Monday, January 7, 2013
The first time I went to Disney World (and yes, I'm referring primarily to the Magic Kingdom), I was 10. All I remember are long lines and whiny kids-- myself included. I was much more impressed with Epcot. "Mexico" blew my mind. It was certainly the most authentic night time fiesta my limited world experience could conjure up. "Canada" was really cool, too. The wrap around movie screen in the days before Imax was quite the experience. They even had bars for you to hold on to should you, understandably, become visually overwhelmed.
Naturally, I attributed my preference for Epcot over the Magic Kingdom to my cosmopolitan tastes as a well traveled 10 year old. After all, I'd been to Florida AND South Carolina, thank you very much. It was clear to me that MK* was for babies.
Fast forward 25+ years... My opinions had not much changed. Thanks to the extreme generosity of my in-laws, rather than the generosity my parents wasted on a punky 10 year old me, I had the opportunity to revisit the Magic Kingdom. I was certainly looking forward to it, but mostly it was in anticipation of my little girl getting to meet all of her princess idols. As she is of kindergarten age, this was in line with my understanding of MK's intended audience (read "babies").
Check and mate, Disney. Well played. I had a ball! The relatively cool and misty January day afforded short lines for classic and brand new rides and front row seats to razzle-dazzle parades. Princesses? Indeed. High-five from Pluto? You know it. And that 4-D movie they have had me grasping at jewels mined by the 7 dwarves like the biggest dork on the planet.
Of course I did feel a little bad hip-bumping a 7 year old out my way to shake Tweedle Dee's hand. I have a feeling Karma will come knocking over that one. Still, it was worth it. I kid! Mostly.
And as I stood in line for over an hour to meet Merida, the longest line by far, I pretended it was all for my daughter. But as my place in line drew closer and closer to my most favorite princess ever, I whisked off my golf jacket, loosed my red hair from it's haphazard pony-knot-bun thing, and got my camera ready. The effervescent charming Merida danced a jig with my daughter when our turn arrived. I made it perfectly clear to the photographer that I wanted my picture taken, too. And she and I waxed poetic on the awesomeness of being a red-head.
I had to fight down the adrenaline after the encounter to make myself bearable to my in-laws and husband who'd so patiently watched to whole exchange from the cafe across the way. It was awesome. I loved the movie "Brave" before, but having met Merida (yes, I know she's a 20 year old actress, but she's darn good!), my brain has been laser-engraved with memories and glee and a bunch of other awesome words that currently escape me. It was great.
Gone are my memories of long lines and crazy tourists having been replaced with a sense of wonderment and smiles. Disney totally knows what's up. I wonder what Epcot is like now? Hm...
* MK is how the cool kids in the know refer to the Magic Kingdom, FYI.