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Old 01-24-2013, 04:33 PM   #16
kcashner
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It depends on the kid....there is a certain joy in planning and anticipation. A surprise is fun, but it eliminates that pleasure as well as any preparation/processing time.

Only you know your child and what will work well for them.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:24 AM   #17
scrapbookmomma74
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We have done it both ways...
On Christmas 2009, we surprised them with a cruise on January 15. They had about 3 weeks to process and get excited.
In October 2011, I woke them up at 4:30 am and told them if they got up and ready, we'd go on the Disney Dream. While they were excited, this was NOT our best cruise. My DD, 11, had trouble on that one with the clubs and making friends, and was basically glued to me and kind of miserable.
So, last summer, we included the kids in all of the planning, including the FE, and our June 2012 Fantasy cruise was the best one we've done. My older DD was able to meet a couple of friends online from the DIS before we left, so she had people she knew, making her more comfortable.

Only you know your child, and how he might react. I recently read something about how women don't like their husbands to surprise them with trips, that they need 7 days to process and prepare...I'm NOT one of those women, but it seemed valid. And, I've seen videos of children not reacting exactly how the parents want them to...

Either way, I'm sure you will have a fantastic cruise! Have fun telling him, even if it isn't a HUGE surprise!
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:31 AM   #18
Paula Sedley-Burke
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When I was a kid my parents surprised me with a trip ( not to disney ) which was a lovely thought but like most children I had picked up the vibe that something was going on. By the time I found out I was so stressed as I was convinced they were going somewhere without me lol. Even to this day I hate surprises! So I think it depends like op have said on the child. I was obviously a bit over sensitive lol...

Have a great trip! Dcl is just the best :-)
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:44 AM   #19
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Compromise

You guys are gonna have so much fun!

We were going over this same scenario when we booked our cruise. My husband really wanted to surprise the kids 8 and 4, at the dock, and I wanted to tell them ahead of time. We decided to compromise.

If we do all of the planning, and only tell them the week before or so, they still get the surprise factor ( just a little early ) We're thinking of maybe doing a scavenger hunt or something like that. That way if the kids have any questions, they have a few days to ask, and a few days to watch the planning DVD.

My concern is that my oldest doesn't do the best when his schedule gets changed unexpectedly. If school gets closed due to bad weather, he wakes up upset because he didn't know the night before. Now if we know, and tell him the night before he's fine. I think he just hates surprises. Our 4 year old on the other hand just goes with the flow.

We were also thinking about booking a surprise excursion, and not telling them about that until the day of. But we're still in the planning stages ourselves so I'm not sure which one.

I hope that whatever you decide, you have a great time!
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:03 AM   #20
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I already answered but thinking about it more last night. My kids are really flexible and have never lived by routine. We surprised them with a day in NYC in december and they adored it(the pic of Ods standing on kitchen chair cheering is priceless.)
Ods is always talking about one day having a surprise party and other surprise events he pretends. He is the kind of child who likes me to get surprises at the store and I cannot even offer hints, had wrapped bday gifts in the house for 3 weeks and just said cant wait for birthday. He genuinly gets excited for surprises. They both also keep surprises really well, even 4 yo. So yes, as pp said, think about how you think your kids feel about things like that. My kids get super excited to plan as well but we have looked at DCL things already, watched video and travel channel shows so they have an idea of some of it. Many things they can decide when we arrive.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:50 AM   #21
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surprise!

First we told my daughter we couldn't afford a Disney cruise and had to save up (had already secretly booked the cruise). Then when we flew to Orlando we told her we were flying to visit her grandparents and we had a layover and had to spend the night in a hotel. The morning of the cruise we told her we were going on a Disney cruise. She was really excited. We are now planning a second cruise and she is in on the planning this time around. I think it is always good to have a little surprise. I like to think she will look back and say, "wow, I remember when mom and dad surprised me with a Disney cruise"!
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:58 AM   #22
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We're going on our first cruise in August and we've already told our kids (ages 3, 5, and 7). Personally, I really wanted them to be able to participate with us in the pre-trip planning by helping to choose excursions, helping to prepare FE gifts, etc. Plus I had a bad experience with a "surprise" that my parents arranged for me as a child and don't want to run the risk of that with my kids.

We are also trying to teach them about proper money management, so we've included them in the budgeting process as well. They understand that we're saving up each month for the final deposit and for spending money while on the trip, and have been a part of deciding what luxuries we're giving up now in order to have extra money for that.

April
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:05 AM   #23
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We were going to keep it a kinda suprise until a week prior to cruise. We wanted to tell them on Valentines Day, but the dvd came and I just couldnt wait anymore...I think they would like to hype themselves up about it, tell their friends... I have so much to plan, and they would have eventually have gotten curious. Plus knowing what THEY want to do for excursions is a good input. For instance, my daughter LOVES dolphins, but if I booked her a dolphin experience, I know she would absolutely NOT get in the water with them... This way they have something to look forward to, and feel like they have a part in the planning. This is their first cruise, Feb25. They are more than excited!
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:14 PM   #24
Paula Sedley-Burke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aprilchem
We're going on our first cruise in August and we've already told our kids (ages 3, 5, and 7). Personally, I really wanted them to be able to participate with us in the pre-trip planning by helping to choose excursions, helping to prepare FE gifts, etc. Plus I had a bad experience with a "surprise" that my parents arranged for me as a child and don't want to run the risk of that with my kids.

We are also trying to teach them about proper money management, so we've included them in the budgeting process as well. They understand that we're saving up each month for the final deposit and for spending money while on the trip, and have been a part of deciding what luxuries we're giving up now in order to have extra money for that.

April
I really love your approach with your kids! Teaching them about budget, involving them with excursions and FE etc. we aren't bless with children but if we were I would use you as a role model mum! Hope you don't mind me commenting.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:05 PM   #25
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Based a recent experience, I am going to say NOT suprise.

My family does Disney twice a year. I watched all these videos of kids getting suprised and thought "How fun!". So to make this past trip "special", we decided to suprise our kids. I picked my daugther up from gymnastics with the car packed. She thought we were going to visit my parents, but we told her in the car we were going to WDW instead. She freaked out. Cried, yelling she did not want to go. She'd rather stay at granny's. I was so upset. So we said fine, we'd leave her with granny and just take her brother. 20 minutes later she informed us calmly that she changed her mind and wanted to come with us. I think she was just taken off guard. We had a great trip and of course she did not want to leave. But it was not the way I wanted to start the trip. From now on we'll stick with a count-down paper chain.


BTW, I have the whole thing on video. Classic. It will be played at the wedding rehersal in 20 years.
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:40 PM   #26
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We really want to surpise our DD(7) with our Christmas cruise this year, but I'm heading up the FE and Dismeets and I know she is going to ask what is up. Plus, she will come up to me while I'm on the boards and she asks to see our signature each time. I try to scroll over it quickly. Plus she, like others have said really likes to be a part of the planning, especially the FE and designing the door magnets. We are also traveling with me brothers and their family and I know all the cousins already know and they are having a tough time keeping it a secret from her.


We plan on telling her over Valentines Weekend with a scavenger hunt with various DCL clues along the way from various vinylmations to a 3D DCL cruise ship cut-out and a plush Capt. Mickey. I think she will know by the first clue though. We might push this out another month, but we are planning on getting passports this time and we are such open books we will have to tell her why we are getting them.


I would love to be able to just pick her up from school and off to the ariport we go, but I'm such a detailed planner that hiding it from her until then would be a major cold war era bit of espionage on our part.

I like the countdown chain idea though, we'll have to set one up.
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