CHAPTER 1, Meeting the Princesses
Yes, I am a middle-aged parent and I just took my first trip to a Disney resort (Disney World, to be exact). I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the sheer size of the resort, but a motivator to take the plunge was that my own little girl is in what I’d describe as her “Disney princess sweet spot,” which is a nice way of saying she’s obsessed. Since she’s been old enough to care about Halloween, she’s portrayed (in order) Aurora from Sleeping Beauty; Merida from Brave; and Ariel from The Little Mermaid; and if she could portray two princesses at once, she would. (Note to self: new product line?) At age five, she is old enough to appreciate and participate in nearly all the fun and activities an amusement park offers. So we took our trip. And simply put, anyone in search of all things princess will find heaven itself at Disney World. The princesses “themselves” will meet, greet, dine with, sign autographs for, and pose with any park-goer who asks. And the princesses do not disappoint. They are beautiful, lovely, gracious, kind, and patient; the perfect embodiments of animated characters “magically” brought to life. There’s no eye rolling, winking at the camera, irony or even fatigue here. These princesses take their roles as seriously as their fans do, which is saying a lot.
I appreciated that during a meet-and-greet, there was no rushing the kids through the line. Not to get off topic here, but I remember accompanying a younger cousin who wanted to meet Santa at a major department store. We waited in a very long, tiresome line; then met a rather exhausted Santa who barked, “You want a picture?” by which he meant did she want to pay for a photo with Santa. I still remember the look of disappointment bordering on disgust on my cousin’s face. I’m happy to report that there were no such sloppy, tired cast members at Disney World. Just the opposite: this crew was among the most dedicated I’ve ever encountered in virtually any theatrical experience. You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate the magic; and as an adult, I can only admire their dedication to their craft and their sense of ownership in ensuring that the kids have a great experience. Obviously, the expectation of excellence comes part-and-parcel with the management-employee contract here, as the quality level was superior across the board. And at the end of the day, anyone who treats my kid this well is more than okay in my books.
|My daughter's admiration for Elsa |
from Frozen is pretty clear.
|We met Aurora from Sleeping Beauty|
at a wonderful princess luncheon
hosted by Belle.
|What do you wear to meet Rapunzel|
from Tangled? It's obvious.
|Snow White likes warm hugs as|
much as Olaf.
|Meeting Anastasia from Cinderella|
was a high point.
Did I mention that there’s a tradition where kids dress up as their favorite characters on a daily basis at every park? It’s adorable. Dressing up at Disney is for kids only (except at Halloween). I suppose the park doesn’t want any confusion with an unofficial, grown-up Cinderella walking about; but I did see one clever young woman who did her own version of a Snow White costume: bright blue t-shirt, yellow clam-diggers, bright red sneakers, and a red head band. Yes—the love of the princesses runs deep at Disney, and if you bring your princess-lover to Disney World, nobody will be disappointed. This is the place to revel in the fun and fantasy of being a princess. And in a country with no actual aristocracy, it’s all good, clean fun.
|Merida from Brave rides a giant bagpipe in the |
Festival of Fantasy parade.
In my next installment I’ll look at something Disney World does very well: move people from place to place. Stay tuned!