For many families, there’s nothing better than surprising the kids with a trip, whether it be to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Grandma Judy’s house.
We’ll be taking our (almost) annual trip to Walt Disney World this May* and we’ll be there during the girl child’s sixth birthday.
As soon as I realized this, I started to think, “How awesome! We can totally surprise her with a trip for her birthday! I’ll wait until we’re on our way to the airport and I can tell her then! OMG I’ll take video of it and it’ll be the best thing everrrr!”
And then I realized how bad of an idea that truly would be.
You see, my kids aren’t keen on surprises. They like knowing what to expect ahead of time, especially Bunny. It’s not that they wouldn’t eventually be excited for the trip, because they would be. They realize how special any family trip is, so it’s not a matter of being spoiled. I imagine our surprise would go something like this:
Me: Guess what, guys? We’re on our way to the airport right now to go to Walt Disney World! ::waits for screams of joy with iPhone recording::
Bunny: What? Right now? But, I’m supposed to be at school. I want to go to school! I didn’t get to hug (insert random classmate here) and we have (insert random school holiday party here) and now I don’t get to bring cupcakes in for my birthday! And where’s LK?! And who’s going to watch kitty? ::starts to whine and cry::
Bubba: I WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL TOOOOOOOOO! ::starts to whine and cry because sissy is whining and crying::
Me: Guys! We’re going to Disney! Bunny! You get to spend your birthday at Disney!
Bunny: But, but, but, but!
Continue conversation for next thirty minutes, assuring them that their teachers know where they are, a house sitter will take care of the cat, and we’ll still bring in a treat for Bunny’s class. Spend entire plane ride realizing we forgot to pack a favorite stuffed animal or book, or that we didn’t pack the right snacks.
Don’t get me wrong; I love watching videos of kids getting all excited because their parents are surprising them with a trip. I totally admit to crying 99.9% of the time, but not every kid likes surprises. If yours doesn’t, it’s ok.
In fact, it’s more than ok. Since we broke the news to the kids tonight, they’ve been over the moon. We’re talking about where we’re going to stay, where we’ll eat, what they want to do, and how much fun it’s going to be. They’ll both help me pack their clothes and carry-on bags so we’re sure we have everything they want and need. Once we hit thirty days out, we’ll take our our Walt Disney World Vacation Countdown and flip the numbers together every morning before school.
There’s something to be said for the sweet reward after a few months of anticipation. I’m looking forward to spending the next 80-something days getting excited with my kids. It’s not the way that you tell the kids that makes the trip special. It’s spending time as a family and enjoying the destination…as well as the journey.
*This trip serves as my compensation for my participation on the 2014 Disney Parks Moms Panel. My thoughts here are my own and are no way endorsed or a reflection of the opinions of the Walt Disney family of companies.