PARENTS GONE WILD: Adults Only Theme Park Day

I can’t be the only one who, during the last holiday season, was just SHOPPED OUT, even for myself. When my dear husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas, my only response was “I dunno . . . new pajamas?” Then I thought about it, and the REAL thing I wanted was some one-on-one, no kiddo-interrupting time with him, time we could use to talk to each other face-to-face and walk around unhurriedly and without the threat of small people darting off into traffic.

So I eventually told him this: I want to go to Harry Potter land with you. Just you. I want to hang out with you for a whole day and maybe even a few

A fire-breathing dragon guards Gringotts!
A fire-breathing dragon guards Gringotts!

nights. So we did! It was amazing and I hope all of you get a chance to do so.

Side note: I know there is no such place a Harry Potter Land, but that is how we refer to Universal Studios and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in my house. We call it that or Springfield, in honor of the Simpsons attractions at Universal Studios. We are HUGE fans of both franchises!

Our family is lucky, because my parents live close to us and love having our girls visit for overnight stays. When I was a kid I remember my grandparents taking us for overnight visits, and as a parent now I understand that the time my parents spent together really helped make their relationship stronger. After all, we only get 18 short years with our kids, and then when they are off on their own we have to turn and look at this person living in the house and say, “hey, I know you! I guess I’m just hanging out with you now?” At that point, I sure hope my husband says “Yeah, I know you too! I sure am glad I still get to hang out with you!”

The giant pink sprinkled donuts come with a knife, because you are expected to share. I did, begrudgingly.
The giant pink sprinkled donuts come with a knife, because you are expected to share. I did, begrudgingly.

In the 1995 book “The Five Love Languages” author and marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman explains the 5 ways people express and experience love. Husband and I share “touch” as our dominant love language, but as parents it’s often difficult to do simple things like hold hands when walking as the tiny hand we also adore are busy trying to love us too. So it when we finally got to Universal Studios, it was WONDERFUL to get to hold hands as we walked around the faux backlot/L.A. streets. That seems like such a little thing, but to us it’s a big deal.

Another big deal is remembering that yes, indeed, you were a fully-formed person before these little ones came along. As we waited for the Simpsons ride at Universal we watched the screen playing clips from the show documenting the times the famous yellow family spent time at theme parks. I don’t mean to brag, but I can pretty much recite the Duff Gardens episode (“Selma’s Choice,” Season 4, episode 13) verbatim. Doing that reminds me of when I saw that show the first time, the joy I felt when I discovered this new dude I was dating loved the same Simpsons episodes I love, and how much I enjoy laughing with this man.

But the thing I really want you, dear reader, to know is a revelation that, for us, really made the adults-only theme park day amazing. While I clearly love my husband, I am 100% OK not being glued to his side for every ride. That’s where the Single Rider line comes in; if you don’t have to keep track of little ones, USE IT. I mean, I LIKE my husband, but, you know, I get to hang out with him forever. Forever is NOT how long I’d like to spend waiting for the “Escape from Gringotts” ride, so we hopped into the Single Rider line and cut the wait time in half! After we figured that out, it was Single Rider all the way! Then he ran off to some roller coaster or something while I made the tremendous decision of what souvenirs to buy. Sigh. It’s the little things like knowing and honoring the fact that I shop better alone that will keep this marriage strong.

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