There’s actually quite a lot of work that’s been done on utility gained from anticipation. George Loewenstein’s 1987 paper reports a study in which people were willing to pay more for a kiss they received in three days than they would be willing to pay for the same kiss today. They gained pleasure simply from thinking about the kiss and anticipating how good it would be. I don’t think the students in the study ever actually got the kiss so he doesn’t mention whether it lived up to expectations. Interestingly, this idea of utility from anticipation only seems to hold over non-monetary items. Nobody values receiving $1000 in three days more than $1000 today: monetary gains are discounted as one would normally expect.
See the whole post for links to papers and more comment.