This week Mothership, our Brit mum in the US finds herself putting aside her anti-Disney ways for the love of her daughter…
As you may or may not know, I am a loud and vocal critic of all things Disney and rarely miss an opportunity to descry Walt’s retrousse-nosed, D-cup princesses and their passive, sanitised, happy-because-I-get-to-be-married stories. By the same token, I’m not too keen on Hannah Montana or the Cheetah Girls. I pretty much loathe, with every fibre of my being, the giant corporate marketing machine that spews out endless, mindless, Disney-branded merchandise to generation after generation of children who are groomed to have an insatiable appetite for more plastic crap adorned with a picture of whichever character is being targeted at them, depending on their age and gender.
It was all down to The Little Mermaid that our own TV was banned from the house. Four was sitting in the bathtub and suddenly asked me
“Mummy, will I have to give up my voice to make someone love me?’
“Well, Ariel did, so will I have to too’
Yikes! I thought I was a vigilant parent, but I didn’t get that message. She did, however. That was the end of Ariel and Disney in our lives.
Or so I thought… It turns out that I am a big fat hypocrite.
(Ok, I’m not really enjoying all of you falling about laughing with knowing looks in your eyes.)
Almost every child in Four’s class at preschool has been to the wonderful land of Biz-ney, as she calls it, and is returning with tales of fabulous rides, amazing shows, breathtaking firework displays, wonderful parades and breakfasts with Mickey (if this is a mickey of gin it might not be so bad, thinks I). She’s so sweetly, anxiously, desperate to go and – this is what really gets to me – so certain that I won’t take her because I don’t approve of Biz-ney, that she has pretty much resigned herself to never seeing the Magic Kingdom for herself. It actually makes me want to cry.
I think now that I have to take her. It feels like a moral obligation. Why should my zealous feminist principles prevent my little girl having a day of fantasy fun?
I am uncomfortably reminded of my own childhood and my parents who were always dragging me off to some worthy demonstration or other and making me eat brown bread and understand the plight of others when really I just wanted to watch telly, to get to try Findus crispy pancakes (they looked so GOOD!) and visit Alton Towers (never happened).
To my surprise, Husband seemed rather agreeable to the Biz-ney outing and said that he wanted to come. It emerges that he can only really get away for one day, though, and I think we’re going to have to do two days in the park to get the best out of it. We’re leaving One behind with a babysitter and Four and I will drive down together, spend one day in the Magic Kingdom, stay over in a hotel, then Husband will come down by train the next day and join us and we will all drive back that night together.
As Southern California residents we get a significant discount on tickets which is a good thing as IT AIN’T EXACTLY FREE and we have been picking up tips on where to stay and how to approach dealing with a day in the park from various friends of ours, some of whom have annual-passes to Disneyland and go many times per year. Unimaginable! What grownup would want to do that more than once? And yet they love it. They tell me it is very important to wear comfortable shoes, pack lots of water and snacks and to plan how you will visit the rides before starting (circular fashion is best, apparently) so as to avoid the longest rides. Blimey! It sounds more complicated than a military exercise.
I told Four last night that we were going to go to Biz-ney next week as an early birthday treat. Her eyes widened, jaw dropped and she gasped with surprise. Then she said; But are you going to come with me, Mummy?
Of course I am! I said, I wouldn’t want to miss that, it’ll be so much fun!
Oh Good! Then it will be the HAPPIEST day of my life, EVER!
Rats!! (No, I’m NOT wiping tears from my eyes. I’m NOT! )
Ok, Walt, it’s a truce, but only until after we get back. After that, the gloves are off.
Update: Mothership got a reprieve as they decided to cancel the trip due to the swine flu outbreak.
Mothership is a former pop star, singer, composer, and writer from London who was abducted by aliens (a German one who promised chocolates and a cleaning lady) and brought to southern California to live in a small town by the sea with her son ‘One’ and daughter ‘Four’. Keep up with her escapades on her blog, Motherhood: The Final Frontier