I remember the first trip to the Walt Disney World Resort that I planned as an adult for my family. I was positively giddy. At the time, we only had one child who was six years old and he was excited, too, but really, my excitement level was off the chart. We made charts for our saving money plan and count-down calendars and we talked about it almost every week for about six months. It was wild.
Recently, there was a video on You Tube where parents surprised their six year old for her birthday with a trip to Disneyland. They were pretty much leaving that night and she had no clue that her parents had planned such a treat. She cried and cried and cried and was so overwhelmed with emotion that it just tugged at your heart!
A couple of years ago, a dear friend of mine booked her family’s trip to the World and decided that she was going to semi-surprise her kids. She planned a sort of treasure hunt around the house, giving clues that would lead to the big surprise: They were going to Disney. The trip, however, was still several months away and so when the boys got to the end of their “hunt”, their excitement level was a little less than, shall we say, enthusiastic.
My friend was devastated because she did not get the response she was hoping for whereas the family in the You Tube video probably had no idea they’d get such a huge reaction from their daughter. When I think about all of these scenarios I think about how as much as we say that we are planning these trips for our families, on some level, they are a lot about us. We want to give our families a great vacation, we want to see them smile, and we want to give them joy…because it makes us feel good, too.
That very first trip found my dear husband being very excited with the whole planning process and the thoughts of his first ever Disney vacation. By the fourth time we’d gone, not so much. I’ve come to realize that I can carry the excitement level for the whole family because I can go back to Disney time and time again and still feel the giddiness and amazement that I felt the very first time I went back in 1974.
I don’t know if I’d continue to plan family vacations to Disney if my kids weren’t excited about them. I mean, it’s hard to not be excited once you get there but in the planning stages, I want to see the anticipation on their faces. You don’t see any commercials with kids pitching a fit over their parents booking a trip for them to Disney…you see the wonder, the magic. That is what I want to see because then it is truly a family vacation.
Getting that amazing moment of shock, awe and surprise when you tell your kids about your trip is priceless, there is no doubt, but don’t base your whole vacation experience on it. Some people need to actually BE there before their excitement level shines through and no matter what, I’m sure you’ll end up with a magical vacation.