Every Disney story has a moral. They’re fairy tales and cautionary tales and hopeful tales. The moral of this post is simply this: It’s hard as hell to keep a secret for ten months. BUT TOTALLY WORTH IT!
Last February, Brian and I tossed around the idea of spending Christmas 2019 at Disney with the three kids. As we talked about it and looked at packages, we realized how much fun it would be to surprise them with the trip.
We booked the trip and then Brian surprised ME with a weekend at Disney, so then we really got excited about making the Christmas trip a truly magical surprise.
I threw together a letter that we would take with us to Epcot so we could (wait in line forever to) have Mickey and Minnie sign it. It was an invitation for the kids to basically pack their stuff and get to Disney World!
And so we waited. We waited through the Spring. And then through the cruise to Alaska and the Summer. We waited through our shared “We Want This” list being updated with links every dang day in the Fall.
I jumped on Fast Passes the second they opened and planned out every little detail — including more surprises.
But let’s FastPass+ through the string of months between booking and surprising and let me set the scene:
It’s Friday, December 20. The kids have all gotten out of school for the break and we’ve gotten the girls back to Atlanta. Brianna wanted to unpack and I told her she could just wait until morning (which made her go hmm because I’m a hard-ass about unpacking). Henry didn’t feel well, but luckily I had some antibiotics I started giving him and we let him sleep it off. Jamie ate too much at dinner and at 2am came in our room having puked everywhere.
From 2am – 5am, I was trying to go back to sleep, but going through every possible scenario where we had not one, but two, sick kids at Disney. Trip insurance, kids. Buy it.
At 5am, we decided enough was enough. We scurried downstairs and set up the living room — 4 days before Christmas.
Yes, we woke Jamie up at 5:15 and told her Santa came. And then instructed her to go yell in Henry and Brianna’s rooms for them to get up because SANTA CAAAAAAAME!
Spoiler: Teenagers know what day it is, even while asleep. They were both like, “it’s Saturday and not Christmas so shut up.” But then realized she was serious.
They stumbled downstairs and started to open things. They thought the Magic Bands were for Spring Break. It was so hilarious to watch how confused and mad they were. Like, “why are we awake and doing this?”
Until they read the letter…
That was at 5:50am.
By 8:45am, we were on the road.
By 4:30pm, we were pulling into the Polynesian at Disney. Perfectly timed with a Monorail, of course!
Upon arrival, Minnie was in the lobby taking photos by the Christmas tree!
Brianna and Henry have both been before, several times. But this was Jamie’s first trip and had no idea what to expect. Being on the spectrum, explaining some aspects of Disney — crowds, lines, etc — to her was challenging, so we knew it was going to be a bit overwhelming to her. Our plans all included her comfort. The Disney Disability Access Service was something we learned about and took them up on. Using it would prove to be a wonderful experience for all of us.
Knowing that waiting to get the DAS set up before the parks open was going to be ridiculous, we jumped on the Monorail and went to Magic Kingdom to Guest Services and got it all set up so we would be ready to go first thing the next morning. It took maybe 5 minutes from getting off the monorail to having the DAS set up. I highly recommend hitting Guest Services the night before, if possible. It turned out being a great idea, AND Jamie got to see the castle at night which made her so excited!
After a very long day, we hit the sack early. I’m a long-time lover of staying at the Polynesian. We always stayed there growing up and even thought it’s pricey, it’s so convenient being on the Monorail line and well, it’s just the best!
Park fun forthcoming… stay tuned!