Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dubai Day Four

This day we went to visit Motiongate Dubai!

Dave and I knew we'd want to visit this particular place as soon as we learned they had a How To Train Your Dragon themed area. 
Our kids - our daughter in particular - are huge How To Train Your Dragon fans. 

We planned our trip, booked our hotel and flights...and then learned that the How To Train Your Dragon portion of the park would not be open until June. 

I was SO bummed.

I didn't know what to do...should we switch to LegoLand instead?
Should we continue with our original plan, and just hope the twins don't notice the Dragon area under construction?
If we go to Motiongate, and they see an incomplete Dragon area, not yet open, will they be so disappointed that it ruins the rest of the park/day for them (and subsequently, all of us)??

I thought and thought. 
I read TripAdvisor reviews.
I searched images online for all the theme parks in Dubai.
I tossed and turned and weighed pros and cons.

Then I finally shared my quandary with David.
He listened to all my thoughts, asked a small handful of questions, reflected for a total of one minute, and then offered up "how about we just tell them the truth?"
I hadn't thought about that option.
We discussed that a bit, and agreed it made the most sense.
So when it came time to tell the twins about our upcoming trip to Motiongate, we just laid out the facts; there was going to be a Dragon area, but it wouldn't be open while we there. That sucked, but we still thought there was going to be enough fun things to do and see at this particular park that it made it worth it, and a better option than the other theme parks we could visit.
(Plus, there was a giant Toothless statue that we could still see)
They rolled with it really well. 

Oh the wasted mental energy I gave to a problem that really wasn't. Classic Kendra.

So Wednesday morning we slept in a bit, enjoyed another delicious hotel buffet breakfast, and then took a taxi to Motiongate Dubai!

A quick pic before we go in...

...and we're off!!!

Sister scoping out the map, planning our day...

We decided to start off in the Smurf's Village... where there were No Gargemel's Allowed.

There was a large playhouse area where the kids could climb and slide, and really the twins could have spent hours in there alone!

The kids climbed and slid over and over until we finally lured them away to meet Brainy and Smurfette...

We went on our first ride of the day, the small roller-coaster in Smurf Village...

...this ended up being Sister's very favorite ride in the entire theme park. 
(After riding it twice in a row, we came back to it at the end of our day as well.) 

About this time, we realized our camera battery light was flashing. 
So we made it a priority to head right over to Toothless and capture some pictures with our good camera.
We figured we could come back to Smurf Village, but we wanted to make sure we got a picture with our favorite Dragon!

Sister's life was pretty much made in this moment...

After that we walked around and visited a few other characters...
With Alex the Lion...

...and Po...

Inside the Dreamworks  (all indoors, all air conditioned) area was this incredible fountain featuring characters from the movies the park has areas dedicated to...

An employee suggested we enter the Kung Fu Panda area first, as a live show was about to start...

Listening to Master Shifu discuss the training...

...and then out came Po!

I adore the beam on Sister's face here, and I adore just as much how Brother was trying to play it cool here...

Our little warriors...

After their Dragon Warrior Training was complete, they got to meet Po and snap a pic with him...

The whole area was set up like you were inside the movie, it was really neat!

Seriously, how hilarious is my son...

David and the kids rode on Mr. Ping's Flinging Noodle ride...

We grabbed a tasty lunch at Mr. Ping's Noodle Shop, which looked just like his shop in all the movies...

We headed to the Shrek area, and met Puss-n-Boots!

The Shrek area was not entirely open, so we didn't see much, but what we did see was cute!

There was one ride operating in this area...

Peeking in on the How To Train Your Dragon area that's still being built:

David said he's titling that picture "Brokenhearted"... such a bummer it wasn't open when we were there. But, we're still so glad we went!

We checked out the Madagascar area, which had several fun rides...

...including the fastest roller coaster in the park! (You can see just a glimpse of the track up in the air here..)

...the boys all went on that one, and Brother and Papa declared it their favorite ride of the day =).

This area housed the Melman Go-Round, which Sister loved an Brother tolerated (and even whispered to David at one point "I think this ride is lame, but I'm smiling for Sister's sake..." ha!)

We got to meet The Penguins...

This was a sweet Momma Moment for me =), Sister had ridden this ride by herself a few times while Brother was on the fastest roller coaster. When he came out, she wanted him to accompany her another go. 
Here she is letting him know what he can expect:

 ...bless it =)

It ended up Sister still basically rode this one herself again, as she had to do ALL the work. Somehow our son has forgotten how to peddle?!??
He kept acting all clumsy and shrugging his shoulders and saying "I don't know how to peddle." Which, I'm not sure if that is true or not, but either way, it felt like a big parent fail.
How does my seven year old son not know how to peddle a bike?!?!
Well...he's spent the last two years in the desert, and so we haven't gotten him a bike since there really isn't many places to ride it...ack...better get this kid back to Oregon with a driveway STAT =). 

We all enjoyed the Madagascar area a lot! 

We stopped by the gift shop area (or more specifically, ONE of the gift shop areas,) on our way out of Dreamworks to pick up some souvenirs...

 Oh, the money we could have spent in this place!!! They had SO MUCH DRAGON STUFF that even I was having a hard time not just purchasing it by the armload for our kids!
We told them they could each select one thing of a certain price range, and Sister picked out a Stormfly lovie, while Brother landed on a viking ax...

And we let them each pick out a little Dragon / Motiongate snowglobe too, because we're suckers sweet parents. 

Since we'd first arrived at the park, Brother had expressed his desire to check out the Hotel Transylvania area. 
We told him we'd make that happen, but we're gonna check out the Dreamworks area first.
He gently and not-so-gently reminded us of his request several times throughout our other activities, to the point where I snapped and lost my cool with him declaring "WE KNOW! We will make it happen, okay!?!? Just BE PATIENT!"

Finally, it was time to head that direction, and Brother was pumped...

We approached the drawbridge entering the castle with great anticipation, only to be met with a sign that read this attraction had closed at three o'clock for a private party, and would be closed for the rest of the day.
I felt like such an ass.
I got down on my knees to meet my son's eyes, and told him I was sorry.
I mean, on the one hand, if the park knows that an area is going to be closed at a particular time during the day, wouldn't you think they'd notify you of that when you purchase your tickets that day, just as an FYI?? But on the other hand, I'd totally lost it on my kid unfairly, especially when the very thing he'd been fearing - that he'd miss out on this part - ended up coming true, and that sucked.
He was really sad about this, but to his extreme credit, he rallied pretty well, and we told him he could pick WHATEVER he wanted to do next.

He decided on a nearby Ghostbusters ride, and even though our kids haven't seen those movies, they ended up LOVING it.
You rode around in these little cars and shot at ghosts...

(well, my family shot at ghosts...I mainly just prayed my boy would have fun and really enjoy the rest of his time, and that the Lord would help me be more patient in my mothering, and more sensitive when my kids express something is important to them, and that He would help me not to make promises I can't keep, and that He would help my kid still trust me even after I'd screwed up and disappointed him) 

(And then I offered up Thanks when my kids loved this ride and the Boy declared it one of his favorite parts of the day)

Who ya gonna call?

We ended up randomly catching this Ghostsbusters live performance...

We watched as they danced to a myriad of songs and made us laugh and groove along with them. 
The kids totally dug it, and it was a really fun little unexpected joy in our day =).

After the performance, the twins got to be the very first kids in line to meet the crew and take a picture...

The Green Hornet High Speed Chase roller-coaster...

(you'd have to have been there and seen how fast this ride was going to properly appreciate how great this pic is that my father in law snapped of David and the boy mid-ride)

We spent the last part of our day back at Smurf's Village, playing in areas we hadn't seen during our earlier time there, including this fun foam play/ball area that the twins LOVED and could have easily spent five hours in...

They quickly found new friends, and were swept up in a battle/teamwork effort to defeat a nonexistent common enemy.
It was sweet to watch them play so hard, and I enjoyed chatting with one of the other moms in the room.

Traveling as an expat is always interesting when someone asks "where are you from?" 
Um, well, we're from the U.S., but we live in Kuwait.
This mom was from Moldova, but lived in Dubai.
We chatted about the pros and cons of Kuwait vs Dubai, and the experience of being an expat family.
I almost always feel a sense of comradery during exchanges like this, and I'm almost always encouraged after.

Before we knew it, the park was getting ready to close.
The Smurf roller coaster was ridden a few more times, the rope bridges and slides of the Smurf's Playhouse were conquered a bit more, and then we made our way out of Motiongate Dubai...

Even though many parts of the park were not yet open, and a handful of things were not quite running at top quality (you could tell at times this new theme park was still figuring out some kinks to make everything run smoothly), we all agreed it was really fun, and I'm glad we chose to go to Motiongate.
All six of us were tired and happy...a day well spent!

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