Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Magic Kingdom

My wonderful husband's parent's are treating us to a vacation in Orlando Florida, and decided it was time to introduce our oldest son to... the Mouse. I have never been a big Disney fan (I detest the way they alter classic stories and I could make this into a three page rant over the way they changed the ending of the Little Mermaid) but instead, I want to focus on the wonderful time we are having. Disney World is executed very well. The whole park is lovely and all the personnel helpful and kind. Joseph, who had been shown some Mickey movies for the last three weeks and thereby developed a Mickey Mouse obsession, was thrilled beyond belief over the fact that he got to meet Mickey. He saw his house, he loved Minnie's house even better. He loved "It's a small world after all" and the Peter Pan ride. (His father's favorite from when he was a child. We went to see a 3D movie with Mickey and Donald and lovely music, and had a fun time in the great weather. My proud old fashioned heart beat a bit faster when the first ride of Joseph's choice was the carousel (Yay!) And we just generally had a wonderful family day.
The one thing that kept bothering me was the high way robbery that the prices in Disney are. I can not believe how much everything costs and how many people are willing to spend it. A "princess make over" for a little girl costs... wait for it... 159 dollars. For a hairstyle, a bit of glitter, and a rather flimsy dress. Though of course in the eyes of the girls, it is the experience of being a real princess for a day. At the end of the second day, Joseph wanted a special balloon. Now of course I didn't expect a Mickey shaped balloon that changed colors to be fifty cents.. but fifteen dollars? Fifteen dollars for a bit of plastic and air? It was out of the question. (Do I sound like Scrooge?) Joseph actually bore it very well, and received a special gift a little bit later which was cheaper, more durable, and much more to his taste! Mickey in a train.
A few times in the park I saw parents who had beaten the Disney "Give us all your money" specter. I saw one girl in a princess dress which clearly had not come from a Disney store. It looked homemade in the best sense of the word: it radiated quality and taste and individuality. And she looked so much more charming than all the other little girls in their cookie cutter dresses. Now don't get me wrong, in general those dresses are very nice, but they have that 'factory princess' feel to them. I don't remember any specific girl in those dresses. But the girl in the homemade princess gown is vivid in my memory.
It reminds me of my favorite 'princess' book: A Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett, in which a young girl tries to act like a princess by having perfect manners and a kind behaviour towards everyone, even when life deals her setbacks.
I remember the stories of princess when I was younger, they were kind, industrious, and self sacrificing young women. Certainly they were beautiful too, but it was their gentleness and good behaviour that made them worthy of the Prince on the White Horse.
But I digress. Princesses do that to me.
Let me just conclude for now that we had a wonderful time. That we managed to avoid many of the highway robbers. That we saw some beautiful sights, and had some beautiful rides. Michael's favorite seems to be "It's a small world after all" and Joseph just wants to see Mickey, though he loved the whole experience. Pictures will follow when we are home and have them downloaded. I am tired but happy. I always loved fairy tales, but experiencing them all over through your children makes them even more wonderful.

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