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A Big Surprise

Feb. 9, 2008

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We had managed to keep it a secret for more than 4 months: This was not actually a familiar vacation to Southern California, but a surprise trip to Disney World in Florida -- a place they've long wanted to go to, but never seemed to be able to convince us to take them.

We managed to keep it a surprise about as long as we could have hoped: They were busy singing Weird Al songs in the backseat, and didn't notice that we were taking an unusual route: across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the City, and to the airport. Finally, as we pulled into an airport parking lot, Em asked, "We're flying?"

For an hour or so, that was enough of a thrill, that we were flying rather than driving to Long Beach. They were so excited they didn't notice that the check-in screen and boarding passes both mentioned something about Dallas and Orlando.

Em began to suspect something was wrong when we reached our gate and the board read "Dallas." When we asked her to check the tickets, she looked up in shock: "Daddy? We're going to Orlando."

At that point we produced packets we had prepared a month earlier: "Top Secret: Your mission has changed."

Here's a short Quicktime movie (7 MB) of the moment of realization.