Peanut Adventures, Issue 11 (Holidays at Universal Orlando)
Having a little Ohana get-together at Universal in December is becoming a tradition for us. (One that wouldn't be possible without the awesomeness of our friends, Mellie & Jeanna.) The difference between this year and last? We were forecast the coldest morning/day of the year. So we bundled up, grabbed layers (found D's fleece Slytherin robe at the last minute) and actually got out the door with plenty of time to get our tickets and make our 9:30 dining reservations at Islands of Adventure.
The weather was misty, breezy, and chilly, so maybe that's why it was relatively empty. D LOVED the holiday decorations. We took advantage of being early and the park being empty to hop onto the Cat in the Hat ride, and got to have the Carou-Seuss-El all to ourselves.
We made treat bags to hand out to the Who's (I've mentioned in the past, it's a great ice-breaker for D when meeting new people or characters). "Mommy, are Thing 1 and Thing 2 going to be there?" Uh... probably? "Well, I don't think they should get any treats, they were very naughty last time and they kept stealing treats." Well, let's just see how they behave this time, eh?
We were sat very quickly, and there were a large amount of Whos and other Seuss characters mingling. The structure and organization of a Disney character breakfast is still not there, but there are so many characters and it's so casual that if you miss somebody, you could always run over and give them a hug and get a quick picture. D was much more interested in the food spread this year. She had a slice of Green Eggs and Ham pizza, french toast sticks, bacon, ham, eggs, a biscuit, doughnuts... if anything I had to encourage her to restrain herself on her first pass. She also loved the special Grinch drink she got (especially the red sugar rim and the candy cane straw). I was particularly surprised when the first couple of Whos that came to visit the table, D asked if they'd come back later because she was very busy eating her food (LOL wut).
The Things were actually on their best behavior this year and earned treats. And cuddles. D's favorite Who was the Candy Cane girl. ("Mommy, I want that outfit.")
But Daphne was the MOST excited to see the Cat in the Hat.
D was a little shy with the Grinch, but she still gave him his treat and we all got a group picture taken. Which came with our breakfast. Which I completely forgot to cash in at the park. And you can't cash in except for at the park. Oops.
I was super excited to see Hogsmeade decked out for the holidays. But it was... not like... Maybe since it snows in Hogsmeade every day of the year, but a few garlands over doorways was... underwhelming. D was excited to go check out the Hogwarts castle walkthrough.
D would run up to ANYONE in a Slytherin robe, hat, or scarf and loudly proclaim that I AM A SLYTHERIN, TOO! She also took the opportunity to practice her wand work.
The park felt like it was getting more crowded, so we hopped on the Hogwarts Express to head over to Universal Studios. I had a big surprise for D up my sleeve: the Trolls have started doing meets. D is OBSESSED with Princess Poppy. I got her into a very short line and was just so excited to see her face when.... PRINCESS POPPY DIDN'T COME OUT. Son of a... it was Branch. Only Branch. Branch is fine, but D... D was pretty ambivalent. "Wait, where is Poppy?" Kid... *sigh* I do not know.
Took a spin on E.T. Adventure (which I was thrilled to learn is going to survive the Nintendo World expansion, amen). D asked to go to her favorite store, the Spongebob gift shop (shoutout to Mellie for getting some of these shots).
And visited our favorite little witch at Weasley's.
It was time to hop back on the train for some BFF cuddles before going to see Grinchmas.
Again, if you're going, the Grinchmas show is INSANELY popular. If you aren't in line at LEAST 30 minutes before, you probably won't make it into the theater at all, let alone have a particularly good seat. It's worth it.
We were also invited to come meet the Who's after. D handed out her treat bags. She was a little shy at first with all the new people, but the Who's were all so sweet and patient and funny. D fell in love with Cindy Lou Who in particular and mostly wanted to attach herself to her side.
After the show we had to hustle back to Universal Studios to check out the new Holiday Parade. We grabbed a spot where Jeanna said we'd get plenty of confetti sprayed on the girls. While we were waiting, Dora and Diego came out, and D ran over to say hello.
Last year's Macy's parade was... ok. This year they added a lot more characters (mostly from Dreamworks pictures), and it was definitely a step up.
By the time the parade had passed, the sun was setting and we were all wiped from a full day of park hopping and rehopping. We had hoped to check out the castle projections at Hogwarts, but the parks had filled up and we just weren't up for fighting crowds to get a decent spot to watch it. I know, the most touted new holiday offering at the parks, and we skipped it. Womp womp.
We still had an absolute blast with our friends. D has been missing Universal and asking to go back for a while. She was disappointed we didn't see Hello Kitty, Storm, or the Velociraptors, so hopefully we'll be back soon.