Surprise the kids or tell them?

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

  1. Jessicamcg

    Jessicamcg Earning My Ears

    May 3, 2012
    Tell me your stories please
  2. Momloveshockey

    Momloveshockey Mouseketeer

    Aug 14, 2011
    We told for our first trip (he was 6)....this one is a surprise (he is now 7). I made a video using pics from our last trip as well as him in a snowbank, then at the end I have the message that we are going back tomorrow. I plan to show him the movie on March 1st. We fly out on Mar 2nd. We shall see what happens :)

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  4. Salrx95

    Salrx95 Mouseketeer

    Jan 28, 2012
    We surprised them for our first trip, in Feb. 2011. We drove and told them we were going to grandma's house (wife's mom lives in Port St Lucie). When we arrived in Disney, the shock and excitement on their faces was captured in video and is something we will cherish forever.

    I will try and find the video and post. Best part of it was our 5 year old at the time asking if we could still go visit grandma first, then do disney

    For our second trip, which we returned home from today, we told them from the start so they could have input on where to stay, where to eat based on who they wanted to meet, etc.

  5. pigletto

    pigletto DIS Veteran

    Oct 27, 2007
    Our surprise was awesome and the reaction was exactly what we had hoped for! However we did it a little differently and I think it was the key to it working out.
    We planned a December trip and had them help us pick restaurants and activities and the resort and we talked about it all the time. Then we surprised them at dinner one night that the trip was actually only 2 days away (in August). So they got the benefit of the excitement and planning and had a few days to adjust to the surprise as well. I wish so much that I had it on video!
  6. serene56

    serene56 DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2004
    we'were'spending a week in aruba and found it would be 300 cheaper to'come home to pa by the way of orlando.

    so we booked pop century and got on day tcikets to magic kingdom and we were not telling the 6 year old gran ddaughter.

    later we found a 40% pin and upgranded to comtmpory so we did not have to rely on buses.

    grand daughter is all'about characters-so i booked adrs to chef mickeys, crystal palace and ohana

    we'kept this secret for almost 9 months.

    we'told her at the meagicla express'line. when we were heading to the bus she thought we were going home and kept saying why is that disney stuff here.. we aren going to disney.
    i think when we told her she still didnt beleive me- we showed her the tickets and everything.

    i think it finally set in when she saw the bus and we'were'getting on.

    the bus driver stated over the intercom to welcome the new princess who just found out she is going to the world.

    it was a whirlwind weekend and one i am sure she will never forget.

    later when asked if she liked getting surprised or would she rather help plan

    she said she wants to be surprised
  7. scootch

    scootch DIS Veteran

    Jan 6, 2005
    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!
  8. IllinoisMommy

    IllinoisMommy Mouseketeer

    Mar 31, 2011
    We surprised our three last December- had the car all packed and had them open 'hints' when they got home from school. I thought they would be excited- though was not expecting 'commercial-quality jumping out of their skins' excitement. It did not go over so middle son was home an hour before older son and was playing a video game he really liked. I think he really was looking forward to playing this and doing other things at home over winter break. So when he found out he said 'Worst present ever' and ran under the table and cried :confused3. He eventually really loved the vacation, and I learned that he does not like surprises so much :rotfl2:

    I felt bad with how it turned out- I guess the moral of the story is be expected for anything! I now have a really good story to tell his kids when he is a parent :goodvibes
  9. AR81

    AR81 DIS Veteran

    May 9, 2009
    I was bound and determined to keep it a secret and tell my little man (8) either the morning of or the night before but I couldn't keep it!! What can I say I have a big mouth LOL... We officially booked the trip kind of last minute anyway- within 3 weeks. I kept it a secret until about a week away and told him. This will be his first trip and it is just me and him. We are flying in 36 hours!!!
  10. mamateacher

    mamateacher Mouseketeer

    Feb 14, 2010
    For this exact reason, we always tell our sons ahead of time.
  11. Mousin' Around

    Mousin' Around Mouseketeer

    Aug 16, 2010
    We did a surprise once and it didnt go like we thought. The older kids knew what was up from the beginning of the surprise and the younger ones were so overwhelmed that they really did not get too excited because they were soaking it in. We will personally never do it again. The kids also did not like that they were not a part of picking the restaurants or a part of the planning.
  12. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    You know your kids best, but I would have absolutely hated to have something that big sprung on me without warning - that's just the kind of kid I was.
  13. Rosanne

    Rosanne DIS Veteran

    Jan 3, 2009
    My girls have always loved being a part of the planning. It makes the fun more than just a few days (or several)... it makes it a few months of fun (or several). They enjoy having input and since it's just me and them we are very flexible about itineraries. It gives them time to think about their priorities for rides,etc. too.
  14. dawnm8877

    dawnm8877 Earning My Ears

    Jan 29, 2013
    So, we kinda did both. My mom decided she wanted to take a family vacation to WDW (our first ever!) There would be her, my brother, my self and my other brother, my sister in-law and my niece(6) and my nephew(3). We decided to surprise the kids and their parents for Christmas and then we could all participate in the planning for our May trip. Everyone was touched & excited when they opened the box and a balloon popped out with the letter saying we were all going to WDW. The kids were more excited about the balloon and didn't get it at first. :rotfl2: Then my niece wanted to 'save' her new Cinderella fleece PJs to wear on the trip!

    They are looking forward to the trip but it can't come fast enough::yes:: The other thing to consider is how long you can contain your excitement! Mom and I talked about waiting until Easter but neither of us would have been able to make it!:rotfl2:
  15. nugov2

    nugov2 DIS Veteran

    Jul 29, 2012
    We are surprising them. I have it planned out and can't wait. My older two won't be thrown by it and my 2 yr old, well if we told him it wouldn't sink in until we were leaving anyway. I seriously get giddy every time I think of how they will be jumping up and down and screaming with delight. I actually just told my dd the other day we probably wouldn't do Disney for a couple of years when she asked if that could be our family vacation this year. My kids love surprises though and I love giving them. I don't plan to tell them about any character reservations or anything. We will just have invitations delivered to our door the night before for our different meals, BBB and the pirate cruise. Same things for our Universal Studios surprises. I can't wait :) I can see where some kids don't have the personality to handle that kind of surprise and you want them to have the whole trip magical.
  16. Turn the Page

    Turn the Page DIS Veteran

    Jan 23, 2013
    We are doing a combination approach. My mom and I decided about a month ago to take DD (who will be 7 when we go) to Disney World. It is her birthday present this year so we won't tell her until her birthday which is another 43 days away. We leave 3 weeks after her birthday so she won't have too long to wait after we tell her. I am going to give her the guidebook and help her flip through it and pick out what rides she wants to be sure to go on.

    I think it's good for kids to know about stuff like this in advance. Helps them learn to deal with excitement and anticipation. Plus, I enjoy the planning and our family has always always fallen into the anticipation is half the fun of the trip camp. However, I don't think I would tell a really young child that we are going to Disney World in a year. That would just be torture.
  17. Court475

    Court475 Mouseketeer

    Jul 20, 2007
    Our last trip we had a scavenger hunt on Christmas morning that let to a box with a calendar, autograph books, etc. the kids loved it! Our trip wasn't until Mardi Gras.

    This year we are going at Thanksgiving. I would love to surprise them, but they will be 9 & 14 and packing would be hard. I will hold out as long as I can though. :)
  18. jgh

    jgh Peter Pan!

    Jun 1, 2012
    I think a surprise at LEAST a few days out is the best if they're a bit older.

    Looking forward to the trip is half the fun!
  19. pickles

    pickles <font color=red>Just call me Capt. Barbossa-someon

    Apr 30, 2006
    I have done both ways with my kids(the youngest has been age 8) but for the surprise style, we dream about disney together and about being able to go again someday and then just before the trip I surprised them by saying we are going now. They thought we were just planning some pretend trip.
    Like "If i could go to disney today this is where I want to eat"
  20. marybogue

    marybogue Mouseketeer

    Aug 7, 2007
  21. Snooks23

    Snooks23 Mouseketeer

    Oct 2, 2012
    I plan on surprising my DD. she will be 6 the day after we arrive. I will tell her the day before we leave at a her small family bday party. I haven't figured out how yet. I think I will let her open all of her gifts (all things she needs for Disney) & the last gift I think I will do the balloons out of the box idea.

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