Dear Disney, why do you have to make it so hard for me to like you?

I have Disney fever.

In preparation for our upcoming trip to Disney World, I’ve spent hours on the disney.com website pouring over park maps and ticket prices and ride descriptions.  This little graphic comes up and asks me if I’d like a free Disney planning DVD and I say YES PLEASE and DO I EVER?! 

So today the planning DVD arrives in the mail and I’m really excited because this is something that CJ and I can do together that doesn’t involve mess-making or movement or even creativity. And while I’d like to be a good mom, I’m also tired.

CJ is ALL OVER the idea of watching the Disney planning DVD.  We snuggle in on the couch and plug it in and prepare to be swept away by the magical mouse ears.

So the DVD starts and there are all these people, mostly grown-ups, standing in the clouds. They’re slightly see-through (the grown-ups, not the clouds. You’d expect see-through clouds maybe, but not grown-ups). It’s all very strange.  Why are they in the clouds? Are they dead?  Why aren’t there any kids?

Anyway, the see-through grown-ups are standing in the clouds and they’re saying what their dreams are.

“I dream of being a princess,” says a frumpy looking lady, and then the camera pans to the Cinderella castle and the music erupts and there’s Cinderella in a bad wig and a polyester dress.

“I dream of being a pirate,” says a balding man and VWOOM! we’re on the Pirates of the Caribbean and isn’t it exciting?! Several more ladies want to be princesses whereas the guys are dreaming mainly of pirates and space rangers and the occasional genie.

The DVD’s premise might be cheesy but in terms of getting us psyched about our trip, it does the trick, taking us on a video tour of ride after ride.  I can practically smell the churros!  

I sneak a peek at CJ, who’s looking thoughtful.  ”Mommy,” he asks, “What’s YOUR dream?”

“My dream?”  I pause, considering.  ”I guess I’d like to go on that ride where it’s like you’re flying.”

“No, your DREAM!” he says.  I look back at the screen where a round and frizzy-haired housewife is describing her dream of being… you guessed it… a princess. And I get it.  

“Oh, my dream. Well, I guess I’d like to be able to fly.”

CJ is looking at me with this knowing smile.  ”And you want to be a princess, right?”

Here’s the thing, all humor aside.

I DON’T WANT TO BE A PRINCESS.

Seriously, I dream of many things and lots of them are silly, but being a princess isn’t one of them.

I know that princess fever has swept the nation taking little girls everywhere by storm. BUT. There are also girls and women all across the land who are bucking the trend. Who dream of OTHER THINGS. Some girls like to play sports and wear camouflage pants and skate board. I’m not even making this up.

Would it be too much to acknowledge all those other girls?

Seriously, it is 2009.  We have the internet and Mars footage and iPhones.  Of course Disney can keep its freaking princesses but why can’t they show ONE mom who dreams of being a pirate? or a space ranger? or a scientist?

Because let me be frank, I don’t like the fact that 20 minutes of a cheesy marketing DVD has my son thinking that all women everywhere across the world only want to be princesses!!!!!  (it’s hard to hear the shrill screech in my voice through the computer screen but trust me, it’s there).

Later in the week I’m sitting at a table with several other moms from CJ’s school.  I tell them about our upcoming trip to Disney World and one of the moms, Vicky, groans. “Disney.  Oh I hate Disney.”

“Why would you hate Disney?” I say, “Disney’s all about magic! It’s the happiest place on Earth!”

“Because,” Vicky leans across the table, “In the movies the mom always dies.  WHY do they have to kill the mom off every single time?  Why?!”

I’ve heard it before.  But still I don’t really have an answer except for, “Well, moms DO die.”  It’s clear from the other mom’s faces that this is NOT a good argument.

Because the truth is, Disney movies do always kill off the mom.  Except in the movies where both parents die.

What’s with all the parental carnage?

It makes me wonder if those see-through people in the clouds… on that DVD?  Maybe those people are all the dead parents that Disney has killed off over the years.  And now they’re stuck in the clouds in this dumb planning DVD shimmering and dreaming of being princesses.

Dear Disney, if you’re out there?  Listening with those magical mouse ears? The truth is that I really, really want to like you. But you’re making it awfully hard.  Why don’t you come on and join us in the 21st century. It’s nice here. We have imported cheeses and hi-def TV.  Oh, and the girls do things besides looking pretty and wearing crowns. I think you’ll like it if you give it a try.

Love, Bananas

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19 Comments

  1. Not only do they kill off the parents, mothers in particular, but all the female characters want to do is MARRY A PRINCE.

    Heather, Queen of Shake Shakes last blog post..No time for fools

    • someone needs to tell all the girls that THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS PRINCE CHARMING! He’s an urban myth like Bigfoot and the honest politican.

  2. Very well said!

    I have a four year old princess maniac in my house. I can accept it as innocent childhood imagination for the most part – but I do find myself tempering it with strategic conversations about other strong female role models who don’t fit the princess mould. Yet another parenting balancing act.

    Disney isn’t particularly interested in you liking them anyway I would bet – they’re going straight for our financial jugular – our kids!

    Annies last blog post..Wrestling with our Social Consciences.

  3. My daughter is a princess freak. But she also screams at boys and scares them, climbs trees and has more bruises on her than her brother.
    Even girlie girls can be tough and scrappy.
    :)
    Have fun in Disney World. I’ll be here…being insanely jealous…

  4. Somehow we completely missed doing Disney when the kids were younger.

    I used to feel bad about that, but maybe it was a good thing. My 19-yr-old daughter doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to be a rock star.

    Musings last blog post..In honor of the day

  5. You can tell CJ I dreamed of being an astronaut and an Olympic athlete and a writer and Martha Stewart, of course. ;)

    Kerries last blog post..I’m Just Too Close to the Project

  6. 1) The reason they always kill off moms is because moms are a safe-haven for kids, and only when they loose their safe-haven are kids put into situations ridiculous enough to have crazy adventures.

    2) What about Mulan? Wasn’t the whole premise for that movie that girls can be badass, too? And Pocahontas was pretty hardcore, as well.
    I watch too many Disney movies…

  7. Belle from Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. She rejected the “princely” character Gaston, was the nerd always walking around with her nose in a book. True in the end she ends up a princess, but only because SHE saved the beast prince not the other way around. I dont do the ones where prince charming swoops in to save the day.

    Beckys last blog post..I’m going to Tri!

  8. I can totally hear the shrill shreiking in your voice–oh, that might be mine– and I totally feel you. I don’t dream of being a princess, never have, and I am soooooo glad that so far my 3.5 yr old daughter doesn’t either–she likes bugs and plants and soccer.

    Annjeanette Martins last blog post..Just Random

  9. I guess I’m a communist because I’ve never been a huge Disney fan. I cannot stand Mickey Mouse. He sounds like his shorts are on too tight. I do, however, LOVE Winnie the Pooh and Tinkerbell. I like most of the Disney movies but I prefer the ones that aren’t Princess-y. Of course, I have a 1 year old Diva on my hands so we’ll see if she goes straight to Queen or whatever else she decides. lol.

    Just Jiffs last blog post..Some Birthday Photos

  10. The unfortunate truth is that if you’re going to love Disney, you are stuck loving them for who they are, like your dirty alcoholic Uncle or something. Most people are either all about the experience, or completely against it. I for one love the Disney parks, yet have no disillusions about the wallet-sucking, self-serving motivations of their “inviting” me in for a good time. However, it’s really not a lot different than what happens at Ikea if you think about it. Yay consumerism!

    Jays last blog post..All Hail The Breakfast Stack

  11. Oh, just wait until you get there.

    While there is a lot of Disney/Princess madness, the overwelmingly child-like wonder feel totally outweighs it for me.

    But that’s just me…

    katies last blog post..The big day

  12. My daughter was *never* a princess wannabe. She’s a Kim Komando, Mulan, Miss Swan (Keira Knightly’s character in POTC), Pocahantas girl. When the Disney people greeted her as Princess she told them she was more of a Mickey girl.

    Like the other commenter said, you love them for what they are. And trust me when I tell you, that all melts away when you enter the parks. It’s simply magical and fun.

    AND! They have several rides that let you fly. Try Peter Pan (at MK) and Soarin’ (at EPCOT).

    Then go check out allears.net b/c you’re wasting your time with the official Disney web site. It’s sucktastic. You can call me any time b/c I’d LOVE to help you plan this and make the most of your vacation!

  13. Uhg. The princess thing makes me all kinds of crabby from here till Sunday. And, like you, it makes me even crabbier on behalf of my son. He keeps suggesting that his little sister want Barbies and Princesses for her birthday (which? she doesn’t really care about). She got a pretty pink cape with pearl trim at the neckline (she does love her pink), and I call it her “supercape” — to match his red supercape. Why call it a princess cape? I dress her up in the knight outfit pretty often. Her brother refuses to be the princess if she is being the knight, but he hasn’t yet said she can’t be the knight. It’s the best I can do.

    MommyTimes last blog post..Enter an Aging Lady, Hobbling

  14. My sis just got back from Disney. Had a fabu time with her two little boys. Made it very clear that she can hang with the boys by walking straight up to Buzz Lightyear and telling Woody the Cowboy that her Woody was the best one out there.

    We were always the girls that were the camo pant wearing, science liking, skateboarding freaks (still am, well at least I am). But, I’ve got to admit, I’m a huge girly girl when given the opportunity. You sit in a lab long enough, it kind of loses the girly princess like character. I’ve got to admit though, Sleeping Beauty was my chick.

    Melindas last blog post..Bringing curiousity to the masses…

  15. my big tent group, islandmoms, has tons of info about disney tips, I believe. we’ve not succombed to the mouse, yet, personally…yet.

    as for killing parents, we discussed this in writing class b/c you need the kids solving problems, not having an adult doing it for them. still, could there be a better way to start ALL the Disney movies?? (mom killed off due to fire, disease, shark attack (or whatever ate Nemo’s mom and sib’s))

  16. and why are all the stepmothers wicked?

  17. I wrote about the subject of Disney movie parent death on my blog awhile back – there is a pretty comprehensive list of movies there in which the parents die or are absent – thought you might be interested.

    Why does disney hate parents?

    BTW, we’re going to Disney World this summer too, and I’m a little scared that one of us might die while we’re there….. :)