Family vacations run few and far between in the Borchert household.
There is one week during the year when we can pack up the kids, leave the house and enjoy some time away from Vacaville. If we go anywhere outside of that one-week window, we are probably obligated to do so by a family member or close friend. We are just too busy the rest of the year to sneak away. It’s sad, really.
Last week, our kids were inaugurated into the Disneyland club. It was a club that many of our friends were shocked that our kids weren’t a part of. It was my fault, really. I didn’t want to go. But seeing their reaction last fall at Downtown Disney, just going into the huge World of Disney store, changed my mind immediately and I gave in.
I’m glad I did. We had such a great vacation. The best part of the vacation was seeing the kids’ reaction to all the attractions, the shows, meeting the characters and soaking in all that is Disney. Thanks to my awesome sister-in-law and niece, my husband and I got to ride a couple of rides by ourselves. We got to be kids for a couple of hours, which was nice. But we honestly couldn’t wait to get back to our kids and hear what they had experienced during those two hours we were away from one another.
Because we don’t vacation much, we decided to stretch this trip out as long as we could. We road-tripped it and because our youngest is not so much a fan of road tripping, we decided to take the scenic route down to Anaheim. Yes, Highway 101 takes longer, but we made so many memories because of it.
We stopped in Salinas to see my husband’s awesome aunt, we stopped in Arroyo Grande to see my awesome father-in-law. He took us down to Avila Beach where the girls got to chase the waves and play in the sand for about an hour.
It was wonderful.
We stayed overnight there and when we arrived in Orange County, we all got a little anxiety as the traffic piled up and stopped us just short of our goal. When we finally saw “Disney” signs, the girls (well, and my husband) were ecstatic. I learned something about my husband at this point in our trip. When he gets anywhere near Mickey and Friends, he loses his mind.
I served as trip navigator as we drove into Anaheim. I had the directions in my hand and as I was telling him where to turn, he got distracted by the monorail or something and turned in the completely different direction. Normally, my husband would shout a very loud curse word, I would shake my head and he would make a U-turn. But Vacation-Husband-Going-to-Disneyland simply laughed and admitted that he was too excited to drive.
Prior to the trip, we decided that we were going to self-park the car at the hotel instead of letting the staff do it because of the enormous charge that we would incur. But as my husband approached the hotel driveway, he lost his mind again, got distracted by something shiny, said, “Ah, heck with it!” and turned the keys over to the valet. My “What are you doing?” was completely disregarded as he helped unload the car.
The next morning, I felt my husband get out of bed at 4:30. “Oh no!” I said to myself as I fell back asleep. He took a shower and tried to make noise in the hotel room so we would wake up. He opened the curtains just before the 6 a.m. wake-up call rattled us girls out of bed.
The next two days in the parks were thrilling to say the least. Experiencing Disneyland with my kids for the first time was more exciting than I ever could have imagined, despite what my friends have been telling me for years. I am not in a rush to go back because I think the parks lose that special something if you go too often, but we will go back in the next year to experience it all over again.
But this time, I’m driving.
Angela Borchert is a freelance writer who lives in Vacaville. Reach her at email@example.com.