One of the most underestimated parts of a trip to Disney is the moment you announce to your family that you're going! For kids that have never been to Disney, this is a great time to make this announcement extra special. Pinterest is full of great ideas to announce a Disney trip and I have compiled some of my favorites for you to best surprise your kids with the big reveal!
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The First Step: Decide When You Will Reveal the Big News
There are so many great ideas when it comes to surprising your kids with a Disney trip. The first thing you want to decide is how soon you want to announce a Disney trip: do you want them to be surprised with the news as you're heading to the airport? Do you want them to have time to be part of the planning process and tell them earlier?
Essentially you have two main options: surprising them prior to the trip whether that's weeks/months in advance OR surprising them with ‘look we're at Disney RIGHT NOW!'
Sneak Surprise: Revealing the News en Route to Disney
For folks that are looking to surprise their kids en route to the Disney destination, you first have to make sure you don't spill the beans too soon by giving away clues. I personally could never do this because I'm not capable of keeping a secret that long! But if you have the willpower, this is surely a way to make this an unforgettable way to announce a Disney trip!
Word of caution: make sure you know that this is the right way for your kiddo to find out! Some kids don't like surprises like this. I had a friend that tried this and her son started crying in the airport! He was so shocked and excited that it just overwhelmed him. Not the fun vacation video she was hoping for! There's plenty of ‘Disney Announcement Fails' all over YouTube- it can be a risky way to announce a trip. Part of what makes up those fails is the idea of telling your kids a false destination in its place- sometimes kids might really want to go to grandma's house! You know what's best for your kiddo and if this is the right way to announce a Disney trip.
If you do decide this is the right choice, there are a few ways you can announce the trip. You can wait until you arrive at the airport and announce it prior to departure. This may be the easiest if your kids are older because most kids would be asking a million questions about where you are going. If your kids are smaller, it's easier to get away with waiting for the announcement until you literally arrive at Disneyland or Walt Disney World.
So if this is your plan- timing is everything. Consider if you can make it all the way to your flight arrival without the surprise being spoiled if this is your plan. Some airports will be covered in Disney ads or souvenir stores which might clue in older kids. If you make it through the airport with the big reveal still a surprise then you have two options: reveal the surprise en route to the hotel/at the hotel or at the Disney Park you are heading to.
If you're visiting Walt Disney World and staying in a Disney owned hotel, many of the hotels offer services that decorate your room with Disney themed toys or decor to start off the vacation in an exciting way. Over at Disneyland, you can also find plenty of local Anaheim services that take care of this for you too.
And of course, if you debut the surprise at the park entrance- you really don't need more than the magic of the Disney Parks entrance to make your kids squeal with excitement.
Advance Surprise: Announcing Your Trip
There are a few benefits to revealing your surprise in advance. For one, the announcement process can be more detailed and creative! You can also then incorporate countdown chains, calendars, or ask your children to get involved with the trip planning which can held build excitement! If you book with our travel partner, Get Away Today, you will receive tons of links to free downloads for printable vacation countdowns, packing lists, and more which can help build that excitement.
You can also consider holidays or birthdays in relation to your trip announcement. Is the trip a birthday or Christmas celebration? As experiences replacing material possessions get more popular this is one idea to tie in your trip and also make that holiday/birthday an unforgettable experience.
Think about how far in advance you want to reveal the news. I have found in my personal experience that if I reveal it too far in advance that the excitement is rather muted. ‘Oh, we're going to Disneyland?! But not for eight months….?' Time can be a struggle for kids to understand so I recommend revealing the news closer to the departure date so it's close enough to look forward to but not too far to feel irrelevant.
Creative Ways to Announce then Big Trip
Now for the fun part… the big reveal! There are so many cute ideas for announcing a Disney trip for your kids, here are some of my favorite ideas that I found.
Fill a suitcase with that they will need on their trip to Disney. Make sure to include some Disney related t-shirts, Mickey ears or autograph books to help clue them in. This way the excitement is revealed and they have some goodies to enjoy right away too! Bonus points if you get them their own little suitcase- that can make the experience feel more special for kids that are traveling for the first time.
If you're giving the gift of Disney for Christmas or a birthday then half the fun is in the present opening. You can give gifts that clue them in on where the trip is (Minnie ears? Stuffed Mickey Mouse? Magic Bands?) and then let them guess! Or you can be more direct and put the tickets in a small box (consider using printed out fake ones just so you don't risk damaging your real ones) and have them open it!
Wrapping Disney Balloons
This is one of my favorite ways to announce a trip! Get a big box, wrap it, and fill it with helium balloons. You can get a custom balloon done (check local party stores or go online on Etsy!) and have it announce your trip. Or fill it with Disney themed helium balloons. You could put a sign on the balloon that says ‘You're going to Disney!' or write it out on a card to put in the bottom of the box. Nothing says happiness more than balloons!
Create a scavenger hunt that includes clues about your trip and ends with the big reveal. You can find plenty of scavenger hunt templates on Pinterest or by searching online. For smaller kids, you can also start this into a string scavenger hunt to keep them focused and on track. Consider keeping the scavenger hunt confined to a smaller space if you want to be able to get the best video of it. I found a really neat printable scavenger hunt here to get you started.
Letter from Mickey
Imagine the excitement when your kids receive a personalized letter from Mickey inviting them to Walt Disney World or Disneyland. You can find plenty of printable options online for free or on Etsy for an additional cost. This website shares some links to free printable Mickey graphics and Mickey inspired fonts to help you create your own! You could include the letter in a large box of Disney goodies (like she did here) or you can mail it to your kids!
Breakfast or Dinner Reveal
For some kids that have been to the parks before, they might have learned to associate certain foods with the Disney Parks. You can find some recipes online to create your own Dole Whips or Mickey waffles at home and surprise the kids with a themed meal. The Disney Food Blog always has some great recipes to try to make the most authentic Disney Parks foods right at home. This can be a delicious way to announce a Disney trip!
Universal Studios- Hogwarts Letter
If Universal Studios is on your destination list and your kids are big Harry Potter fans then you can't resist sharing the news with Hogwarts acceptance letter along with a ticket to the Hogwarts Express! Our travel partner Get Away Today shared this awesome free printable for both Hollywood and Orlando on their blog.
I recently used this when I revealed to my son we were also heading to Universal Studios Hollywood during our upcoming Disney vacation. He had been asking for awhile because he loves Harry Potter so I printed these out, rolled them up like scrolls, and attached them to a stuffed owl. I told him over dinner and he loved it! He thought for a moment Hogwarts actually sent them! A very cool memory to have.
Well there you have it, there are some creative ways to announce a Disney trip to your kids! Considering the amount of time, money, and planning that goes into a Disney trip it makes sense to dedicate some energy to the big reveal. Coming from experience of a mom that has done a few of these reveals along with a few epic fails, here is a piece of advice for those of you taking first timers to the parks: don't be disappointed if they're not that excited. If they've never been to Disney before, they may not fully know how amazing it is. The excitement will come later, don't worry!
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