View Full Version : Surprising kids with trip - pros, cons, experiences??

04-12-2008, 10:07 PM
We are going end of May and we're planning on waking the kids up and telling them we're going to Disney - get dressed !:cool1:
(We went last year and did the big countdown etc)

Anyone done this ? What were your experiences ?
General thoughts?

I know part of the holiday is the anticipation, but just for this one time we'd like it to be a big surprise..........:banana:

Kimberly Hill
04-13-2008, 07:05 AM
13 more days and I'm not longer the KOTS! So far DD hasn't a clue, though today she'll be wearing her customs for a photo shoot. I told her the outfits are for a client and since I'm a photographer, it seems realistic. ;)

When we went 2 years ago it was planned, talked about, etc. and it went well. We'll see how this one goes!

04-13-2008, 07:23 AM
I could never keep that secret. I think a good part of the vacation is the weeks/months of anticipation, so I wouldn't want to deny my kids that fun. My DS4 has been on recon since we told him we're going - a full 6 months before we leave. He's going to be a seasoned Disney traveler before we even touch ground in Orlando. He's learning to read just by going through the guidebooks over and over with me or my husband.

Not to say that the look of excitement on your kids faces when you tell them you've got a plane to catch isn't going to be totally priceless! Enjoy!

04-13-2008, 07:29 AM
We have surprised dd twice, once when she was 4 and we did a little scavenger hunt to have her figure out where we were going, and for her 9th birthday we picked her up at school and told her we we going out to dinner with her Grandma in another town and while we were driving I said, let's play some Disney Mad libs I found , I had made it up. It was a story of a girl who got a surprise trip to WDW for her Birthday. She was thrilled, she always wanted to celebrate with Mickey, they have the same b day but we always told her we could never go in November b/c of DH's job. WE have been to WDW a lot but those two trips are ones she talks about the most. Planning is fun but who wouldn't like a surprise like that!!!!!

04-13-2008, 08:35 AM
We are going in December, and both my girls know.
There would be NO WAY I could keep it a secret.
But what they don't know - my best friend and dd's best friend are going also.
It's killing me not be able to say anything and December is such a long way away !!

04-13-2008, 08:38 AM
We surprised our 2 DDs 2 years ago and they still talk about it! My youngest didn't believe we were actually going until we took her to the van and showed her the suitcases were packed and loaded. :lmao:

They enjoyed it so much I am doing it again. :rotfl2: Yea free dining. We will pick them up after school tell them we are going out to dinner....at the airport.

However you do it, enjoy your trip. Amy

04-13-2008, 09:07 AM
I'm going to be surprising my DS in May. I had a FANTASTIC Ding, and then found a room only code that was 40%, so just he and I are going for a surprise un-birthday trip.

He's wanted to go for his birthday for years, but it's the end of September, and we won't pull the kids out of school three weeks after it starts. I think it will be a bigger surprise to him this way.

We have to leave for our flight at 6am, so right now I'm planning on waking him up and asking him if he wants to go to Disney with me for the weekend. :)

04-13-2008, 09:26 AM
Last August I found a great netsaver fare to Orlando for the weekend before my kids went back to school, so I decided to take the two oldest (4 and 6) on a last minute, surprise trip. My daughter quickly figured out that something was going on, so we had to tell them that they were going to get a "surprise" on Friday. That week was great fun, they spent many hours guessing what their surprise might be.

I was bursting with excitement! I couldn't wait to spring it on them! Friday finally arrived and we were on our way. They fell asleep on our way to the airport, so when we got there, we woke them up and said, "It's time for your surprise! We're going to Disneyworld!" They both looked at me blankly, processing this information, and my daughter finally responds with, "...now?"

A week of bursting at the seams, and the response I got was, "...now?" I was crushed! Of course they came around and by the time we got on the plane they were excited and there were plenty of hugs to go around. But their reaction was not what I'd hoped for!

We've been to Disneyworld several times, and I think that on future trips, we're going to stick to the knowing in advance, anticipatory countdown that has generated more excitement for them.

04-13-2008, 11:07 AM
We will be going to Diney with the kids for the first time. I am not going to wait until the day we leave but I am going to keep it a secret for a while longer!

The reason I will tell them early is that we had a smaller trip planned for early June that will now be moved to the end of the summer. When the Disney opportunity came along, we decided to do that.

We are also going to wait to do a few things until after the Disney trip, so I want them to understand why. I also want them to begin to save some of their own money to spend.

I am planning to have them do a treasure hunt. (I have already started writing the clues!) At the end of the hunt, I am going to have elaborate "tickets" with their names on them inside my son's Pirate's treasure chest suitcase.

They are 7 and 4. I know that they are going to flip out!:banana:

04-13-2008, 11:13 AM
Two years ago Dh and I decided to take the kids (ds-5, dd-4) to WDW for our 10th anniversery. (we spent our honneymoon there and thought the best way to celebrate 10 years together was to take the best things we made to our favorite palce!) We decided at the last minute to go. We booked and left in just two weeks. We only told the kids that we going going on a adventure that Sat. We did say it was going to be a long drive. (NC) They guessed Michigan (had gone the year before). When we got to FL, ds was getting a little tired ans asked if we could just stop driving and go to the beach. We we got to WDW I ask ds to read the sign up ahead. He read WDW, then looked back down at the book he was reading. So I tried again and he read WDW again, then the light went on and he started screaming "We're going to Disney?" We said yes we are going to spend 7 night and miss a whole week of school. That night as dh and ds went swimming ds and I went to lookfor the bus stop. DS got really quiet and looking up in the sky said "mommy I thought the magic was half preyend, but look there's a castle in the sky the magic is real mommy it is real!!!! (the clouds really looked like a castle!) At the end the most amazing week of our lives, I was carrying ds out of the park for the last time whe she wispered in my ear, "Mommy you said we were going on an adventure and this was the best adventure ever thank you mommy!!":cheer2:
This time we are taking both kids(ds-8, dd-6) and my sister's two kids (dd-9, ds-7) . They all know we are going but I gave them a 6 month time slot so they do not know when (Sept 6-13th 08) I really want to make this even more special because they have all lived through so much these last 3 years my b-i-l has ALS (final stage). They have all have had to learn to share and grow up quicker than I would have liked. I am hoping to give them all a big surprise again this time. But still let them in on the planning. Sorry this was so long. I say go for it! it was the best thing we did.

04-13-2008, 11:14 AM
We just surprised my oldest! Not only was it a total surprise, she didn't even believe DH even though we were IN the airport! :rotfl: DH had told her that he had to go on a business trip and then at the drop off he told her get out of the car and to have fun in WDW! She just said whatever and walked off with me inside the airport. He said it was the most disappointing surprise reaction ever. :lmao: I sat down to get a coffee and that's when I realized she thought we were just coming into the airport to get me some coffee and then DH would go on his flight! Once she finally believed me, then she was over the top excited! :yay: :dance3:

She couldn't believe that we had pulled it off that everyone but her knew about the trip. Even her teacher knew and didn't say anything! ;)

It was a lot of work to keep my mouth shut for so long. And it's a good thing she's pretty oblivious to us or else she might have realized something was up. :laughing:

04-13-2008, 12:14 PM
We surprised dd11 in January, and it was a blast! We had planned to drive to the airport and just wait until she figured it out, but we were leaving early in the morning, and dd wouldn't get out of bed! When we finally told her what we needed her to get out of bed for, she didn't believe us--when she finally realized we were serious, she was really, really excited! Have a GREAT time with this surprise!!!

04-13-2008, 12:44 PM
Thanks for your input ! We're still pretty into the surprise idea. We have 45 days or so to figure it out but for now - shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!:dance3:

04-13-2008, 03:17 PM
MY DD5 is at the point where she's sounding out her worlds and learning to read. She does this thing like a cheerleader where she goes "Gimme a __, Gimme a __, Gimme a __ ... what does that spell? ______!! LOL

I'm think about on the way down to the airport, i'll write "We're Going To Disney with Nanny"... and have her sound it out with her cheerleading routine. She won't be able to read it on her own but she has me be her sounding board most of the time, so when I say it, she'll be confused at first...LOL But then she'll get really excited cause she knows that Nanny and Uncle Eddie are going, but doesn't know that we're going with them!

I also heard another suggestion on another thread saying that they flew Southwest and they made an announcement with their little girls name saying have fun in WDW and she freaked. They said it was the best. Thinking about that too!

Have fun!!

04-13-2008, 05:37 PM
My sister surprised her husand and 2 kids (6 & 8). She put together a treasure chest with clues...

04-13-2008, 06:14 PM
We're going in Sept (love Free Dining :cool1: ) and DH and I don't plan to tell DD8 and DD10 until we wake them up that morning. :banana: We leave on 9/16, and 9/15 is DD10's birthday, so it will be an extra special surprise for her - part of her birthday celebration. We keep dropping hints that maybe we'll go to WDW next year, that we can't afford to go this year because we want to buy a house first.

04-13-2008, 06:20 PM
Congrats! that will be so much fun. I'm surprising Ds6 and Ds3 the day after Christmas. I hope I can keep it a secret that long.

04-13-2008, 06:26 PM
we're doing a little of both... we've been many times before and have always done countdowns, etc. For our upcoming summer trip, the kids know we're going sometime this year, but they don't know when. They said they want to be surprised. It's great for me because I can gab about the trip without worrying about ruining anything, and they'll get their surprise. we're going to wake them up the morning of the trip with "who wants to go to disney today??"

04-13-2008, 06:30 PM
We are KOTS! (Keepers of the Secret). My boys know we are going "when A. is in 1st grade and A. is in 3rd grade. They are sure we are going next spring ('09). So, they are having fun watching You Tube videos, looking at planning books, talking about it, etc. What they don't know is that we are going in October!

We are going to do a scavenger hunt around the house, end with a wrapped box with Disney stuff inside, and a note in the box that says "Surprise, we are going to Disney....and we are leaving tomorrow!"

We don't want to wake them and tell them, since it will be 4 am when we leave for the airport.

04-13-2008, 08:44 PM
We suprised DNiece and DNephew with their first trip (they were 6 and 8 at the time). They live about a 6 hr drive away, and thought they were just staying at our house for a week's visit. We told them the night before - we blindfolded them, put personalized Mickey Ears on each, and starting giving them clues to guess where we were going. The first one to get close, got to take off their blildfold and see the ears. We then played the planning video for them that night, and I had a guide book for kids that they started looking through. Soarin was new that year, and all DNiece could talk about was riding Soarin. She loved it so much, we must of been on it 5 - 6 times in 1 day.

The suprise was great, and the kids and us had such a good time, we only waited about 15 months before taking them again.

04-13-2008, 08:53 PM
I would never be able to keep the secret! We had our first trip last June, and surprised the kids on Valentine's Day with Disney goody bags, the keepsake park maps, planning DVD, countdown calendars and a certificate stating that they would be going--you've never heard such screaming and seen such dancing around! After that, our house was constantly in Disney mode! They helped choose restaurants, plan our days. . .everything! We had Disney movie nights every Friday night to watch some of the movies they'd never seen. We had the best time planning all those months. . .and we're already planning for June 2009!:rotfl:

04-13-2008, 10:04 PM
Being surprised that we were going to Disneyworld is my most favourite memory!! This was way back in March, 1983.

A couple days before the departure date, we were told we were going to be driving to see my Grandparents.

We woke up at the crack of dawn - and while we waited for Mom and Dad to finish packing the car, I spied the National Geographic yellow container of US Maps sitting by Mom's purse.

I asked Mom "Why do we need the US Maps if we're going to Grandma & Grandpa's house".

Mom looked at Dad, stopped for a moment and then said "We need the maps so we can figure out how to drive to Disneyworld"

I jumped up and down and screamed and my poor little sister sat down and started crying because she had really wanted to see my grandparents. I remember looking at her and saying "DISNEYWORLD - (singing) M I C K E Y M O U S E - you know, like on the TV every Sunday night? We're going to Disneyworld!!"

We're going for the first time with our kids this year and they are not going to know until we get into the car. Hopefully the memory of being surprised will be their favourite memories too!

Pinga's Mommy
04-15-2008, 12:36 AM
We surprised our DD (then 3) back in December 2004. We packed up the car the night before and the next morning drove her to day care. While in the parking lot, we asked her if she wanted to go to school or to Disney World. She of course answered Disney World. We said okay, reversed the car and drove to the airport. She was so quiet and after a few minutes asked where we were going. It was so hard to keep it from her, but so worth it. I have it all on video. She loves watching it. :cutie:

04-15-2008, 09:27 AM
We surprised our DD (then 3) back in December 2004. We packed up the car the night before and the next morning drove her to day care. While in the parking lot, we asked her if she wanted to go to school or to Disney World. She of course answered Disney World. We said okay, reversed the car and drove to the airport. She was so quiet and after a few minutes asked where we were going. It was so hard to keep it from her, but so worth it. I have it all on video. She loves watching it. :cutie:

That is too funny!:rotfl:

That's probably the reaction we'll get from DD when we get to the airport and she realizes we're going with Nanny and Uncle Eddie to Disney!

04-15-2008, 01:39 PM
We are suprising my nephews (11 & 8) with their first trip to WDW in Dec. It will also be their first time flying. If we told them about it now the little guy would spend the next 7 months, 3 weeks and a day working himself into a paralyzing fear of flying so a surprise it will be!!

My plan is to tell them that we have to take Uncle B to the airport for a business trip but that I've made special arrangements with the airline to allow us to accompany him to his flight since they've never seen a plane close up before.

I'll have to enlist the FA's help for the next part, but I'd like to have them put the personalized Mickey Ears on their seats for them to discover when we're boarding "just to check things out".

The one flaw in my plan that I can see is that I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to manage to get them strapped to their seats for take off after the big reveal!! :rotfl:

04-16-2008, 06:36 PM
DNiece was really scared her first time flying (which was for the suprise WDW trip). So it really helped that she have very little time to think about it. I brought the WDW for Kids planning book, and kept her busy talking about the trip before takeoff, so it helped keep her calm (and focused on something other than the fact she was flying).

04-16-2008, 08:07 PM
We did our first trip by having DDs input the entire time. This last year we told her that we were going again, but we didn't know exactly when. She enjoyed getting to help plan, but was still surprised when we woke her up early one morning and told her it was time to go.

So...enjoy the Best of Both Worlds!

04-16-2008, 09:55 PM
I'm taking DD on a surprise trip in June. We always do a mother/daughter trip after school is out, this year I just decided I can't wait until January to go back to WDW and would take her there. She has no clue. I am going to try to keep it a secret atleast until we're in the airport. She's been four times before and always knew, so I think this will be a cool surprise.

04-16-2008, 11:19 PM
Personally I could never do that. I enjoy the planning and the discussion with my son too much to deny us both that part of the fun. Our experience would be lessened by just springing it on him.

04-17-2008, 12:56 AM
We had our first trip last Oct. Its was great, but DS5 drove me nuts for 5 months before it... everyday it was .. is today the day etc lol. Next time I will keep it a secret, i cant wait to see his face!!

04-17-2008, 09:04 AM
We went last September for our first trip and told our girls ahead of time. For months, I kept hearing "when are we going". We are going again for free dining and this time we are planning on surprising our girls. I haven't decided how to do it yet, though. We leave Aug. 30 which is the day after my dd's 6th birthday, so I'm not sure if I should reveal it to her on her birthday or wait until we get in the car and leave (we'll be driving).

Disney Mommy 3
04-17-2008, 10:03 AM
I didn't read all the response, but you can tell by my sig line, I believe in surprises!! Jan was our 3rd surprise. Nothing compares to it. The first two times we told them on the way to the airport, this time we told them the afternoon before. My kids are getting big enough to notice that ALL their clothes are not in their rooms!!! We had to pack for uncertain weather, so I had to pack a lot, and they def. would have noticed. They actually ask us to surprise them and not tell months ahead of time-they can't stand it!! Dh doesn't understand this as he thinks it's something to look forward to-which it is- but they just go nuts with 6 months of knowing...So, we surprise them-what would be better than that for a surprise, I ask you?:) Def. do the surprise!!!

04-17-2008, 10:10 AM
We surprised DD last year. We came home from her soccer game at about 3pm. Told her to change her clothes we were going out to dinner. We left at 4:30 from the Jersey Shore stopped at a Denn'ys in VA. She thought it was the best meal ever. Then we told her we were going to take a long time to get home as we wanted to stop somewhere first. She did not know untill we pulled up to the gate and told her to look out the window. We asked her what the sign said and She replied WALT DISNEY WORLD OMG I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO COME HERE.