The origin of optical-infrared variability in young, intermediate mass Herbig Ae/Be stars is linked to their circumstellar disk. Therefore, variability could serve as a diagnostic tool to constrain the structure and dynamics of the (inner) disk. Here we discuss this diagnostic potential, and report some preliminary results from our coordinated BV RIJHKs and Spitzer monitoring observations of nine Herbig Ae stars. We aim to understand the response of the inner disks thermal emission on the changing stellar irradiation, and to separate it from UX Orionis-type fading events, which also provide information on the disk. This project is a pilot study for the era of time domain astronomy of young stars, opened by Kepler K2, Gaia, ASAS-SN, TESS, Spitzer, WISE, and JWST.