How do you build up the anticipation for your littlest ones?


I am curious as to what other forumites do to help build their youngest child’s anticipation to go to WDW.

Needless to say, for older children (say 5+) and everyone older, we don’t need to have our anticipation built up for going to WDW.

We are going back to WDW in September for my son’s third birthday - it will be his fourth trip since November 2005. To help get him excited for the trip and what he will see, my wife and I looked around for books and videos dedicated to the WDW resort aimed at toddlers. We didn’t find anything.

So I ordered one of the free WDW Vacation Planning DVDs from Disney and as a reward for good behavior, we watch the DVD and tell him that this is where we are going, this is what we are going to do, and this is what he will see. He really seemed to like it! As we get closer to our departure, we plan on letting him watch more of it.

I am curious if anyone else does something similar with their youngest. Are there any books or DVDs aimed at toddlers that you have used successfully? I would love to add another option to the DVD that we are already using with success.

Thanks in advance for your responses.


We make a paper chain, each one having a number on it. Each day, the kids take a turn pulling off one of the chain links. We usually put it in a place where the whole family can see it, like the kitchen. You can make it colorfull and change the color of the links as you get closer to the big day. You can also put cute little sayings on the inside of each chain link… so they have something fun to read or have read to them.


OOoooooohhhhh! Great thread. I too am looking for suggestions for our first trip with our DD(3). Our youngest daughter will be 15 months so I don’t think she will really understand the build up, but my 3 year old would love something like that.

We are going to start a chain when we hit 100 days and counting, but I would love to see other great ideas.

Thanks for the thread!


We also keep an eye on the Travel Chanel for any and all Disney travel destinations. Even though we have seen most of them… they are still fun to watch.

I also change my desktop picture on my PC to a new Disney phote, wallpaper, etc. I am constantly doing this. My kids share my computer and they are always excited to see the new desktop photo. We have taught them how to change their own desktop photo’s as well to make it even more fun for them.


We use to use the “Candy Countdown” (I don’t know why I said “use to” - my 23 year old dd has one going right now:glare: ).

Just get a big jar, decorate it with Disney stickers and fill it with the appropriate amount of candies (gummi bears, jujubes, whatever) - one candy for each family member for each day. When the jar is empty - you’re on your way!

We also have Disney Movie Night - each Saturday night for three months before the trip - our girls would take turn choosing their favourite Disney movies to watch. We’d have a hot dog supper and popcorn for dessert. (another thing we still do:laugh: )


at toyrus (and others stores too i imagine) you can buy the old disney cartoon dvds. like the ones that play at the resort on their disney channel. we play those and also the planning dvd.

we will be making a paper chain this year too. and i have always used a calendar displayed in the kitchen for easing the wait for upcoming events & our disney trip. my background on my computer as a picture taken of DD with alice & the mad hatter from our trip last year, and DD sees that everyday and it reminds her of that special chat she had with them.

last year was our 1st trip with DD…she was 3 1/2yo. since we arrived home last jan. she has mentioned at least 10 times a week, she wants to go back to disney. so she is very excited and i don’t think i will have to build up any anticipation this year…she is aware of the planning, we talk to her about what we are going to be diff. this year and i let her know when i book our resort or make ADR’s or whatever like that. i am a pretty big goofball, so maybe my dancing and singing and getting all goofy & excited on those days help her feel the same thrill too!!! LOL.

but last year letting her in on where and what we were going to be doing was as easy as talking about it…showing her that planning dvd and familiarizing her with all the characters. i would assume maybe since you son has been a number of times already he already knows what to expect. i bet once you get on the road to disney he will show his excitement!! :c)


we bought the disney book WDW for kids and used that during our reading times. they loved the pictures and got soo excited we decided what rides we would go and and let them decide on meal places etc. i did nt have time to read the whole blog but did you order the maps this way they can look and that to paln rides and attractions.


Our twins will be 4 in September, and they’ll be going back for their third WDW vacation in October (this time with their 20 mo old brother).

They love leafing through the Birnbaum’s Official park guide and pointing out things they rode or liked last time.

I also have a map of the WDW Marathon course up on the pantry as inspiration (and motivation to keep the pantry closed). They love looking at that and seeing where the monorail goes and where Cinderella sleeps, etc.


All four of my kids were fortunate to visit WDW numerous times before they were 5 and we used the Vacation Planning Video’s and also Birnbaum’s guide to let them each choose the top 3 rides or attractions that they just “HAD TO” go on. We also used stickers of characters to place on the calendar starting 90 days out and you could see the looks on their faces when the stack of stickers were getting lower.


We had a jar with stickers on it to save money for the trip. They could earn coins doing little jobs to take on vacation to Disney. They were excited to see their spending money grow as the trip neared. Perhaps you could use Disney dollars too?


we usually just talk about it lots, and watch endless video and dvd’s about it. Heather loves to watch the video featuring ‘Stacey’ that is played in the resort hotel rooms all the time. Y’know, the 7 most popular things in WDW…she loves it so that was downloaded and is played constantly.
We also tend to keep some of her pocket money back each month and when we go into town, we get her to change it into dollars for her trip.
I am loving this thread BTW…giving me great ideas to make the next trip just a bit more special. Thanks!


I love these tip thread too!!

I printed a calendar off my computer and then I made little “mickey heads” that we stuck on each day . . . Check out your library . . . ours has a TON of the old WDW videos . . . and the Disney Channel has a lot of fun clips about the parks too.

Enjoy counting down . . . :laugh: :laugh:


last year i did a paper chain, the year before a countdown calendar. this year i have gotten the birmbaugh (spelling?) WDW for kids, by kids book. they love it! they watch the planning video all the time, read that book like crazy. make their own lists of what we are doing. helped go thru menus to choose restaurants. look at the customized maps. my youngest likes to have “meetings” where we talk about what ride we want to do 1st at each park. who is going to sit next to whom, etc.

I’m going to make a countdown chain today (I had meant to do it for 50 day mark, and didnt’ have time yesterday).

my kids are almost 4 and almost 7, BTW.


I love that your 4 year old calls WDW planning meetings. That is adorable. You will have to video tape one of those meetings just to look back at one day.


you are right, i should video it!! it is really something! look out when they figure out how to do excel - they’ll be making more spreadsheets than i do!!


:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: I see arguments in your future of who will be planning the next trip. You definitely have a Future Mousebuzzer on your hands.


yep - we need a section for kids on here! like a chitchat, for kids. lol - she’d be in heaven!!