I just returned from a fabulous vacation to Orlando. We went to two theme parks, but I want to focus on my favorite park, Walt Disney World. Why? I just love the entire atmosphere and the family vibe of the parks. Even more, I love the way the children’s eyes light up when they see their favorite Disney characters. Oh, the stories I could tell about my own darling teenager’s first visit to WDW’s Magic Kingdom. She was two and a half, cute as a button, and just wanted to stand in line with her little autograph book to meet her favorite people.
Confession: We have stood in those lines MANY times over the course of many visits. This year I was glad my teenager was only interested in getting ONE autograph. She wanted the little ones to have their glory moments with the Princesses and Princes and creatures she’d come to know and love.
Disney is fun in that is focused on giving people a magical experience. And Disney rejuvenates its parks on a regular basis, keeping them new and fresh. I don’t think there is a single time when we’ve gone to WDW where we haven’t had one new thing to see or do.
Confession: Darling Hubby and I have been to WDW in Orlando 14 times. Crazy? I don’t think so. We know what to expect, and we love being treated like children in a magical place. We had lousy childhoods, so Disney’s magic gives us so much joy. And we always love seeing the parks from our daughter’s perspective. We’ve made many memories at the parks!
This year I had an interesting conversation with someone about the Disney Princesses. Snow White, Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Jasmine, and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) were princesses before they found their heroes. Cinderella, Belle, and Tiana (The Princess and the Frog) were not princesses. They became princesses after they won their heroes’ hearts.
Confession: I know that there are some people who abhor the princess image—that a man can make you happy lalalalala…. But I don’t. I believe all the princesses to varying degrees had to grow as women before they could be with their princes. And in the later cases, I believe that Belle and Tiana are the best examples of feminine, strong women who demand their heroes to be their equals.
I love all the Disney princesses. I love Snow White’s grit, her willingness to learn to live in new circumstances despite the evil queen’s horrific plans for her. She had pluck. Sure she was naïve when she trusted the old hag, but that was true to her character. She had a giving heart. And Ariel is a winner, too. Yes, she should never have given up her voice, her one asset to get the man she loved—so people might think. But in doing so, she was forced to rely on her weaker assets to win over her man. And in the end, she defied the odds.
My favorite Disney princess is Belle. I relate to the quirky, beautiful girl who lives in a poor provincial town where no one understands her passions, her desire for more than the ordinary world she lives in. And she sacrifices herself for her father, and plunges into a world that is beyond what she ever expected or imagined. I always get emotional when I hear her sing the opening theme song. It’s my story. My life. I also love that she is strong enough to tame the Beast, to love him despite his flaws, and to fight for him. If anyone deserves an HEA, it’s her.
I recently watched The Princess and the Frog movie with my darling teenager. I fell in love with the main character, Tiana. She had grit, fire in her soul, and a determination to succeed in a world that wasn’t inclined to help her reach her goals at all. A modern day princess for modern girls. I loved how she was the strong one. She didn’t need a prince. And she certainly didn’t want a weak, self-absorbed prince! I love how she teaches her prince how to be a man. A real man who is worthy of her. She was a princess at heart long before she married her prince.
Confession: I enjoyed watching the little girls at the WDW parks this year with their princess makeovers, princess dresses, and their sparkles. I can’t tell you how many Tiana princesses were there, but they were in the majority. And the best part was that girls from all walks of life, all the colors of the rainbow, and all the different cultures in the world wore that dress. Tiana is a universal woman.
Do I really want to be a WDW Princess? Wear a tiara, stand around and hug kids all day, smile and wave even when my feet hurt? Heck no. But I do want to live my life with their attitude. I want to live with “smile in my heart.” I want to uplift other women and show them that with a strong will, a desire to overcome the odds, and an optimistic attitude one can achieve anything. One can become a princess in her own world.
So yes, I’m a wannabe Disney Princess. My favorite princess is Belle. Who is your favorite princess? Do you have any Disney stories you’d like to share with me?