The beginning of a new year is a chance to look back and remember all of the things that have happened in the last 365 days. Sharon and I were talking on New Year’s Eve and realized that things we did at the beginning of 2019 seemed like they happened years ago.
Here’s a look back at the best moments I had in 2019.
In March, I set off on the first business trip of my career. While I was thinking about how I’d be spending a week away from home, Sharon was planning her own trip to surprise me while I was away. Her plan worked.
Living The Suite Life In London
We have plans for a cruise at the beginning of 2019, but those plans fell through. Turns out that my having a week’s vacation with nothing to do is quite dangerous, and within days, we had plans to visit London and stay at the St. Pancras Renaissance. I put in a request for a suite with our Marriott certificates we received because of Sharon’s Platinum status. A few days before our stay, the upgrades cleared. We spent five nights in a Junior Suite in the Chambers Wing with club access.
The room was great but the showcase was the staircase connecting the different floors.
Getting To See One Of My Favorite Bands Get Back Together
I remember a time when I was in my 20s when I was having a disagreement with one of my older friends about how Hootie and the Blowfish were going to bigger than The Eagles. OK, so I was wrong.
That didn’t matter when I saw that Hootie was getting back together for a concert tour. With my Citi card, I was able to get preferred access, and I picked up a ticket as close to the stage as I could.
I have to drive three hours each way and spent the night at a LaQuinta off the highway, but in the end, it was all well worth it.
I Rediscovered The Wonder Of Waffle House
This isn’t so much travel-related for us, but I realize the stopping at a Waffle House is part of many people’s road trip vacations, so I included it in this list.
It had been over a decade since I’d set foot in a Waffle House. One day, we decided to head out for breakfast and my mind was blown.
It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t classy. It was friendly and oh, was it tasty.
It’s All About Star Wars
2019 has to be seen as the year of Star Wars. The new Galaxy’s Edge land opened in Disneyland and Walt Disney World, with the Smuggler’s Run attraction featuring the Millennium Falcon. Thanks to a cast member friend, I was able to attend a soft opening of the land and missed the lines for the opening days.
The only thing more popular than the opening of this ride was the opening of the second attraction in the land, Rise of the Resistance. I’ll eventually get to the park early enough to get a chance to ride it.
In addition to the theme park news, the final movie in the Star Wars saga came out in December, and I was able to see it while we were in Germany.
We’re Schlitterbahn Famous
In June 2019, the news broke that our favorite waterpark, Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas was sold to Cedar Fair. As a purely emotional response, I hammered out a plea to the new management, asking them not to ruin our favorite waterpark.
I didn’t think much about it but the post did relatively well and Schlitterbahn’s social media accounts took notice.
Soon after that we were visiting Schlitterbahn on one of our yearly trips, which by coincidence, was during the park’s 40th anniversary. We were recognized from our post and got to meet the park’s management, who told us our message was forwarded onto the heads of Cedar Fair, the new owners.
We were treated like VIP’s and had a front-row view of the ceremony. We also got first dibs on the awesome cake they made for the celebration.
I Got To Ride The Cyclone
I’d never been to Coney Island to ride the classic rides before this year. One thing I’ve wanted to do for forever was to go on the Cyclone rollercoaster.
Cross one more thing off the bucket list. (P.S. Sharon wasn’t as thrilled to be on the coaster as I was) (Note from Sharon: Yes, he has my permission to post this picture, even though I look like utter crap, LOL!).
Fairytale Castles In Germany
If there’s one iconic castle in Germany, it’s Neuschwanstein Castle. The location that’s supposedly the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
When I knew we’d be visiting Munich, I had to plan a day into our itinerary for us to visit. Luckily the weather in December was beautiful, and we had a pleasant visit.
It was a fantastic year, and looking back, I got the opportunity to relive all of these memories again.
There are so many other moments I could have included like revisiting our favorite hotel in the world, flying on Singapore Airlines in business class for the first time, visiting the friendliest hotel front desk worker in the world, drinking our fill of Gluhwein at the Christmas Markets or getting to see one of our top Broadway shows one last time before it closed.
We’re very fortunate to be able to have so many of these moments in a single year. I hope your 2019 was filled with as many great memories as ours and wish that your 2020 is even better than 2019.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary