A Disney Surprise

Last weekend we made our way down to our hometown for the first time in 3 months. We spent the weekend surrounded by family and I couldn’t have asked for a better time.

My favorite memory was our Disneyland trip on Sunday. This was our last Disneyland trip before our annual passes expire. Since we moved away we won’t be renewing our passes (insert sad face!). This month, my mom also turned 60! So my sister and I decided we wanted to do something special. We had originally wanted to throw her a surprise party but that idea went out the window when she realized it was the same night as a concert she was taking my niece to.

Then it dawned on us that we could do something even better: a family day at Disneyland. We got our brother involved and in less than 10 minutes decided we would surprise her at Disneyland. My mom also has a Disneyland pass and was planning on going to Disneyland on Sunday too. For over a month she believed Sunday would just be Bret, Amelia, her, and me.

The night before Disneyland, my mom planned a birthday dinner at a local restaurant where we could celebrate her birthday with my grandpa, my future stepdad’s parents, and my brother and sister-in-law. The whole night, my brother and I would make comments about the next day and my mom was completely oblivious.

Sunday morning was less than ideal.

We got a bit of a late start because we were all tired and Amelia was sick. Eventually we hit the road with Starbucks in hand and I spent the hour long ride texting my sister, who was already at the park.

When we arrived at the park, we were about to go through the ticket gate when Bret’s pass was denied. Stupid me forgot to check to see if his pass was blocked out or not. Guess what, it was blocked out. So I begrudgingly waited in the ticket line to purchase a one day ticket, still texting my sister that we were here, just not here here.

Finally, after getting Bret’s ticket, we made our way to Adventureland. Laura, Noah, and Layla were hanging out in the fastpass distribution area for the Indiana Jones ride. I got our fastpasses and we quickly devised a plan. I walked out of the fastpass area as the three of them walked around a planter so they could be behind my mom. Noah went up to my mom and held out a birthday button with her name on it and asked, “excuse me, did you drop this?” My mom looked at the button confused and then looked up to see who was holding it and had the best surprised faced when she saw Noah, Laura, and Layla standing there. Luckily, I got the whole thing on camera! (If you want to watch it, head over to my instagram @maryashcraft and click on my Disney highlight, it’s at the very end!)

With the three of them added to our group, we rode Pirates next. While in line, it dawned on my mom that we had dinner reservations for Cafe Orleans and asked if they were included. Obviously, mom, because this was all planned!

After Pirates, I headed into the Haunted Mansion store to check out something I had my eye on. While in there, my brother Jacob and sister-in-law Amanda nonchalantly walked up to her. I was bummed I didn’t get that one on camera. My mom did mention later that she wondered if she would see Jacob and Amanda later but figured it probably wouldn’t happen.

We spent the rest of the day riding rides (and having technical difficulties on every single one), avoiding the rain, and trying to stay warm.

One of the best moments of the day was when we rode Splash Mountain. We had enough people to take up a whole log! But we got stuck for a few minutes at the very top of the drop. Oh boy, did that make us anxious! Those screaming faces in the picture below are definitely not fake!

My mom always talks about how she doesn’t want “things,” she just wants all her kids together to make memories. We rarely do things of this magnitude as a family. We weren’t really the type of family that vacationed all the time or even once a every year or two. We had one family trip to Walt Disney World when I turned six, but since then we’ve always had one or two people missing on vacations. Most recently, we all spent a few days in Colorado for my aunt’s wedding, which was fun, but really enough time to enjoy the time and area together. Also, the last time we all went to Disneyland together was the December of 2011 after my uncle died and we went with my aunt and cousins.

All day on Sunday my mom would mention how happy she was to be spending time with us, especially since I moved away and she’s about to move away. The next time we’ll all be together for a “vacation” type thing will be her wedding and then who knows after that!

I’m so happy we were able to give my mom the best birthday present she could’ve asked for! Bret mentioned that we should do this every couple years and I definitely agree! It would be a nice way to be able to spend time together while also being at a place we all love (which, when you know how diverse all our interests are, Disney is the one constant and kind of a big deal….well, and Survivor).

I can’t wait for our next Disney trip! This time, we were missing our future stepdad Tad and his son Logan and his wife Bella. Maybe next time they’ll all be able to join us!

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