Disneyland | The Surprise

Months ago Jessica (my sister) emailed me and told me that her partner Jeffrey had a speaking event in Anaheim in late March and did we want to meet them at Disneyland? I checked the calendar and the dates matched perfectly with our Spring Break. The opportunity to go and be with Jessica and her family and take the kids to Disneyland was way too much to pass up.

I decided I wanted it to be a surprise (hard not to get a little choked up when watching those commercials where the parents surprise their kids with a trip to Disney) - it just seemed all the more magical that way.

In the weeks leading up to Spring Break the kids and I talked a bit about maybe going somewhere, but also the possibility of just staying home and what we would do if we did stay home. Hang out, go to the park, watch movies - all good stuff and all stuff they would have been perfectly happy with. But I knew something they didn't know...

On Monday, March 29th I woke up at 4am and took a shower & dried my hair. For the last ten months I haven’t slept good at all. The night before we left I didn’t sleep well either but it was the first time in months & months that I didn’t sleep for a fun & exciting reason.

At 4:30 I woke up the kids who were both sleeping in my bed. They were hard to wake up at first.

I said, “Wake up. I have a surprise for you. We are going on an airplane.”

I think it was Anna who rolled over first and asked, “Where are we going?”

“First we are going to Seattle.”

“And then where?” asked Simon in that super-sleepy voice of someone who is really not awake yet.

“It’s a surprise.” They both looked at me and smiled and decided they were okay with that. There wasn't any "tell me now" or "where, where, where are we going?"

Anna got up as soon as I said we were going on an airplane. She was ready to get dressed immediately.

Simon was a little more sleepy and a little more skeptical.

“I don’t want to go. I want to stay home. I want to get a hook.” He’d been talking for weeks about getting a pirate hook. I’d been telling him that we could get one during spring break (knowing we were going somewhere he could get one).

“We can get a hook where we are going.” I told him.

At that he jumped up and said “Okay” with a big smile on his face.

And then he asked if we were going to Hawaii or Disneyland. I told him it was a surprise and he would find out later.

I finished my hair, grabbed my make up bag and corralled them downstairs. The night before I’d already packed everything in the car, including their backpacks so all I had to do in the morning was get them dressed and in the car.

They are both really good travelers. Excited, happy, ready to go - even at 4:50am. I was also ready with movies (Tinkerbell was especially popular) & games on the ipad (More Breakfast is a new favorite) and a new DS game for Simon (Star Wars: The Complete Saga).

We flew to Seattle (yep, sometimes you have to go north to get south) and then proceeded to wait a couple of hours until Jessica, Jeffrey and Gabrielle arrived at the airport. We planned that Gabrielle or Jessica would tell Simon and Anna. Simon and Anna didn't know we were meeting them either. By the time they arrived Simon was about at the end of all this surprise business. I told him that we were going to be meeting someone very soon who would tell us about the next phase of our surprise (very thankful at this point for the ability to text with my sister and get the exact details on when they would show up).

Here's a video of what happened next:

We Are Going To Disneyland from Ali Edwards on Vimeo.

Such a fun moment.

I love the pointing back & forth - the you & me?

I love that Anna really didn't care and was more excited to get to play with Gabrielle.

I love that this was something I got to share with my sister and Jeffrey.

I love that Simon is all about the magic. So much sparkle in that boy.

I'll share more in an upcoming post about some of the details and general thoughts on our actual time at Disneyland.

94 thoughts

  1. Sara Grafton

    2012-04-13 01:21:53 -0400

    Awesome! We are planning a Disneyland trip with family and friends this summer.

  2. Sarah B r

    2012-04-13 02:21:49 -0400

    Just wanted to point out that march 29th was a thursday. Just in case it matters when you scrapbook this (i only know bcz it was my birthday :-)
    Thanks for your blog

  3. Alida

    2012-04-13 03:25:07 -0400

    Hi, I've just noticed, the clouds in the background, and the little aeroplane going UP!

  4. Cath

    2012-04-13 05:55:08 -0400

    Tears in my eyes. What a precious boy you have, he's a gem. That look on his face with the pointing "you and me" - gorgeous!


  5. Carlie

    2012-04-13 07:10:51 -0400

    Thanks so much for sharing such a special moment in your families' journey. I felt those warm fuzzy butterflies when I watched this Ali. You are a wonderful Mum, inspiring all of us in so many ways. So glad you had a great time & a lovely Easter.

  6. ale

    2012-04-13 08:14:14 -0400

    this is so, so sweet ali!
    the video is amazing, but i just love the photo of you and simon together - it brought a smile to my face on a very hard day.
    thank you so much for sharing your life with us!
    have a great weekend!

  7. jennifer

    2012-04-13 08:14:27 -0400

    that's so awesome...what a great mom! :)

  8. Mely

    2012-04-13 08:51:51 -0400

    A great surprise!!!

  9. Vicki S

    2012-04-13 09:26:17 -0400

    As usual, I am echoing others. You are SO great at making happy memories for your kids + sharing w/all of us - from the other post, your "virtual sisters." For what it's worth, my tool for chronic insomnia is good fiction on my ITouch. May take me months to get through the book, and I may listen to the same chapter over & over, but I don't have time to read all I want, anyway. Sorta turns the sleeplessness lemon into Hawaiian punch! ")

  10. Michellej

    2012-04-13 09:46:09 -0400

    So cool. I love his huge smile! We are planning a trip to Disney World this summer. First time for the kiddos. We are keeping it a secret and the best part is Grandma and Grandpa will be there too! I will have to video tape it too! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Celine Navarro

    2012-04-13 09:51:39 -0400

    Your video gave me goosebumps! :D YAY for Disneyland!

  12. Friday Features | Other writers I love - sunny side up

    2012-04-13 09:55:11 -0400

    [...] is such a sweet surprise.  That Ali Edwards, such a good mom.  I hope to surprise Kate someday with [...]

  13. Betsy

    2012-04-13 10:34:55 -0400

    This made my day! Simon is soooo cute!

  14. Jette Gad

    2012-04-13 12:40:36 -0400

    Oh this is so much better than any comercial - crying tears of joy for you... Thanks for sharing...

  15. Lisa

    2012-04-13 14:49:04 -0400

    The photo of you and Simon 'got me' both at the beginning of the post, as well as at the end of the video! I'm just a sucker for the joy and love you have for one another...and it was an amazing moment captured! :) <3

  16. Janet C

    2012-04-14 23:11:30 -0400

    So great Ali!! I had tears watching. We just pulled off a similar surprise on Christmas morning with our three daughters. My oldest is in college we thought it was about time.
    You're so lucky to have pulled it off at such magical ages!! Your pictures captured all of the joy and innocence!!! Cant wait to see the pages you might pull off as well.

  17. Dan Lewis

    2012-04-15 05:55:44 -0400

    What a precious moment. You're such a good mum Ali. :)

  18. Samantha Welch

    2012-04-16 18:27:01 -0400

    That was so very sweet. You'll treasure that forever as will the kids. Glad it all worked out well!!

  19. susan weinroth

    2012-04-17 00:11:45 -0400

    that was AMAZING to watch. :))

  20. Ann Marie

    2012-04-18 22:25:14 -0400

    What a beautiful, special moment for you and your kiddos. I have tears in my eyes watching your video. I'm so happy that you got to have that experience with your family. :)

  21. Nicole Martel

    2012-04-24 10:16:07 -0400

    oh what a great surprise!! How awesome for all of you!

  22. Friday Features | Other writers I love | sunnysideup

    2012-04-27 16:16:10 -0400

    [...] is such a sweet surprise.  That Ali Edwards, such a good mom.  I hope to surprise Kate someday with [...]

  23. vicki boutin

    2012-04-27 21:01:03 -0400

    I love that Ali! And man does Simon look like you...I could really see it when it is "live" action!!!!

    A totally prcious life moment!

  24. vicki boutin

    2012-04-27 21:01:34 -0400

    I love that Ali! And man does Simon look like you...I could really see it when it is "live" action!!!!

    A totally precious life moment!

  25. Disneyland 2012 | Creating A Story-Based Album With Simple Stories (Includes Video Overview) | Ali Edwards

    2013-11-01 06:01:08 -0400

    […] One of the projects on my list has been to create a mini-album of our Spring Break adventure to Disneyland in 2012. You can read about the surprise here. […]

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