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.