Knotts Berry Farm
Took the five year old twins to Knotts on a Saturday in the summer. Look at that sentence. It is bad enough to go to a popular spot on a Saturday of all days, but add summer and that's a double whammy. Now make the beneficiaries extreme crabby and tantrum throwing candidates, and signing up for therapy is looking kind of reasonable; but I digress.
Adrienne had tickets for an event that I was attending in her place. Check in was at 7:30 am. I could have gone later and had planned to go later, but the twins woke up at 5:30 am, ready to go. We were the first car in the parking lot. We were the first people to check in. The park didn't open until 8am and it was my impression that the rides wouldn't open until 10. I was very happy my phone and iPad were fully charged, since I was sure there would be a lot of down time to occupy the little people who can run faster than me.
I needn't have worried. First they took pictures of me dancing to the very uplifting (and danceable) music that Knotts played at the front gate. Then the twins came up with game after game using their hats to amuse themselves. I marveled at their comradary and resourcefulness. However, I knew from experience that it was early in the day--the crabby was coming--it was only a matter of time.
The weather was so wonderful that early in the day--cloud cover, mild, lovely. I opted not to take the extra set of clothes, just socks, jackets, hats and sunscreen (and old iPad that weights a ton and phone, and a couple snacks--I felt very girl scout prepared all day as I went to my bag to solve every issue well, but I digress.). Madi had the beginning of a blister right away, so out came the socks.
When the park opened, I was worried that the kids would see the rides they couldn't go on for another two hours. We had been a hour early at legoland last year and that first hour waiting really soured the mood for the day. But I was pleasantly surprised that Camp Snoopy was up and running right away. The kids were in heaven running from ride to ride, although, Aunt Kathy was a bit put out that Madilyn was one inch too small to ride alone on some of them. (All day Madilyn tried to prove unsuccessfully that she was as tall as Matthew, poor baby.)
The heaven that was Camp Snoopy did have a dark side however. The twins were vigilantly on the look out for Snoopy and his friends--They wanted nothing to do with them--mortally frightened. When we went to breakfast (billed as breakfast with Snoopy), I had to physically drag them in and promise to body slam Snoopy if he came near them. I tried explaining that it was probably a very nice girl in the Snoopy costume and while I think their heads believed me, their gut shouted "Danger, danger Will Robinson".
After breakfast, we went on all the rides again. They loved, loved, loved the mud buggy pig pen ride--I think they went on that ride four times. I never need to go on the bus ride again--but the twins loved it. They were so excited in the planes and Madilyn loved the roller coaster, but Matthew, not so much. I loved the swings and it was so cute to see Charlie Brown upside down and the tree eat his kite as we went around. Altogether, the twins are the perfect age for Camp Snoopy and Camp Snoopy was just wonderful.
By 11 am, I was done, but the twins were not. The sun was out and it was getting hot, so I started the let's pick one more important thing to do (with, I'll admit, visions of a very early start home). Madilyn saw the stagecoach and that's what she wanted to do. Horses stink I told her, trying to discourage the idea. Nonono, the hint of a tantrum brewing said. Ok, let's go on the stinky ride. There was a long line. In the sun. Only six or seven people seemed to go on the stagecoach that had to go around the whole park. I offered it up to the souls in purgatory, and got out the sunscreen and iPad. Crabbiness not completely avoided, but it was certainly lessened.
About an hour later, just as we are about to be led into the final part of the line, Madilyn(who has told me repeatedly that she is afraid of heights) states emphatically that she wants to sit on top. Matthew crys, noooo, he wants to sit inside and commences sobbing. The line moves and we are randomly sent to the inside the stagecoach line. I make an effort to get seating on the top, because Matthew can be tickled out of crying, but you do not want to mess with a Madilyn meltdown, and the lady working the line, nicely, but firmly says, you are randomly assigned seats. Just as I am contemplating the thoroughly awful suggestion to appease Madilyn, that we will ride again, two ladies in line who have been assigned to sit on top offer to let the kids ride with them. Madilyn jumps over to their part of the line and commences to introduce herself and her brother. As an afterthought she says, and that's my aunt. I explain that Matthew wants to sit inside, as if there was any possibility he could be unglued from my side after a stranger spoke to him. So they offed a seat up top to the kids in the group behind us. Our group of about 12 (that stagecoach really did pack them in) rearranged itself so that all the kids (except Matthew) got to sit up top.
Now I was impressed all day by how helpful and really nice the staff was at Knotts, but for people who had stood in the same line for an hour in the sun to be so nice really warmed my heart.
The horses were plenty stinkie and I'd prefer to never go again, but I have to admit I was glad we went.
So my heart warmed self decided not to leave so early. I had never seen the ice capade show (zero personal interest), but it was something in the air conditioning to do, that would keep us occupied at Knotts that didn't involve waiting in line in the sun (or so I thought). We had about an hour and a half to kill before the show started, so I found some shade and offered lunch. Too early--no takers. However, Madilyn did find an ice cream place and that was a treat I had promised at some point. She would be the leader--don't run over me with the stroller she said. So damn cute. One scoop cost about six bucks and would have fed an army, so after I spent more money on two cones then I spend grudgingly on diet coke for a week, and tersely demanded cutting the portion they handed to a five year old in half, we retreated to the shade to eat ice cream. I had grabbed what I thought was a lot on napkins, but it proved woefully inadequate. Three fourths of each cone was thrown away, but Madilyn did make a valiant effort. When it was dripping down her arm and her hand was a sticky chocolate mess, she had to admit defeat. She tried to salvage as much as she could by licking her arm and hand, but the threat that her hand might touch me proved too great a risk and she was whisked off to the restroom for a thorough cleaning.
The iPad and phone and packed crackers kept us sane for the next hour and then they opened the line for the show. This is great, I thought, it's about 15 minutes til the show--they get us right in to be seated, it's a big theater, there's not that many people down here--score. The first warning sign was that the line was up hill. Pushing the twins (with all that fresh chocolate in them) was hard work. Second, it was really hot now. There was a cover over the line, so we weren't in the sun, but it was a tent cover and it was really hot. Then the line stopped. They weren't letting us in just yet. Then they wanted us "to fill all the spaces" in the line, so we were packed in tighter and tighter. Then I looked back and now there were a ton of people behind us. A TON. and we waited and waited. The kids were really crabby now as only over tired, over stimulated and over chocolate five year olds can be. In and out of the stroller they went, both of them wanting me to carry them--so not happening. It seemed to last for hours, but when we finally got inside, it had only been 15 minutes. So the listed start time is the time they open the doors, not the start of the show. The kids wanted to sit at the very back and it dawns on me (far too late) that they don't mind seeing Snoopy from far away but they really want to keep their distance. I'm already not a big ice skating fan--oh joy. Both kids wanted to sit on my lap and both were angling for a nap. A nap was sounding awesome to me as well, and I did close my eyes a few times.
However, the skating was amazing. It was such a tiny stage and there were really only about three or four accomplished skaters, but wow, did they bring it. The kids only were interested when Snoopy was out and Knotts was very clever to incorporate cartoons into the show and it was air conditioned and out of the sun--all excellent points to recommend it.
Refreshed, we decided to hit Camp Snoopy hard again and went on all their favorite rides again. Then we had a very nice late lunch, except Matthew didn't eat. There was no more dessert I was willing to offer after the ice cream lose, so I remembered he'd had a good breakfast and there was an apple in the car and I got over it. Now I had to figure out how to get them to the car. They were not going to want to leave. We did their last favorite ride and just as they geared up to go into full tantrum mode, I went to the one souvenir before we leave trick. Worked like a charm. In fact their souvenirs were so small and easily chosen, I almost bought them a Charlie Brown movie--almost--darn thing was expensive. I held the bag with the souvenirs tight as we made our way out of the park, carrots on a stick. Matthew's stomach hurt, code for pick me up. Madilyn's feet hurt, much less subtle code for pick me up. Aunt Kathy wanted to break the world record for how fast can we get to the car and it didn't hurt one bit that we had the first parking spot closest to the entrance, because we had been the first ones there.
The kids are asleep--holding their Snoopy dolls--just because they don't want to meet him in person, doesn't mean they don't love Snoopy. What an awesome day this was.