish we could leave today. Why don't we do that? Let's go NOW!" and get in the car and drive to the airport. Hopefully then they'll get the best of a surprise and being mentally prepared for the trip!

Nov 16, 2021 at 8:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

We love that idea too! Your tadpoles will be so excited. Thanks for sharing, Chelsea!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 5, 2021 at 4:57 p.m. Amber Mathewson Says...

This is such an informative article! Thank you for including the different reaction possibilities for different kids!

I have a 13yr old daughter and a 6yr old son that would react TOTALLY different to the same situation...

Thinking 2 separate reveals might be in order....

Thanks for keeping it real!

Feb 5, 2021 at 1:28 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Thanks so much, Amber - we're so hoppy you took the time to let us know! :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jun 18, 2020 at 3:19 a.m. Jen Says...

These ideas are so great! I can't wait to do something fun for my kids next year!

Jun 18, 2020 at 3:18 a.m. Katie Says...

Such fun ideas!!

Dec 28, 2019 at 6:35 p.m. CARLJOHNSTON Says...

Hi can you add a Canadian Disney Park where you make Canadian movies here fr Disney it would make alot of money maybe put the Disney Park in Vancouver B. C. Canada area Or in Ontario Canada would would make sence also please consider this idea fr us Canadians and Amercians.

Dec 13, 2019 at 7:18 p.m. MARY RODOWICZ Says...

Always the funnest place in the world ????!!

Dec 11, 2019 at 3:40 p.m. Debbie Says...

Thanks for all the info

Sep 10, 2019 at 6:56 p.m. Kristi Says...

I'm planning a surprise trip for my son (will be 9 when we go). We've been to WDW twice and he has been begging to go to DL/CA. To top it off, he has seen the videos of people making their own droids, so the begging and pleading has escaladed. I'm trying to figure out how to surprise him. He has anxiety disorder, so if I tell him too early, it will be a long 7-8 months for us. But if I don't tell him, and he keeps asking...he'll eventually think we aren't ever going. In a perfect world, I'd love to get him on the plane and have the surprise be in the announcements. But as soon as he gets to an airport, he'll start asking questions. (He's never flown and knows we have to fly to get there). His birthday is in March, so I could do it then, but again...too far away. I'm thinking of picking him up from school the day before we go and doing a "Surprise! We are going to Disneyland!" box filled with fun shirts and stuff. What do you think?

Sep 10, 2019 at 2 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristi!

We think that sounds perfect for your son - what an awesome surprise! We'll let others in the Frog Pond weigh in, too. Hope he enjoys his droid! :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jan 28, 2019 at 10:28 p.m. Melinda Says...

I'm a "bonus mom" (the blended family all agreed it was better than step-mom) to the most kind hearted 7 year old princess. She has had a really difficult year with health issues and being bullied at school and her bio-mom is letting her take a mental health week to go with me to Disneyland for her first ever visit. We will be surprising her the morning on the day before me and her leave. I can't wait!! I had bought a box from Etsy with a "you're going to Disneyland tomorrow" note, but I love the bag idea and going to use that also and give her the Rapunzel bag I got for her trip during the surprise. A few years ago I bought her one of those name paintings and I really wish I had recorded her reaction, she was sooo thankful I almost cried.

Jan 29, 2019 at 7:58 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Melinda!

What a wonderful trip for you and your princess! We love the surprise box -- have a frogtastic trip together!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jan 19, 2019 at 10:25 a.m. Charlotte C. Says...

I'm surprising my best friend with a trip to Disneyland for her sweet 16! It's been a rough year for her so I figured she could use the happiest place on Earth :)

Still trying to figure out how to surprise her! I was thinking either the ticket tied to the end of a balloon, then wrapped in a box so it floats up when she opens it, or getting her a Disney themed necklace with the tickets in the box.

Anyone let me know if you have any other ideas!!

Dec 12, 2018 at 8:11 a.m. Whitney A. Says...

I hate keeping surprise, but this has been my biggest one to date! My daughter has been begging to go to Disney, but we have been telling her that maybe we will be able to go “one day.”””” Little does she know that we have been planning our magical adventure since June! I am planning on wrapping up Mickey balloons and all of their Disney gear in a surprise gift for Christmas. We have asked family to get them all gift cards for them to spend on things they want and I’m hoping my little one doesn’t catch on. She has received gift cards and used them at the Disney store before... then when everything is thought to be opened, we are going to bring out the final gift, wrapped in plain red wrapping paper! I have this whole idea of how it will play out and how excited she and her little brother will be. I just hope it goes the way I have planned!

Dec 12, 2018 at 11:03 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Whitney!

Sounds like you're winning mom of the year to us. That's AMAZING. Your kiddos are going to be so excited. Please let us know how it goes :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 12, 2018 at 8:19 a.m. Jennifer Maamo Says...

We’ve been planning The surprise trip to Disneyland for the last two months for my daughter’s birthday. Tomorrow afternoon when she gets out of school her favorite Cousin, her older sister, her dad, and I will pick her up and tell her we’re driving for an over night trip to the beach, but will be back in time for her birthday party. The catch is theres no birthday party, we’re surprising her by spending her birthday in Disneyland. We plan on telling her when we get To the hotel by giving her a bag with an assortment of Minnie Mouse ears made for her 8th birthday, a Minnie birthday shirt and Mickey mouse shoes. Over kill maybe, but the only thing I’m worried about is her feeling grief for the party she will think she missed out on at home. Wish us luck. It’s been hard keeping this secret from her and not letting her in on her actual birthday plans. She’s asked so many times to send out invites for her party and I kept stalling. I hope it’s a magical and I see it in my head and she’s not sad.

Oct 12, 2018 at 10:06 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer!

Oh my goodness, don't worry! We know kids can be unpredictable, but we can't imagine ANYONE being disappointed in a trip to Disneyland. We're sure she'll be absolutely thrilled. We're jealous! Sounds amazing! Enjoy :)

Keep hopping!


Sep 2, 2018 at 8:29 a.m. Bec Says...

We are traveling from overseas to visit Disney World, the kids are finding out Christmas morning. I am going to buy them each a suitcase and put a T-shirt inside of their suitcases that says ‘I’m going to Disney World!’ They think we’re going to a tropical location in our country for now, this will give them time to adjust to the thought ????????

Sep 4, 2018 at 10:17 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bec!

Oh my gosh, that sounds perfect and amazing! Go for it! Their reactions will be priceless. Have fun :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 9, 2017 at 6:14 p.m. Deb Stalzer Says...

I am giving my Kid's Micky Ears with "Surprise we are going to Disneyland Summer 2019" for Christmas this year 2017. I'm one that STESSES to the max and I have alot of planning and calling and alot to figure out before I make the final decisions. I would appriciate any information or ideas.

Dec 18, 2017 at 10:09 p.m. Holly Says...

I don't think I would say anything about it this early. A year and a half is a LONG time to wait! Maybe wait and have it be a surprise next Christmas so they only have 6 months to wait.

Nov 17, 2017 at 8:44 p.m. Bridgette ML Says...

Our kids are 18 and 19 and we are going to Disney for the 1st time. They are driving in from college and meeting us at a hotel the night before we fly out. They have no idea we are going anywhere - we've alluded to staying downtown Chicago for a few days of adventure. When we get to the hotel and are just hanging arounds in our pj's, I will send them a Snapchat photo of their dad and I wearing Mickey Mouse ears with "We're Going to Disney" caption. They'll both pop out of the bed and I may have to tell them to stop screaming and jumping on the bed. I think we'll all cry. Been a rough year - need the happiest place on earth on Christmas to help wash away 2017. VERY EXCITED!!!

Jan 4, 2018 at 3:22 p.m. Shonda Says...

how did it go?

Nov 16, 2017 at 12:50 a.m. Debbie Miller Says...

My daughter and I are taking my 5 yr. old granddaughter to Disney World in Feb. On Xmas Eve this is how we plan on telling her. Dan'animals (yogurt drinks) and Disney are giving away 10 free trips to Disney World and she keeps asking me to get her those as she wants to win this trip "really really really bad grandma", it is so hard not to tell her "you are going" I am going to take one of the bottles and painting it gold, fill it with water and reglue the foil cap back on and replacing it in the Dan'animals box and wrapping it for her for Xmas eve telling her maybe this is the lucky one. She will think she won, then on Xmas morning, she will open her new Anna and Elsa (of course) suitcase filled with wrapped Disney paraphanalia-autograph books, Disney pen, Disney pins & lanyard, Minnie ears, hats, visors, glow sticks, bracelets...etc. , complete Disney outfits for every day, Disney shoes, pj's, underwear, everything needed for her trip and underneath all the wrapped gifts will be her tickets and Magic Band. I think she will be sooooo excited. For us I think we could be in trouble, we did not want to tell her this early but just couldn't resist this opportunity I think it will be fun.

Aug 17, 2017 at 3:11 p.m. fuffly kitten Says...

Hello everyone. I have read some really good ideas.

We are heading to Flordia in March but I want to give it to my son for Christmas. I have tried to wreck my brain with ideas and it is between these two... Firstly.. MCD are presenting Disney on ice here in Dublin, Late November so I was going to ask if the characters would maybe call him back stage and give them to him ... Or... I do the box in a box on Christmas morning... Forever making Santa the man who keeps on giving hahah Still unsure

Nov 28, 2017 at 8:15 p.m. Heather Says...

We are doing it for Christmas- we have an elf on the shelf and they are going to drop hints and then the kids are each going to open a sign "we're" "going" "to" "Disney" along with other Disney related paraphernalia.

Nov 23, 2018 at 4:46 a.m. Heather Ervin Says...

What type of hints will your elf be giving without giving it away? I want to do this and give a clue everyday until the day of. My kids are 14 and 5.

Oct 10, 2017 at 9:52 p.m. Lorraine Says...

I am planning to do it at Christmas too and looking for odeas

Jul 27, 2017 at 8:11 p.m. karin Says...

My husband and I have maintained all summer that our before school trip is to Michigan to go bird watching. Won't they be surprised!

Jun 16, 2017 at 2:35 p.m. Burnie Says...

We are taking our kids this Christmas as well. Two of our kids have birthdays around then so it will be for Chistmas and birthdays. The plan as of right now is to get gift bags ready for each kid. Whenever we take them to get pictures with Santa, have him give them the bags and tell them we are taking them to Disney World. The bags will include autograph books and stuff, as well as a planner. That way they can spend the next week or so helping us plan everything out. I've got it all pictured in my head, just hope it all works as planned. Main concern is the picture place participating. Cross your fingers and say a prayer. Luckily, we have enough time to have a backup plan just in case.

Oct 18, 2017 at 2:38 p.m. paula flaherty Says...

i like this one we are taking are boys for christmas thanks

Apr 28, 2017 at 10:28 p.m. Heidi Says...

I have a question. I'm planning on surprising my kids with tickets for Disneyland on Christmas in place of toys since they really don't need any more. Lol but I'm not planning on goin. Until late January or February (after holiday crowds die down). I don't want them to feel like they got nothing for Christmas by waiting til it's closer to departure to tell them. What would be the best way to go about it?

Maybe ears, shirts, and Disney stuff for Christmas as well and weekly Disney movie nights as a countdown?

Aug 26, 2017 at 8:58 p.m. Carol Says...

We surprised our grandchildren by giving them a few clues like a number 2 and a number 7 for the 27 th state of America, an orange ( fruit ) as the orange state of America, a wilkyway chocalate bar as that's where you would find Pluto ,a autograph book for all the characters at Disney and last of all a soft toy of Micky .As my son and daughter in law had no idea they could help the kids with the clues .MY daughter in law was worst than the kids lol ,it was worth every penny to those faces . Kids are 12 years, 8 years and 2

May 19, 2017 at 6:36 p.m. Burnie Says...


We are going around that same time, our plan is to surprise the kids with a few Disney themed items they will need on their trip. First presents will be basic need stuff, toothpaste, etc... That will lead to the reveal of the tickets and new autograph books, as well as a Disney trip planner. That way they can spend the next few weeks planning everything out and hopefully build the excitement more and more every day.

Apr 29, 2017 at 5:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Heidi,

Many people use Disney-themed items that "build up" to the big reveal, and also serve some purpose on the trip. Autograph book, camera, backpack, Mickey ears and such. Hope they enjoy the surprise!

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Mar 15, 2017 at 11:51 p.m. SavannahI Says...

I need help. Ok so about 2 years ago we had a plan to go to Disney. Our kids knew early. Everything was booked and ready to go. Then tragedy struck. On black Friday my husband was also killed in a car accident on his way to work. I had to end up cancelling the trip to pay for his medical bills. We are planning a trip this year in September. I once again have everything booked and i am praying so hard. I haven't told my kids yet because i am scared. Should i tell them now or wait until it is time to go?

Mar 9, 2019 at 10:39 a.m. Pauline Says...

I’m so sorry for your loss. After I lost my husband, I let each child pick a Christmas tree ornament in the Disney store for their dad so they could remember the trip and include him in the Christmas too.

Jun 7, 2017 at 7:20 p.m. Queen Elvig Says...

hi, I am so sorry that happened to your family. Now that you are ready to take your children to Disneyland this Sept. I might suggest you sit down with the kids and allow them to talk and help plan the trip. I would offer each child the opportunity to find somethings at Disneyland on the first day you visit there to purchase in memory of their Dad, it doesn't have to be expensive....something that they can remember him by. [that will help to make them feel as if he is part of the Trip]. they could carry that item around with them if they wished. Then I would focus on making great memories. the kids will always have that one special item they purchased at Disneyland to remember their Dad. Well, that is just my idea, I wish you the best, take care my friend. Queen Elvig

Mar 22, 2017 at 5:03 a.m. Erin Says...

I am so sorry for your loss, I cannot even imagine having to go through that. I say base it on your kids and how they handle things. Also, by their age. If they are on the younger side I would probably wait till you are much closer or when you are there if they enjoy that type of surprise and if you don't think it will bring a wave of sadness based on the loss you all suffered. If they are older say 9yrs+ I think you are safe to tell them by summer if you wanted. They are able to understand better regardless of the circumstance if something were to cause a cancel. There is always risk in having to cancel, we too had to cancel 2 years ago but for a different reason, but I would say to not let the 'what if' scare you too much. It can be bad I know. Maybe even if you decide to tell them (and again depending on age) you could tell them we are going to "try" to go so they have the idea but aren't set on it. And maybe turn it into something that is for dad kind of have the trip and the fun he wanted y'all to have (of course that could also be too hard for them). Again all depends on age and the kids and the kids themselves. I know i wasn't much help but I feel for you and will pray for you guys!!

Mar 11, 2017 at 6:03 a.m. crystal Says...

Planning a trip next year for my neice and nephews. Going to throw an un-birthday party the night before, ( i live in australia they live in the states so i thorw one to celebrate boirthdays every time i come visit) then at the end of the night i am going to give them a bos wrapped like a birthday present in it will be a stuffed disney pan, a tshirt augograph book and pen and mouse ears that i will make myself. they are ages 13, 9, 6

Mar 7, 2017 at 4:46 a.m. Amber Says...

I just booked our trip to WDW for May. I plan on sending all kids to school, then packing the bags and loading the car up (we are driving it's about 16 hours). I was going to pick them up after being at school for a few hours and hit the road. I got a hotel booked about 3 hours away from Disney world and have surprise boxes for each kid to open the next morning. They've always wanted to go but I've told them it's just too expensive. I have four kids ranging ages 11 to 5.

Mar 7, 2017 at 8:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...


That's a great idea! Have fun!

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Mar 5, 2017 at 9:16 p.m. Dawn Says...

My son Birthday is 2 weeks after Christmas so I can't decide whether to do the reveal on Christmas or his birthday? I'm leaning more towards just before his birthday and celebrating his birthday at WDW... doing an appliance size surprise/exploding box that's filled with red , white, yellow & black balloons, wrapped in red & black paper, with a removable lid... the flaps/sides would fall flat and balloons would pop out of box. He will be turning 4 so I will make a picture gram that reads "???? M ✈️ to ???? ????" (except I would use a pic of Cinderella's castle). A lot of his Christmas gifts will be part of his surprise... magic bands, shirts, water bottle, glow sticks etc. If I do the reveal on Christmas I think I'll make a paper chain to help him count down the days until he leaves? The chain can be attached to the balloons? I always go way overboard for my boys birthdays... so I am super excited to plan it. I am leaving some wiggle room to change plans if his developing personality changes. I would hate to traumatize him and have a Disney reveal FAIL ????

Mar 3, 2017 at 8:33 p.m. karen Says...

I'm planning on putting my 6 year old on the bus, packing the car and then picking him up after 30 minutes of school. in his backpack for the day I plan on removing his lunch bag and daily binder, and replacing them with a Mickey stuffy (they turn in the binder at the beginning of the day).

Still working on a plan for my 4 year old.

Mar 3, 2017 at 2:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Fun! Great idea.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Mar 1, 2017 at 7:23 p.m. emma:) Says...

im going to tell my kids by sending them on a scavenger hunt and when they get the end they will find a big box wrapped up like a present. inside will be helium filled balloons and they will come out and there will be a note that says WERE GOING TO DISNEY!!! the are ages 3 and 5. super excited !!

Mar 1, 2017 at 1:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...


That's a great idea! Hope they enjoy the surprise as much as the trip!

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 15, 2016 at 6:15 p.m. Sue Says...

We go to Disney World just about every year, but had to cancel one year. We tried to plan a drive to visit my brother in Indiana for that week, but that too got cancelled. We told our boys we had rescheduled the Indiana trip for a couple of months later, but were flying out this time, with a non-direct flight. A few days before the trip, I told the boys I received an email from the airline that we would have a second stopover added in, and that it would be either through Atlanta or Orlando. The next day, I told them it would be Orlando. When we landed in Orlando, we were on our way to the "next gate", and my husband accidentally mentioned that we left the secure area. The boys panicked, so I told them we could get on the elevator, go downstairs, cross to another elevator, and go back up. When we got downstairs, we were right near the Magical Express counter, but they didn't suspect a thing. I took out my phone to record their reaction, and one son asked what I was doing. I told him I was checking our next flight. Then we told them we weren't going to another gate, but we had arrived at our destination. They didn't believe us and insisted we were going to Indiana. I pulled out Magic Bands since the cast members were ready to welcome us, and the boys still didn't believe us. It took a few minutes for the truth to sink in, and they were ecstatic! We also surprised them with my sister's arrival at Pop Century that night.

Nov 4, 2016 at 11:12 p.m. Melinda B Says...

I just booked our trip for next October. Our daughter will be turning 10 while we are there. My husband and I have ever been to WDW. Our daughter's bff has been there 3 times now and she gets to hear all about it. I told her its too expensive and we can't afford it. Well one set of grandparents live in Tennessee. So I just told her we are going to fly down down with the other grand parents and celebrate her birthday down there next year and rent a cabin in the Smoky's. Well she was a little bummed about not having a party with her friends instead. We are supposed to fly down to Disney on a Friday and her birthday is that on the plane ride....towards the end of the flight...for the sake of other travelers....we were going to give her an early "goofy" birthday card and have a print out of our Disney reservation/itinerary inside and write "CHANGE OF PLANS...WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!" written in the card. I am almost more excited about her reaction that the trip itself!

Dec 28, 2015 at 5:49 a.m. Ashley Says...

I love the idea of the letters! Do you still have them? Would you be willing to share the content and more info about how many and how often?

Jan 11, 2016 at 4:01 p.m. Trevor Says...

Wife and I, Just Surprised my 6 year old with a trip to Disney World

Check out this video on YouTube:

Jan 18, 2016 at 9:13 p.m. Chris Says...

We did as well a couple of years ago. Definitely a video we will keep around!

Jul 17, 2023 at 4:50 p.m. Amelia Says...

Love the idea of letters! Do you have examples besides the first one?

Nov 27, 2015 at 1:23 p.m. MrsSmith Says...

We are flying out on January 3, and they will open it on Christmas morning. There are some great ideas here, in the post and comments. I like the puzzle idea.

Dec 20, 2015 at 2:56 a.m. Skyler roberts Says...

My girlfriend and I are flying out on the 4th of January. She won't know till the night before. We have a son and my parents are going to watch him. He is only 8mo old. I am going to propose at Disney.

Aug 26, 2016 at 12:55 a.m. Melissa Says...

That is very sweet!

Jul 25, 2015 at 1:35 p.m. Gigi4 Says...

Does anyone know of a service that will do the mailings for you I'd like for the addresses to be different than our home address. We want to surprise our grandkids with surprise mailed invitations

to Disney....

Sep 14, 2017 at 4:22 a.m. Mali Says...

You can put the letter in a stamped envelope addressed to him (whatever return address you want, such as Mickey @MK, Buzz @Andy's room, etc). Then put that in a larger envelope and mail to "Attention: Postmaster" and "Please Hand Stamp" and mail it to the post office in Orlando. They will postmark it and send it back to your child.

Jul 1, 2015 at 3:22 p.m. Catherine Says...

To surprise our son with a Disney vacation, we made a letter from Mickey Mouse for him to find in the mail and a video on iMovie about his Disney vacation. He loved it!

Jun 14, 2015 at 3:42 p.m. momma b Says...

I originally was planning Santa to deliver a ticket to Walt Disney World on Christmas morning and then my husband and I would buy our 5 year old a plane ticket for a Christmas gift. Well, now my parents are coming as well and my dad would like to rent an RV and drive down. SO, my question is how should I still have Santa give the gift of Disney and how do I make it a great present on Christmas morning? We are driving from WI leaving Dec. 23 and would like to stop somewhere Christmas Eve close to Orlando that way we can go in on Christmas after Santa delivers her present. Any thoughts would be helpful :-)

Sep 1, 2015 at 12:22 a.m. Roxy Says...

Hi Momma B, How about this, since you will be traveling, on your stop on Christmas Eve have your child hang this in the window of the RV. That way Santa can track her since she is traveling for Christmas!

Jun 22, 2015 at 8:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Momma B,

I think you can still do this, although since you will already be on the road, you have to tell your child you're going somewhere. Is it possible that Santa could come early since you are leaving for your trip? That way, he could also deliver some Disney-related gifts that could be used in the parks or along the way? That is probably how I would do it, although others reading this may have other ideas ;)

Mommy Frog

Mar 30, 2015 at 3:07 p.m. Kimberly Says...

I am waiting to tell my 8 yr old that we are taking a vacation until we are in the car! We have 2 destinations so double the fun. Bought a big lot of trading pins cheaply on ebay and getting other stuff to make 2 trip baskets. I can't wait!

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

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!

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

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......

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

These are such great ideas post more

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

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

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

[...] 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 [...]

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

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.

Oct 25, 2016 at 10:03 p.m. Alejandra Porras Says...

We are planing the exact surprise for our 11 year old son, we are going for Halloween week and he has no idea, i would like some tips on how to break the news to him right after arriving at the airport... any tips?

Oct 23, 2016 at 2:44 a.m. KAthe Says...

HOw did you keep it a secret at your departing airport? Taking our 5 and almost 3 year old great grandkids and have been planning it for 17 months but now curious on how and when to tell them.Do not want to get to airport to leave and someone say something and ruin the surprise

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

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.

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

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

Apr 17, 2012 at 3:52 p.m. Brianne Says...

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!

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

is it fun were is it at

Dec 28, 2019 at 6:36 p.m. CARLJOHNSTON Says...

Ya there would always be great fun at those to mentioned locations.

May 21, 2020 at 6:01 p.m. h Says...


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