When I was ten years old, my family went to Disneyland as an extension of my dad's business trip. It was special; both of my parents went to Disneyland with their parents when they were kids, and my mom promised me and my brother we'd do it again before I graduated high school. On Christmas day, my brother opened the first present, curious about what could possibly be in a large box with no weight. It was a pair of Mickey Mouse ears, and I had a matching set; we were going to Disneyland in a month during my birthday weekend.
I was excited for the trip and looking forward to doing everything in the park, especially since I my brother and I were old enough to really enjoy it and do everything.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
My parents and I have always gotten along, but as a senior in high school, it had gotten a little bumpy. The stress of paying for college and the hard-to-grasp concept of my leaving soon enough got in the middle of everything. I was looking forward to being out of town and hoping that a family vacation might patch any parts of our relationship that had been damaged.
We got to California and vacationed from beginning to end. We stayed in a hotel on the beach in Malibu, and spent a day at the Santa Monica pier. We spent two days at Disneyland, doing everything. My dad and I did Splash Mountain three times, and I screamed (and by screamed, I mean bellowed) every time. My brother, who’s fifteen, nearly cried of fear on the ferris wheel, my mom claimed whiplash from a roller coaster, and we all had blisters by the end of the weekend. It didn’t matter though. Those moments of “bad” could have been something to get bogged down about, had it been the only thing we did. But our four days away were so special, so memorable, so perfect, that nothing could have been counted as bad.
My family has always been close and I know we always will be, but there were times this past year where we didn’t get along. We took this vacation because it was on the list of things to do before I graduated and said that nothing would get in the way of having a great time. Nothing did. I have so many memories from the trip. Getting my picture with Woody was one of the most exciting things I’ve done, and I’m 18 years old. (Although Buzz Lightyear would have been 100 times better). My brother ate his weight in amusement park food, and my parents rode their favorite rides from their childhood, as well as avoided the ones they didn’t like, because anything that spins would make my mom sick.
My family has traveled a lot together in the past year: visiting colleges, taking my brother to tournaments, spring break, and weekend trips here and there. While every vacation with my family has been special, nothing compares to our weekend in California. I’ve never laughed harder, smiled bigger, or been more spoiled in my life. While I’ve always known that I love my family and that they’re my greatest companions, our trip to Disneyland was a reminder to me that there is nothing better than time spent with them. There isn’t anything that can compare to the joy that being with my family brings to me.
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