Our Big Disney World Vacation Reveal–and the Very Disappointing Reaction!


Here’s the story of our big Disney World vacation reveal… and how it ended in a big disappointment.

The Back Story

Let me begin with some background. On Christmas morning, my dad secretly asked me to share my thoughts on taking a big extended family vacation to Disney World this summer. I was so excited as I’ve been there quite a few times myself, but my husband and boys had yet to have gone. We agreed to keep this a secret from all four grandkids until Easter. For months, we held secret meetings in bedrooms, restaurants, and basements planning Fast Pass rides, meal reservations, and hotel accommodations.

It’s also important to know that my boys had been begging us to take them to Disney World. They have seen the Star Wars commercials on TV, and it’s enough to make them crazy with dreams of going there. So I did what any mother would do: I lied. A lot. I told them it was too expensive. I told them that we already had vacation plans done for the year to Omaha. I told them that it wasn’t happening this year. ANYTHING to keep them from finding out about this trip.

The Reveal!

Fast forward to Easter morning. After brunch, we gathered all of the kids around my parents’ kitchen island. My mom brought out a collection of puzzle pieces for the kids to put together. She handed each child one piece of the puzzle at a time and together they started assembling the puzzle. It was a really cute idea, and we were all anxiously watching as each puzzle piece fit together with the one before it. My sister-in-law and I were SO excited we about to burst into tears of happiness at any moment. We joked that my oldest was going to need an oxygen tank because he might just pass out from so much excitement from finding out about his upcoming vacation.

Finally, they put the final piece of the puzzle together. “We’re going to Disney World!” was the caption on the puzzle.

Our Big Disney World Vacation Reveal--and the Very Disappointing Reaction! | Des Moines Moms Blog

The oldest grandchild, age nine, sadly stated, “I want to go to Disney World.” He thought the puzzle meant Grandpa and Grandma were going to Disney World without him. He was so sad thinking that he missed out again.

The next oldest grandchild, age six, took a more practical approach and simply replied, “When?” No excitement or emotion–she just needed the facts.

Then came the five-year-old who started sobbing because he was sad about leaving home. (This was my other son.)

Our Big Disney World Vacation Reveal--and the Very Disappointing Reaction! | Des Moines Moms Blog
This was the moment they found out. No jumping for joy from the kids!

Finally, the three-year-old had no idea what was happening, but he was definitely not excited because 1) his cousins were upset and 2) he has no concept of this place called Disney World. We did our best to fill in the missing pieces of information for the kids, but the adults were all left commenting that this didn’t go anything like what we imagined it would have.

The Moral(s) of the Story

The moral of our disappointing Disney Reveal is that no matter how well you plan for big moments, it’s okay if reactions don’t happen like you imagined. We had all mentally built up a wonderful family moment of everyone jumping for joy and hugging each other and being over the top excited so much that we were all disappointed when that wasn’t the reality.

My family is also really good at laughing together when things go wrong. I’m sure this is a story we’ll be telling for years to come. I am thankful that my parents weren’t upset by the lack of excitement from my kids at first. They always set a good example and were completely understanding through the entire reveal.

The final lesson I learned is that I have to remember to see life from my kids’ perspectives, and when I do, everything seems a little clearer and more understandable.

P.S.—Now that all grandkids know what Disney World is—and more importantly, that we all get to go on this amazing family vacation together—they are beyond excited!

Have you ever had a surprise end in your disappointment? If so, I’d love to hear about it! (We can’t be the only ones, right?!?!)


  1. This made me laugh way too much. I am glad all the kids are excited about the trip now!

    For Christmas in 2005 I purchased an XBox for Clayton, my husband, and thought it would be really cool to surprise him with a scavenger hunt. I worked really hard on it, and even braved the cold to hide clues. I found out 2 things about him that Christmas morning, he hates surprises and he hates looking for things.

    We now have a lot of fun with countdowns instead of surprises. And I get A LOT of enjoyment about calling him a Grinch all year long. Not any fun at the time, but very funny to look back on.


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