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Old 09-14-2012, 04:04 PM   #16
lrigylruc
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I hate surprises myself - I even tell DH what to get me for Christmas - so no surprises here. My 4yo already knows we are going to Disney around Christmas, and they have both been watching Disney christmas events on youtube so they aren't too overwhelmed by it all. We are going to have a special "reveal" about a week before we go with Cinderella sending her an invitation (a scroll in a glass slipper!) to breakfast at the Royal Palace. I think the anticipation make it all so much more fun! It's like Christmas, it wouldn't be nearly as special without the build up all season.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:11 PM   #17
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We've had it go badly as well. Some kids just don't like surprises!
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:24 PM   #18
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I told my daughter a few days before expecting a big excitement. She was 6 at the time and I got "great" turns out she thought I was lying. Got a much bigger reaction once she got her own suitcase and Disney clothes
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:29 AM   #19
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I am *trying* to surprise DD with the trip in Oct. My original plan was not to tell her anything until I woke her up at 4am. I was even going to pack her bags while she is at dance class. Then, she found out her dance class is going to be in a Halloween parade the weekend will be in Disney. She was so excited to be in a parade. We had to come up with a story to explain why she couldn't be there. Over the summer, my hubby spent a lot of time away for work, so we told her that he had to go away again and this time we were going with him as a vacation. She almost cried about missing the parade until we told her we are flying! So, I would suggest to be prepared to tell them something about the trip.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:31 PM   #20
eyeheartgoofy
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We took the kids on a surprise Disney cruise in 2008 (the year Nickelodean debuted the Nick cruises that were advertised about every 20 seconds on Nick Jr.).

On the way to the airport, I (bursting with excitement) announced that we were going on a cruise!

My 6 year old seemed excited and yelled "A Nick Cruise?! I want to get slimed!"

And then my 4 year old got all excited about meeting Dora.

... and then I told them it was a Disney cruise and they both said, "Oh..."
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:27 AM   #21
katieandrob
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I think it depends on the individual child. My oldest would not be happy at all. He needs to know in advance what is happening and to mentally prepare and make sure he has what he wants packed. My youngest on the other hand would be thrilled.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:39 PM   #22
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I definitely think it depends on the child! Sometimes it's better to include them in a little bit of the planning. I just posted a story on my blog about our surprise trip. Link is below if you are interested. Bottom line is, there are pros and cons to making it a surprise. Sounds like in your situation a few days out at least would be a good time to tell
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:44 PM   #23
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MINOR UPDATE...

We've decided NOT to surprise them the morning we leave. The reason for this is, I talked to my MIL this morning, and she wants to pay for the kids to go! Everything but airfare, she's paying for their meals, tickets, their share of the hotel room, etc. I want her to be there when the kids find out about the trip. So now I'll be wrapping up a balloon in a box for Christmas morning, so when the box is opened, the balloon will float out, attached to luggage tags/plane tickets/something. I haven't worked out all the details, bu tit shoudl still be fun. And I can't believe my luck that MIL is willing to be so generous!
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:39 PM   #24
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We are having our elves arrive with their EARS on ready to go and with packages with lanyards that are loaded with trading pins! I'm making the ears with polymer clay. I'm so excited I can't wait!!!!
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:56 AM   #25
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We surprised our kids five years ago and although the surprise went well, I might have done things differently if I had know what I know now.

The kids were 7, 4 and 4. We drove to Atlanta to visit family and then, instead of driving north to go home, we drove south. We were in the motorhome so the kids were distracted enough that they didn't notice. Long story, short, we pulled under the arch and declared ourselves lost. The kids came to the big front window while we pretended to look for a map and we asked them to look for signs. As they started to figure it out, DS just kept asking if it was the "real" WDW....

However, Disney-vacation-surprise-excitement-overload immediately commenced upon check in. The next few hours were a little rough.

We are surprising them again in November but will tell them at least two days before we leave. They are older now and will be home from school for the Thanksgiving holiday. I would never be able to hide the packing from them and if they already know, I should have some very helpful kids
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:43 AM   #26
Trixie15
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We surprised ours for their first trip and I think it could have gone better.

We got them all the way down to Florida (driving) before we told them at the hotel that we were going to DisneyWorld right then.

My oldest was totally ok - very happy and surprised. She was 6.

My second didn't believe us and started to cry. She was 5.

My third was happy AND didn't believe us - she was a hot mess. She was 3.

We planned another trip two years later and it wasn't a surprise at all. They helped plan things and we were able to build their excitement up over time by telling them about shows and rides. They had a WAY better time at Disney and we had a lot more fun planning it as a family.

I wouldn't surprise them again, I don't think.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:00 AM   #27
ChitownFamily
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrigylruc View Post
I hate surprises myself - I even tell DH what to get me for Christmas - so no surprises here. My 4yo already knows we are going to Disney around Christmas, and they have both been watching Disney christmas events on youtube so they aren't too overwhelmed by it all. We are going to have a special "reveal" about a week before we go with Cinderella sending her an invitation (a scroll in a glass slipper!) to breakfast at the Royal Palace. I think the anticipation make it all so much more fun! It's like Christmas, it wouldn't be nearly as special without the build up all season.

Yep. Everything you said! Anticipation! Part of the fun for me, is going to be showing them the YouTube videos & such.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:43 AM   #28
BuzznBelle'smom
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Well, with them now finding out, just a month out, I think that's a good amount of time for them to plan/anticipate.

I've been reading the new "Unofficial Guide", and I got them the new Birnbaum's for kids, so that will be in the surprise box. I had to make some guesses on ADRs, but we're doing Chef Mickey's, Akershus, Be Our Guest, Hoop-Dee-Doo, and a few others. Hoestly, I think they'll be thrilled, no matter where we eat.

P.S. My MIL changed her mind--she's now paying for the entire trip. Well, less plane tickets and tips. But, I think I can manage that.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:49 AM   #29
luvmy2babies
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I hope it goes well. I have done it twice for various reasons.

Trip during the school year and donít want her distracted
Uncertainty involved and I know she canít be disappointed if she never knew
Thought it would be fun because she loves surprises

My daughterís very first trip to WDW was a surprise. She was 7. It was Thanksgiving week in 2010 and her school had the whole week off because their fall break, which is scheduled around a 2 day conference all of the teachers attend, landed on the Monday and Tuesday before the holiday. They usually have that Wednesday through Friday, so there you have it. We left here the Sunday before the holiday. I told her that Saturday evening and she was thrilled. We had a fun evening talking about it and she helped entertain her brother while I did some last minute stuff in the house. At that time she had no idea WDW was anything beyond the castle and characters so would not have had much to contribute to planning.

Second time was another trip to Orlando, but to Sea World for fall break again in 2011. We had a four day weekend and some extra money so I got a package. I picked her up an hour prior to regular dismissal because we had a 5pm flight. I told her once she was in the van. Could not have gone better. She was thrilled.

We went again to WDW in June of this year and no surprises. She was in on it from the time I booked everything and was sitting with me when I booked our plane tickets. She was in on everything from ADRs to making t-shirts. That was fun too as she knew about the parks at that point and had a lot to contribute. She still talks about being surprised with trips. She enjoyed that very much.

We are likely going again in May 2013, just a couple of days after she gets out of school. Iím hoping for a drier trip. She knows we are going back, but doesnít know when. Iím going to tell her, but I havenít decided when yet. It is much closer to the end of the school year than this year and I want her to remain focused, which we have challenges with here. Iíll probably reveal it after Iíve paid it off 6 weeks prior.

I am going to have a surprise element in it though. She is really close to my mom and really wanted her to come with us on our last trip. Mom was planning her wedding though and it wasnít good timing. Our trip was in June, the wedding in July. Dd adores my stepdad too (as do I), so I have invited my parents (better known as Grammy and Papa) to come on our next trip. We have a very laid back touring style so we should be able to accommodate them for the time they want to be with us. I have read lots of reports on here and see how the grandparents enjoy experiencing it with the children.

The good thing about my mom being married now though is she wonít have to stick with us the whole time. I did tell my mom certain things I wanted us to do together and that beyond that it was what they wanted to do with us and what they let the children talk them into and to look at the website and think about how they would like to spend their vacation. They can have their own room and do things together as a couple while I'm climbing on to It's a Small World for the 5th time.

Hopefully the mountain of information I emailed my mom wonít overwhelm her. She's never been to WDW. Papa has and started talking about a trip about a week after they got married. He said when they went he was more excited than his children. I knew I liked him for a reason.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:47 PM   #30
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We surprised our boys (5 and 6) in January. They thought that just DH and I were going and that they were staying home with grandma. The plan was for MIL to come along too.
We got to the airport and through the gate- they dont understand how that works and DH went ahead and told the security personnel that they were being surprised. Wen we were at the gate and ready to board, we said goodbye. DH videoed this as I said why don't you come along too. And Grandma can come with us. My little guy was ok, but my oldest broke out into a full on sobbing mess. He had plans on what he would do with grandma at home and he did not want to break them. It took us quite a long time to convince him to go. It was quite sad as DH and I were so excited about the surprise. Not doing that again.
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