Sunday, August 13, 2006

we're really going

On Saturday we will get in the car and drive to California. We've been planning this trip for a year, and saving for almost 3 to get the money together. Finally it is happening.

When I was very little, I had a love-hate relationship with Disney. I watched "The Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday evenings on CBC TV. I adored my Disney storybook records of Cinderella and Peter Pan (turn the page when you hear Tinkerbell!). But we didn't go to Disneyland because it was so expensive and because our family was a hiking, camping, backpacking family. I learned to say things like "Disneyland is fake. It's not worth it." Secretly I yearned to go.

When mom finished her years as a stay-at-home parent and returned to the workplace teaching high school English, she paid off the mortgage, then took us to Disnelyland. My most lasting memory of the trip is actually of Knott's Berry Farm, and Mom screaming in my ear from her seat behind me on the log ride. I was about 13 years old, and already thinking my mom was hopelessly out of touch with the contemporary world. The Disneyland trip fixed that. We had so much fun in this plastic-fake-over-the-top-silly place that I knew Disneyland was okay, even if it was not the real world, or the only place to go on vacation.

Later, Andy and I included Disneyland visits on our California road trips before kids. The focus was beaches, but we loved the rides and the fun of that place.

When we had kids we bought a house, got retirement savings plans and life insurance and two cars and a dishwasher. We didn't have any money for big vacations so we returned to camping holidays and the occasional weekend in Victoria for family fun. The kids wanted Disneyland, but they understood. Then when Alex was 13 he won a trip to Disneyland for the family, all expenses paid. We flew down, stayed in the Disneyland Hotel and were given the VIP treatment. Alex had a job to do, taping "kid reporter" spots on the opening of the new Tower of Terror ride, so we were in the park before opening, with a Disney TV crew and Disney escort, and lots of behind-the-scenes treats. It was unbelievable, sudden and overwhelmingly lovely. At the end of that trip, we decided as a family to make a real old-fashioned summer car trip our next Disney experience. So we've been putting all of our extra money into a special savings account, researching affordable hotels and planning an itinerary.

We'll drive down. First stop for a couple of days is San Francisco to visit old friends and go to Alcatraz. Then on to Six Flags Magic Mountain - home of the best roller coasters in the western states. Finally, 7 days in Anaheim. We'll go to the beach and Hollywood and of course, Disneyland. Andy will visit the big mecca of Technicolour in Hollywood (he works in the Vancouver lab) and we will have fun. It will be an unreal vacation from the point of view of plastic pre-fab entertainment, but a real one for our family to spend time together and realise a goal we've had in our hearts for some time. We'll spin and turn upside down, scream in each others' ears, stay up too late and lounge by the pool when we're not wearing out our sneakers traipsing the streets of Mickey's home town. We're really going.

question: did you ever have a place you wanted to go?

mompoet - heading south soon

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