Today is a big day for my family. After the kids get out of school we're leaving for Disney World. And our children don't know it!
Ten years ago my wife and I went to Disney World. I had been once when I was younger and it was only Magic Kingdom; my wife had never been and is a HUGE Disney fan. We spent the better part of a week going through the various parks and enjoying things with just the two of us. We had a great time, and it was nice to have that experience prior to kids. Well....sort of... She was actually three months pregnant with our son, something we didn't expect when we had made the plans. For the whole trip she fought morning sickness, always craved pizza, and couldn't go on most of the rides. It was still great, but it could have been better.
For years we've talked about going back, especially with our children. Two years ago we made reservations, but ended up having to cancel them. We've told our kids about Disney and showed them our albums from the previous visit, so it's been a dream destination for them. For years they've asked "when can we go to Disney World?" And unfortunately we've had to keep putting it of. Until now.
This year we decided to just do it. If we waited until the "right time" we'd probably never go. My wife found a really great package deal that includes hotel, meals, and park admission. Then we scrimped and saved, cutting back on a lot of things in order to go. Early on we decided to try and surprise the kids like we've seen happen. So we have told them that I have to go to a "meeting", which they would think would mean a veterinary continuing education conference. They don't know that I'll be "meeting" with Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and the rest.
I think our kids have gotten to the point where they don't really believe we'll ever go. A couple of weeks ago we were talking to them about someday going to Disney, and my son was skeptical that we'd make it. So I told him "We're going to Disney World in a week and a half." He looked at me for a moment and then said, "Oh, Dad, cut it out." He totally didn't believe me, even though I told him the truth! My wife laughed so hard she choked on her sandwich. A few days ago my wife was taking the kids to school and reminded them about the trip on Wednesday. My son said, "Yeah, we're going to Disney World!" He wasn't really serious, but more hopefully. Our daughter looked over at him and said, "You wish!" Little do they know!
Our plan is to pick them up from school and start driving to Florida. It will be about an eight hour drive for us, so we'll get there somewhere around 11:00-12:00 tonight. Hopefully they'll be asleep, and since we've already checked in online my wife can run into the lobby, get our room information, and we can carry them to the room without them really noticing where they are. Then tomorrow morning we're getting up really early to be in the Magic Kingdom when it opens at 8:00. We'll tell them where they are in the morning, and can't wait to see their expressions. We've kept this secret for months, and they've been begging to go for years. The instant the truth hits them will be priceless and a once-in-a-lifetime moment. And we have a video camera to capture that moment.
We'll have four VERY full days at the Disney complex and plan to make the most of it. It will be great for me and my wife because we had so much fun before and are just big kids ourselves. My wife is looking forward to getting to do all of the things she couldn't do before because of the pregnancy. But even more important, we want this to be a memorable time for our children, something they will remember their whole lives. This won't be the last time we go to Disney World, but there is something very special about the first time.
See everyone when we get back next week!