To Tell or Not To Tell


As many of you know, Danielle and Jack are going to WDW the last week of August. She hasn’t told him yet, as I’m sure many of you who are parents of small children can understand why. She’s wondering if she should tell him the day before, that morning, or not at all until they get there! I know many of you have kept this surprise from your kids till the last minute.

So when should she tell him, in your opinion?

She said she felt tempted to tell him this morning, when he woke up and went to her and said. “mommy, I’m gonna tell you a secret”. Than he whispered into her ear, “I love Mickey Mouse, I love Minnie Mouse, I love Goofy, I love Donald Duck, I love Pluto…”

She wanted to tell him so bad she said, but it wasn’t worth it, considering she’d be driven crazy every day till late August :laugh:


How old is Jack again? I think he is less than 6 right? I would hold out as long as possible. He would probably be so excited when she does tell him. It is so great surprising the kids, and with him so young (DD10 is just so nosy) it’d probably be really easy to keep it from him until the last minute.


Last week of August is a loooong time to be pestered by a kid who knows where he’s going. I think kid’s should be surprised at least once in their lives. I say wait as long as humanly possible, even if that means he doesn’t know until he’s entering the gates!!


In my opinion it really depends on the child. as we’ve seen on DC there have been many families that wait until the morning of, or until they’ve arrived, and the child was TOTALLY fine and excited and it only enhanced the excitement of the vacation. In those cases it’s a fabulous surprise!

Although, I do know some children that wouldn’t handle it so well. One of my good friends who lives in Florida has a now 6 year old son. They were taking a trip to visit family in PA last year for 2 weeks and going to visit Sesame Place and driving to Hersey Park also. The child loved and remembered Sesame Place but Jenn decided to keep it a surprise. When the morning came and she told him, he almost went into panic mode. He was anxious all morning, couldn’t understand why they were going on such short notice, and cried pretty much the whole plane ride to PA. Of course that made my friend feel terrible.

i just wanted to share that story because I think some kids need a lot of “prep time” when it comes to big events like vacations, it’s ALL dependant on a child’s personal tempermant but I think some parents forget that. We also have a teacher in our school who’s son is in pre-school and needs a lot of “prep time.” She lets him participate in packing, seeing maps of where they are going, talk about where they are staying, etc. Some kids just really need consistancy in their schedules and any little, or big, change can trigger some anxiety.

If Jack is a really adaptable laid-back guy and Danielle thinks he can handle a last minute adjustment then I probably would. I think it would be SUCH an exciting way to start a vacation! If there is any doubt then I would tell him and share the excitement of the next month together.


He just turned 6 less than a month ago. So he’s at the age where he’ll drive her nuts all summer. His concept of time is far from accurate, so if she tells him that they are leaving in a month, it won’t mean a thing to him. So she’s going to hold off as long as possible.


I think I would tell him about 10 days ahead of time and make a countdown on the calendar or paper chain. That gets him involved somewhat in the planning and she can talk with him about different rides,what to expect, ask what he is looking forward to most,etc. My kids love to be in on what restaurants to choose, etc. My youngest is 7 and she always knows ahead of time. Most kids are creatures of habit and routine and sometimes even good surprises can throw them for a loop.


I would try to surpise Jack.
If his birthday is less than a month away, why doesn’t she give him a card saying that there will be a special surprise shortly… a plane ride, and tell him at the airport.


Great ideas, thanks everyone. His birthday was last month, but I think telling him there is a special surprise coming is a good idea, and I love the idea about a countdown.


I REALLY like the chain idea and telling him 10-15 days ahead of time is perfect. I totally agree karliebug.


I would say the morning of the trip! I would love to suprise my girls that way but they’re too nosey. As soon as they see the suitcases being packed they would worry us to death about where we’re going.


Yeah, why not give him the excitement a little ahead of time. all of us here think half the fun is in the planning, kids like looking forward to something also.


Thanks Jess for you input. I totally agree that it depends on the temperment of the child. Jack is anything but laid back, but I do like the idea of getting him excited beforehand. I think she will go with the idea of telling him about a week in advance.


Awww! Those are moments that are just so priceless to parents.

Kids are funny - when you expect them to react in a certain manner, they surprise you by acting completely different. If he were older, I’d say definitely go for the surprise. At his age, it might not turn out the way she pictured it. It might be too much for him to take in all at once. I guess she’s the one to decide.

Though it’s hard, I’d hold off for now. If she decides to tell him before the trip, a week is ample time to hear “are we going today?”…like 50,000 times a day.:wacko


I have to agree with karliebug. I’d tell him a week/10days before the trip. Give him the chance of helping with some of the planning, what he wants to take along etc… Getting ready to go to wdw is part of the fun, even for a 6 year old.


I agree Llama, those moments are priceless. The sad thing is that in a few short years, instead of loving Mickey and Donald, he’ll be dying his hair green and playing in a punk rock band. :laugh: :glare:

not that there is anything wrong with punk rock. It’s just that you hate to see your kids lose that innocence.


I think that’s perfect! Enough time to get him SUPER excited:biggrin:, yet not too long to drive her crazy. :wacko: Perfect, he’ll be estatic!


Don’t worry… they get it back when they meet a sweet Disney-loving girl! hehe. Trust me, as you know, Daniel was quite the punk rock rebel and look at him now, a big Mickey Mouse loving softie.:heart: :tongue:


Oooh, he’s gonna be so excited!! It’s sometimes more fun for us, isn’t it?

I always did the paper chain for my youngest DS. But once I told him too early and the chain was GInormous! It was kind of anticlimactic having the chain be too long (not to mention what a pain it was to make! :laugh:)


Everyone has great ideas, but I personally would tell him at the airport…how excited will he be when he finds out he’s going to WDW that day!


I’ve done both, we’ve told Nathan about 3 trips when he was 5, 6 and 7 and surprised him when he was 8. He wasn’t as excited as I thought he would be so I’m not sure I would wait until the morning of again. To do over again I would tell him a few days before the trip.