because the bean wanted to ride to the park with her friends, the old lady and i dropped her off at my co-leader's house. and i somehow managed to lose the bean's season pass, so we went on ahead so that we could get a replacement and hopefully not hold up the rest of the party when they got there.
we got there not too long after they opened, so the line at the box office wasn't too bad. we even ended up with some extra time to look around citywalk a bit.
i keep cracking up at the person in the background of our selfie.
while the rest of the group went for a restroom break, the old lady and i happened to walk by the lunar new year celebration.
harry potter land was pretty crowded. and it was an unusually warm day.
i do love the details and the theming in all of the shops and things in this area. it's all just so well done. here's where the birthday girl picked up her fancy gryffindor robe, complete with a special little pocket to hold her wand.
the simpsons area is really cute too.
tram tour time!
it was fun to see parts of the sets for "hairspray live" and one of our favorite shows, "the good place."
the bates motel always creeps us out (obvs).
between all nine of us, we rode everything in the park - the mummy ride, jurassic park, transformers, both harry potter rides, minion mayhem...it was all super fun.
it was after riding the transformers ride that one of the girls realized that her wand was missing. we backtracked and tried to find it based on when she remembered having it last, but it was nowhere to be found. my co-leader said "well, i still have my receipt...let's go back to the wand store and see if there's anything they can do." and so back to ollivanders we went.
the cashier listened to the story, but said that there wasn't any particular policy in place for wands lost in the park. she offered to get a manager to talk to us and see if there were any other options, and while the manager didn't have any other solutions she did offer to call guest relations to see if anyone had happened to turn in a wand within the last hour or so.
as we waited for her to come back, another customer in the store who had apparently overheard the sad tale approached my co-leader and told her that he wanted to buy a replacement wand for the little girl who'd lost hers. just out of nowhere, a total stranger, a complete random act of kindness that touched all of us and reminded us that there is still good in the world. and so he walked them over so that she could pick out a new wand, took it up to the register and paid for it, and then handed the bag to her with a smile and said "here you go, and enjoy the rest of your evening." amazing.
and wouldn't you know it...two seconds after all that happened the manager returned with a big grin and announced "i have fantastic news for you! guest relations reports that a hermione granger wand was returned just a little while ago, and i've already let them know that you're going to head over there and pick it up." so someone found the wand (or A wand, who knows if it was actually the same one or not), picked it up and instead of being all "welp! finders keepers, suckas" took it all the way up to the front of the park and turned it in to the lost and found.
my co-leader took the bag back to that kind stranger who was still in the store with his girlfriend, thanked him again and explained what had happened. when i turned around i saw him hand the bag to his girlfriend, who gave him a giant hug and a beaming smile. the whole thing was just so sweet and pretty much the most awesome way to end what had already been a pretty great day.
we took one more group photo on the way out:
grabbed some dinner, and then said our goodbyes and parted ways.
given all of the craziness and daily absurdities that are happening in our world today, it takes just one gesture out of the kindness of one's heart to help restore a little faith in humanity. and so when things like that happen, it seems only right to pay it forward. as much as being the recipient of a nice gesture can touch you, it's even more rewarding to be the one to spread a little happiness. something to keep in mind, right?