Harry Potter studios with Dinky and mate

Yesterday morning was the morning I was taking Dinky to the Harry Potter Studio Tour with her mate (who also has a diagnosis of ASD, but also ADHD and other issues) and his mum.

The morning was going fine, I managed to have a bath in peace as dinky was watching Netflix with breakfast. I was just about to print off the tickets when my iPad turned itself off and then on again, so I tried again, and it did it again. I tried on my iPhone, it was doing the same thing. Couldn’t be a problem with all three? I asked Dinky to get her iPad and sure enough it was turning itself off and on again every minute or so. I tried to reset them, I tried to reset the settings, Dinky was screaming about her iPad and was throwing stuff and having a meltdown.

Maybe update was the answer… So out came the laptop and two devices were plugged in. Nope, they weren’t staying on long enough to download the file to update.

Out of ideas I tried to get onto Apple, but Sunday morning they didn’t want to know all I got was call back during office hours.

Helpful when you are about to embark on a 60 mile trip with 2 autistic children to a place they have never been to before, which will have lots of people there… not!

I was frantically searching for someway of getting an answer to getting the problem fixed. Online chat! YES! So I tried to get through to a person on the chat, I tried putting my phone details in but it didn’t like that, nor Dinky’s iPad, but I got through on my iPad.

I got a lovely “Hi my name is ASH how may I help you today?”

I explained the predicament and he was baffled! He said he has no idea why all 3 of the apple devices were doing this at the same time having all worked fine and been used that very morning. He tried all the things he could but nothing worked. I phoned my dad off my landline and asked him to come and walk the Dog as Dinky’s mate was going to arrive in 30 minutes and we were not ready as I had been massively side tracked by the crazy Apple devices.
He arrived just as they did so it was a bit of a rush getting everything and everyone ready. Dinky had her 2DS and my dad brought his ipad, but it had no Dinky friendly games so I downloaded a couple while the other mum had a cigarette.

On the way there the kids were very good, Dinky got a bit upset, she wanted her drink but it had accidently gone in the boot, but that wasn’t the real issue, she was upset because she wanted her iPad, my dad’s iPad just didn’t have the games she wanted to play, but apparently the error was enough for Dinky to say “I want to punch you in the face”- she loves me really! Then there were a few little disagreements between the children as they had somehow made it into a competition over how many angry birds games they had.

How people manage to drive anywhere on a daily basis with more than one child is beyond me, I remember being just as bad with my siblings regarding the games and the competitions!

Once close by, we went in search of a mc Donald’s because we had got there a little early (which made me feel better as at least the issues hadn’t caused us to be late).

We found a drive through in Watford. Dinky didn’t want to get out of the car because there was a man using a high pressure washer, cleaning the car park area. I had to ask him if he could please turn it off for a minute so that Dinky would get out and go into the restaurant. He did, and we went in. The kids had been in the car for a while so it was no surprise to me that they were a little hyper, although when they both stood up on the benches, we got the usual looks of major disapproval and mutterings of out of control children.

Once they were eating they were better, until Dinky’s friend called Dinky a baby. Dinky was not impressed as she was 3 months older than him and she was 6 and a half, and 6 and a half wasn’t a baby, it meant she was a big girl. Knowing he was annoying her he pushed a little more, so by this point Dinky had enough. We got them back in the car with the balloons that were handed to them despite on arrival me shaking my head when the lady tried to give them one each, but they ended up with one each anyway!

In the car and back to the studios, the other mum mentioned to the car park attendant that we had a wheelchair in the boot, and he directed us to the disabled parking right in front of the building. Which I must admit was great, especially as we got the pair of them out and Dinky got in her wheels, and her mate got into his Maclaren major, next to the car as there was plenty of room to sort them out away from the traffic.

Some photo opportunities before we collected the tickets, as I queued an assistant came over and took me to the machines, I showed her Dinky’s diagnosis letter to prove we were eligible for the disabled child ticket and free carer. She noticed the autistic spectrum disorder and told me that if I went to the information desk, they would let us in the side door rather than stand in the queue.

We got the digital guides, although I wish I hadn’t bothered as I didn’t get to look at mine once and dinky didn’t like the headphones, then headed to the information desk. We were taken into the big room, then the queue door opened and people piled in. Dinky was NOT impressed! She was shouting and saying she wanted to leave, she kept saying “Strangers”. So I tried to calm her, but I was fighting a losing battle as the tour person for this part was on a mic and was asking people to shout about how excited they were… not exactly dinky’s favourite part of the tour!

We then went into the cinema. We were told to sit either side of the aisle but other people obviously felt they needed those seats more, Dinky was in the aisle, but her mate was sat in front of a seat. Again more trying to rev up the crowd with shouting. Neither child was impressed. Then there was a short film, followed by, yes, more revving up the crowd by getting people to shout.

We made our way into the ‘great hall’.. I was in awe. I am a MASSIVE Harry Potter fan so this was an amazing experience for me as well as Dinky.

Thankfully the last bit of audience participation shouting and we were free to do the tour at our own leisure. I had forgotten my camera, so I was using the other mum’s camera. Taking pictures of just about everything, dinky was not impressed with that either, she kept rocking in the wheelchair pushing herself into me and moaning that she wanted to see something else. It was amazing to see all the props and how things worked.

We got to queue jump the broom riding, which was much needed as the pair of them were not in a waiting mood (not that they ever are), Dinky LOVED the broom ride.. she was giggling the whole time and the people who could hear her were all saying how wonderful it was to hear a child so happy. I got my turn- I had to.. I couldn’t go to the studios and not have a go on a broom! Dinky’s mate and his mum also went on, he didn’t seem to really enjoy it as much but the mum did, also being a big potter fan!

We went to pay for the pictures and I almost had a heart attack, we hadn’t even made it to the gift shop and I had spent enough! I got the dvd of Dinky on the broom because it was amazingly cute, and a few of the pictures-which are now displayed in the house!

We went round looking at all of the bits, at points Dinky wasn’t impressed and was whinging, she liked Harry Potter but didn’t see the point in looking at some of the things, whereas I was in my element!

We got outside and Dinky knocked on number 4 privet drive, rang the bell on the knight bus, tried (and subsequently spat out her) butter beer, ran across the bridge, sat on hagrid’s motor bike, sat in the weasley’s flying car and saw some of the giant chess pieces. It was brilliant!

We went on through the tour, Dinky loved the animated monster book and the wax figures of Dumbledore and Dobby, but hid under my hoody from Aragog! She liked buckbeak and both kids and adults were so excited about going up Diagon alley! (Which was a nightmare with the wheelchair and Major! as it was the cobbled path)

We stood in front of all the famous wizard shops- gringotts bank, quality quidditch supplies, olivanders, and so on!

The model of Hogwarts was absolutely amazing! I can not put into words the feeling of seeing it there. It was amazing! Dinky didn’t see what the big deal was and tried to take her breaks off and roll down the ramp!

Then that was that… we went into the gift shop… It is safe to say I spent WAY too much money on the Harry Potter Studio Tour, but I don’t regret it as for once I actually treated myself and Dinky.

The staff were AMAZING!!! Really helpful and understanding!

The journey home was going ok until we were at a standstill due to an accident on the motorway. The kids were bored, Dinky’s mate when bored and his medication wears off is a bit hands on and just grabs stuff and chucks it. So Dinky’s toy and something else were thrown into the boot. Dinky wasn’t much better, although a lot less hands on and not touching his stuff, she was making noises and saying stuff which annoyed him.

We got past the accident but were still moving very slowly as the motorway was restricted to 2 lanes and no hard shoulder, we found that it was a broken down car.

Again, STILL not moving very fast, and then complete standstill. By this point Dinky was happily playing with one of the electronic devices but her mate was really not happy, he was pulling at Dinky’s headphone wire, pulling at her chewigem which was on a ribbon clipped to her jumper and not the removable clasps, and putting his hands on her. Which annoyed her and was causing arguments, of course, the things Dinky was saying was making him worse.

We got past the accident which caused the delay and we were nearly home!

Finally we got back! I know that had we not been REALLY unlucky (although not as unlucky as the poor people it happened to- fortunately no one was injured in the accidents as they seemed to be cars that had gone into the back of the one in front and no ambulances were present) to be stuck on the motorway due to 2 accidents and a broken down car, we would have got back before the kids began to really struggle.

My dad sorted out a quick dinner for Dinky and walked the dog while I sorted out all our bits. Dinky then went to bed.

My iPad had sorted itself out by the time I got home, my iPhone is now working this morning, but typically Dinky’s iPad is not working properly still, I am not braving a trip in the rain to the iStore, just yet, if it is not fixed by lunch time we will go down.

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