I’m sure there are many of you out there that have surprised your babes with a trip to Disneyland – and many, who like me, hadn’t but wanted to! In fact I made it my Disneyland Goal for 2015 to plan a surprise trip! But since we now drive instead of fly to Southern California I thought it might be a little anticlimactic to get in the car and say “We’re going to Disneyland!” and then sit in the car for 14 hours, you know what I mean? (Click here and here for our tips for surviving travel with kids.) I also decided I wanted to make the most out of our drive – from Idaho, down through Nevada, then into California… and very nearly into Oregon, Utah, and Arizona – there are many places to go and things to do in the near vicinity! So, we picked a fun place to stay on the way down, and a place to stay on the way back, and we recruited some friends and family to meet us there… and we kept it all a secret!
When we laid it all our there were 6 big surprises the kids were about to get…
1. We are going on vacation NOW!
2. We are going to Las Vegas!
3. We are going to Disneyland!
4. Nana and Poppa are going to Disneyland with us!
5. We are going to Lake Tahoe!
6. [Our friends] are going to Tahoe with us!
I wrote 6 envelopes that either revealed the surprise or led a clue to it. When we woke the kids up early and put them in the car, they were a little confused, mostly sleepy, and I handed them the first envelope that told them we were going on a vacation – there was definitely a moment of speechlessness! I showed them the 5 other envelopes and told them that they would get to open another one later that day (when we got close to Vegas) and then they would open the rest of the envelopes on other days. They. were. so. excited! A common question on this trip became “When can we open another envelope?!”
For the surprises where we were meeting someone, like the grandparents, the envelopes read “Look inside the Starbucks in Downtown Disney” – when the grandparents texted me that they had arrived and were headed for the Starbucks (always plan around coffee!) I handed my kids that next card – and they, being my children, knew exactly where to go.
I also had planned a few mini-surprises along the way, un-enveloped. Mostly things to do use in the car – new coloring books, new kid friendly headphones, special snacks, and they got to pick out a new toy at Disneyland. If I had thought ahead more I would have tried to turn these small surprises into envelopes as well, or done some of the Surprise Treat Bags that I’ve made before.
I also would’ve loved to have more big surprises. If you were going to do the Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boutique, a character meal, a tour, or a World of Color dinner, these would be GREAT envelope surprises!
Our Surprise Vacation will go down as one of our most memorable and magical family trips! When a friend heard about our Surprise Vacation and all we did, she went out and planned her own for her family! I hope you are inspired to find ways to add a little more magic into your next family vacation and maybe give your kids a surprise they will never forget!