Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 02-19-2013, 08:10 AM   #61
DIS Veteran
bleeps's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: An hour west of Boston, MA
Posts: 2,266

It's definitely all about knowing your kids, and honoring who they are and how they process information.

Our family will NEVER forget the time we got on a plane to WDW and saw a surprise backfire right in front of us; a family with two boys (guessing ages -- 10 and 6?) and mom and dad triumphantly announced once they sat down on the plane "guess what!?! we aren't going to grandpa and grandma's for the weekend -- we are going to Disney World for the week!"

Both kids immediately started wailing. First, the youngest one was devastated that they weren't going to see the grandparents. Then, apparently this was the family's second trip to WDW and he started remembering/listing everything he hated about their previous trip.

The older boy was certain that (1) he would be thrown off his soccer team for missing so many practices because the coach SAID that if you missed 2 practices in a row you were out and that (2) his teachers would be furious and that he would fail, he'd never catch up on his work, etc. No amount of reassurance by his parents (honey, we talked to your coach, your teachers, the principal at your school) would convince him otherwise.

The mom ended up pretty much in tears, and the dad kept getting angrier and angrier at the kids and the situation. It was AWFUL. I appreciate the sentiment -- won't be be fun to surprise the boys with a trip to Disney! -- but it seemed as though this was clearly a case of not thinking through how these particular kids were going to react to unexpected news.


WDW once a year since 2003!
bleeps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2013, 09:15 AM   #62
SA mom
DIS Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 880

Originally Posted by scootch View Post
I have always told my kids. They enjoy the planning and anticipation as much as the actual trip(and so do I) Friends of ours surprised their son. He was 9 at the time and had been to WDW once before. While the telling moment was fun, in hindsight, he wished they would have told him before hand as he too felt like he missed out on the anticipation of it. Not that he wasn't grateful for getting to go... just talking with him afterwards, he said if he could have chose... he would have preferred helping with the planning and getting to enjoy all the excitement that leads up to a trip. His parents agreed with him that next time they will let the kids know a bit ahead of time and can still make it a fun surprise we are going kind of thing!
I'm with you. We have always told our kids. The first time we went, we watched the planning DVD. It was a blast so see the excitement build over the months. We talked about budgets and saving money for the trip.

Now that they are older, they go online to research the parks. They already have a list of things they want to do the next time. I love to hear, "Mom, did you know...." They now take part in planning all our trips. Even though they are only 12, they are reading the books on Route 66 for our road trip this summer.

I could never deprive them of this pleasure.
SA mom is offline   Reply With Quote
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 02-19-2013, 09:25 AM   #63
Humming the Farm Town song...
DeluxePrincess's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,653

The anticipation and planning are half the fun for us. Even when I was a kid, I loved having something to look forward to. I remember looking forward to my first trip to Disney when I was 9 years old. Knowing I was going to an amazing place in the summer got me through some bad days at school!
DeluxePrincess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2013, 12:25 PM   #64
Earning My Ears
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 68

For our first trip, our children knew all about it. The second time around we surprised them at the gate as we were about to board. The surprise went really well and we have fabulous memories I shall cherish forever. The only issue was that our girls did not get parts in the school Christmas concerts because the teachers knew we wouldn't be there. It was hard to console them without revealing the happy reason they weren't chosen. This time around we asked their opinion and their response is mixed. I think we'll surprise them around the 180 dining window so they can help decide where to eat.

Me Dh DD(13) DS(12) DD(10) DD(6)

Caribe Royale 2009, 2011
First trip onsite Nov 30-Dec 14/13 POR Royal Room x 2
jaybee1026 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2013, 01:04 PM   #65
DIS Veteran
dmccarty's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NC
Posts: 1,227

For our kids first visit to WDW, we surprised them. The key is to tell them NOTHING about the trip. Don't let them think they are going to the beach, grandparents, whatever, just tell them it is a surprise. The fun part of the surprise is anticipation and guessing where they are going just like trying to figure out what is in the presents under the XMAS tree...

The kids were 4 and 7 for the first trip.

The first kids trip, the kids knew we were going on a trip but that was all we would tell them. We took two days to drive to WDW because we left after school which made it harder for us to not blab but we kept our mouth shut.

The kids were all full of guesses but we would just say it was a surprise. The hard part was going to be sneaking through I4 to get to WDW without them figuring out the surprise but by the time we got to Orlando they were heads down reading and watching a DVD. If we saw a WDW sign, we would point to a sign on the other side of I4 to distract them if they were paying attention. They never saw a thing!

Right before we got to Orlando one of the kids asked, again, if we were going to the beach. At that point, I broke down and said yes. But I did not lie...

Somehow, we managed to get down I4 without the kids seeing any WDW signs! The finally figured out the surprise when they saw the big WDW arch across the road! They yelling and screaming then commenced after they had a few moments of disbelieve!

To say the kids were excited is an understatement.

They started asking me about the beach. Their timing was perfect when they asked because I had just pulled into the gate at Caribbean Beach Resort.

I think you can only pull this off once but once is enough. The kids still talk about that first visit when they saw the gate. Now, we tell them what is happening and let them help plan a trip. However, we will still throw in surprises, like surf lessons, horse riding, Illumination Cruise, grandparent visits, etc.

The Illumination Cruise was surprise to the kids, but mostly was for my mom, because she has never seen WDW fireworks even though we went to MK once or twice a year when I was a kid. We would go with my aunt who always wanted to leave the park before the fireworks were over to avoid the crowds so my mom never got to see the show. We booked the cruise and we surprised my mom with the fireworks. She had no clue until the boat pulled under the bridge between France and the UK.

My parents usually visit and surprise the kids as well. The grandparents have arrived early in the morning and woken the kids up in bed. They have waited for us to return from the parks and surprised the kids in the resort lobby. Last trip, they were sitting on a bus bench waiting for us to go to the park first thing in the morning. The kids knew nothing until they saw the grandparents!

We had a trip to the mountains one year and we did the same thing with the grandparents. The kids did not know the grandparents were showing up until they saw them sitting in rocking chairs in the lobby. After a few days in the mountains, the kids and grandparents went to Great Wolf Lodge as a surprise birthday present.

This year our oldest is having a science trip to the beach which I will be chaperoning. The rest of the family is going as well but they will not be part of the class trip. The kids only expect to be at the beach for a few days. What they don't know is that we are staying a few extra days and that the grandparents will be showing up. I think our oldest is going to find out we are staying the extra days when my parents come and pick us up as the rest of the class is boarding the bus to head back home!

The kids want to go to the beach but I am not a beach person. BORING. But because of scheduling and money issues we decided to go to Vero Beach Club resort this summer. The kids don't have a clue what we have planned. We are going to tell them it is a surprise and see how it works. They have driven back and forth on I95 quite a bit now, so it will be interesting to see how this works. Hopefully, they will not figure it out until they see the VBC sign.

The other surprise is the grandparents who live in FLA and the kids summer visit to the grandparents. We figure the last day at the resort, the kids will be kinda sad about having to leave the resort and head home, so we will have the grandparents show up to surprise the kids. Of course the kids will go with the grandparents for a few weeks to continue their summer vacation.

The key to these types of surprises is to say nothing. You don't want the kid to think they are doing X, and get all excited about X, when in fact you are doing A. That is not good.

At this point, with the kids being WDW Vets, we talk and plan with them which is fun too since it helps build up a different type of anticipation but we surprise them with things when we can.

May 2013 VBR
Oct 2009, Oct 2010, Oct 2011 AKV
Mar/Apr 2008, Apr 2009 AKL
Oct 2007 CBR
Apr 1998 and May 1997 CR
70's to 1997 too many trips to count.

Disney is a lens that focuses on people.
Sometimes it exposes the worst.
Most of the time it highlights the best.
dmccarty is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.