The Weekly Peanut, Issue 192
We went to dinner at Ava's house last Wednesday. Don't worry the girls didn't eat that plastic food, there was real food. They did, however, get awfully distracted by Hocus Pocus on TV.
Eager to cram as much time in with Amy & Liv as possible their last weekend here, we scooted down to Hollywood Studios after work. Daphne finally got to wear her BB8 dress she got for her birthday from Bella. We waited outside the park for them to catch the bus from MK.
BTW- Daphne loves Amy and repeatedly asked to sit with her on rides throughout the weekend. Shortly after their arrival, some famous friends came out to say hi.
Aladdin weaved a magic spell over my kid; she pretty much completely ignored Jasmine while she giggled uproariously over absolutely EVERYTHING he had to say. He put a flower in her hair; she blushed. He talked about broccoli on pizza; she cackled. He told her he couldn't think of anything else to say; she laughed uproariously. If I ever can't find my kid, it's because she's run away on a magic carpet to Agrabah. Help.
Jasmine eventually got a hug. Sort of. I suggested Daphne give Jasmine a hug, and she turned and gave ALADDIN aka Mr Jasmine a hug first.
Spent some quality time with Mulan, telling her all about when I cooked Mushu Chicken for dinner.
This was the point that Daphne started insisting on Group Hugs. She's been really into "cuddle parties" (Thanks, Finding Dory otters) and group hugs recently. The girls decided to go say hi to Robin Hood next. That saucy fox took turns kissing the girls to giggles over and over again.
The girls ran to see Mary Poppins. There was twirling, kissing Polly, and Step In Time lessons.
Daphne called for a group hug, and this time I got a photo.
Daphne wanted to visit the Evil Queen and Snow White, but their line was huge so we headed back over to the bench where we'd left our strollers. Robin Hood snuck up behind the girls for a last kiss before running back to get ready for Fantasmic.
We hadn't even gotten into the park yet, and we'd already gotten more than our fair share of laughs and magic. Our friend, Ashley, met up with us and we headed to Launch Bay. The park was very crowded, but D was on a mission to find her Jawas. They didn't have anything to trade, but that didn't stop D from giving them gifts anyway. I think my kid might have accidentally gotten engaged to two Jawas.
The girls continued to parade around Launch Bay together. The Jawas were extra playful. One even did twirls with Daphne. Sort of.
We headed to the commissary for a little dinner. That asian chicken salad... droooool. Also bless that AP holiday discount. D struck up conversation with a Canadian family sitting next to us and talked them into doing Fantasmic. It was drizzling intermittently, but thank goodness the rain went away in time for Fantasmic (and also thank goodness we had gotten last minute FastPasses; it was standing room only for Standby). We sat right in the front row and cheered on our favorite show. (Especially now that Jungle Book Alive With Magic is gone, which D continues to ask to watch on almost a daily basis while repeatedly chanting "I miss dis show").
We managed to catch some of the Star Wars fireworks as we headed out to the parking lot, too.
I'm not sure when or how, but despite all its flaws, Hollywood Studios has somehow managed to worm its way into our hearts.
Saturday morning we stirred ourselves bright and early for a drive to Tampa for Ian's Grandmother's memorial service. Daphne was very glad to see her cousin Aria and her family. I kept her near the back of the room for the service (she got pretty stir crazy at the last one we attended), but she surprised me by being not only quiet, but remarkably attentive.
Afterward the family went to a mexican restaurant to catch up. D surprised the heck out of me by going to town on chips AND salsa.
D loves her cousin. Thanks for the pic, Aunt Shelley
Stopped into Walgreens before starting the drive back. D picked out a mask to try on. Pose and sass is all her.
We hustled back hoping to catch some more time with the girls and reunite our original Fab Four to FINALLY wear the outfits they got at Christmas together last year. We made it. Despite a lot of NASTY traffic on I-4.
The girls finally got to wear Laurette, Paulette, Claudette, and Provincial Belle, and we JUST made it back to New Fantasyland in time for an extra special guy with a fondness for eggs.
I don't think I can begin to describe the complete laugh riot that was this meet. This clip from Amanda is a nice snippet, but I just can't imagine how it could have been any better. I had to talk Liv into going up to Gaston while they were still in line, but then when it was her turn she was the first to clobber him with a massive hug. Daphne kept trying to twirl. Bella started out pouting, because she didn't want to share. Maddie giggled maniacally. Somehow, through it all, Gaston kept it all in check, and we managed to get a really cute group photo as a crowd gathered all around to watch the show. It was too much fun.
Livvy really wanted to go to hoedown, so we headed toward Frontierland. The girls found some rocking chairs and "shared."
Had some time before the hoedown, so we took the girls into Country Bears. Highlight was when Big Al started singing and Liv exclaimed loudly, "I LOVE BIG AL!" and the audience cracked up. We got out just as the hoedown began. D seemed pretty interested on the sidelines, and she didn't hesitate when a cast member scooped her up to join in the party.
I was pleasantly surprised by how enthusiastically Daphne participated in the dancing, not just staring at everybody.
But with twirling partners like Maddie and David, who can blame her?
Post Hoedown we retreated to the hub grass to let the girls run off some energy.
And so Ian could get in a good work out.
We decided to take a trip to visit our favorite fish. On the way to the Grotto, the girls ran into Winnie and Tigger, who promptly absconded with them through Fantasyland.
Daphne kept hollering at the people she passed, "EXCUSE ME! I LOVE YOUR HAIR!" "EXCUSE ME! I LIKE YOUR LEGGINGS!" The girls had a big group hug with the 100-Acre-Wood gang, and we continued on to the grotto.
This picture cracks me up, because it's pretty typical of the dynamic that day: Maddie and Liv (literally) hanging on Ian, while Daphne and Bella take turns dragging each other around. With all the bedlam we were terrified of the possible disaster that could have been a visit to the grotto, but blessedly, the girls were all on reasonably good behavior. Maddie may have excessively pet Ariel's tail, and Bella may have (mostly) refused to participate, but nothing got broken so that's a win with 4 kids under 4 in a room with a mermaid, let me tell you.
Also group hugs again. Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire started nighttime performances this week, and I was eager to finally get a chance to check it out. We staked out a spot and split up so some of us could get food. I stayed with the girls and the strollers. Daphne performed Jungle Book choreo. It was too dark for video so, yet again, you'll just have to take my word for it.
Nighttime MRFF gets two very enthusiastic thumbs up from our whole party. The Frozen section is hugely improved, the lighting is good, and the fireworks... well.. you can actually SEE them. We may be without a nighttime parade for the near future, but if I'm being totally honest? I like nighttime MRFF better than DEP anyway. The park was absolutely packed with people (many lining the streets, waiting for the Electrical Parade that would never be coming), so we called it a night. Fried from a long day, we promised to text Amy & Liv in the morning if we were up to more park time.
I found Daphne the following morning cranky and avoiding me. 3 park days in a row, the first two were nights? We were asking for trouble, and we knew it. BUT it was our last chance for time with Amy & Liv, so we packed ourselves up and hit the road. We arrived at the parks around 10, shuddering at the fact that some of the rear lots were already loaded only to find... MY GOD. THEY ARE TAKING US TO ALADDIN LOT (closest to the monorail and usually filled up by 8 am). IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. I took our good parking Karma as a sign that, tired as we were, we were going to have an awesome day anyway.
Since last Easter, Amy & Liv wore Briar Rose and Snow's scullery dress, we decided to bring back the casual princess looks with Cindy rags and Liv's snow dress. We managed to get to the parks before the girls, so I asked D what she wanted to do. Visit Snow White. Snow's blueberry was kind enough to let us into the line right before it was cut off. The line seemed to be moving slowly, but when I realized it was because Snow was taking so much personal time with each kid, I wasn't bothered by the wait.
At last we approached, and the girls talked endlessly. Snow gave D tips on baking and getting woodland creatures to help with household chores. D told Snow all about how Dopey likes to steal Grumpy's treats. I completely lost track of time while the girls just got swept up in their own little universe. Bless those blueberries and bless Snow for taking so much time to give every kid their personal magical time and memories to last a lifetime.
Amy & Liv arrived in time to have a Friendship Faire in the hub grass with Zoey.
Beelined back to Town Square just in time to catch Trolley show.
There was much twirling.
And group hugs. We let Liv pick the rides. First we got stuck on Buzz Lightyear.
Took a ride on some magic carpets. Daphne almost had a meltdown, because her carpet wasn't pink. Save me.
Grabbed lunch at Pecos Bill. D ignored the mac & cheese she ordered in favor of a flour tortilla stuffed with guacamole. Rode Pirates. See D clinging to Amy again?
It was almost time for Festival of Fantasy. We grabbed our usual spots in Town Square and cheered for all our favorites. Many kisses were blown, much magic was shared.
Sarah and Sara caught up with us just in time to witness the great Iphone Screen Shattering incident (I have never in my life broken a phone screen, and that is still true; my husband dropped it fishing it out of his pocket, bless him). It was nearly 4 p.m. by then. Amy & Liv were staying for the Halloween party, and we were not. I knew they really wanted to see Jack & Sally (which requires getting in line at 4pm right after you get your wristband), so Ian and I offered to entertain Liv for a bit while Amy got her bands and a place in the line. We all survived a punishing trip on It's a Small World.
At that point we were just delaying the inevitable. We reluctantly walked Livvy back to her mom and said our most difficult goodbye yet (every other time we've said goodbye, Amy & Liv had another trip already scheduled to look forward to. Not the case this time). Daphne may not fully grasp the time we spend away from these dear friends that feel like family yet, but us parents sure do. Daphne tried to do some dancing with the Sarahs and Ashley (who caught up to us near the castle), but it mostly resulted in her losing her crocs which would promptly get stolen by a Tremaine impersonator.
The park was starting to gear up for the Halloween Party and we were wiped, so we started to make our way out of the park. Mary caught up with us outside Starbucks and suddenly Daphne was leading a dance school.
Daphne's stalling tactics could only work so long, and at last we made our move to leave. D sobbed. She wanted to stay and watch Boo To You and Hocus Pocus with Liv. Me, too, kid. Me, too.
Monday was rough. Really rough. D woke up pissed, stayed pissed, raged at Ian the whole way to school. Stayed pretty grumpy that night after we picked her up from school. My kid may be 4, but I'm definitely sensing a "case of the Mondays" pattern. We went especially hard this weekend, but even on lighter weekends Mondays always seem to be a challenge with her. Oh well, better than entire weeks that are awful. Tuesday morning she woke up her sweet and charming self.
I'm really grateful that I have this website. Sometimes, when I sit down at the beginning of the week to start writing, it feels a little like a chore. Sometimes it's daunting (3 Disney days and a trip to Tampa to write up?). But always by the time I get to the end, I am filled with gratitude. Gratitude for the incredible people that have come into our lives. Gratitude for a childhood full of magic that I get to share with my child. Gratitude for family and friends. It's really easy sometimes, with the vitriol that exists on social media, to forget how much good there is in this world. But every week, I am reminded.