The Disney Vacation I :: The Surprise (Two videos included)

On the plane riding back from Disneyland to Cabo, my four-and-a-half-year-old wasn't happy.

In fact, for the two days leading up to our departure Lila chanted, "I don't want to go back to Mexico" over and over again. (I think there are worse places to head home to.) 

But that's because she's now a believer. The pixie dust got her.



So it all started on Tuesday morning.

We packed our bags and had them hidden in our bedroom. The girls had no idea that they were going anywhere. The suitcases didn't clue them in. Finally, about an hour before we left we told them that they were going on an airplane ride.

(I know, it's a vertical movie. Oops.)

(If you can't see the video, click here to view it on my YouTube channel.)


Did you hear Lila? She asked, "IS IT DISNEYLAND?"

Tee hee.


Now, Lila **did** know what Disneyland was before the trip. Her cousins just returned and before we went they told Lila about it... so she knew it was awesome and most importantly, "where the princesses live."

In the weeks leading up to Disneyland, we talked about it a bit, too... we'd mention it here and there so that there was at least some familiarity. A seed planted, if you will.

In the minutes before we left for the airport I sort of felt like a jerk because I had no real idea how/when we were going to tell them. First we thought we'd tell them on the plane, then we thought we'd tell them when we got there...

I googled, "How to tell your kids you're going to Disneyland" right before we left for the airport (ideal timing) and I read a few of the ideas and thought, "WHO HAS TIME to make a mini-magic kingdom out of cotton balls and graham crackers illuminated with LED lights?" (Pinterest is single-handedly ruining our culture.)

That said... onward to the airport we went... with no real "reveal" plan.

That's how I roll.

When we got to the SJD airport they still had no idea.

Lila is the sweetest big sister.

Lila kept asking, "When are you going to tell us?! When? WHERE ARE WE GOING?"

And of course, three-year-old Vivienne kept echoing, "Yes! WHERE ARE WE GOING!?! Tell me!"

Those faces.

Keep in mind that my sweet Vivi's last plane trip consisted of us being stuck in Dallas during a SNOW/ICE storm for five days. We never got anywhere we planned on going and she totally rolled with it. This time she was probably just thinking, "Tell me that we're going to leave the airport and not stay there the whole time."

Chilling at the SJD airport.

Still, Craig and I kept smiling and saying, "We'll tell you soon..."

[I truly think that keeping the secret was just as much fun as revealing the secret.]

The flight from Cabo to Orange County is SO easy - just a little over 2 hours.

Lila did some work. (Kidding, but doesn't she look like she's a little businesswoman? Cardigan? Check. Pearl bracelet? Check.)

And Vivienne slept.

They were a little antsy after a while... not because of the flight, because not knowing the destination was killing them.

When we landed, they still had no idea.

They knew we weren't going to Ohio to see Mimi because that's two flights, and we only took one.

Still: no idea.

When we got our bags they asked.
When we went through customs they asked.
When we got into the car that took us to the hotel, they asked. (We made sure to tell the driver that it was a surprise.)

As you get closer to the hotel, (pronounced, "ho-tale" by Lila... which I love), the surrounding world starts looking very... Disney. I mean, there's a huge lit-up Disney ferris wheel visible from the road.

Note my photo. But the Grand Californian.

When we pulled into Disney's Grand Californian,

Craig and I were enjoying it immensely.

We got out of the car.
Disney name tags on the bellman's shirt.
No idea.
Disney stuff everywhere.
No idea.

Tee hee.

"Do you guys know where you are?"


Craig and I are literally GIDDY at this point.

We walked into the lobby of the hotel and little girls dressed as princesses were sprinkled throughout. A tip off? A clue? Nope.

Also not my photo. The Grand Californian's lobby that was teeming with small princesses.

Just this comment from Lila, "Oh, that's a beautiful dress. She looks lovely."

Tee hee.

Because in her world it's totally normal to see little girls dressed as princesses everywhere.

We checked into our room, and if you've ever been in a Disney hotel you know that there are subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) Mickey attributes everywhere... still, they had no idea.

Finally, we couldn't take it anymore.

So, we told them...

(The lighting was kind of terrible in the hotel room... Ignore.)

(If the link doesn't work, click here to view directly on youtube.)


(The bellman gave us those autographed 8 x 10 glossies of Tinkerbell and Minnie. Awesome.)

That first night we walked around Downtown Disney and ate at the Rainforest Cafe. They thought it was amazing. Which made me smile because, I mean, if you're impressed with the Rainforest Cafe, Disneyland is probably going to blow your mind.

Exhausted children. Not even Day 1 at Disneyland. Approximately 10 p.m.

That first night we also did the whole build-a-bear thing after our late dinner because, hey - we live in Mexico and we don't get to do that crazy stuff all the time.

Lila got the Disney princess bear and dressed it in a sequins dress. Naturally.

Vivienne got a monkey and dressed him as Buzz Lightyear. Also naturally.

That night we got to bed pretty late... and we all had smiles on our faces... sort of.

Operation: Surprise the Kids and get them to Disneyland = SUCCESSFUL.


Next up: California Adventure and Disneyland.

Stay tuned for the next post with copious amounts of pictures.





  1. i LOOOVVEEDD this immensely. they were so cute in both videos! i am so happy this happened and so glad you had a little get away from normal life! you are the coolest parents EVER.
    Love, Miss

    1. Miss, it was so fun. And I agree. We ARE the coolest parents EVER. That's why I have this blog. So they can be reminded of that in their teen years. :)

  2. How fun!!! I always wanted to surprise my kids when we went to Disney...but I can't ever contain my excitement. (LOL).

  3. Is it weird that the reveal totally made me teary? So awesome and cute. Lila's reaction was priceless!

  4. OMG!!!! I CANNOT express how VERY excited I am to show this to Anna And Grant!! I am literally Giddy myself!! AHHHH Lila's voice when she realized about the princesses!!!! I am so looking forward to seeing the rest! How much fun! I am ever grateful that you are sharing this with us! Its the best!! Thank you!!!

  5. i can't decide which i loved more - Vivi's constant "cheese"ing in the first video or the very slow realization followed by that scream that only little girls are capable of.
    <3 all around
    now you have me tempted to keep Avery's first trip a surprise.

  6. Next part! Next part!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!

  7. Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you how much these videos and your girls make me smile!!! LOVE IT!!

    Both girls reactions were amazing for different reasons. Lila always seemed so composed for a young girl and too see her freak out like that is AWESOME!



    And true Vivi form is excited, about grapes ;-) heehee

    Love this post, can't wait to see the next!!!

    *still smiling*

  8. This is amazing. So cute! I love that Lila mentions petal amongst her travel must-haves. :)
    Then the......I KNEW IT! or was it I TOLD YOU! Either way, I loved it. And what can we say about Buzz? I love hearing Weevee discuss her ideas now too. And grapes! LOL!

    Thanks for capturing on video. Keep 'em coming.

  9. that type of surprise is very entertain for the kids and especially the Disney trip is very good for the kids and i realized that kids had enjoy this trip buses from raleigh to new york must visit this site also...


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