The way you reveal your Walt Disney World Resort vacation plans to your kids probably says a lot about the kind of Disney vacationer you are.
You hear stories of parents waking their kids up at 4 am, just hours before their flight leaves for Orlando, or parents putting together scavenger hunts to let kids puzzle out the surprise on their own. There is no right or wrong way to go about these things, and it's an interesting experiment to find out where you fit on the spectrum. Think of the last time you went on your Disney vacation. How did you reveal it to the people you were going with?
You can draw up a Venn diagram somewhere that includes groups of intense planners, parents with young kids and uber Disney fans and probably find out what kind of "Revealer" you are. It would be interesting to see how accurate it may be. In fact, it's probably a great place to start this discussion. So let's draw one up.
Let's define the groups:
Intense Planners are a group of people who love planning their Disney vacation. They break out spreadsheets, draw up maps and touring plans, and write up itineraries down to the minute. They don't leave anything to chance and they know all the ins and outs of the parks. They usually always love to help others, whether online or anywhere else, plan for their vacations. It tends to be a hardcore hobby for some.
The Parents is simple; it would be loosely defined as families with kids that aren't teenagers or families where the kids still love going to Disney World and don't mind being seen with their parents.
Uber Disney Fans are just not normal Disney fans — we're talking about those that live and breathe Disney and dream about the day they can sell everything and move to Florida just to be closer to Walt Disney World. They collect everything, and most days wear something that is related to Disney or sport a tattoo. We're all part of this group to some degree, but there are levels to the intensity.
Let's say hello to Group A. You don't have kids — Hurray for all your extra time and money!
We can't leave those who don't have kids out of this experiment. This group is just adults of various ages at different stages of their lives. No matter what your relationship status might be, if you're going to Disney without kids it's safe to say that you're an Uber Disney Fan.
This group has such a wide variety of reasons to go to Disney. Are you planning on proposing? Are you going down for the Food & Wine Festival? Are you getting married? Planning is going to be a key part of this and typically you aren't springing this vacation on someone else at the spur of the moment. The decision to go is probably mutual or a tradition, so the reveal aspect is probably tame if there is one at all. You have to imagine that the most common reveal is finding out you can afford to go and you can finally start planning again!
The reveal of the trip isn't as important as what you do on your vacation. Gifts and surprising the other person with a great dining experience at the resort are probably more common.
Let the anticipation of the trip build up for Group B.
It has to be said that even though this cross-section is not part of the Uber Disney Fans doesn't mean you don't like Disney. This group is made up of parents that can take Disney or leave it or those who love Disney but aren't obsessed. You might even see a set of parents where one is an Uber Fan who doesn't plan while the other is a moderate fan but loves when the perfect plan comes together.
If your family is in this group you probably reveal the trip early, probably right after the decision to go is made. You're not in the Uber Fan group so you're probably not creating some elaborate scheme to reveal the trip. "Hey kids, we're going to Disney World next spring!" You really love planning, so you're most likely bringing your kids into the process. Where do you want to stay? What days do you want to go to which parks? You feel the need to pass on that planning gene. The planning aspect builds the anticipation of the trip and the months leading up to it are almost as joyful as going — sitting down with the family after dinner pouring through guides, pictures, and reviews, weighing the pros and cons of different choices. It's a ritual that you enjoy and it brings the family together.
You probably have a calendar hanging up somewhere so the kids can mark down the days leading up to the trip. Three months to go! For this group it is mostly about the bonding leading up to the trip than the actual reveal itself.
Airport? What airport? Oh this airport right here? We're just picking up Nana. Sure people usually go through security to pick someone up. OMG We're going to Disney LOL! Yes right now! Group C for life! #amazingexperience
Yeah, that's group C. They don't have FastPasses either.
This is a fun group because they tell the most amazing stories. You really, really love Disney. You have kids and they probably really, really love Disney. You also probably didn't know you should have booked your FastPasses six weeks ago and are wondering why you can't get one for Flight of Passage. You're probably wondering where you're going to get dinner and it's 7:30 pm and you just got off Pirates of the Caribbean and you heard Be Our Guest is a popular one dining credit restaurant.
Group C is full of life and excitement. You're probably planning a big reveal that includes a scavenger hunt and elaborate clues and prizes that require Indiana Jones to help you solve. Either that or you're planning the best way to surprise someone and catch them off guard. You're looking for the spark of amazement in your kids' eyes and revel in the screams of excitement as they find out. You revel in the reveal!
The when is the tricky part to nail down for group C. It could be any time. It's a good bet some parents think of ways to get their kids to wake up in Orlando without knowing they had left their beds at home.
We're going to Disney! Don't worry, I've got everything covered. This is serious business.
There are a lot of different vacation styles that fall into Group D, whether it's DVC members or families that have annual trips to Disney World. There are families who go once every few years or once or twice in their lives. It's everyone with kids, that's obsessed with Disney and are park experts even if they've never been there before.
The reveal can be anything from a surprise to an elaborate game, to just announcing that the Disney trip is happening. The how of the reveal is going to be varied in this group; however, the common thread here is that you're probably doing that reveal early because it's impossible to keep your excitement contained. You probably want to have fun surprising your kids so it'll come in the form of special events that you partake in at the parks.
You have all aspects of each group. You have the buildup of anticipation and excitement of planning in Group B. You're going to have the spontaneity of Group C with unplanned or surprise trips to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or extra days added to the vacation. You'll also have surprises and reveals of Character Dining or gifts while at the parks like you'll find in Group A.
We all love Disney.
Where do you fall into the equation? There are always going to be exceptions and these groups aren't supposed to be blanket statements. The next time you reveal your trip to those you're going with, how will you do it?