Surprise kids, we’re going to Hogwarts tomorrow!

Having dropped my kiddos off at their first day of school, Kindergarten and 2nd Grade, I’m back at home plotting a huge surprise while baby Sawyer naps. We are about to embark on a cross-country vacation adventure, packed with highlights that just might blow their little minds.

A couple weeks ago, Jyl invited my family on an amazing long weekend at Universal Orlando Resort including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

My husband and I are super excited but we haven’t told the kids yet. We want the reveal to be worthy of the trip.

Here’s why this vacation is coming at just the right moment:

  • We’re reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets together at bedtime, and it’s about to come to life in front of their eyes.
  • They have the Spider-Man book loaded into the Tag (AKA reading robot) — and we’ll be able to ride Universal’s Spider-Man ride at the theme park.
  • Despicable Me is on the iPad — and a 3-D movie-slash-ride thing promises to let us jump into the action of that film.

I have a few ideas on how to maximize the payoff of this secret vacation, but now I need to execute! How can I enjoy the biggest WOW factor from my big boys?

I could tell them at dinner that we’re spending the next two days of school at Hogwarts instead of regular school.

Maybe I’ll use black parchment and a silvery marker to etch out a coded invitation. Should there be a scavenger hunt? Not tell them until the airplane?

What would Pinterest do? I only have a few more hours to pull this off!

Either way, our flight leaves early tomorrow. We travel for most of the day with a three-hour layover in North Carolina. We arrive in Orlando late night (too late to explore) to stay in a hotel on site. Friday, we will tour the main Universal Orlando Resort and Saturday we will be in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter while staying at Loew’s Royal Pacific Resort.

How would you announce a surprise like this?

[updated! Per Alma’s suggestion below, I just made this quiz for them to solve during dinner]

quiz for kids

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Disclosure: All major expenses for this adventure are paid for by Universal Orlando Resort, which I so totally appreciate.

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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