"Shhhhhh"ould I keep it a secret?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by karyn0995, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. karyn0995

    karyn0995 Mouseketeer

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    My soon-to-be-5 year old son has been obsessed with going on a Disney cruise since he was 2. So, we finally booked our first cruise (ever) for the Fantasy West Caribbean cruise in September. It will be me, DH, DS and MIL. I would really like to surprise him with the trip, but at the same time I think he'd love to take part in the planning.

    Our current plan is to pick him up early from school the Friday before our cruise (we are driving down from GA) and tell him we are vacationing in FL but not mention the cruise. FL vacations are very common for us so that concept won't be a new thing for him. We'll likely get a hotel Friday night somewhere close to Port Canaveral (suggestions are welcome), and then head over for boarding the next morning.

    Has anyone here surprised their kid(s) with a cruise? How did it go and how did you not "spill the beans" before getting to PC? Should I switch gears and let him be involved in the planning of his first cruise?

    Thanks!!
     
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  3. QCTodd

    QCTodd Earning My Ears

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    Well we decided to surprise the kids with a 4 day cruise over Christmas break 2013 and will be spending Christmas day aboard the Dream. We (us and another family girls 18, 11, 7 and boys 14, 12, 12) are renting an RV, piling the kids in, and off we go! They have no clue and we hope we can keep the secret that long! I think we are going to drive by Disney just to mess with them, is that wrong? Lol
     
  4. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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    Anticipation is part of the excitement. However, September is FOREVER away for a child. I'd suggest that you tell him a month or so before the trip.
     
  5. ilovetexas

    ilovetexas DIS Veteran

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    For his first cruise, I'm not sure the planning process would enhance his enjoyment any and from now until September is a LONG time for a little one to wait. Heck, I just booked mine for May and I can hardly concentrate. :)

    Just let him think it's vacation as usual then have a video camera ready to capture the look on his face when you pull up to the port!

    When the NEXT cruise rolls around, let him plan. I have my kids make a paper chain the day I book the cruise. One link for each day until sail-away. They can decorate it however they want and we hang it from the ceiling in the kitchen. Each evening, usually during dinner, someone cuts off a link. We watch it get shorter and we get more and more excited.
     
  6. bigtony777

    bigtony777 Disney Veteran

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    We have determined that it works best to not tell our kids more than 2 ahead of time. It its hard to deal with the dailyquestions of, are we leaving today, for longer than that.
     
  7. Tower

    Tower DIS Veteran

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    Agree 100%. Unfortunately, we told our kids too early before our first Disney Cruise. They got overly excited for too long and I think that other kids in school got jealous too as they kept talking about it for months!

    They know about our upcoming trip this November, but since they've been on one before, they're excited, but are not bragging. This also helps for home security as less people potentially know you're going away and leaving the house empty. (Reminder, don't talk about it too much on Facebook that can connect to thousands!) It's ok to talk about it here as we're all anonymous and the most we typically know about a poster is possibly their city.
     
  8. dato63

    dato63 DIS Veteran

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    We surprised our kids with a cruise this past Thanksgiving. We packed in secret, then that morning we told them we were going out to breakfast & drove to the airport. Even at the airport we didn't tell them where we were going. It was a lot of fun seeing their faces when they realized we were getting on a ship (wasn't DCL). Even once on the ship, we kept their excursions a complete surprise.

    With holidays/birthdays - does he tend to love surprises? If so, I'm with ilovetexas. Let this one unfold as a wonderful surprise. Then let him help plan future ones.

    My children are a little older, and love surprises. At Christmas they will not peak, even if something is unwrapped - because they love to be surprised on Christmas morning rather than know ahead of time. We have 2 cruises booked this year. So I asked them if they prefer to help plan or be surprised like this past one. . .and they couldn't decide. So I told them about our summer cruise (returning to Alaska), but have not told them about our Thanksgiving cruise. Since the Magic will be in Galveston, it seemed like we might be able to pull it off again - as there will be no airport involved this time around. We should easily get away with suggesting driving down to Galveston for lunch, or to see Moody Gardens. . and then pull up at the port. :)
     
  9. Renysmom

    Renysmom <font color=darkorchid>Just wondering what is goin

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    I agree you should wait.

    Maybe about a month out you can give him a countdown calendar for his bedroom door and he can change the number every day (keep from asking you over and over when do you leave).
     
  10. karyn0995

    karyn0995 Mouseketeer

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    hehehe! September is FOREVER away for me too! I guess I should have said if we do tell him, then yes it would be about a month out. Certainly not now. I am driving my husband crazy with my excitement about the cruise! He'd never last until September if both our son & me talked about it every day! :rotfl:
     
  11. itutorfortravel

    itutorfortravel I tutor high school math to pay for my travel addi

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    We surprised our DD with our first Disney cruise in 2009. We told her on her birthday which was about 2 weeks before we sailed. We have gone on two more cruises since then, both of which she has known about, but not too far in advance...one was about 18 days in advance and the other was maybe 2 months. Our DD is now almost 10. The problem with her has been her non-stop talking about going on the cruise or her not being able to think about much but the "next cruise." Even I got tired of hearing about it and I love all things Disney! The last cruise we took was an 11 night holiday cruise on the Magic and we told her that because it was such a big cruise we likely wouldn't be cruising again for a few years. That trip was December 2010, and we are going on the Fantasy in less than 2 months! And she doesn't know a thing. Anytime she's said something about cruising I have reminded her that it likely won't be for another year or so and she's finally stopped talking about it!!! We have decided to wait until the morning of the cruise to tell her. We are going to tell her in a few weeks that we are going to FL for spring break to swim with dolphins and visit Kennedy Space Center. All those are true (with a little twist on the dolphins...we are doing that in Grand Cayman.) We're planning on spending the night up around Kennedy Space Center the night before the cruise so as not to tip her off...so I won't have to be too secretive about packing which is good, but I still think she is going to flip when she finds out we are cruising! I can't wait to tell her :banana:


    ....so my vote is to surprise your son!
     
  12. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala <font color=red>1937, what a year that was<br><fon Moderator

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    I read a fascinating thread on the theme parks board that came to the conclusion that the way to surprise a young child is not to concoct a story for them and then do something else, like saying "We're going to Grandma's house (or Dick's house, after the famous video)" and then going to Disney World instead, or "We're going to Disney World" and then going on the cruise instead. The thread seemed to think that if you do that, you may not get the happy reaction you want if the kids have been all psyched up to go to the "false" destination. Keeping it vague may be the key.

    The "we're going to Florida" thing looks good as you really are going to Florida and the Kennedy space center first.

    As far as telling the kid now about a trip in September, at five I'm not sure they really have a concept of how far away "September" is, so you could set up a calendar to cross off days or something like that (if you really want to cross off days for seven months)
     
  13. barbja99

    barbja99 Mouseketeer

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    I'm a single mother of one son (11). He helped plan where we should go (Alaska), who should go (+my sister and his cousins), and when we should go (I'm paying for all of it, so I could only afford 'just us' for THIS summer and DCL to Alaska isn't known for cheap -- +extra people = +365 days!).

    Personally, I could just put the two of us on a boat to anywhere and I'd be just fine. *I want to go now!*
     
  14. Nette

    Nette DIS Veteran

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    We're planning to surprise our DD who will turn 10 on boarding day of our cruise. We're hoping to keep it a secret until the boat comes into view.

    So far a few hurdles:

    -- We're probably gonna have to use a towncar service as it's cheaper than DCL transfers and also a LOT less than a rental car (or at least what we've found for rentals so far, we are still looking). So we are a bit worried about the towncar driver spilling the beans on the way there... DH is going to pull him aside before we load up and let him know it's a secret.

    -- We're leaving a few days early for a couple of days at WDW, so we had to come up with a story about where we are going.

    -- DD saw my google calendar up with DCL scheduled on it while I was showing her weeks for her summer camps!!:scared1: Thankfully she bought the story that we are going to WDW for her birthday week and the beach. We are going to a beach... we just didn't say WHICH beach... hehehehe.

    I'd love to hear any more suggestions or stories about people who have pulled off surprises that happened at the port!
     
  15. kimmypie1

    kimmypie1 Mouseketeer

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    We are surprising our kids (DD5 and DS2) with a cruise next weekend! We have had it booked since Jan 2011 and have been able to keep it a secret this entire time.

    To help it stay a secret, we did not tell my family (until last week!!), who lives locally and sees the kids often. I was afraid one of them would slip.

    We did tell the kids we are going to Disneyland, which we are. We will stay the night in a hotel and then I have a Character call scheduled for 9am on Sunday and that is how we are going to surprise them. So nervous for their reactions!!
     
  16. ilovetexas

    ilovetexas DIS Veteran

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    I've got a funny story about this - Our first cruise, we came home and found a sign left on the front porch by my 7 year old DS. It was his little dry erase board from school and he had drawn pics of dolphins, the ocean and a ship. Included was a note that said "Sorry, we're on vacation, The **** Family"!

    I wish the picture was on this computer so I could post it. Hysterical! We didn't see it before we left because we never use our front door. Good thing we live in a safe neighborhood. :lmao:
     
  17. nikicares

    nikicares Creating Memories of a Lifetime!

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    We surprised our teen daughter for the DREAM's Maiden Voyage! We have been on 4 prior DCL cruises, but this one was special to all of us.

    The MV was on Jan 21, 2011, so for Christmas we got a BIG decorative vase, filled it with sand, and placed it near the tree, but she just thought it was a new vase for flowers I have all over the house sitting on the floor. We also 'buried' in the sand Scrabble tiles that spelled "DISNEY DREAM CRUISE", and put some "vacation" bracelet charms (shell, flip flop, star fish, sun, palm tree), and we also put in some small shells. So she basically had to dig through the sand, find all the "clues" and figure out what her Christmas present was! It took her almost 2 hours to unscramble what it said, and we told her the other things was clues :) It was a blast for all of us - and she LOVED it. We also wrapped a nice, charm bracelet for her as a gift under the tree for all her charms to go on, along with a few gift cards for shopping pre cruise!

    It was fun!
     
  18. ct7878

    ct7878 Earning My Ears

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    I am probably coming from a different point, as I would wait a bit, but tell Him a month or so before the sailing. We surprised our boys (10,5) and unfortunately had one of those "I wanted to go to Uncle Dick's house" reactions:eek:!!! We live in Orlando with annual passes, so I knew i was never going to get that moment of suprising the kids with a trip to WDW or DL. However, i thought we could do it with the cruise! We just told the kids we were going to the beach for the week. While the my older son was excited when we got to the port, the younger was in tears and just kept saying "you said we were going to cocoa beach!!!!! I love cocoa beach!!! The crying went on all through out check in and even continued once we boarded and met my parents (another surprise for them). Eventually he got into things, but 3 years later when the topic comes up he still gets upset and claims that we lied to him. Everytime I get on the Beachline he will make a comment:confused3. I think that at 5 it was all just too overwhelming for him! Just wanted to share my thoughts as no one should have the video reaction that we have from our surprise,
     

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