The element of surprise!
Back in 2002, with only a few trips to Disneyland Paris under our belt, we finally took the plunge and booked our very first Walt Disney World holiday! After spending three hours in the travel agents going over all the packages, choosing on site over International Drive, we signed on the dotted line and had a 15 month countdown clock! I was 15 at the time, my little brother was just 9 and easily distracted, so much so that from that moment on, we decided to keep it a secret from him, planning the ultimate surprise!
Those 15 months flew by and before we knew it, we where just a few weeks away from the trip. Of course, we'd had to buy new suitcases, holiday clothes and other essentials, things that were a little too hard to hide from my brother, so we came up with a cover story. We told him we where off to Spain, and he believed it whole-heartedly! We'd never been to Spain either, so he was really excited! So far, so good. We managed to catch those Mickey envelops dropping through the letterbox before they hit the floor, whizzing them out of sight so he wouldn't get suspicious. (I wish they gave you the option to receive your travel documents in unmarked envelopes, it would make it a lot easier!)
With just hours to go before the flight, we could hardly contain ourselves! After months of quiet planning, hushed conversations and stuffing guidebooks down the sides of the couch, the big reveal was right around the corner. We just had to decide how to go about it. Come right out with it? Wait until we get to the airport? Rent a plane and sky-write it over the back garden? Idea after idea, the clock was ticking! Then, we noticed the Walt Disney World vacation planning VHS we'd ordered months before. After a few trips to Disneyland Paris, we'd kept ordered the planning videos for both parks! That's when the light bulb went off!
We called him downstairs, my Dad pretending to be working the settings on the video recorder, Mum and I packing the suitcases. Dad hit record,
'Well son' Dad starts, 'I'm really sorry but we can't go to Wales' (Somewhere along the way Spain had become too expensive, so we told him we'd be off to Wales, anything to make the real destination seem an even bigger surprise!)
Mum and I put on our best 'what a shame' faces, my brother looked devastated. First he wouldn't be going to sunny Spain, now he wasn't even going to Wales!
'I've managed to book us something else though, I hope you'll like it', Dad continues. My brother looks a little less broken hearted but still weary.
'Where?' he asks cautiously.
We quickly hit 'play' on the VHS controller and the television screen comes to life with the opening sequence to 'Walt Disney World'. Grins break out on all our faces!
'Really? There?' he asks in disbelief.
'Really!' we all shout. He was so excited he didn't know what to do with himself except grin!
After having kept out mouths shut for so long, it was great to finally let him in on the secret! Just 24 hours later, he was walking through Disney's Port Orleans Resort! And the footage of his surprise is priceless!
Have you had to keep a trip secret from loved ones? How did you reveal the big surprise?
Until next time,