Super disappointed, surprise is ruined :(

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by gulliesmom, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. gulliesmom

    gulliesmom Mouseketeer

    Dec 6, 2017
    So I have been planning this trip for MONTHS and we are now two weeks away. I have been able to make our ADRs, FP reservations, receive our Magic Bands, etc. all without the kids having any clue. Well, on Saturday, in the pile of mail, an envelope with a big picture of Mickey on the front and the words "Your trip information and luggage tags are inside" arrived. I always bring in the mail. I grabbed the pile and it slid out from between two catalogs (I hadn't seen it before that) onto my counter and DD (11) totally saw it. She point blank looked at me and asked "Are we going to Disney"???? All excited. I tried to play it off and just said no, it's probably a promotional mailer, but my face was red and I definitely could not help but show emotion. I'm not going to lie- I am beyond upset that they would print that on the front of the envelope. SO MANY families surprise their kids. They make sure to send the MB in a plain box, so why would they then send the luggage tags in an obvious one. I really just feel like this is a huge let-down. This trip is very special to me as it coincides with the one year anniversary of my father's death, so I wanted to make sure we were someplace special as a family for our first Thanksgiving without him, and I was so looking forward to a big reveal for the kids. Yes, they will still be excited to go, but now instead of the reacting I was hoping for, it will be more of an "I knew it" kind of a reaction, and it just doesn't feel the same :( Just venting more than anything else.
  2. Malyficent

    Malyficent Mouseketeer

    Mar 1, 2017
    Oh no! What a bummer! Not sure how old your other children are but could your bring your daughter in on the surprise? My parents did something similar with me to preserve the magic of Christmas (and temper my disappointment with that big reveal).
    Gafnorin likes this.
  3. Avatar


  4. gulliesmom

    gulliesmom Mouseketeer

    Dec 6, 2017
    She is the younger of my two (her brother is 13) and I was going to tell him ahead of the trip because he is in 7th grade and will be missing some school and needs to make arrangements with his teachers ahead of time per school policy. So I had planned on telling HIM next week and he would be in on the surprise to then tell her the morning of. It is what it is I guess, just not how I imagined after so much planning and effort to keep it under wraps.
  5. J'aime Paris

    J'aime Paris Living happily ever after

    Mar 7, 2008
    I'm really sorry that happened!!
    We've pulled off surprise reveals in the past, and I would have been disappointed if it was ruined in the "11th hour".
    Hope you are able to still have a super time!!
  6. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

    Jul 27, 2015
    I think it's time for a little bit of perspective. While you didn't get to surprise the kids the way you wanted to, they didn't know about the trip until now. It will give them something positive to think about as the anniversary of your father's death draws closer, right?
  7. GoingSince1990

    GoingSince1990 Mouseketeer

    Oct 31, 2018
    Surprises are fun, but so is excited anticipation. I still love that feeling of “this time next week we’ll be having lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table” as I’m eating a toasted bagel or something. Your daughter still got her surprise, just a bit early!
  8. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

    May 19, 2016
    Yes, absolutely. We've done "surprises" for the kids when they were younger and sure, it was fun. But frankly we got more enjoyment out of the method quoted above. Heck, I do that countdown myself. I even use the ticker I have below to say "Only 8 months until we're back in Disney". When we get to about 15 days, our kids will start posting daily notes on our fridge..."Only 13 days until Disney"
    SueM in MN, Lilsia and PollyannaMom like this.
  9. Queen of the WDW Scene

    Queen of the WDW Scene It's only MY opinion, YOU decided to quote it.

    Aug 24, 2016
    Sorry that this happened but Disney is not to blame here.
    Magic bands used to come in obvious boxes and they were much better IMO.
    Its important that they mark envelopes so that people know its not just advertising but info that you need inside.
    At least this way your kiddos have time to build up excitement and anticipation which is half the fun of a Disney trip.
  10. QueenIsabella

    QueenIsabella DIS Veteran

    Jan 17, 2016
    Bummer! I feel your pain, but at this point, I think it's best to make lemonade from the lemon (sort of!) that's been handed to you.

    Since your kids are a bit older, I would tell them now. I would tell them that, to honor their grandfather, you wanted to do this wonderful trip on his death anniversary, so that you could celebrate his life and remember him with a smile.

    It kind of depends on the kid, but we did a surprise trip once. Our DD(now)15 cried in the car all the way to the airport. Happy tears, for sure, but she doesn't handle surprises well. She also felt a touch disappointed that she couldn't share in the planning and anticipation, and tell her friends ahead of time.

    I just figure your kids are old enough and smart enough that you're not going to pull off misdirection, like you might with a younger child. So, give yourself a moment to "grieve" the change in plans, and then go with the new plan. And fill the next couple weeks with, "Oh--won't it be fun when we ride Splash Mountain again!" type of comments and happy plans.

    BTW, my MIL died last summer (2017). This past summer, we did a big trip to Europe that my children consider their last gift from Grandma. There's also a ranch that we go to every year--we left a couple days before she died in 2017. So this year, I brought sparkling wine and champagne flutes and we privately toasted Grandma--she had paid for us to go every year, because she wanted the cousins to all have time together. The kids--some now fully grown--all described memories of having a blast there each summer, of making new friends and learning new skills. It was a loving tribute.
    kboo likes this.
  11. kboo

    kboo DIS Veteran

    Mar 10, 2014
    We did a surprise trip to WDW in Sept for ODD (7)'s birthday. She was excited, but we were literally in the airport and the gate next to us was a flight to Boston (we live in NYC) and she was excited that she thought we were going to Boston! (she's a pretty precocious 7) And then when we boarded our flight to Orlando, she was of course super-excited for a surprise trip to Disney World. But really, she was just as excited to be going anywhere with us.

    We were looking at a calendar today and noted that 2 weeks from today, we will be at WDW again - she was just as excited knowing where she is going as she was not knowing back in September.

    I'm sorry she found out early, but there is also the anticipation build up that is fun.

    My DH and I used to take weekend trips (before kids) to "surprise" locations that the other one wouldn't know about until we were at the airport gate. While it was fun to try to guess, we also had plenty of fun when we planned it together and talked about it in advance. Enjoy!
  12. TheDisneyNurse

    TheDisneyNurse DIS Veteran

    May 26, 2015
    I’m sorry the surprise got ruined :(

    Maybe you can make some fun out of surprises during the trip? You can surprise them by keeping the hotel you stay at a secret? Or you can keep some of the more special ADR’s a secret! There’s plenty of fun surprises you can plan along the way to make up for it. Are you doing MVMCP? You could surprise them with that reveal, if you are!
    cassie58 likes this.
  13. Franrose

    Franrose DIS Veteran

    Jul 2, 2011
    You might find it heightens the surprise! I remember doing the full on, day-before surprise thing with my kids (we were flying before dawn so day of was not practical), and to be honest it was more overwhelming for them than I had hoped and they didn't quite believe it (so didn't get super excited, lol). They even recall it as being surreal rather than super exciting.

    Your daughter though has had that little seed of anticipation planted... there are some awesome things you could do to grow it from here! You could even drop more hints. ;) How far away is the planned reveal?
    NYCgrrl likes this.
  14. Betty Rohrer

    Betty Rohrer DIS Veteran

    May 19, 2010
    try to look at this differently. had a friend to got to do the big surprise with kids a year or so older than yours. she ended up not getting reaction she had hoped for. daughter was upset and in tears of unhappyness as she was going to miss a big thing at school. yes her teacher knew about trip but let child assume she was going to be there not on trip. so this could be a blessing as she did not get the reaction she was expecting
    smadath and firefly_ris like this.
  15. SG131

    SG131 DIS Veteran

    Apr 3, 2017
    They probably label the envelopes for people like me who get so much junk mail, are easily distracted and may throw it out if not labeled.

    It’s a shame that the envelope fell out of your hand right while she was there to see it, but at least you did still get your excited response just in a different way than you were hoping. I hope you guys can turn this into a positive building up excitement with a cool count down or something and have a great trip!
  16. Wayland10

    Wayland10 Mouseketeer

    Jun 30, 2018
    My entire family worked for MONTHS to keep a planned trip secret in 2016, only to have my father spill the beans on the way out the door to my sister's house where we were going to do the Big Reveal. We had secretly loaded the luggage in the car, the kids thought we were going to help my sister set up her Christmas tree, and instead we were picking her up to go to the airport! Then my dad asked me (loudly, he was a little deaf) to "Make sure that I had the Disney tickets!" Luckily my mom wasn't in the room and we brought the kids into our own conspiracy so that Nana could still think that they were surprised! She never knew, the kids acted extremely overjoyed and shocked, and a major family fight was avoided minutes before the trip! And I'm so glad we didn't fight. My dad passed away unexpectedly a few months later. Making those memories was the most important thing, bigger than any surprise or failed surprise, and I hope that it's that way for you!
  17. gulliesmom

    gulliesmom Mouseketeer

    Dec 6, 2017
    OP Here. Thanks everyone. I know in the grand scheme of things this is a first world problem, and I DO have perspective. They know zero details about the trip, so there are still plenty of exciting things for them to discover for sure. I kn ow we will still have a wonderful time and enjoy being there as a family.
  18. siestakeys04

    siestakeys04 DIS Veteran

    Dec 26, 2005
    Even though you don't like that the surprise was ruined now there is a new anticipation like countdown, discussing what they think they will do. What are they most excited about, how are they getting there. Now just go with the flow and just talk talk talk about how many memories you're about to have. Maybe ask them what tribute they would like to do there to remember their grandfather.
  19. DisneyWishes14

    DisneyWishes14 DIS Veteran

    Nov 21, 2011
    Aww! I hate when stuff like that happens! I'm so sorry things didn't go as planned :( On the bright side, it sounds like you've planned an amazing trip for your family at a time when you all need to spend some quality, special time together after the passing of your father. And it sounds like your DD is going to be SO excited! It may not have started off the way you planned, but I so commend you for all the time, effort and thought you put into this trip for your family and I hope the trip, going forward, is as magical and as special as you've dreamed it to be.
  20. blackpearl77

    blackpearl77 DIS Veteran

    Mar 26, 2014
    That sucks!!!!! So sorry the surprise was ruined!! My face would have been red too!

    Maybe now that they know you could do a countdown! Make a countdown to hang up. Or do like an advent calendar for just the week countdown and each day they could get something related to the trip or even something simple like a piece of candy (one time we went in May and I saved an unopened disney cars xmas advent calendar with the chocolates in it and we used that as a countdown - they have those in the stores now - though that could be too cheesy for teens) but maybe some sort of countdown to get the hype up even more! Something like that.

    We did a surprise once. The first trip we took my son, my parents came with us. The next time they weren't coming with us - I did the big surprise and my son cried that my parents weren't coming too. So that surprise didn't work out well. He got over it once we were there but sometimes it doesn't go as planned. hehe
  21. puffkin

    puffkin DVC Owner- SSR & AKV

    Apr 30, 2001
    We actually hardly ever tell our kids we are going to just a few days in advance. Many times with my oldest, we just told him in the car on the way to the airport. Primarily because it was just easier for us, not for his reaction. I can tell you that the reactions were hardly ever what I expected. Sure he was excited, mostly, but it was kind of anti-climatic. Now that my son is older we have found the best time to tell him is a week or two in advance. That gives him time to prepare with homework, sports schedules, social activities and then he can pack his own things. We keep a lot of the details of the trip as a surprise, he just knows the basics (where we are staying, how many days, etc). That way we still have lots to look forward too. My youngest usually finds out when I bring up the suitcases to start packing a few days prior. He just goes with the flow with that type of stuff, although I usually find a few toys squirreled away in the suitcases leading up to when we leave.

    We do go fairly often, at least once but usually twice a year, so they aren't as into the planning. They know we go a lot, so if they want to do something, they just tell me whenever it comes to mind, and then I just jot it down to consider on the next trip. We also have a handful of family must-dos each trip, and I always make FP's for their favorite rides.

Share This Page