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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Vacation can be found here.
Instead of flying, Chicago food additive specialist Clark ''Sparky' Griswold (Chevy Chase) loads his wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), son Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall), and daughter Audrey (Dana Barron) into their new metallic pea green Wagon Queen Family Truckster and heads for Walley World in Los Angeles, California. Clark has the route all mapped out, a list of interesting sites to see along the way, and good intentions for a funfilled family vacation. Unfortunately, in the Griswold world, things don't always (in fact, never) go as planned.
Vacation is based on a short story, 'Vacation '58', by American screenwriter John Hughes that appeared in National Lampoon Magazine. Hughes supposedly based it on a fictionalized account of his own family's ill-fated trip to Disneyland when Hughes was a boy. Due to the success of the movie, it was followed by National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), Vegas Vacation (1997), and the 14-minute video short Hotel Hell Vacation (2010). A sixth Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure (2003) aired on NBC but only features Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie.
When the Griswolds finally get to Walley World, they discover that it is closed for repairs. Angry that all their efforts to get to Wally World were for nothing, Clark buys a gun at a nearby sporting goods store, kidnaps Park Security Officer Russ Lasky (John Candy) at gunpoint, and forces him to take them on all the rides, until a SWAT team shows up to arrest them. As the SWATs make them stand against a wall while being frisked, Roy Walley (Eddie Bracken) himself arrives. Clark explains to Roy, who has seven children of his own, how they just spent two weeks of living hell driving there and how disappointed they were to find Walley World closed. Roy decides not to press charges. In the final scene, the roller coaster is running again and loaded with people, Roy and Clark together in the front seat.
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