A couple decides they are going to surprise their kids in the morning and take them to Disneyland. They have their eyes open before their alarms can ding, they pull on their comfy denim and walking shoes and head downstairs to load up the car. Normally their day would start with making sandwiches, breaking up fights, and desperately trying to load up the mini-van in time to get the kids to school, but today there was a magic that erased all conflict and saved the mom from finding peanut butter on her shirt at her desk after a meeting.
Today was different. Their kids had no idea they were taking them to “The Happiest Place on Earth.” The anxious couple finished packing up the van and dashed upstairs to burst into their kid’s rooms to tell them they are going on a secret adventure. They had decided they would keep it a secret to increase the anticipation so when they rolled up to the Pinnochio parking lot under the shadow of the Matterhorn the joy on their kid’s faces would be imprinted on their minds forever.
The kids were whining as they do about not knowing where they are going, and they took fool advantage of the moment to take a few shots at their Dad.
“We’re probably going to some BBQ sale at Home Depot.”
“If Dad is choosing the spot, I’d rather go to school.”
He’s learned this is how they love him.
They finally get everyone in the car and the Dad prepares his big speech. Inhale. Exhale. Too much excitement.
“Kids, today is going to be the greatest day of your life, you just need to sit tight for the 90-minute drive we have ahead of us. I am taking you somewhere you have never been before. If we stick to the plan we have, I can promise you all the waiting will be worth it.”
The kids are inspired by this and agree to sit tight and wait for the reward. The dad starts the car, gives the engine a rev and pulls out of the driveway.
Fifteen minutes into the drive and the kids are restless. They pass by a Burger King with a play place and the kids go nuts.
“Dad can we stop there and go play. This place is too far away! We’re bored!”
The Dad smiles as he looks in the rear mirror and says,
“Oh, where we are going is so much better!”
Thirty minutes in. They see a mini-golf course.
“Mom, can we stop there? It’s mini-golf! This ride is taking forever.”
Dad is irritated. Why won’t his kids just trust that where they are going is so great that none of this compares?
An hour later, after another thirty minutes of whining the parents have had it. They can’t take any more of their kids complaining. The kids have now spotted a McDonald’s with a slide and ball pit on its patio. The Dad pulls into the parking lot. The kids pile out of the car and into the fast-food restaurant. The Mom looks out at the road as she holds the door open for her husband and sees a sign, “Disneyland Next Exit.”
They eat. Play in a ball pit. Then they all drive home. No Disneyland for anyone.
The kids are a sales-driven business, and all the fast-food play places feel like an opportunity, but a true marketing-focused company understands Disneyland is going to be that much sweeter. Be the parents. Stay true to where you said you were headed, don’t get distracted, put your blinders on and you’ll find the reward.