How should I break the news to my daughters when it's time to go to WDW?

We are going in 2020 and I thought it would be fun to not tell them until the day before we go and surprise them. I have three different scenarios, and of course are open to any others anyone might suggest. For reference, we are going on their 10th birthday. So we are leaving for my parents house the day before their birthday.

Scenario 1: Register on that Fiver website to have Mickey and friends call my daughters at a certain time. My only concern is I would have to time it just right. Would be fun to have Mickey break the news to them.

Scenario 2: We tell them we are spending a long weekend at Grandmama and Granddaddy’s house. We are leaving the night before their birthday and they can open one present beofer we leave. It’s a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal with Magic Bands around their wrists. I notice the magic band and throw out the idea of “Hey, let’s just go.” We kind of make it seem like it’s a whim.

Scenario 3: I give my girls the illusion they get to pick our next vacation spot, and we are just going to go now. The one caveat is that I have to give them options, because I can’t afford to take them just anywhere. So the first choice is we get to go see the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota, the second choice is we will follow Clark Griswold to Wally World, and the 3rd choice is of course, Disney World.

I’m curious as to how others have kept it from their kids that they were going to WDW and how did they break it to them.

1 Like

I’d just worry a bit that they wouldn’t pick WDW :joy: You just never know with kids.


Wait. I’ve BEEN to Wally World (aka, Magic Mountain). It is awesome! :slight_smile: You better hope they don’t choose that over Disney! :wink:


Wait a second - you mean that’s a real thing? For real?

1 Like

The scenes that take place as “Wally World” were filmed at Six Flags Magic Mountain. They just changed the name of it for the sake of the movie.


My kids have never been to Six Flags, and have never seen the Vacation movies, so doubt they’d pick that. The biggest ball of twine in Minnesota thing though…

For everyone’s sake who doesn’t know, that’s a reference to a Weird Al song.


Oh. I thought it was a reference to Vacation as well, since there is a scene where they stand there staring at the ball of twine briefly, if I recall.

Anyhow, to return to your original question, personally I’d go for 3.


Yep. Never know what kids will do:


As an alternative, since they will be 10, they might enjoy some of the planning with you. My DD9 has enjoyed working with me on our upcoming trip. We have watched Youtube videos, talked about restaurants, etc. Feels like she is involved in the planning… which extends the fun.

Just another idea!


Hilarious. And scary too.

Yes my DS loves the planning, he’d be really upset to miss out on that.


We did that on our first trip. One of my daughters is on the autism spectrum so we have to tell her as much as we can because she doesn’t like surprises too much. Now that she knows what Disney is all about, she will just be excited. For the first time though, she cried at watching youtube videos of Barnstormer saying it would never end. We got past that, then she cried about 7DMT saying it would never end.

1 Like

Ahh… children. :rofl:

Well best of luck with whatever you choose to do. I am sure your family will have a great time.


1 Like

I would do the Mickey thing.


Grandma could phone and say they won’t be able to come because Grandma and Grandpa will be in WDW, but they are welcome to visit them there. Then the girls can ‘twist your rubber arm’ as you think about the offer and you can say yes.

Of course, that means you have to take Grandma and Grandpa with you.


I did the surprise thing with my two sons, then ages 10 & 9. We spent the night near a local airport and we told them that we were going up early because we wanted to be at the local amusement park early. We didn’t tell them the new until the next morning that we were really flying out to Disneyworld. While I was expecting a lot of yelling and cheering, I was instead treated to stunned silence. After I told them how quickly we would be there, then the cheering began!


I planned to tell DD about a week before but I caved and told her about 2 weeks before. I wanted to tell her teachers she was going and our neighbor and didn’t want anyone to slip and tell her by accident. I bought some balloons and planned to have her open a box of balloons. But the balloons were too big to fit in the box. She loved it anyway.

This trip I think I will tell her farther out so she has a longer countdown and can help with the planning. If I tell her before 60 days she can have some input in the touring plans. But I’m not sure whether that’s too long a countdown for a 7 year old.

1 Like

We had a trip when my DS was 7 and he’d known for 2 years!

1 Like

My girls knew about our previous trip about that long and they were 6 when we went. My wife and I thought it would be fun to keep it a surprise until right when we were about to go.

A friend of mine waited to tell her DD’s that they were going to WDW until they were driving to the airport…they didn’t exactly respond the way she’d hoped. :frowning: She discovered that last minute surprises that included travel wasn’t something they handled well.
But only you know how your daughter’s could take the fun news. I love the idea of Mickey calling them to invite them to his house…if you can time it right, I think that would be very special for them!


It isn’t really our family’s “personality” to do the whole surprise trip thing for kids for various reasons.

The most significant reason is that neither my wife nor I could possibly keep such a thing secret from our kids for that long when there were four or five kids in the house! Plus, we’re such planners, we talk about our plans for years in advance.

The next reason is that I’m just not someone who likes surprises, pretty much ever, about anything. And since that’s how I am, why would I expect my kids wouldn’t enjoy being in the know as well?

Third, and I know this SOUNDS judgmental, and I don’t mean it that way, but for OUR parenting style, making any trip, including a Disney trip, so child-centric is really antithetical to the focus we want on family as a whole rather than for the individual. When we plan a Disney trip, it isn’t about the kids, but about the family having a good time together. (Again, I’m not saying that it is wrong for parents to do so, only that for US it isn’t what we do.) So keeping the kids in the loop about the trip and involving them in everything from helping to save for it, etc., is just part of the process.

I do admire the ability parents have in pulling off the surprise, however. And it seems to me that it would be most effective when done with kids who have at least experienced a LITTLE bit of Disney magic in some way first. Otherwise, the “surprise” of a WDW trip could fall a little flat since they don’t know what to be excited about.