Griswald (sp) like family vacations?

Wiped Out

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Staff member
We survived our family vacation. It was fun but we had our own version of the Griswalds (sp?) family vacation.

1. First night we went to the park and made the mistake of waiting to give difficult child his night medications until after leaving the park. Wow, was he manic-not mean just totally manic.

2. That night at the hotel I woke up and needed to find the bathroom-problem being the power was out!!! easy child had to hold the door to the hallway open where there was just a bit of light so I could find my way. Of course, the ac was out too!!

3. The next morning we were all happy to get to the park early because our hotel offered early entry. It started raining while we were in line to get in! It rained off and on and we finally left at 2:00 p.m. to take a nap. At that point no coasters were riding and the kids had only been able to ride 3 little rides. We did go back after our nap around 5:30 and had a great time! Between the two nights we rode on all the coasters we wanted except one that was down. Cedar Point has great coasters!!! difficult child and I went on one that went from 0-120 mph in 4 seconds and then dropped us at a 90 degree angle! The whole ride lasted only about 10-15 seconds.

4. Second night at the hotel, 3:30 a.m. the fire alarm goes off-very loud. We spent at least an hour in the lobby waiting for them to fix the malfunctioning alarm (it's where you could hear the alarm the least). Of course, the elevators weren't working.

5. The next morning the elevators still weren't working and we had to carry everything down three flights of stairs to load the car.

The manager wasn't willing to give us a discount but I did call the general manager later who did give us 50% off the second night!

We actually had a lot of fun in between all of the "issues"!

Anyone else with Griswald like stories from their vacations?


Active Member

Cedar Point is fun. There is no way I would go on any of those new coasters. Well maybe..... if it only lasted 10-15 seconds. I bet those are some scary 10-15 seconds. The Corkscrew is about the only coaster at Cedar Point I am not afraid of.

Well all those things that happened will make for great family stories some day.

I'm glad you were able to get 50% off on your second night.


What an adventure!

I love Cedar Point. Growing up we went every year, the last Thursday in July. I haven't been for a few years because easy child doesn't ride roller coasters (can't be my kid - musta been switched in the hospital) and the only reason to go to Cedar Point, in my opinion, is for the roller coasters. difficult child, however, will be all for it.


Active Member
I was telling the saga of our New Zealand holiday - we were having a lovely time but hadn't seen any snow falling. BF1 had never in his life seen snow, falling from the sky. difficult child 3 couldn't remember ever having seen it snow and easy child had only seen it snow once. And we were staying in a ski resort!

Because we'd had to go "on the cheap" using time share, the ski season was due to start the week after we were there. Still, you'd expect some snow to fall, wouldn't you? But they had the man-made snow blowers working overnight on the ski fields and some mornings we'd wake and see a fine hint of white in the shadows on the highest peaks, which would melt as the sun hit it.

The day before we had to "bug out" we were packing. I was managing the food and planned to cook the last of our food for lunch. At 11.30 am, BF1 came down the stairs with a big grin - "I thought it was raining very slowly, but it's SNOW!" We all rushed outside. It was melting as it touched the ground but it was really snowing! We drove down to the village to shop - it was beautiful to shop in these little chalet buildings in the snow. Some last minute souvenirs, then standing around in the snow drinking hot chocolate. Then back to the unit - packing now finished. A good movie on satellite TV. I cooked the last spaghetti, we would go back to the village for dinner.

Then the TV died. We looked outside - the main satellite dish was filling with snow. The TV aerial was hung with icicles. Snow was no longer melting but building up.
easy child & BF1 started a snow fight right outside the door. Lots of fun! Then difficult child 3 & I went to the outdoor recreation area. The mini-golf was no go, the course was covered. Same with t he tennis court. So we played giant chess in the snow. Tricky, as the chessboard began to get covered and we kept having to scrape it off to make sure if someone was in check or not. The snow was getting much heavier now, it wasn't so much fun. husband was looking worried, realised we were all parked on sloping paved area in an overcrowded driveway, so decided to move the car into the street while we could. He was skidding badly but only hit one car, lightly. The bloke whose car he hit helped him put the chains on as best as they could in the snow. husband knew they weren't quite on right, but it's tricky when your hands disappear under snow to tighten things.
Back inside - still no TV. And now no food. Then dinner came - husband wasn't going to drive anywhere with roads so totally covered. I rummaged in the freezer and pantry, found some stale sweet bread we'd been going to throw away; a bottle of olive oil and the last of the butter and some sugar sachets - I made a sort of fried sweet bread. It was all we had, plus hot chocolate sachets and coffee. And muesli.
It stopped snowing in the evening but we were going nowhere. The radio announced that the district's Winter Festival had to be postponed - too much winter!

Next morning was bedlam. The driveway was blocked by cars sliding everywhere; people parked wherever they could to load up and then blocking the driveway for other cars; the cleaners were in to service all the apartments. or at least, a few cleaners were in. Most couldn't get in to work that day.
And we had to drag our luggage to the road, about 100 metres over bumpy ice which is what yesterday's snow had become. husband carried buckets of warm water to de-ice the car windscreens. Everybody else was doing the same. That's the thing with time-share - EVERYBODY is checking out at the same time. Cars were bumping into each other, the driveways were blocked - and husband was feeling smug because he had moved the car the night before.
We couldn't get the snow off the car roof so we left it there. As we drove off we did it very carefully - the road was coated in several inches of ice. We headed out of town, we had to make it to the next major town to get the kids to the airport for their flight the next day. easy child was now starting to panic; BF1 was talking about hiring a helicopter to fly them to the village. And the sky was heavy and purple - more snow ahead, right where we were going. We'd decided not to stay in the village resort - it would have been very expensive. We chose to drive as far as possible towards the airport.

husband kept stopping to check the chains. They weren't on right and it was bothering him. At one point we were driving down a hill and trickles of water washed across the windscreen. Then everything went dark suddenly, as the roofload of snow slid forward, obliterating the view completely. This didn't help the increasing anxiety.
I tried to lighten things a bit - worrying was not going to change a thing, so I organised a sweep. "When is it going to begin to snow next? I vote for 11.30 pm - what time do you think?"
Slowly they chimed in with their time and as each interval ticked past, we loudly announced that that person had just lost. They then had to pick another time, later than the others. All this to pass what should have been an hour's drive and had already taken two, without us even being half way.

Around us we could see cars in ditches, abandoned. Others sped past, no chains on at all. The advice was for chains to be on and no articulated vehicles or anything being towed, on the road at all. And up ahead, the sky was purple over the Kawarei Gorge, the highest point of our drive.
The snow began as we got close to the Gorge. It was sleet to begin with but as we climbed higher the flakes were dry and very big. Then a road block, with cones just being put out. BF1 was muttering, "If only we'd gone faster, or not stopped..." but we found out later that if we had, we'd have had to turn back later in a dangerous drive, or got stuck.

We turned back and headed for the nearest village. We found a motel with a family unit and checked in. The heating was off, they turned it on. They let BF1 piggyback his laptop onto their Internet (no charge) and let easy child use the phone to call the airline, toll-free. The airline advised easy child to change the booking from the next day (Saturday) to the Monday, since the airport was likely to remain closed through the next day and they would have a backlog of people to shift anyway. They then faxed this advice through - again, no charge.
We went out to buy some lunch and also bought some tinned soup for emergency dinner if needed. easy child was throwing up with anxiety. We had given BF1 & easy child the main bedroom -we kept taking turns. It was still cold, the thermostat kept cutting out even though the room temperature was clearly not 20 degrees C (closer to 2). I was snuggled under a quilt on the living room bed and could see BF1 in their bed, on his laptop. husband was on the phone to his mother back in Australia and we could hear him say, "They've turned the thermostat on for us here, it's getting lovely and warm now," and the horrified, disbelieving expression on BF1's face as he met my eyes - priceless! husband couldn't see him and wondered why I was trying to stifle a laugh. I got up and turned up the thermostat. BF1 silently applauded.

Next morning it started to snow again. Then stopped. The sun came out. Should we go? But the road was still closed. We listened to the forecast - more snow. husband & I drove to look. The roadblock was open. He didn't want to go, he was scared to risk the most precious people in his life, he said. But I knew easy child would continue to throw up from anxiety if we didn't go, we had to take the chance. besides, the road was open. For now.
Back at the motel, the proprietor advised, "My mate runs the local garage. He also is the loca two truck operator, there's fifty cars stuck in the Gorge, he's been in there all morning pulling them out. Idiots, mostly, no chains. If you go carefully, with chains, you'll be right."

So we did. easy child was now calmer, but husband was in a panic, scared this was a huge mistake. We drove past cars in ditches, unhitched trailers and this only made husband more nervous until we pointed out, "None of these abandoned vehicles has chains on. And most of the cars we see now, DO have chains. We're going to be OK because we're doing the right thing."
The snow ploughs had been out but had trouble getting round the breakdowns. Plus, they only dealt with the main roads, not in the villages. We could see that a lot of properties were going to be impassable for a long time.

The Kawarei Gorge was sloping, icy, snowing and scary. Ice was everywhere, under the in layer of snow. The place where we'd been gold-panning two days earlier was covered completely.

As we came out of the gorge the road climbed higher into Queenstown and the snow really began. We know the road was closed again, behind us, but as we reached the outskirts of Queenstown we knew we were there. We rang the motel where we'd been staying - they had held our room for us, just in case (lovely people!) and let them know they could make the room up now!

As we passed the airport, a plane took off - the one that easy child & BF1 had been booked on originally, and 'wouldn't be happening' - it was the first plane out in two days. And the last for a few more days.

We stayed in Queenstown for several days, each morning discovering the airport still closed and the kids still stranded. We finally left them on Monday, at the airport. They had managed to get an earlier flight and we watched then check in and go through the gates before we left, to drive back the way we'd come, heading to Christchurch. So much of what we had planned, had had to change because of this.
We were several hours along the road, past the next possible danger point on the road, when the phone rang. easy child. "We were on the plane, on the tarmac, taxied to the end of the runway. And we sat there. Finally they unloaded us - we're still in Queenstown." For safety reasons, the airport had closed, the pilot simply wasn't willing to take off on an icy runway.

Next day they rang again. "The runway is clear, we're about to get on the plane for Christchurch, and then to Sydney. We'll call from Christchurch."
They made it. We got into Christchurch only an hour after they took off for Sydney.
Three days later we also flew out of Christchurch. The airport announcements were telling us that Queenstown airport was closed again.

New Zealand is a wonderful, beautiful place. That snowstorm was said to be the worst for 100 years. It was still a beautiful place, even with snow everywhere. But if/when we go there again, we'll make some changes.