Surprise the kids or tell them?

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by Jessicamcg, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. donnajherren

    donnajherren Slacking off

    Jul 31, 2011
    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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  3. stargazertechie

    stargazertechie Toy Story Midway Maniac

    Jun 17, 2009
    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 :rotfl2:
  4. dprincessmom

    dprincessmom dprincessmom

    Sep 4, 2011
    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.
  5. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

    Jan 17, 2006
    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.
  6. VeronicaB

    VeronicaB Mouseketeer

    Jun 29, 2011
    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.
  7. jmaycheer2012

    jmaycheer2012 Mouseketeer

    May 28, 2012
    I remember when I was 8 my parents surprised me. They came and picked me up from a summer camp for YMCA. I was thinking I was going to tumbling. They started driving and I said, "this isn't the way to tumbling." My mom was like oh were gonna go try some place new. then we pulled into a park and fly and my face lit up I was like were going to Disney world ahhhhhhh. My parents and sister were laughing at me.
  8. I-4Bound

    I-4Bound Mouseketeer

    Jun 26, 2011
    We surprised our kids for one of our trips. I couldn't wait to see the look on their faces when we told them that we weren't going to Wilmington but were instead on our way to Disney. We told them about an hour into the car ride, and their first reaction was, "You mean we have to be in the car for 6 more hours?" It was kind of funny, but definitely NOT what I expected. They were really happy, though, once the shock wore off. My daughter told me several times on that trip that she was SO glad we were at Disney instead! So, if you're going to surprise your kids, be ready for ANY reaction and don't be too disappointed if it's not the one you were looking for! ;)
  9. ObsessedWithDW

    ObsessedWithDW GoingEveryYear

    Feb 10, 2012
    We did a countdown chain the last 2 times. This time we are doing a chain but we are adding about 5 extra links or so. This way they will go to bed one night thinking our trip is still 5 days away but will wake up the next morning on the road to WDW.
  10. Jennifer41

    Jennifer41 Housework? What housework? MOUSEWORK!

    Oct 9, 2012
    We're going to surprise my boys (9 & 12yrs). I debated telling them, but we actually have the perfect scenario.

    We drive from PA to my Dad's (Punta Gorda, Fla) every Christmas & every year as we pass Disney on #4 we say "Oh look! There's Disney!" and the boys say (half joking) "Oh! Can we go? hah!" and we say "Yeah, right... someday.." and we keep driving...

    This past year (12/12) while we were at Dad's- he told me he'd like to pay for us (and him!) to go to Disney this year (12/13). I was like WHAAAT???

    So the plan is that Dad will drive his RV to FW. As we drive down as usual, and get to Epcot Center Drive, we'll actually pull in and watch them realize what
    s happening, (and probably explode :rotfl: )

    Then we'll pull into FW and Dad will be waiting for us. :)
    It will be in the early afternoon, so we'll have an early dinner in the RV and I'll go over our "skeleton plans" for the next 5 park days (leaving room for their suggestions!) then head to MK for the rest of the evening.

    I will have a few things reserved, (character dining, Hoop dee doo, MVMCP, etc) but will leave room for them to add things.

    I know this isn't a fool proof plan, and that it's a LONG time till December- but it's still what I'm aiming for.

    God bless DAD for giving me his credit card #!! :rotfl2:
  11. Jen_in_NH

    Jen_in_NH <font color=deeppink>waffles and snow seem to go t

    Jun 23, 2005
    I love watching others' surprise videos, but we could never do it with my oldest son. He's 5, and he's one of those kids that doesn't like surprises.

    For our last trip, he did help us surprise his older cousin, who was 7 at the time. He knew we were going, but her parents hadn't told her they were all coming with us. Her mom and I spent the whole day before we left doing laundry and packing, and then at dinnertime, DH and his cousin brought the kids all to our house for pizza/movie night. We packed the van for the airport while kids were watching the movie, so she never saw all of her stuff. When the movie ended, we had my son ask her if she wanted to come with us tomorrow, and then gave her the plane ticket with her name on it. She was so excited :)
  12. mum2four

    mum2four DIS Veteran

    Dec 29, 2012
    I hate surprises, so I personally would never surprise anyone with a trip at the last minute. But, everyone is different, so you need to think about what your kids would like (but be prepared for any kind of reaction if you surprise them!). A few years ago we surprised my 8 year old son with a new puppy for his birthday. Had the video camera rolling and everything while he followed some clues to find his surprise. When he saw the puppy, his reaction was, "Huh, there's a dog in my room." Not exactly the big reaction I was waiting for!

    For our upcoming May trip, we are putting gift cards in the kids' Easter baskets to surprise them. This way they will have 6 weeks to soak up the anticipation before the trip, but it won't be too long of a time that they'll have to wait. We love doing count down chains, so that's part of the fun as well.
  13. jana616

    jana616 DIS Veteran

    Nov 10, 2008
    We did a combination on our last trip. We did a huge scavenger hunt with clues all over the house, and then at the end had a huge wicker basket filled with Disney stuff and a few balloons that flew up when they opened it. They had NO idea the surprise could be anything that big, and it was absolutely perfect. BUT...we did this about 2 weeks before we left. I wanted them to have some time to get excited and have some input, watch the planning video, etc. but still give them the big "wow" moment. Doing it this way worked perfectly!

    We are now planning a trip for this October and I'm trying to figure out what to do this time. They have been begging to go back, and since it was just last year that we were there, they should have a lot more opinions and input to offer this time. But I still love the idea of a fun surprise. So far I like the idea of adding extra days to our countdown chain and then surprising them on the day we leave. I think my kids could handle that well.
  14. RalphinSC

    RalphinSC Founder of the Daft Brotherhood of the Ubiquitous

    Nov 11, 2010
    We did the last minute suprise videos before each of our trips. The fitrst time, my son was six and didn't really understand what he was being surprised with even though I tried to really get a lot of Disney on his mind before the trip.

    But the SECOND surprise? hehehehe.....he knew EXACTLY what it was all about and his silly reaction made my day. First taping was really blurry and bad but I taped the second surprise. Here it is:

  15. Soarin4us

    Soarin4us Earning My Ears

    Feb 5, 2012
    We surprised the kids (8 & 13) with a trip when my cancer treatment ended. I told them on the way to the airport; they were beyond thrilled. The last family "surprise" had been a year ago when I was diagnosed, so this surprise was exponentially joyful!
  16. vicky33006

    vicky33006 Mouseketeer

    Apr 27, 2012
    I kind of did both.

    For Christmas, the Disney trip was his big surprise. I gave him a giant box with all sorts of Disney stuff that included a countdown to the trip. I was so excited to see his reaction. He's six. Anyway, he opened it, read the sign out loud and put it down. He stared at me. I asked him what he thought it meant. He shrugged his shoulders and went to play with his new Furby. :confused3 So, I explained to him that we are going to Disney. At that point he started jumping up and down and was so happy. He later told me he thought I was joking with him. Why he would think that...who knows. Lol.

    Anyway, the trip was still three months away so he has been able to help plan a lot. I had an appointment at PL, and DS explained that he didn't think he wanted to do that. So I cancelled it. He's helped me look at ride videos on youtube and has really enjoyed the planning process. So, I would say we got the best of both worlds. If you plan to surprise though, be prepared. DS definitely did not react how I thought he would. I definitely didn't get that magical video I was hoping for! :lmao:
  17. kathleen simpson

    kathleen simpson Earning My Ears

    Sep 1, 2012
    I will be doing it both ways. This will our first trip to WDW, ms and my DD11
  18. mamabug70

    mamabug70 Amy L

    Mar 26, 2012
    I surprised my DD 8 with a trip in January 2008. My DD10 does not like surprises so I told her, and together we planned the trip and how to surprise my DD8. I secretly packed all her clothes for her and told her a few days before that she had a dentist appointment and I would be picking her up from school to take her. My DD10 and I picked her up from school with our suitcases under a blanket in the back of the Trailblazer. I put a movie on the DVD player and headed for the airport. Thirty minutes later she looked out the window and asked what we were doing at the airport. I told her I was lost and was going to run in and get directions. She asked if she could stay in the car.. Haha! I told her I didn't want to leave her in the car, and went around to the back of the car and started pulling suitcases out. She looked at me with a huge smile and said, " wait.. What are we doing? Are we going to Florida?" I said, " yep.. We're going to Disney World!" She was so excited and immediately started crying and thanking me. We have been to WDW every year since she was born... She was 5 weeks old the first time we went. She has helped plan many of our trips, but just that one time, I wanted to surprise her. She LOVED it... She's 13 now and still talks about how that was one of the best days of her life so far. It makes me cry just thinking about it. As some have said, you know your kids best.. If they like surprises, I can't think of a better one! :)
  19. Ametista

    Ametista DIS Veteran

    Nov 5, 2012
    I usually don't do surprises but always wanted to! So last November one morning I woke DD7 up early for school. It was still dark out but she was so out of it she just started getting ready for school. Then I handed her some mail, I actually mailed her a letter from Santa. DD sat and ate her cereal and read out loud this letter from Santa saying "You've been such a good girl you got invited to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! But you better leave RIGHT NOW or you'll be late for the party!" There were tickets I made to MVMCP in the envelope too. She looked whimsical and a little sad until I asked my husband "Well can we go?" and of course he said "I think you can!" and then she realized she was really going. The best part was when she looked at me and said all teary eyed "You know Mom, I knew YOU wouldn't take me to Disney, so I was going to have to depend on Santa!!!!"
  20. Lorilais_mommie

    Lorilais_mommie " They can drink pepsi, but they can't pee in the

    Jan 10, 2010
    :rotfl: I don't think I could have let santa get all the credit! But still VERY funny
  21. toddinboston

    toddinboston Mouseketeer

    Jul 25, 2008
    A Disney trip is much too big of a planning event in my family to keep it a secret from my kids... our trip last October was as close as we'll get to a surprise... due to the crazy cost of flying on weekends now, my wife and I decided we would fly out on a Friday afternoon and dismiss our kids from school at noon...this way the kids would get credit for the school day... we told them we were leaving on Saturday so they would have a fairly productive day at noon the wife and I picked up the kids, went home and had a white stretch limo waiting to take us to the airport... the kids were pretty surprised...

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