The Life of a Home Mom

Best Vacation I’ve Had

This was not an easy task to go back through all my memories from adulthood and pick one time that was either the best or worst vacation I ever had. I decided to be fair it would have to be from after I graduated high school and got married. This was no easy task because most of the times we have ever been on vacation has also been whenever we have moved.

best vacation disneyland

When we were in the military it would be the only time we could do stuff and visit more than just one place. I do recall a time we moved close to Christmas, I can’t recall which year it was but it was one of the worst times to try visiting anything because EVERYTHING would be close as we approached. Yeah that was not a fun trip, the fun moments of that trip were those that we made such as playing at the rest stops, etc. But isn’t that what getting a best moment is all about, making memories? Sure there were some awesome moments I could have picked like when I took the kids to Tyron Palace by myself, or the time we’d visit Emerald Isle with the kids, the beach always had memories but this one had deeper meaning.


The memory I am going to had both good moments and bad. Many would probably say it was the worst vacation but it had its high moments. Imagine being at home with your 7 1/2 week old little girl and your husband coming back from war all in the same weekend. He wasn’t sure how to act around us and we weren’t sure what to expect from him. Already I had seen him drop to the ground due to fireworks and I had been a bit edgy because I’d heard some stories of other Marines coming home. I hadn’t learned to drive just yet, had been holding off, yes even at 26 years old.

In the parking lot had sat our purple jeep for the full time he’d been at war and never driven once, not even when I almost gave birth at home. With 3 children now the jeep was an ideal vehicle and first thing he did the day he got home was scoot off to a car dealership to trade in his vehicle. I think part of it was because he was still scared of home and the other because we couldn’t go anywhere now. He came home with a SUV and tickets to Disneyland. This would be our best vacation and worst at the same time.

See, what many don’t know is Disneyland was our place. It was the place we’d taken our first two children every time we went anywhere. The last ride we’d ride always was “It’s a Small World” this would also be the ride that got us back together when we were about to divorce. Okay not just the ride but you get the point I’m sure. This time would be different though, Babygirl was a quiet one, even from birth. She took everything in and just let you snuggle her. BalletGirl was so excited that her daddy was home and wouldn’t leave him for the world. SoccerBoy loved it all, his siblings, his dad being back and the fact that not only were we going to Disneyland but now we got a new car. When we got there everything seemed fine, but I constantly watched him to see if there were any signs.

Within the first hour I noticed red flags. He could no longer be in crowds, loud noise or sudden movement was catching him off-guard. We did a few rides, got some toys from the souvenior shop and let the kids get a few candy items before we sat in a tiny corner away from most of the people to eat lunch. Buzz Lightyear came on with his show near us and after spending about an hour there we got up to walk around but it was getting more crowded now and walking meant holding on to the kids hands even tighter than before and no one would move out of the way of the stroller. He handed me BabyGirl and picked up the stroller and started shaking it, I knew then this was starting to become a bad thing. We left shortly after that, stayed in a hotel room at Disneyland where I’d call my sister up who lived nearby and I’d go shopping with her and spend time with her.

The memories of before leaving had been good, seeing him hold our little girl there was precious as he was too afraid to hold her before. We spent a lot of fun time in that hotel room winding down and making memories as we’d play with the kids that weekend and watch movies, we even went to the beach, but we never did go back to Disneyland. But those are memories that we will always remember. The time BalletGirl danced in the walkway with her daddy, the two older kids going on rides with him and that precious moment when he took BabyGirl in his arms and just held her. Before you ask, we never tried going back and it has been 11 years. I do wish to go back, even if it is myself with the kids we just haven’t made it that far yet. But that is the best and worst vacation story. What’s yours?

30 thoughts on “Best Vacation I’ve Had

  1. that’s always been my fear with Disney. Maybe it’s time to go now that my kids are older

  2. The fear of someone getting upset or taking your kids? That was a big one for me but I hadn’t even thought about my husband going crazy after war there. Truth is I actually did think it but had hoped not.

  3. Thank you for sharing the story of your Best/Worst vacation. I am sorry to hear that your husband struggled with the crowds. Even for people who have never served with the military Disneyland/world is a difficult experience with the huge crowds. I could not imagine what it would be like after coming home from war. I am glad you got to make some wonderful memories, despite your trip to the park being cut short. I hope you can go back someday.

  4. What a sweet story. We’ve been to Disney World a few times and had a great experience.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. I have a little boy who struggles with crowds. I am hoping for him it gets better as he ages.

  6. WE have waited a long time to go to disney based on both these very reasons.

  7. I don’t know that I could pick just ONE best (or worst) vacations! They are all special for their own reasons.

  8. What a powerful story. I’m glad you were able to see some beauty in that vacation.

  9. Thank you for sharing the story. Very bittersweet it seems.

  10. i just want to hug your whole family.

  11. My best/worst vacation was my honeymoon. So many things went wrong, but we were so happy it didn’t bother us. If the same vacation happened today with the kids, I would have been a stressed out mess.

  12. My family and I finally saved enough and took our first trip to Disney World in florida. We had a blast. We want to plan another trip to florida but spend more than 1 wk as Magic Kingdom and Universal are so big one day is not enough

  13. Wow, your story gave me a new look at Disney which is down the street from my house and I visit all the time. It’s hard to understand someone having to feel that way when they are at “the happiest place on earth”. That was very moving. Thank you.

    Best vacation, I love going to Vegas with my husband. We have so much fun.
    Worst vacation, family stuff, anytime we have to visit family

  14. Thankful we haven’t had a horrifying vacation but loved hearing your story. We went to Disneyland earlier this year and had a great tine.

  15. Struggling with crowds is something I think most of us who have not gone through PTSD don’t realize. I only really understood in the final year with my husband.

  16. Oh wow…thanks for sharing your story, and I hope you do get to go back to Disneyland. I’m not sure I have a worst vacation. My best was when I went to Europe with my family on a cruise.

  17. Chelle @ Oh Just Stop Already says:

    I adore Disneyland so many fond memories of my childhood. Haven’t been back in almost 11 years and it makes me very sad that we may never go with prices. I honestly thought my husband escaped PTSD when he separated from service last year but as the months go by more and more signs are showing through with crowds, noises, the volume or chaos in our house some days.

  18. Thanks for sharing the story!
    I love reading these personal posts, getting to know my fav bloggers more!

  19. I do agree @Robin Gagnon that he suffers from PTSD there are times when he admits it but then he goes back to saying it isn’t true.

  20. I’ve never gotten the Disney bug and I think it’s because of the crowds… When I have prized time with my kids I want to really indulge in them, drink in their laughter, joy of discovery, hugs…. Busy places seem to rob me of much of that, as much as it delights them to get on rides and all that fun stuff. On another note, my heart goes out to you and I pray for your husband and that he may find healing. I can’t even imagine what he must have faced while at war. I am grateful for people like him who give so much for us. God bless you and your family.

  21. Sorry to hear that Chelle and the worst part is normally they won’t say anything because they don’t want to be “less of a man” or “labeled” so they deal with it. They just forget that we deal with it right alongside them. Yeah the prices these days also prevent us. Only way I can see it is one child at a time, a blogger deal or winning the lottery or tickets.

  22. My husband hates crowds because of his deployment experience. We still go, but it’s so stressful on him.

  23. Stephanie says:

    So sorry your husband had to go through that!

  24. Thanks for sharing your story. I can definitely see why you say it was the best and worst at the same time. I’m not sure I could pick a favorite or least favorite vacation for us!

  25. I’ve actually been the same way off and on since I was a child. However, I have always had issues with anxiety, namely panic disorder. Thanks for sharing your story!

  26. I can only imagine how difficult large crowds must be for someone with PTSD. The amusement park crowds can be daunting.

  27. I think this next vacation coming up soon will be our BEST/WORST vacation yet. My husband is battling stage 4 terminal cancer and we are taking a family vacation to Disney with our girls ages 7 and 9. It may be our last family vacation together which will be sad, but we are going to have the best time, I just know it!

    Thanks for sharing!

  28. He is able to go shopping more but if he is in a mood he will get more upset when people don’t move out of his way. Through the years he has mellowed out in supermarkets but I’m afraid we haven’t tried amusement parks again. He did try taking the two oldest to one but they left shortly after two rides. I’m not sure if it was the crowds or his heart. But I am planning on going, even if it is myself in a few years. I grew up doing stuff like that and haven’t been able to do it with my kids since so the younger three really haven’t experienced the magic like that yet.

  29. Stephanie says:

    My hubby is currently serving, I’m a bit worried when he gets back because while he seems to be handling things well over there, I really have no idea what’s going on. Our worst vacation was at the Bahamas, long story…but I’d like to go back because I figure it can’t get worse 🙂

  30. Wow, what an experience. Have things gotten better with your husband? Hope you get to go back to Disney someday soon.

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