We are less than four months until our 11-day trip to Hawaii. I had been keeping this trip a secret from my kids for a few reasons. It was finally time to spill the beans and reveal our big vacation destination!
Past Vacation Reveals
I know some families like to surprise their kids on the way to the airport. But, I just can’t do it. Part of the fun of a vacation is the anticipation and planning. My kids like to get in on that, too! So starting with our first Disney Cruise in 2012, we began a tradition of having a vacation reveal a few months prior to each big trip.
For our first vacation reveal, I organized a scavenger hunt all around our house. I planted clues in different spots that lead my kids to a new spot. Each clue revealed something we would be doing on the trip. The final location had a large poster (free thanks to keeping up with store deals on Money Saving Mom) that revealed our Disney Cruise.
The kids then got to open up this treasure chest that included some Mickey plush, cruise tickets and cruise hats. Their grandparents were in on the surprise, and they included a Disney gift card for each kid to spend on the ship.
My kids enjoyed the fanfare, and I liked planning something special. So, we continued the vacation reveal tradition. For a subsequent cruise, I surprised the kids with these gigantic Mickey and Minnie balloons:
Another time, I created a jigsaw puzzle that they had to put together to see our next vacation:
Our kids have never had that outrageous reaction you see on YouTube where they are screaming with glee. Their reactions have always been a bit more subdued. But nonetheless, the vacation reveal starts the wheels turning for fun things we can do on our next trip.
Hawaii Vacation Reveal
For our upcoming trip to Hawaii, I turned to Pinterest for ideas. I found a lot of ideas on throwing a luau party that would work for this situation. I decided to make a special themed dinner and see if the kids would catch on.
For starters, I hollowed out a pineapple and put fresh flowers in it for the centerpiece. Miraculously, I found the Minnie and Stitch that we bought at Disney’s Aulani in 2015.
The top of the pineapple became a decorative center for the fruit skewers:
I did my very best to replicate the sand and a palm tree with this vegetable tray and hummus:
I made these Hawaiian Sliders with ham, cheese and pineapple for the main dish.
Of course, we had Hawaiian punch to drink.
The most fun part of our special dinner was dessert, Hawaiian flip-flop cookies! These are just Nutter Butter cookies with a little icing on top.
I purchased everything for this vacation reveal from Walmart in one trip. Easy peasy.
Unfortunately, my kids did not get to see this set-up at the same time. My two younger kids get home from school before my oldest.
When they walked in the door, my 9-year-old immediately said, “Oh my gosh! Are we going to Hawaii?!?!?!” He caught on right away.
So of course when my oldest got home, my other kids intercepted him at the door and told him we were going to Hawaii.
We looked at a map of Hawaii together so that I could show them where Kauai is (we only went to Oahu on our last trip). My daughter kept asking, “Are we leaving tomorrow?!?!” No, Spring Break. “Is that next week?” When I explained to her that we still had over 100 days to go, she cried.
We checked out a YouTube video of an ATV ride in Kauai. My boys are thrilled! The girl is terrified.
My two younger kids can’t wait to go back to Aunty’s House, the kids’ club at Aulani. My oldest is most looking forward to surfing again.
We will keep reading more about Hawaii before our trip and talking about the fun stuff we will do there. I hope that the anticipation of this trip is enough to keep them (and me!) going through the drudgery of January and February.
How do you tell your kids about upcoming vacations? Do you tell them as soon as you book, right before you go or somewhere in between?
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.