When Should You Tell the Kids You are Going to Disney?

drive to Mgic Kingdom, road to Magic Kingdom, Magic Kingdom entrance sign, Magic Kingdom toll, Magic Kingdom parking cost

I am a big sap when it comes to all things Disney World. When the Disney commercials comes on TV, with unsuspecting kids opening  a pizza box announcing a trip to Orlando, I tear up. Commercials with kids riding Disney roller coasters? I tear up, the music gets to me every time. I think I get more excited about trip planning and settling in on travel dates than anyone in my family. So when is the right time to tell your kids that a WDW trip is forthcoming? There are two different ways…

Tell them the minute you make plans.

In general, I am of this school of thought; tell your kids the minute you finalize your plans. The one and only time we surprised our children with a Disney trip, they were ages 2, 3 and 5. We packed their stuff, picked them up from pre-school, told them we were going on a trip to the Florida beaches, and woke them up when we pulled up to the Disney resort.  Surprise! Every other trip, we told them the day we made the reservations.

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Now this approach has backfired a couple of times, because plans changed, and the kids got disappointed. But life is full of disappointments and plans change all the time. Our children have always understood why the plans changed, they get over it, and they wait semi-patiently for our next trip announcement.  We scheduled a Disney cruise last year, told the kids, and using the internet, showed them our exact room location on the ship.  Having paid a deposit and a large portion of the trip, we wound up cancelling the cruise when the Fall 2012 school schedules were announced and immediately conflicted. Seven days turned out to be too many days to miss work and school. They are still sad the cruise didn’t work out, but they understand the reasons why. Life is full of change, and dealing with disappointments is a big part of dealing with life. We have already made plans for a trip after Thanksgiving, and it gave us something to talk about at time. We still talk about how expensive that cruise would have been, and we use that as a pep-talk for our children to be successful in school.

Where is one of the coolest Disney places to go these days?

Disney Art of Animation Resort: Details and Fabulous New Photos!

photo of Expedition Everest, Expedition Everest, Animal Kingdom photo, Disney's Animal Kingdom photo, kids can ride Expedicion Everest, height restrictions for Expedition Everest

Telling them now means you can plan ahead.

My kids are pre-teens now. They have their own birthday and Christmas money to spend at Disney. Announcing a surprise trip to Disney doesn’t give them any time to save any money. I certainly don’t plan to pay for every t-shirt and key chain they will ask for, so my children get lots of notice. If they don’t have enough money on the trip, then I have an excuse for not bailing them out and buying  their souvenirs for them. Poor financial planning on their part does not create a financial emergency for me. Learning to save for what you want is a life skill.

If you want to save money on souvenirs, here are some ideas.

Seven Inexpensive “Do It Yourself” Disney World Souvenirs to Save You $$$

Mickey Mouse topiary, Epcot statue, Epcot topiary, Epcot flower gardens, Epcot kids, going to Epcot with kids, what is to do at Epcot for kids, do kids like Epcot

However, if my kids were small again, I would probably…

Surprise them!

You Tube is covered with videos of kids being told they were headed to Disney. Woohoo! You won’t see that many moments of absolute childhood joy on their little faces, the minute they hear they have driven all night and they are actually in Orlando rather than Grandma’s house in Missouri.

Telling them at the last-minute will ensure you do not have to answer, ”When do we leave?”  five times a day. But you can’t make these cool count-down crafts with the kids either.

3 Easy Ways to – Woohoo!! – Build Excitement for a Disney Vacation

So what do you do? Do you tell them at the last possible minute when the Magic Kingdom sign comes into view or put the phone down to announce you are on hold with Disney reservations? Leave us some comments on how you handle the news of your next Disney vacation with your kids.

A trip to Disney is a chance to make fabulous family memories. Pack that camera and have a blast!

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Hollywood Studios roller coaster, Aerosmith roller coaster,

Thanks for stopping by for a photographical Disney ride, and enjoy those kids while they are young, because they sure grow up fast.

Be sure to visit Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.

Like to read about Disney? Here ya go…

Pregnant at Disney: A Survival Guide for the Mom-To-Be

Fabulous Ideas to Celebrate a Kid’s Birthday at Walt Disney World

Take the Kids Out of School for a Disney World Vacation? See if You Agree!

7 Ways to Keep up with Your Kids at Walt Disney World

How to Take a Baby to Walt Disney World and Have Fun!



  1. Jennifer says:

    We tell them ahead of time. Not necessarily right away, but they love anticipating the excitement to come and helping plan. We spend months talking about our favorite rides, where we want to eat, what we can’t miss this time, and even pulling out photo albums and looking at pictures from trips past. For me, that is almost as much fun as taking the trip. And telling them early makes the build up more exciting. It almost makes the trip seem longer. I know others will disagree, but our family has more fun when I tell my kids early.

  2. Evil me! I saw the post title and thought maybe you had the option to leave them at home- like ‘should we tell them that WE are going to disney and they aren’t?’ Noe there is a topic that doesn’t get covered much! I love the idea of surprising them- how cool would that be?!

  3. We’ve told our kids about upcoming travel plans everywhere from 6 months ahead to a mere week-and-a-half in advance. They like the anticipation of knowing ahead of time, but don’t necessarily enjoy waiting for six whole months. I think 6 – 8 weeks before the trip hits it just right!


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