The Weekly Peanut, Issue 204
We have some seriously awesome friends. One of these incredible friends has helped make it possible for us to be Universal Studios passholders this year. Our first trip as passholders fell on this past rainy Saturday morning, and in a particularly fortuitous development, Daphne was tall enough to wear the Slytherin robe I bought for her when she was still a wee babe.
Our first stop after picking up our passes was at Daphne's request: the new King Kong ride. Daphne has been gushing over the posters and billboards for months and was really bummed when the line was too long during our December visit. The rain had kept the line reasonable (25 minutes posted), so in we went. I'd been warned that the queue was scary and even had Halloween Horror Nights-esque scareactors inside. The warnings were quite true.
My unflappable kid was NOT feeling the line. Every noise, every rumble had her jerking her head around. Mumbling "I do not like this ride. I do not think I will ride this again." Kid, we aren't even on the ride. If Mellie hadn't sworn up and down that the ride itself was way less scary than the queue, I probably would have bailed with D. But we persevered and loaded into the truck.
The ride, indeed, bothered my kid not one little bit. She cheered for Kong "protecting us." At the end she said she'd ride it again, but ONLY if we could go very very quickly through the line. Ok. Holding out for that 5 minute wait time. Noted. Backtracked to Spiderman next.
She dug it. Made our way back through Jurassic Park and stopped for lunch. They had... wait for it... NO KIDS' MENU. WHAT. THE. EFF. I was... so... confused. Fortunately I just gave D my beans and rice that came with my chicken, but HOW DOES A QUICK SERVICE RESTAURANT AT A THEME PARK NOT HAVE A KIDS' MENU?! Also, in case you hadn't heard...
It was cold this weekend. Florida cold. Once the rain stopped, the temperature dropped quickly down into the low 50s. Daphne and I snuggled close while we waited in line to do Ollivander's in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. D was so excited when her robe fit, we'd promised her she could use some of her Christmas gift money to buy a wand that day. What better place? Ian and I were particularly excited since we'd never gotten to experience it. People are led into the dark wand shop in groups of around 10-15 (why it usually has a massive line), and the shopkeeper does a whole presentation, helping a single witch or wizard from the group choose a wand. Daphne got chosen. On our first try. I tried to hold it together, but Ian and I were pretty worked up over how cool everything was. I tried to video the whole thing, but it is VERY DARK (beware the pixely video generated by me trying to brighten it up) and then I apparently wasn't recording the beginning, but whatever. D was so in awe and so well-behaved. When he handed her the first wand to try, she said "Thank You." Hooray for good manners.
When Daphne's wand chose her and the light came on and the wind blew through her hair, I got choked up. Her eyes got so bright. Daphne's wand is Ivy, with a unicorn hair core. It was, without a doubt, one of the most magical memories I have with my kid so far. We were escorted into the retail area where we could buy the interactive wand, decorative, or a different option. We went ahead and splurged on the interactive one, so D could practice spells in the park. I'm so glad we did.
Islands was getting more crowded and it was getting later, so we hopped on the Hogwarts Express to Diagon Alley. Our first stop was a quick visit to say hello to our friend, Ashlyn. D talked us into some butterbeer fudge.
Ok so back to the wand. Both Wizarding World areas have areas where you can perform spells with your wand. Daphne... I've never seen her so excited. Literally jumping up and down and cheering every time she successfully executed a spell.
Daphne's favorite store in Diagon Alley is the pet store. She proved her Slytherin inclination by saying she needed ANOTHER snake. She already has the grey one, but there's a brown one. She needs that one, too.
We had one more "must do" on my list for that trip to Universal: E.T. ride. D hasn't watched the movie yet, but I love that ride and I'm hoping it might stir interest in the movie.
On our way out, D made her one and only character stop of the day.
Stopped by the outlets on the way home. D shopped.
Overall it was a great day. And we still have so many more things to introduce Daphne to at the Universal parks. Looking forward to an awesome year.
Sunday was the coldest day of the season so far. We had a quiet morning at home, then headed down to the parks hoping for a fun afternoon with our friends. We did a couple of rides...
...but D was already showing signs that the sunshiny sweet girl of Saturday was not going to be around. At least not when it came to her dealings with myself and her father. Sure, there were good moments. Watched Festival of Fantasy from a (new to us) spot in the hub.
Caught a Friendship Faire.
Grabbed some dinner at Pecos Bill's (despite the picture, Maddie was not dinner).
Had a blast dancing with Bre'r Rabbit in Frontierland (again, she's great for everybody except Ian and me).
We were going to leave at that point, but Move it Shake it was heading toward the hub as we were leaving. So we made a pit stop to hug one of our favorite dancers and compare tails with Nick Wilde.
D blew me away by actually doing some of the dancing. And hugging Dani and Cat repeatedly. Ian and I get nothing but grief all day. Oh well. I'd rather it be that way than the other way around.
Monday D got to go to a new dentist. We loved our old dentist, but those out of network fees $$$$. D's hygienist had a sticker of princess Tiana on the back of her clipboard. "EXCUSE ME, DAT'S MY SISTER!"
The new place has TV screens over the cleaning chairs. D got to watch Kung Fu Panda. And has no cavities. The dentist was very impressed with her brushing skills. Way to go, kid.