• Jana

Winter Holiday Break: Day 4 and Counting. Sometimes Covid is a (Good) Gift that Keeps on Giving.

In 2019, my mom's Christmas gift to us was a nine-month pass to Universal Studios. It was such a wonderful gift and the kids were so excited to use it in 2020. Two sentences in and you might already be guessing where this is headed.


We planned our first visit well in advance on a staff development day, which fell on Monday January 27, 2020, the day after Kobe Bryant died. Needless to say, this tragic event all but wiped out my desire to attend the park with the kids. Nonetheless, as a mom, I had to soldier on and take the kids anyway. I was pretty down the entire day, but the kids managed to enjoy themselves. .That was supposed to be our first visit of many that year. Those visits never happed. Rather, Covid did.


Our yearly pass, given to us by my mom, was the last thing on my mind when we went into lock down six weeks later, nor did it enter my mind again for the entirety of 2020. I, along with every other parent who was homeschooling their children, was just trying to survive each day, especially once my mom passed away in September of that year.


The first half of 2021 didn't shape up to be much better, so Universal Studios and any pass that we may have had probably never entered my mind. Finally, however, by the early summer of 2021 I started to wonder if Universal Studios would ever re-open and if so, what would become of our passes. I put Garin on the case to research it. He found out that in fact it had reopened in the spring sometime and our passes had been reinstated. The clock was ticking on them, apparently.


By then it was too hot to go, so we were out of luck. I knew it would remain that way, most likely until November (California + global warming = avoidance of Universal Studios). Between the weather and the lack of a school holiday, it seemed we would never get back to us use our passes. Finally we were able to go over Thanksgiving Break, nearly two years after my mom gifted us the original passes. Today was our third (and final) visit, as our passes expire in about a week.


So a gift, given to us by my mom two years ago, is still giving, strangely, due to Covid. My mom has been gone 15 months and yet, because of Covid we are still enjoying her last Christmas gift to us. Thank you, Mom!


We arrived bright and early, at 8:30 this morning, to avoid the crowds.


I put the kids in N95 masks, to provide an extra layer of protection, given the current surge of Covid.


So many great and colorful photo ops.


It was Christmas everywhere at Universal Studios, including Whoville, Springfield and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.


We got to meet Max, one of the dog actors, who was all dressed up and greeting guests. What a sweetheart!


No worry about excessive heat today. The weather was perfect!


Since I can't go on any rides (interminable motion sickness), I have to find ways to amuse myself while the kids have fun. The drill is that I stand in line with them until they get to the front and on the ride. Then I have to exit the ride and wait outside until they are done. Barrels of fun! Today I took this selfie (which I pride myself in never doing), whilst waiting outside The Simpson's Ride. Boredom will lead you to do anything!


Since we knew it would be crowded today given the proximity to Christmas, the kids and I had a deal that we would only stay until 12 or 1. As lure to get them out of the park, I promised to treat them to lunch at one of the mediocre and overpriced restaurants at Universal City Walk. It worked! As promised, our lunch was mediocre and overpriced, but it got them out of the park and they enjoyed it.


On the traffic-filled drive home, we decided to listen to the new Sirius XM channel called The 10's Spot, described as, "Pop hits from the 2010's." The kids know how much I detest sugary pop artists like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift (sorry to offend any potential "Swifties reading this blog), so we decided to tune in for a good laugh. It worked! We were even treated to a Christmas song from 2012 by the Backstreet Boys. Like nails on a chalkboard.


Our final stop was to get some ice cream. It was a lovely day. My favorite part was that it tied us back to Granny and a gift she gave us before the world felt like it was coming to an end and she left us. Anything is worth that connection, even waiting in long lines for rides you never get to go on.















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