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Old 02-17-2013, 10:33 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Jessicamcg View Post
Tell me your stories please
We have always told our kids. I love planning with them so much, I cannot imagine waiting until the last minute and surprising them. I need their input (and love seeing their excitement) figuring out what rides to try to plan, what to wear, what characters we will see, etc. I love being able to say "Next month we will be doing xwy at Disney World!"

I am a total believer that the planning is half the fun. And I want to do that planning with my children involved. I do wait until about 2-3 months before we go to tell them though, as and longer would seem like a lifetime to them!
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:47 AM   #32
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no surprise

sorry. to me, a HUGE part of a trip is looking forward to it planning.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:15 AM   #33
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We are surprising them but doing it about 6 weeks before the Disney part of our trip.

We are spending 5 weeks in Florida with my family before we go to Disney, so we are telling our girls the week before we leave to go to Florida. They will have 5 weeks or so to "plan" what they want to do while we are there. My kids are used to us surprising them, so it will go over well.

I was going to wait until the day that we leave to drive to Orlando, but I was afraid that someone in my family would spill the beans before we surprised them.

Right now the plan is to get 3 huge Minnie Mouse gift bags from Target (one for each kid) and put stuff for the trip in the bottom and a balloon in the top. Then, I'm going to tape the top together. When they open the bag the balloon will fly out with a note attached telling them that we are going to Florida and to WDW. I can't wait to tell them! I am making our ADR's this week. It's SOOOOOOOO HARD keeping it to myself!!!
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:34 AM   #34
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I never really heard about this surprise (day of trip) phenomenon until recently. I guess each individual is different, but it would never work for me. That said, I can understand the surprising kids with a trip in advance like a few weeks before, a month or two before or a birthday/Holiday! To me that is the better approach because you get the reaction from the surprise, but everyone can still participate in the planning!

Actually, come to think of it, I was the one surprised by my brothers family a few years ago. My brother invited me to their house for New Years and they had my nieces hand me a card. When I opened it, it said they were going to Disney World this summer, could I go too? It was definitely the best Christmas/Birthday present I ever received!
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:42 AM   #36
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We surprised the kids on our November 2011 trip the day we where leaving. It turned out awesome. This trip April 2013 we told them we could not afford a trip and just made a video of our previous trips. At the end of the video we surprised them with another trip except we game them 5 months notice so they could get into the Disney mood!

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Old 02-18-2013, 08:49 AM   #37
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Our first trip was the last week of January 2012. We told DD5 on Christmas day that we were going to Disney. She was super excited and surprised and she didn't have to wait too long.

She really enjoyed helping with the planning and watching everything Netflix had to offer about Disney World.

I think it depends on the kids. DH would love to do a surprise trip for DD, but she is just like me and likes some control and expectation about what's going to happen. Plus, planning is almost as fun as the trip itself.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:57 AM   #38
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We told DD on Saturday morning, and left on Sunday morning. We were not trying to surprise her so much as we were trying to manage the crazed anticipation of an almost 5-year-old. As others have said, you know your own children best. Ours responds well to last-minute information about trips. We had told her several times that we would try to go to Disney when she was 5. The surprise was that we went for her birthday.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:37 AM   #39
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I was able to surprise my son for a December 2009 trip celebrating my birthday. I told him the day before we were to leave. He didn't believe me! I had to show him the airline and hotel confirmations.
I was also able to surprise him this past August on his birthday. We usually go to WDW every August. This year I had been telling him we weren't going this summer. Time to see other places. I really meant it too. We went to Washington DC for a week. However, I couldn't get WDW off my mind. So, at the end of July I booked a trip. Made up a scavenger hunt for DS's birthday. He found the last clue which led him to copies of all the confirmations. He was staring at them for a few minutes until it sunk in. Great surprise. We left 2 weeks later so he had some input.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:19 AM   #40
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My story is not a very happy one--at the insistance of their step monther, we surprised nieces and nephew with a trip at ages 14,16 & 18. They had never been before. It was a TRAIN WRECK. The kids got there and were COMPLETELY overwhelmed. As a result, they did not want to do *anything* except stay at the hotel's pool and swim. (They had never stayed at a hotel before) Had they been involved in the planning and excitement I think we would have seen a very different outcome.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:58 AM   #41
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We're planning a hush-hush trip in June for our girls (who are 7 & 8). They love surprises, but we've still tried to set this up carefully--for example, no telling them we were going someplace else they wanted to go. Instead, we've told them that I'm going on a business trip, and they're tagging along so Daddy can take them to the hotel pool. That seems just boring enough for them not to miss it when it doesn't happen exactly as we've told them.

We make it a two-day trip when we're driving down, so we plan to tell them after breakfast on the first day of driving. That way, they have a whole day to wrap their brains around it. As for the planning, we've been talking it over, with the explanation that we're considering another Disney trip "sometime over the next year or so." That way, they get to have input...and Mommy won't be busted when they catch me cruising these boards. LOL
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:15 AM   #42
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I'm surprising DH this weekend with a Disney trip. I don't think I'll be repeating this experience with children, as it has made ME bitter and stressed, trying to keep it all under wraps.

I don't think I'll make a very good Santa either
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:29 AM   #43
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Depends on the age and the kid

First trip she was 5 1/2 - no concept of time. We told her 2 days before we left. This worked great for us and we didn't have the hourly questioning of is it time to go yet.

The SURPRISE trip was for her 8th birthday. We had planned on not telling her until we got to Disney property. She was old enough to ask questions and was getting antsy. We ended up telling her in Ocala and it took about the rest of the ride to get her head around the idea. We had a ball but I don't think I would surprise her again.

She loves thinking about what we can do and planning some of the trip.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:57 AM   #44
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I surprised them once for a trip to WDW and they were so excited!! It worked out really well. We are going on the Dream in May and that will be a surprise. The kids know we are going in August to WDW so it's been easy to have Disney stuff lying around not have them become suspicious. When I do reveal the surprise, it is going to be through a little album I made. The pictures in the album are in my Family-moon PTR in my sig line if you want to see the basic idea. They start on page 5.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:01 PM   #45
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We surprised our kids last September when we arrived at Disney. It was so much fun! We drove down 2 days early, stayed in Jacksonville and went to the beach (their first time), then loaded them up for the BIG surprise. They had no idea until we drove under the big "Disney World" sign. His reaction was priceless! We are working on trip number 2 for the fall, I can't wait to go back, I know they will have a great time again.
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