Surprise Trip to Walt Disney World®?

Seven Creative Vacation Clues

Sponsored by Walt Disney World®

What’s better than a trip to Walt Disney World®? How about a surprise vacation to Walt Disney World® for your children?

Instead of springing the news on them, enhance the excitement and surprise by telling them that your bags are packed for a special trip, but they have to figure out where it is from the clues you’ve created.

To help you plan the big surprise, we’ve created seven clues about Walt Disney World® that you can use to surprise your little ones. These clues are arranged here from hardest to easiest, so that as you get closer to the vacation they’ll have it figured out.

Clue One:  This destination is as big as a large city — San Francisco, in fact — but it’s not actually a city. 

The entire Walt Disney World® Resort is comprised of 30,500 acres, which is approximately 40 square miles. It contains four theme parks — Magic Kingdom®, Epcot®, Disney’s Hollywood Studios® and Disney’s Animal Kingdom®. It also contains two water parks, Disney’s Blizzard Beach® and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon®, and is home to 36 resort hotels and 4 golf courses.

Clue Two: Turkey legs are one of the most popular foods sold at this destination.

How popular? Reportedly 1.6 million of these gigantic drumsticks are sold each year at Walt Disney World®. You’ll even find merchandise, including shirts, hats and wallets boasting images of the meaty turkey legs that cost approximately $11. But be forewarned, as of March 2016, they’re no longer available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom®. So you’ll have to get your turkey leg eating done at the other three parks.  (This clue is likely to throw your children off the scent of it being a Walt Disney World® vacation as most probably associate the resort with more typical theme-park fare, such as hamburgers, hot dogs and popcorn.)

Clue Three: This destination features a flag lowering ceremony every day at 5 p.m.

This ceremony is held near the front entrance of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom® on Main Street, U.S.A.’s Square and is a tribute to all veterans for their service and sacrifice. Each day, the flag is folded while guests and cast members sing “God Bless America.” The folded flag is then handed to a military veteran who had been selected at random to participate in the ceremony.  At the completion of this moving event, the veteran is given a certificate, a photo of the event and a pin.

Clue Four: This destination welcomed 20.4 million visitors in 2015.

This is actually just the number of visitors to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom®. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® attracted 10.9 million visitors; Epcot had 11.8 million visitors and Hollywood Studios had nearly 11 million visitors.

In comparison, the Eiffel Tower in Paris only attracts 7 million visitors a year. And America’s most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains, receives approximately 9.6 million visitors a year. After your children guess where they are going, you can share with them that these numbers make it not just the number one theme park in North America, but in the world.

Clue Five:  The same year this destination opened — 1971 — several celebrities were also born, including singer Mariah Carey and actor Mark Wahlberg. Also born that year? Idina Menzel, the woman who sang “Let it Go” in Disney’s Frozen movie.  

Other important events that occurred in 1971 that you might want to include in your clue:  1) This was the year that women were granted the right to vote in Switzerland.  2) A volcano named Mount Etna erupted in Sicily, Italy. 3) Federal Express started in this year.  4) Apollo 14 landed on the moon.  5) Richard Nixon was the president of the United States. 6) The Boston Patriots become the New England Patriots.

Clue Six: When this destination first opened, it only cost $3.50 to enter per person per day.

Today, of course, the cost has risen significantly. For example, in 2016, a single-day ticket to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom® cost between $97 and $114, depending on several factors, including whether you are heading to the park during peak times or the off-season. The price per day also drops if you buy multiple-day passes.

Clue Seven: As of December 31, 2016, this destination has only been closed four times for the whole day during its entire history.

And all of those times were due to the threat of hurricanes. The most recent closure occurred on October 7th when Hurricane Matthew threatened to strike Orlando. The other times were for Hurricane Jeanne in 2004, Frances in 2004, and Floyd in 1999. So does that mean that Walt Disney World® is open on big holidays, such as Christmas? Definitely. In fact, Christmas is typically the busiest day of the year.

Alternative idea: You can wrap each clue up as gifts for Christmas, Hanukkah, their birthday or another big holiday and then have your children unwrap them one at a time.