Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daniel Hippogriffith, son to King of the Jungle

In the past five-and-a-half years as parents, we have NEVER had the opportunity to wake our children up. Ever. Is going to Disney World everyday the only way I'll get to sleep in? Perhaps.

Check out the bedhead. The fact that Eve can even have bedhead is beautiful to me.

So you just heard the carrot on the stick- Who wants to see Mickey Mouse? Disney characters come out to the village for everyone to meet and greet twice a week. Dan and Nat had both made artwork at home for Mickey and Minnie and presented it to them. M&M were so blown away. I could tell. They were totally speechless.

Eve got her Mickey Mouse doll autographed by both Minnie and Mickey. I have no idea how they get those signatures so legible with their abnormally large four-fingered mouse hands. It's impressive.

We found our long lost cousin outside. (He's from Matt's side of the family.)

Oh! And Mary Poppins was there!

Mary Poppins: Where are you from?
Natalie: North Carolina!
Mary Poppins: How did you get here?
Natalie: We flew!
Mary Poppins: What did you fly in on? Your umbrella?
Daniel: No! An airplane!
Mary Poppins: Oh. Well I suppose there's more than one right way to do things. How does Mr. Penguin fly?
Daniel: With his feathers!
Mary Poppins: No. With a hang glider.

We grabbed some breakfast at the Ice Cream Palace. No really, we ate breakfast food, not ice cream. Much healthier stuff, like sausage and honey buns. Then we took the shuttle to Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Eve loves all things Seuss so a visit to Seuss Landing was a must. There are no straight lines at all in this section of the park. Which is fine by me, because I'm hard pressed to walk in a straight line most days. I'm usually tripping over short people.

We started out in the If I Ran the Zoo playground, which was like jumping into the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. It was really cool, and I recommend anyone with young children go play in there for a while if you want them to burn off some steam or get lost in the labyrinth of shrubs and slides. Rounding up three kids turned out to be tough work when there were so many tunnels to hide in, especially before my morning Motrin kicked in. (All the walking the day before and carrying of little people had me wake up the next morning pretty sore and stiff. It took a while for me to stop walking bow-legged like I just got off a horse.)

The Caro-Seuss-el was a pretty cool take on the ol' carousel ride. I always like to start off the day with a carousel ride, because really, you should always start with the rides that the shopping mall has. The rest is just going to get awesomer and awesomer. It might even get close to awesomest.

The Universal version of the Magic Carpets of Aladdin is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Except you just can't fly high to avoid fish spitting on you, because there are fish strategically placed to get you wet no matter what altitude you are cruising at. [Preposition police?] There is a song that plays, and depending if you are in a flying One Fish or a flying Two Fish, you are supposed to follow the directions and move up and down to keep dry. But again, I was too busy trying to protect myself from the catfight tht was going down over which daughter would be controlling the steering wheel.

The Cat in the Hat was wackily, wonkily wonderful. You get to go into Sally's house and see the mayhem that ensues as Thing 1 and Thing 2 do their best impressions of Nat, Dan, and Eve. If only I had a magic clean up machine to do the dirty work at MY house. I'd even settle for Rosie from the Jetsons, and I use the word settle because that robot has a sassy mouth.

Our magic "go to the front of the line" pass from Universal caught the eye of Thing 1 and Thing 2's handler. We got a quick pic on our way up to the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride. The handler was real sweet and very muted, like Liberace. "Thing 1! Thing 2! Come visit this nice family!" Then another family approaches. "You can meet Thing 1 and Thing 2 outside the ride, thankssomuch!"

You guys gotta get one of these passes.

We ate lunch at the Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoopendous. The closest thing they had to fresh fruit were some bananas floating in a red gelatinous substance. The restaurant was decorated like a real circus tent, and the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride came through the top of it. I was more interested in the pigeons that kept flying inside the tent and wondered if my meal would be comped if one of them crapped on my fried chicken platter.

After we were thoroughly wonkified in Seussville, we headed toward the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I have been known to exaggerate, but I swear I am telling the truth when I say it was the longest line I have ever seen in my entire life. Honestly. (And I've waited in tons of ladies' room lines.) I tried finding the end of the line and gave up and turned around. Luckily our magic pass got us right in, but I know those poor folks in line were waiting for hours just to enter that section of the park. That particular section of the park had a capacity that was always filled, and people could only enter when someone decided to leave. And if I were standing in line for four hours to get in, I probably wouldn't be in any hurry to leave, either.

So after all the wait to get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you still have to wait in lines for the rides and shops. It was packed, like six pounds of sausage in a five pound casing. I am so loving this magic pass. We rode the Flight of the Hippogriff three times in a row. It was Dan's favorite, and I know this because he shouted to the attendants how much he loved it everytime it came to a stop.

There were more lines to wait in at the shops of Hogsmeade. We went to Honeydukes to ogle at the fat pills.

Inside, we let everyone pick out one thing. Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans were a must. Because why wouldn't you want a sausage-flavored jelly bean in the same box with the cherry-flavored?

We got pumpkin juice, three lollipops, the infamous beans, and a jar of candy chews for just under $50. And we were shopping very light compared to the others in the store. The line was never-ending, so that cash cow just kept on mooing. I'd skip the banks and knock over the candy store if times got tough.

Hogsmeade was very cool to walk around. The women's restroom was haunted by Moaning Myrtle and there were lots of good alleys to hide in. Nat found one and I can only assume she was trying to buy a black-market wand.

At this point, we called the shuttle and scheduled a pick-up. We decided to head back to Seuss Landing but Nat and Dan wanted to ride the Flight of the Hippogriff again. We walk past Hogwarts and decide not to go in and ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey because the kids aren't tall enough to ride with us. Then we decided, what the hell, we have these passes and the lines are craaazy long. Might as well!

Best. Ride. EVER.

We go in and the pictures are talking, the Sorting Hat is talking, Dumbledore is talking, and the Fat Lady is telling us to hurry up. Normally I'm not so excited over all the talking, but nobody in this castle was asking me to wipe their bums or give them a snack.

As we get to the front of the line, the attendant talks Natalie into riding it. Apparently she is tall enough, which serves little more than to upset Daniel. There is a nice child swap room where Matt waits with Dan and Eve while Nat and I get on the ride. The way you are strapped into the ride, there is no way to see the person next to you. Nat grabbed my arm during a particularly frightening part, and I was worried that she would be crying in terror by the time it ended. Instead, she bounces off saying, "That was awesome! And scary! And awesome!"

Yep. It was the awesomest.

Natalie got to ride again with Matt while I waited with Dan and Eve in the child swap room. I had swimmy head, like the kind of feeling you may or may not have had New Year's morning. It was that kind of ride. Natalie told Matt as they got onto the ride, "Things fly at your face!" before they were whisked away into the dark. Possibly the best intro ever.

I took Dan on the Hippogriff ride in the front car again to make him feel better. He rode with his arms up and a smile on his face. I may or may not have lead him to believe it was basically the same ride as in the castle but for shorter people.

Time to leave the park. As we wait for the shuttle, we let the girls dance to some Guns 'N Roses in the parking lot to burn off some of that sugar from Honeydukes. Dan is so into his frozen lemonade, he wouldn't notice if Tupac and Elvis started a conga line in front of him.

After we got back and bathed the kids, we dropped them off at Amberville for Kids' Night Out/Adults' Night Off.

Each kid got to pick their own buddy (poor, unsuspecting college kids) and Matt and I had a few hours to ourselves. We started out by eating at the Gingerbread House for a romantic dinner at a kid-sized table before moving on to the putt-putt course. (I totally won.) After that, time for our daily visit(s) to the ice cream palace (they start to worry if we don't check in with them every few hours) for some milkshakes to take over to the theater, where the kids will be watching the Safari Double Dare show. I remember Double Dare as a kid, and there was lots of slime, flags, and a giant nose to pick. This GKTW version was a bit different; everyone got to pie someone in the face.

Nat got up there and her prize was to pour a cup of water on anyone's head. Luckily, she didn't see Matt and I in the back of the audience and picked the poor, unsuspecting college kid who was Eve's buddy for the night. She was actually supposed to wait for the other kid on stage to pie his friend first before getting Eve's friend all wet, but she figured he really didn't need time to wrap that towel around his shoulders. Where's the fun in pouring water on someone with a towel wrapped around them, anyway?

I may or may not have done the subtle mom nod and eyebrow pointing to Matt when the host was looking for two dads to get up and compete for King of the Jungle. He got to do lots of cool stuff that I'm sure any of you dads would do for your kids if your wife volunteered you without your knowledge, because you're totally rad like that.

Note the "safari shave" at the end, when pie is rubbed all over the face and hair. The children enjoyed this muchly.


  1. love the rise and shine video of the kids, i was in the moment. eve's rooster comb was awesome.

  2. Tell me, did Matt have to q-tip pie out of his ear?