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Dream Trip A Reality For Riverbank Family
Marissa Foster, her mother, and two kids won a Disneyland trip from Visit California. Photo Contributed
Local siblings, Avery in his Cars Land T-shirt and Finley in her Cinderella princess dress, enjoyed a trip to Disneyland with their family last month thanks to a riveting submission to Visit California. Photo Contributed
Young Finley finally got to celebrate her birthday at Disneyland. Photo Contributed
cars land
The favorite stop for Avery was not surprising; he had the best time at Cars Land. Photo Contributed

Riverbank resident Marissa Foster won a Disneyland getaway after having to cancel a highly anticipated trip last year. The single mom of two submitted her story to Visit California during their “Dreaming On In California” campaign and won.

In May, Visit California launched the “Dreaming On” program to offer people that may have missed milestones, celebrations, and moments last year due to the pandemic an opportunity to share their story and make those dreams come true this year. The Dreaming On experiences included a sunset dinner prepared by Curtis Stone for 10 to 15 couples, a San Diego Padres game, luxury road trips, 10 micro-weddings in Napa, and the ultimate theme park experience at Disneyland.

They received thousands of stories of missed moments and canceled events and in June a few lucky California residents received an epic experience. Foster, along with her two kids and her mother, received the ultimate theme park experience with a two night stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, three-day Park Hopper tickets to Disneyland and California Adventure, and a one-day Disneyland Resort VIP tour.

They had planned to celebrate her daughter’s fifth birthday at Disneyland in March 2020 and had made all the reservations including a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience to turn her daughter into a princess … and then everything shut down.

“We were pretty crushed but it is a pandemic; what are you going to do,” said Foster. “So we delayed it until September and we still couldn’t go and then at that point we just canceled it. We will just wait and see what happens. We don’t know what the world is going to look like in 2021 and beyond.”

When she submitted her story about how hard it is to go on expensive vacations and as a single mom she works really hard to give her children great experiences, she was hopeful that her story would be selected.

“I was totally shocked and surprised,” expressed Foster. “I immediately called my mom kind of crying and screaming. I didn’t tell the kids right away. I wanted to tell them in a cute way. I have a video of (kids) Avery and Finley; and they were just absolutely bonkers.”

Foster, her mother, and the two kids hit the road at the end of June and checked into the Grand Californian Hotel to enjoy their experience for three days.

“I was really grateful that she is retired and could take the time to come with us,” added Foster of her mother. “She is a big Disney fan so that was fun for her, too. It (hotel) is absolutely incredible right there in the park which I have never stayed right there in the park. It is just incredible. We had Hopper passes so we were able to go to both parks all three days.”

The first day at the park the family was treated to a VIP experience which included a tour guide, access to the front of the line, information, tips, and facts.

“It was an incredible experience. We had the sweetest tour guide. Her name was Judy. She took us wherever we wanted to go and to the front of every line. She gave us really good information and tips. Some facts about the rides and Walt Disney it was just really fun and the kids they loved it. They spoiled us, honestly.”

Avery had a magical moment at Cars Land where he saw Mater and Lightning McQueen and rode the tractor ride.

Finley, who is now six, got to have her princess moment and picked out a princess dress at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique which she chose Cinderella. On their way out of the boutique they ran into Cinderella.

“So they got to spin their dresses together and take a picture,” expressed Foster. “I cried. That was one of those moments that made the trip for me to. She got to have that magic princess moment. It was incredible. It was such a cool experience.”

At the time the parks were only at 40 percent capacity which Foster noted was perfect, as that gave them minimal wait times for the rides.

Foster grew up in Riverbank and graduated from Riverbank High School in 2004. She went to college in Santa Barbara and moved to Napa after college for about 10 years. She returned to Riverbank to be close to her parents in 2018.