Mickey dressed in holiday clothes in front of a Christmas tree.
  • On Nov 21, 2023
    Emily from MD Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    How can I explain to my foster child (7 year old) that has never heard of Walt Disney world what it is? I am taking him on vacation in a month and want to get him excited. Is there a video I can show him?

    Welcome, Emily!

    Thank you for coming to us with this very special request – you are giving this wonderful child such a gift at the most magical time of the year, in the Most Magical Place on Earth! I’m so excited for your family to experience the true spirit of the holidays together with everything the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. I can understand the difficulty of putting into words what he's about to experience if he doesn't have a reference to what this incredible place is. I’m honored to share some advice.

    I would first explain that the Walt Disney World Resort is a special vacation destination that includes four theme parks, each with its own theme, style, attractions, places to eat, and explore together. Perhaps share some photos of each park’s icon, as a visual connection for him when you arrive to see each larger-than-life icon in a park (Cinderella Castle, the Tree of Life, Spaceship Earth, and the Hollywood Tower of Terror). You may want to explain the excitement of attractions and meeting favorite characters, but also be sure you gradually introduce new thrills to avoid being overwhelmed. Every child is different, but when my son was younger, we took time to ease into new experiences in the parks so that he was comfortable. For example, in Magic Kingdom Park perhaps begin with The Barnstormer then work your way up to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before attempting Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Children who haven’t met a character before can also be unsure; you may gauge his reaction or find a favorite one to begin with. The beauty of no expectations is that ANYTHING you do together will be new and incredibly special. Whatever you get to will be amazing, and you are making core memories that will last a lifetime!  

    The Disney Parks official YouTube channel has a comprehensive library of fun, snack-size videos to review together. Check out these curated playlists which focus on attractions, the history of Disney Parks, and even details of themed lands. The My Disney Experience App has fun videos organized on the home page for seasonal events and new offerings.

    Some great shows to get ready for a visit to Walt Disney World on streaming service Disney+ include: The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 Years of Walt Disney World, The Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic.

    Watching some favorite Disney movies together can also introduce your child to the characters and settings that come to life in Disney Parks. Some key films to enhance the magic for him include Peter Pan, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Aladdin, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and Toy Story.

    Emily, it sounds like you are a true Fairy Godmother and a beautiful gift to this child in your wonderful care and in planning this amazing trip. I hope you can relax without any added pressure on yourself, knowing the magic of Disney will come to life around you both while you soak up the experience together. There’s nothing like the wonder in their eyes when seeing it for the first time, and no matter how you explain it or manage expectations – he will be truly mesmerized. I hope this helps you set the stage for what’s to come and gets him excited for a holiday to remember.

    Sending you warm hugs and holiday cheer.

    YOU are the magic, 
    Amy

thumbnail image for Amy

Meet the Panelist: Amy, Virginia

Hi friends! I'm Amy, a lifelong Disney dreamer from horse-and-wine country, Virginia. My family of three is BIG on fun and treasures every adventure together. We've been making memories at the Walt Disney World Resort and aboard Disney Cruise Line since my son was a toddler; we love our family traditions balanced with "what's new" each visit. I have a passion for Disney details, a love of digital tools, and an eye for practical planning. I can't wait to help you make the MOST of your magical vacation! Learn More About Amy

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