We pulled our first surprise trip on our daughter when she was four and we were headed on a weekend trip to Disneyland. We had her convinced that we were all driving Grandma to the airport to go on a trip to Orange County, and then we revealed the secret that we were all going on the trip as we pulled up to the departure gates. It was simple surprise and required very little planning to really knock her socks off. Obviously it doesn’t take much to really keep secrets from little kids, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t over-the-top fun to pull off some really cool ways to surprise kids with a trip (I mean, they make for some epic YouTube videos, don’t they?)
From treasure hunts to elaborate hoaxes, you’ve got some serious planning to do if you want to top these epic surprise vacation reveals:
1. They Just Came to Drop Off Mom at the Airport
It takes a special skill to keep three young girls in the dark about surprise travel plans. But the fact that this mom packed up hairbrushes days earlier in the week and sent them off with Dad to Disneyland and they still didn’t suspect anything is truly a magical skill.
2. Computer Countdown Surprise
These little girls thought they were 365 days away from a trip to Walt Disney World, but their parents had other plans. They created an elaborate countdown program that just kept counting down once they hit play, and it turns out they’re leaving tonight!
3. Treasure Hunt Surprise Trip
Being allowed to open “just one present” at Christmas time felt so indulgent, but these kids won the jackpot. They got a treasure hunt throughout the house and a wonderful surprise at the end.
4. A Personal Invitation from the Princesses
These parents went the extra mile when they were planning out their daughter’s birthday surprise. They put out a call to friends who were visiting Walt Disney World in the prior months and got some very special friends to record greetings for her daughter. She put them all together in a video and shared it with her daughter as they got close to Orlando on her daughter’s birthday.
5. A Little Game of Pictionary with a Surprise Ending
Sometimes the best way to make a surprise really stand out is to hide it in a normal place. These kids were just playing Pictionary at home and kept guessing that the answer was “A family trip to Walt Disney World,” but it wasn’t correct until they realized it was THEIR family trip!
6. When the Kids Surprise Mom but the Surprise Is for Them
I love a great birthday surprise, but this one is a perfect set-up from the parents. It’s mom’s birthday, and the kids are all in on trying to surprise her with a cake. What they don’t know is what is written around the cake will be a surprise for everyone.
7. A Twist on a Normal Game Night
It’s just family game night in the Rupp household with a good ‘ol game of Monopoly. That is, until their daughter gets a card she hasn’t seen before…
8. When Your Daughter Thinks She’s Getting a Phone and Gets a Trip Instead
A previous attempt at surprising her daughter with a trip to Walt Disney World fell flat, so she did everything to make sure this birthday surprise six years later did not.
9. A Boring Work Trip with Dad
These parents had convinced their kids they were hanging out at a hotel in Georgia while Dad was on a work trip. Little did they know that they were waking up in Florida instead and headed out to Walt Disney World that morning.
10. Do You Choose to Accept This Mission?
These parents went all out and pre-recorded a secret spy mission video for their kids. They had no idea that when they accepted the mission and started the tasks they would end up with a surprise trip at the end of the day.
11. Don’t Tell Your Child Where She’s Going Until She’s Already There
There’s a lot of dedication when you don’t let your daughter in on the surprise trip to Walt Disney World until AFTER she’s boarded a plane to Florida and is in the vacation hotel room.
12. A Puzzling Trip Surprise
This family thought ahead and created a photo puzzle to help them reveal their surprise trip. They gave five of the pieces to each of the five kids and let them solve the puzzle to reveal the surprise. They were so excited to complete the puzzle they needed help to see the hidden meaning!
13. We’re Not Going to “Camp Iowa”
Lots of parents make shirts for their families to wear at Walt Disney World, but very few will go to the effort of making shirts for a fake destination. These parents had their kids convinced they were headed to “Camp Iowa” for their family trip, down to the matching T-shirts they were wearing in excitement, but then broke the news the night before.
14. There’s Treasure Buried Under the House
This epic surprise involved a treasure map arriving in the mail, cryptography, and a whole lot of serious effort by all family members.
15. The Best Advent Surprise Ever
Surprising kids using an advent calendar might seem like an easy task, but these parents kept their kids on their toes with twists and turns before the final surprise reveal: a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!