Here's the thing: I kind of like Princess stories.
Okay. I love Princess stories. Even though I cringe at some of the themes and the crazy commercialization of Disney princess stories, I love the classic Disney princess stories, even with their sanitized versions. I don't want to watch Ariel turn into sea foam because she disobeyed her father (which is how Hans Christian Anderson ended it). Frankly, it doesn't stir the emotions of my heart. But Ariel singing "Part of Your World"? Well, it was a highlight of my 8th grade year. (By the way, I just stumbled upon an amazing/odd version of the song. Seriously.)
I say all this to preface the fact that I had relatively few issues taking Sydney to see all the Disney princesses when we were at Disney World. When we were planning the trip, I wasn't really sure how Sydney would respond to all the princesses because she hasn't seen most of the movies. She hasn't seen Sleeping Beauty (too scary). She hasn't seen Aladdin (although I never really consider Jasmine a Disney princess). I don't think she's seen Snow White (also because of it being too scary). In reality, the Disney princess movies don't often make it in the rotation of movies--not like Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh do.
Part of me wants to roil against the Disney princess movies. Some of the themes bother me. Step-mothers are never portrayed well (as Alida recently mentioned). Mothers are usually absent or dead (even in Finding Nemo). There's the whole needing to be rescued by a prince deal. These are legitimate concerns. Add to that the marketing of princess stuff to young children, and I get a little...squirmy.
But here's the other thing: Sydney loves Princesses. Not because of the stories. Not because of their charm. Not because of the prince. She loves the princesses because of their dresses.
Because they dance.
Because they sing.
Because they are just so pretty (you know, in a relative cartoonish way). Especially if there's pink involved.
She has little paper dolls of Disney princesses, and she makes up all kinds of stories about how they are friends and what they like to do. She can tell you what color their formal dresses are supposed to be. She can tell you the color of their hair. She's a fan. Yes, we like all things girly around here.
So when she asked to see Ariel, and I saw that the wait was 60 minutes, I didn't think twice. My girl was going to see Ariel. I don't think I would have paid money to go see Ariel (I can't even bring myself to buy Sydney shoes that have princesses on them), but I will gladly give of my time when I know it's important.
Sixty minutes is a long time for a little kid, but not once did Sydney complain. She was happy as a clam just waiting. If it weren't for Syd, I can honestly say I wouldn't have waited in line to see any of the characters. Okay, well maybe just for Ariel. After all, I do have all the lyrics for "Part of Your World" memorized and have been known to sing them for certain English classes. But otherwise. An hour? For a picture of a princess?
Well, in the case of seeing Aurora and Belle, it wasn't just a picture. Miss Sleeping Beauty made sure that the 70 minute wait was totally worth it. She spent 5 minutes oohing and ahhing over Sydney, declaring her as a younger sister because they shared hair color. You should have seen Sydney. She was in heaven.
Unfortunately, my camera didn't take the best pictures, but I'm calling it good enough (although I would be lying if I said I didn't consider buying the professional photograph for $15). Sydney doesn't even know who Sleeping Beauty is, but it was enough that this woman in a gorgeous pink dress made her feel like royalty.
Personally, I was hoping that Cinderella was going to be in the Princess Tent (I'm a fan), but evidently she was busy. So we visited Belle.
We had actually visited Belle the day before at Belle's Story Time (which is the more efficient way of seeing her because the line is much shorter, especially if you're sitting along the back on the right side).
It's possible it would have been enough if we had just seen Belle. Just heard the story. Just got to visit with Belle for a minute, whereby she said to Sydney, "Oh my! What beautiful hair you have!" That memory alone has stuck with Syd.
But I knew that Sydney wanted to see those princesses in their beautiful dresses. She wanted to be part of the magic and see what those fabulous dresses were like up close and personal. I had no problem with that. My mission was to make Sydney's dreams come true.
Because whatever you think about Disney, they do a pretty good job of letting you know that wishing and dreaming are important. And that's good stuff in my book.