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Old 11-21-2010, 11:45 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
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Need Help Surprising Kids

We'll be on the Disney Dream next September and are planning on surprising the kids. We don't plan on telling them until we're at the terminal under false pretenses of heading to Kennedy Space Center and just stopping in Port Canaveral to see the ships since they talk about going all of the time. My question is, if we drive, is there a place where we drop off our luggage in front of the terminal that would allow us the time to "take a picture" but really reveal to them that we're actually going on the ship? I don't want DH to drop us off and miss out on the surprise.

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Old 11-22-2010, 07:45 AM   #2
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You can see what we did there! Basically, we had a free night at the Marriott near the port. So, we told the kids it was on our way home so we'd be near the port. Anyway, this video was taken about 10 minutes before we left for the port!!!
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:07 AM   #3
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Jennifer - Your 1st surprise cruise was the day we got off of our surprise cruise!

For our cruise surprise, which we'd tacked onto the end of a WDW trip we announced at Christmas time, the kids thought we were driving to the airport when we left WDW. We'd told my son that we had a big surprise for his birthday (which was 1/14), but he just assumed it had something to do with how we were heading home.

Because we knew that as soon as we crossed the bridge into PC and the kids saw the Wonder sitting there, that our surprise would be up. So as we approached that bridge, I had the kids open up cards that I'd prepared ahead of time. It included the picture of Mickey holding the scroll in front of the ship announcing that we were going on the Disney Wonder. DH was in the car, so he certainly got to participate, though he was driving.

I don't think you can get into the terminal area without giving away the surprise, since you have to give them your names as soon as you drive into the Disney area. But I know there are places where people stop to see the ships pass by. You may give a shout out to Shirley in her helpful thread that's pinned at the top of the board to see if she has a good recommendation for you.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:15 AM   #4
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We got there before you could pull up and just went down to the very far end of the parking lot where you could get a great view of the ship and let the kids get out of the car, also with the false pretense that we were just looking

I found these great Mickey ear cards at Hallmark that were blank inside and I filled them out to read like a ticket (my kids were very young) and handed them to them. They opened them up and we read them aloud and they freaked out--well the older two did. They had never been on a cruise and didn't really know what to expect but they were very excited.

The next time we go I want to try to surprise them again and now that they know what's in store, they will really go crazy!

Have fun.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:31 PM   #5
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Thank you all so much. We are sooo excited we can hardly stand it. I loved watching the video, and the idea of the shirts. I do believe we will stop before we enter the terminal to take the picture. Our idea is to show them the pic that we take, and instead of having a picture of them on the screen, it will be a message about us going on the Dream! If it wasn't for these boards indulging me, I don't know what I would do for the next 9 months :)
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:21 AM   #6
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It depends how old/clued up your kids are...

... we managed to get ours into the terminal building under the pretence of looking round the museum there (which does not exist BTW). We told them because it was a restricted area, like an airport, that the porter had to take our luggage from the car to security check it.

I even managed to complete our check in as they thought I was queuing to get the museum ticket !!

First thing they knew was I handed them a welcome aboard card to read out !

This year as the Magic was in Europe (they did not know) I told them we were catching a ferry in Dover and driving down to Barcelona imagine their surprise when they looked out of the hotel bedroom in the morning in Dover harbour, and there was the Disney Magic right in front of their eyes !!!

.....years on, I am still surprising the kids with our next what they don't know is we are doing a back to back (they know about the first one) ....haven't even told DH yet, so I may keep it a secret from them all....lucky I get to do all the holiday planning in my house !

...can't wait to see their faces spark up again, as we start to leave the ship the first time, after telling them we are actually going to be staying on board !! LOL !!
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:36 AM   #7
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Did you know that you can have lunch onboard the ship but you have to leave before it sails?

My kids bought that one!

They finally figured it out when they saw the suitcases coming out of the car!

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Old 11-24-2010, 06:57 AM   #8
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These made me smile before going to work today...Sometimes I think it's fun for parents to add into the magic! (can't wait to do that someday!!!)
Love the video...Awesome!
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Old 11-24-2010, 08:28 AM   #9
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Cool ideas. Love the video and the shirts. We are scheduled on the Dream in September also. Can't figure out when and how to tell the children. We are going to hold off a while just to make sure an economic wrecking ball doesn't change our plans. .
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:51 PM   #10
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Since we are going during April vacation 2011, we are rolling this into their Christmas presents. Our travel agent sent us the travel book and a dvd. We are going to wrap it up and it will be the one last gift we find from Santa. They will probably still be ticked off that they didn't have a lot of presents to "open" even though I may overwrap the small items, but we hope that it will go over really well with them. They are young, but it is worth a shot. We decided to do this b/c we are sick and tired of the "stuff" they get. It is junk and they lose it or break it a month later.
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Old 11-24-2010, 03:08 PM   #11
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Surprises can provide a somewhat brief moment of excitement, but imho, it's not worth the trade-off in depriving the kids of the fun of anticipating the cruise, counting down the days, dreaming of what it will be like, etc... It's better to surprise them with the fact that they will be going on a cruise and then let them have some time to enjoy the time leading up to it as well.

Think in terms of Christmas. It would be fun to wake up in the morning and find some gifts scattered under a tree, but does that really compare to the build-up before Christmas?
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Old 11-24-2010, 03:40 PM   #12
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I love happy surprises, but...

Originally Posted by dursin View Post
Surprises can provide a somewhat brief moment of excitement, but imho, it's not worth the trade-off in depriving the kids of the fun of anticipating the cruise, counting down the days, dreaming of what it will be like, etc... It's better to surprise them with the fact that they will be going on a cruise and then let them have some time to enjoy the time leading up to it as well.

Think in terms of Christmas. It would be fun to wake up in the morning and find some gifts scattered under a tree, but does that really compare to the build-up before Christmas?
I am going to agree with this PP. Though I think pulling off a surprise until the moment of the actual cruise would be epic, I am having so much fun planning and anticipating the fun...I couldn't imagine taking that part away from my kids.
I am, however, planning some "magic" along the way...they think that we are flying in the day before and will just be hanging out at a port hotel and wasting time until the next day....HOWEVER, we will be staying at AKL and going to MK for the day (weather permitting). My little boy's only request is that he see "the castle" this year, and since our plane lands early in the morning, we should be able to get almost a full day there! (The only reason I am keeping this part a total surprise is due to possible flight delays, weather, etc...don't want to get his hopes up in case it doesn't work out...but if it does....)
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Old 11-24-2010, 04:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Billinaz View Post
Did you know that you can have lunch onboard the ship but you have to leave before it sails?

My kids bought that one!

They finally figured it out when they saw the suitcases coming out of the car!
Our 3 boys, were ages 14 & 12 at cruise time & they bought that one too! However, they still didn't figure it out when the suitcases came out of the car because I had been setting them up for months!

I've pasted the story below. A little more did go into it but the highlights are there.

Originally Posted by twinmom108 View Post
We booked our first Disney Cruise for Oct 2006 in November 2004. Deciding to surprise our 3 sons, we had to keep our big mouths shut for almost two years. We Booked two SPH rooms on the Magic Western Itinerary cruise.
Months ahead of the cruise I started to set them up. First by asking them if they wanted to do a tour of the Disney Magic ship since it was going to be in port the day we were traveling out to see the Kennedy Space Center - they said yes. A month or so later I said maybe we could do lunch on the ship would they like me to check into it & they said yes.

Closer to cruise time they knew we were going to WDW but were wondering what all we were going to do the second week of our vacation. I had to think fast so I said maybe we'll see a Pirate Museum (we did in Key West), go to a pirate party (did on the ship) & we could have Key Lime pie for the twins birthday. (We were in Key West on their Bday & we did have Key Lime Pie!) I didn't know how far we could take it or how long I could hold out without slipping or showing my excitement. Reading these boards the furtherest I'd seen anyone get was arriving at the port when the surprise was finally revealed.

The night before the cruise Dh & I tagged the luggage after the boys went to bed. Later we tried to load the "tagged" bags into the rental car. There we were standing in the Wilderness Lodge Parking lot in the middle of the night for over an hour trying to figure how to get all the bags into the trunk. Finally we decided to put the 2 bags that didn't fit into the back seat upside down so the boys wouldn't see the DCL tags that had our last name & stateroom #'s on them.

The morning of the cruise we did a character breakfast at O'hanas with Lilo & Stitch then set out for the drive to the Port. When we arrived I told the boys that we would have to go through security & since they'd be treating us just like all the other passengers to just go with it. I told the boys to wait for us in the terminal since it was so hot & it was air-conditioned inside. They did peek out once to see what we were doing because they thought maybe we were doing something special for their Bday - LOL I shewed them back inside & got the porters to take the luggage away immediatedly. DH went to return the rental car & I joined the boys inside. Once upstairs I had them take a seat watching the movies while I checked everyone in.

Once boarding started I mentioned to a CM that we were surprising our boys & that they still didn't know they were actually going on this cruise. He was the one that actually took our cards and mentioned to one of our boys that "You know you'll have to get off of the ship in a little while" & my son acknowledged that he knew that. The boys didn't understand when we had to stand there to take the boarding photo & none of them smiled. It looks like a family mug shot. They thought it was humorous that our Name was announced as we got on the ship. As promised we went up to Topsiders & had lunch - they thought that was so cool. Asked the twins if they wanted to see the teen club & they said.......yes, so we checked it out. The CM at the stack almost gave it away when she asked what their names were & when they started to tell her, she was checking off their names on her clipboard & said "YES". I got her attention, told her we were just "touring the ship" while winking at her and she recovered quite well and told us to look around & enjoy.

At that point the staterooms were ready so I said I was going to check to see if we could see a stateroom. I suggested that they check out the kids area for our other son. I went to our rooms & put up Bday decorations & made sure that the basket I had ordered from Shirley for our twins 14th birthday was in the room. Then I found my DH and DS's and said we could look at a stateroom. They were excited so off we went to 5024.

The twins saw the birthday basket was for them and was surprised that I was able to get that on board without them seeing it, but they still weren't getting the real surprise. Finally I had to yell out "WE'RE NOT GETTING OFF THE SHIP FOR 7 DAYS!!!" They were so shocked and dumfounded that it took them awhile to get excited. Our younger son, Jameson said "I'm not going to believe it till the ship sails and I'm still on it." To make a longer story short this was the biggest surprise the boys ever had and they are still surprised that we were able to pull it off. Needless to say they had a blast!

As I said before I didn't know how far we could take the surprise. We took it much farther than we thought was possible but we actually made it all the way inside our staterooms before "letting the cat out of the bag".

The boys still shake their heads when they think of their special surprise.

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Old 11-24-2010, 08:33 PM   #14
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We didn't say a word about the cruise and drove over to the port to "see Mickey's boat."

When the lady at security stuck her head in the car and asked if we were all going on the cruise, my nephew realized what was happening and screamed "YES!"

Just be aware they'll ask you that question as you pull into the DCL parking lot when they ask for ID's.
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Old 11-25-2010, 04:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Billinaz View Post
Did you know that you can have lunch onboard the ship but you have to leave before it sails?

My kids bought that one!

They finally figured it out when they saw the suitcases coming out of the car!
We're hoping to pull this one with the kids in Barcelona next July!
Since we're taking a taxi to the "airport", we hope to tell the kids that Daddy is giving the bags to someone to hold.... :0)

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