Has anyone ever gifted their children a surprise trip?


A few years ago we decided to surprise our children with a Disney Cruise. Spoiler alert- it did not go well!

I will start by saying that I hate surprises of ANY kind. I don’t like being surprised (I’m a huge planner!), and I also have never been able to pull off a surprise. I get so excited that I usually end up telling. It’s fair to say that I never dreamed I would try to surprise my children with a trip.

However, one night in early December Brent got an email from Disney Cruise Line informing us of a fabulous deal on a cruise leaving 10 days later. My husband loves to be spontaneous and we decided to book the cruise on the spot. After we booked we decided that we would keep the trip a secret and tell the kids right before we got in the car to go.

For 10 days I was dying.

I almost told our kids- or told someone else in front of our kids- at least 100 times. I was bursting with excitement and anticipation when the day came to let our kids in on the surprise. When I picked our 5-year old up from school that day I told her “Mommy and Daddy have a really big surprise for you. You can open it as soon as Daddy gets home from work.”

Right away, I realized I made a mistake. She began to guess what might be in the surprise bag. Everything she mentioned was a physical gift and completely far fetched… “Is it a cat? A new house? A cat? A boat? A cat?

Sensing impending disappointment, I adjusted the expectations quickly. I let her know that the surprise was that we were going somewhere. Her guesses changed, but her excitement level stayed the same… “Are we going to the beach? To look at Christmas lights? To a rock concert?” Worried that she would guess and I wouldn’t be able to keep the secret, I told her she needed to stop guessing until Daddy came home and she opened the surprise present.

Several hours later, the kids opened boxes with a boat, Mickey Mouse ears, and a princess crown. With SO MUCH excitement we asked if they could guess where we were going based on the clues. Mary Grace’s exact reaction…

“Oh NO. That’s too far.”

Needless to say, it wasn’t the priceless reaction we were expecting!


In the end, I think we all enjoyed our amazing vacation. And learned a valuable lesson: Mary Grace likes surprises about as much as her mama!

Have you ever tried to pull off a surprise trip? If so, how did it go?

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To read more about taking a Disney Cruise, visit these posts:

Same Vacation x3

What To Pack For A Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise: 13 Things To Expect Your First Day

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