November 13, 2016

5 ways to SURPRISE your kids on Christmas with a Disney vacation


Surprising your kids with a Disney vacation for Christmas

It’s that time of year again; time to start looking for gifts for the children or grandchildren. What’s that? The kids already have more toys than they know what to do with? I can relate. Maybe this year, instead of more plastic toys that will be forgotten in backs of closets or under the beds, you want to gift something memorable. An experience. A gift of magic they’ll never forget.

Giving the gift of a Disney vacation is a wonderful surprise. The gift of time spent with family, fully focused time outside of the daily demands of life, is hard to beat. And what an awesome gift to open on Christmas morning! Imagine their eyes lighting up as they learn they’ll be visiting Walt Disney World, Disneyland or even sailing on a Disney Cruise!


Here are FIVE ideas for how to surprise the kids with a Disney vacation :: 

1.) Box o’ Balloons. Get a big box for this one! The kids will be super curious about what such a big gift could be. Head to your nearest party store (or Dollar Store) and get several Mickey and Minnie mylar balloons and an assortment of matching regular balloons.  Next, create a little flyer on cardstock that announces the trip you’ve picked out.  Thread some of the balloon strands through a hole you punch in the card. Now carefully shove all the balloons into the box, tape it shut and wrap it. When they open it, the balloons will come flying out with the announcement!

2.) Scavenger hunt. Buy an assortment of vacation related items and hide them around the house. Examples include sunglasses, travel bag, sunscreen, themed shirts, etc.  Make sure your last item is the one that will tell them where they are going.  For example, this might be a stuffed Mickey plus with a card attached that says, “You’re going to Disney World this spring!”  Next, write up clues for each location. Wrap each clue in a small box. Put the first clue under the tree and each of the next clues get placed next to the hidden items.  =Your kids will open the first clue, find the first item which will have a small box that contains the clue for the next item and so on!  What great fun on Christmas morning!

3.) Got multiple kids?  Get one shirt type gift box per child. On the inside, write one or two words on the inside of the lid of each from a phrase such as “Guess what?  We are all going to Disney World!”  Make the phrase as short or as long as you need to fit in the number of boxes you have. Wrap the gifts and give them in order of the phrase. Let each child open one after the other until they put the full sentence together!

4.) Advent Calendar Clues. Write out your phrase on paper, such as “We’re all going on a Disney Cruise on February 1st!”  Then give a number to each letter of your phrase.  Now make a sheet for your family that is JUST blank spaces with a number under each. Use an advent calendar that allows you to fill boxes or tiny doors with what you’d like.  For each day, put a piece of paper in that has the number of the space and the letter that goes with it.  For example: “3 = R.”  Depending on the length of your phrase, some days may need more than one clue in order to finish up by the 24th.  As your kids open each day, they will fill in the blanks on their sheet to solve the mystery. Be sure to mix up the order so that it’s not too easy to guess the phrase before the end.  Now, let your family discover a new clue each day to fill in the blanks!

5.) Surprising Puzzle.  Choose a photo of your destination and use a site like PicMonkey to write a sentence over the top (such as “Merry Christmas, we’re all going to Disneyland!”  Save the photo, then upload it to a site like Shutterfly that offers photo puzzles.  Have the puzzle made, then break it apart and wrap it in a gift box.  Your family will open the gift and have to assemble the puzzle to learn what their big surprise is!


Want to make it even easier?  You focus on surprising your family, while you let your personal Disney expert customize and plan the entire trip for you!  This time of year is busy for everyone, so let the stress of planning go when you work with us. We’d be delighted to craft the trip for you while you craft the surprise!

sabrina-enchanted-travelerThis post was written by Sabrina Tinius, a specialist in planning Disney vacations for families who want less stress and more time making memories that last a lifetime. 

Through her in depth destination knowledge, park touring strategies and incredibly detailed planning, Sabrina is here to help you have a more enjoyable Disney vacation — while saving you tons of time and stress. And when she’s not busy crafting amazing Disney vacations, you can find her hanging out with her two awesome kids, taking family vacations of her own, and occasionally baking up a storm in her Seattle area kitchen. 

Meet Sabrina and get ready to experience just how amazing a well planned Disney vacation can be at


You might also want to read my post from this last year, 7 Reasons Why I Will Never Plan Another Disney Vacation!


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  1. i’m the over do it mom for christmas. way too much stuff, sometimes still in the box the following year. so last year i decided to do disney instead. i still bought each of the 3 girls a video game a few books and some pajamas. the tree still had plenty of gifts but certainly not what they had spent their entire lives getting. i kept saying “hope you understand” lol. My son still had a giant pile of presents since he wasn’t going on the trip due to his work schedule. their last present was a corny note from me about disneyland they freaked and my non emotional daughter cried, it was priceless

  2. We surprised 5 of our kids 3 years ago ( they were mostly teens). We told them to pack for 5 days and then we took off in a rental van. We took 2 full days to get to California, spent a day in Hollywood and driving the coast highway. We were eating dinner in Anaheim before heading to our condo and one of the kids mentioned we were a couple miles from Disney, too bad we didn’t have time for a day but since it was a 2 day drive home and they had only packed for 5 days we needed to head home for Christmas. We informed them we were spending the next 5 days at Disneyland and then 2 in San Francisco. They totally did not believe us cause they hadn’t brought enough days of clothes. It took quite awhile to convince them.

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