This past year we surprised our kids with a trip to Disney. This was not our first trip to Disney; it was actually our fourth, but it was the first one that we decided to surprise them with. I have had a few people ask me if it worked and if they should try to surprise their kids with a trip and my answer is always, “how well can you lie?”
Ultimately, you are lying to your kids and, if you are planners like we are and book out 180 days in advance (by they way, if you don’t already do this for your trips you should be), that means that you have to lie to your kids more than 180 days in a row no matter how much you want to tell them.
This was the hardest when a couple months after we booked our trip our daughter (9 years old) got appendicitis and had to have an emergency appendectomy. I so badly wanted to tell her before they wheeled her into surgery that we would be going and I almost let it slip but I didn’t; don’t ask me how. This was the hardest part of maintaining our “lie”.
Also, if you are a planner you know how hard it is not to talk about Disney all the time and talk about your trip. My husband and I would have a lot of late night sessions discussing the trip while our kids were asleep. Since I had to talk to the travel agent during the day while my kids were around I had to think of another lie quick, so, suddenly Mommy was helping our neighbor plan their trip since our neighbor was too busy. This lie worked until our neighbor left for her trip.
Once you start to get closer to your vacation you have to figure out how you are going to tell your kids and when. Since we have family half-way between where we live and Disney, we drive to Disney (from NY). We were going at Thanksgiving time so we had the perfect alibi. Our kids thought we were going to their Aunt and Uncle’s in North Carolina for a couple of weeks and that our first day there we had to wake up early to go to the beach. We woke up early, had breakfast and put our plan into action.
We had thought of a million different ways to surprise our kids and nothing was good enough until we noticed that our daughter loves to read to her little brother and will read to him whenever he asks. We found an awesome Disney pop-up book online and had our daughter sit and look at it with her little brother. Since my sister-in-law loves to take pictures and videos the kids didn’t think twice when everyone started filming them because it was so cute. At the end of the book we included a card with a poem that said, “You thought our Disney vacation was 2 years away, surprise we’re leaving today!” and I thought that was it, we pulled off the perfect surprise. What I didn’t know is that my husband had an additional surprise for me. Without me knowing my husband worked with our travel agent so that our last 2 nights we transferred from our beautiful room at the Caribbean to the Contemporary; my dream resort. This means not only did I have the pleasure of being the surpriser, I also got to be one of the ones that was surprised.
As I said before, this was our 4th trip to Disney and quite possibly our most memorable one. My husband put a beautiful video of our surprise and our trip on YouTube and it has gotten thousands of views and so many wonderful comments. (If you’d like to see it click here.) So if you’re trying to decide if you should surprise your kids with a trip (or your significant other for that matter), do it. Find a way to pull it off and do it, and lie like it’s your job if you think your kids are catching on because in the end it will be one of the most wonderful and treasured memories you will ever have.