Universal Studios was our first theme park stop, so Monday morning we stood in front of our hotel waiting for the tour bus. Miss S was particularly giddy when she saw that it was a double-decker bus. Yes, we hail from Little Britain here in Victoria, where double-decker busses are commonplace, but she’s never been on one, and has desperately wanted to. This was her chance to sit up high and watch the world go by, or as we soon learned, spy down on six to eight lanes of traffic, depending on the highway we were on. But it was a great view.
Universal Studios did not disappoint in star sightings. We walked down the red carpet, through the iron gates and voila: A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez) was filming EXTRA right there in the main gate! My husband and mother-in-law would not have used an exclamation mark. I, on the other hand was told to take my picture and move along by a bouncer.
Scooby Doo, Curious George, and Woody Woodpecker were all wandering Main Street. Miss C was not impressed. In fact it is here that we lost our four-year-old. Oh not literally, thank goodness, but mentally.
She was so very overwhelmed by these walking creatures, that for all of our first shots of Universal, she is buried into my neck.
By the time we stumbled upon Shrek and Donkey’s show, Miss C was a hot mess. So while Miss Q told Donkey that Miss S was evil, and he subsequently listed all of Miss S’s evil powers, in his Eddie Murphy donkey voice; Miss C was with my husband being soothed with logic and keeping her distance from anyone wearing a costume.
Thankfully Miss C recovered in time for us to have a moment as we strolled through the gates of Harry Potter World. We had arrived.
The first and only ride we did in Harry Potter World was ‘The Flight of the Hippogriff’.
Here’s the break down: after bowing deeply to the hippogriff we passed on the way up the ‘small’ hill, the rest of the 60 second ride was intense, filled with pull your heart out through your back circles.
Miss Q loved it; Miss S was curled up in a ball shrieking with fear. It took me the rest of the morning, a box of popcorn and a Gravol to recover.
All I could gasp to Miss S was, “You should be proud of yourself for trying that ride. It’s over. It’s over, and you never have to do it again. But you can say you rode it now.”
Harry made riding hippogriffs look so easy.
We decided to recover from the Hippogriff by taking the always friendly, Studio Tour on those gentle trams.
Seriously, people, the last time I went on that ride, and I’m not sure one could call it a ride, we were toured through the Leave It To Beaver houses, saw the giant phone from Honey I Shrunk the Kids, said hello to Jaws, experienced a little avalanche and an earthquake. Badda-bing, badda-bang.
For some reason, all three of us adults missed the part that said the backlot tour had changed: for the better if you’re my husband and mother-in-law, annnnd, for the absolute pit of the worst for Miss C and Miss S. This ride for our four and six year old was an EPIC FAIL.
They spent ¾ of the ride, ears covered, tears streaming down their cheeks, shaking with fear. Miss C was wedged between Miss Q and I, while my mother-in-law comforted Miss S, who had her head buried in her hat and had once again folded in half, resuming the crash position.
What made it such a fail for a 4 and 6 year-old:
- The 3-D glasses that they dawned in the first dark space. Where they saw dinosaurs peacefully eating the fauna, where we were told we were looking at Skull Island, as in King Kong, where King Kong is no-longer a banana breathing animatronics, but a 3-D fighter who throws dinosaurs at the tram and then the dinos do what 3-D dinos do best as they fight a 3-D over grown ape.
- The 3-D Fast and The Furious finale. Where we were enclosed in another dark tube and found ourselves in the middle of a car chase/gun fight with explosions going off and if you looked at the road it felt like the tram was flipping, not that any of the girls were looking at this point.
All you could do was laugh, because jumping off the tram with your kids as propane tanks explode around you and the roof collapses in a simulated earthquake is frowned upon. I kept looking back at my husband shaking my head. What. Had. We. Done.
Miss C and Miss S were on such eggshells after that ride that we couldn’t stay in Simpsonland, the tram ride’s neighbour, because every so often that area would have a nuclear meltdown and while Miss Q enjoyed it, it was terrifying for the littlest littles.
Thankfully ice cream soothed all frayed nerves. And we found Minions who never fail to make our girls giggle.