Cinderella’s Royal Table – Lunch Review

Recommended:   NO!

Yes, you too can spend a criminal amount of money to eat inside of the castle at Magic Kingdom.  While your personal mileage may vary, expect to be extremely disappointed overall.

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Disney spared no expense in terms of the details in Cinderella’s Royal Table. The entrance hall alone was spectacular.

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Then the dining area was incredibly decorated as well.

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I wanted to go through the areas slowly and get pictures for my daughter’s cosplay page (as she was perfectly dressed as Cinderella), but it was so busy there was nothing but a rush from cast members to keep moving along.

Alas, even though the details were magnificent, Disney skimped a LOT on everything else.  Considering that I had to pre-pay $204 (for our party of four) six months in advance, they shouldn’t have many excuses to not be a top experience in Disney World.  After all, if your guests have to pay in full upfront, it’s not like you’re hurting for revenue to keep the wheels greased at a place like this.  By the by, if you’re on the dining plan, this meal eats up two of your sit-down dining credits.

To try to go through the rest of the venue in order, first, you check in for your reservation (this restaurant is reservation only 99% of the time, and it’s booked up to six months in advance).

Then, you get to pose with Cinderella herself.

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After that, you guide yourself upstairs and are seated at a pre-determined spot, and you get a menu.  Since you pre-pay for this meal, you can pick whatever you want as an entree and dessert, with a pre-selected appetizer.  You drink is also included in the meal.

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Now, our server wasn’t mean, she wasn’t awful at her job, but she came off as very grumpy throughout our time at her table.  This was during Spring Break, so maybe she was overloaded and exhausted, but she definitely had an attitude that we needed to hurry up and get out so that they could flip the table for another party.  Considering that her tip was included in my pre-payment of the meal (and it was something to the tune of $30-40 without me being able to alter or have input on that amount!) I felt like she had a really, really unacceptable attitude.

Part of the children’s meal included a plastic Wishing Star and either a Wand (for girls) or a Sword (for boys).

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Our server smacked them on the table while walking through to get elsewhere.  She gruffly said “these are gifts from Cinderella” and kept marching on without ever stopping.  Again, maybe she was overloaded, but it was an abrasive action that I didn’t appreciate.

The appetizer came out quicker than expected.  I don’t know how they managed to make cheese and crackers taste terrible, but they did it.  They also had an over-seasoned salad with some type of pear (?) in it.  The crackers, I believe, were the same gluten free crackers from the Perfectly Princess Tea Party, and they were still like eating plastic.  I know that gluten free is a growing diet trend, but maybe you should ask your guest if they want that trend forced upon them.  There is nothing about the appetizer that was appetizing in my opinion.

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We had been sitting for maybe five minutes at this point, and the waitress had pressed us to order four times already.  I was having trouble deciding on an entree, and trying to help my kids decide on their own, but I felt like I wasn’t moving to the server’s pace, and that she was getting put out over it.  Maybe I’m wrong, but for $204 for a family of four to eat somewhere, I should get to relax, think about exactly what I want, and enjoy my time in the facility too!

Four additional princesses do come to the table at this restaurant, and, just due to our luck of timing, they showed up before our food.  Let me touch on them and then I’ll get back to the food.

We met Snow White:
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Ariel (still inexplicably wearing green):
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and Aurora:
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Back to the food, I settled on the ribs, my husband went after the pork, and we decided we would split those two entrees so that we could try both.  I am not joking at all when I tell you that the entree was two bites. The photos below are not of super-sized plates.

The pork was two small coins of meat on a bed of rice, just a little larger than two hot dog slices,

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and the ribs were two small cubes of meat on mashed potatoes.

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I couldn’t believe these miniscule portion sizes!  I wish I had thought to put a quarter on the plate for an accurate comparison.  Disappointed didn’t even begin to cover it.  For half the price of this meal I could have gone to one of a half-dozen other character meals that included a full buffet!

I will admit, the ribs were absolutely delicious, though.  I don’t like mashed potatoes, but these were actually very scrumptious.  The pork, on the other hand, was bland and dry, and that flavor extended to the rice as well.  Overall, had the waitress not been so grumpy, I think we would have asked for a refill on our food (sort of as a joke, sort of hoping that a second helping was possible).  So, 0 for 2 on the meal courses.

On the children’s side of things they were given grapes and cheese cubes as an entree.

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My daughter had the chicken leg with rice.  She wouldn’t touch her greens, but for the price of the meal, they became an “offering” to my husband.

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My son had, I believe, a beef tip kids meal and said that he enjoyed it.

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Then the desserts arrived seconds after our entrees were finished (adding all the more to the super-rushed atmosphere).

My husband and I both had The Clock Strikes Twelve.  It was beautifully crafted and delicious.  I believe it was vanilla ice cream in a chocolate shell with a white chocolate ring on the top and a graham cracker hand.  A chocolate sauce making roman numeral numbers was a gorgeous touch, and a small pool of custard was on the side.  My only complaint is that the dessert was bigger than the entire entree portion size.
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My son had the smores dessert choice, which looked fantastic and had a chocolate Maleficent dragon “painted” on the plate.
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My daughter, however, got the raw end of the deal.  She picked the yogurt with blueberries.  It sounded great, but nowhere did they disclose that it was GREEK yogurt.  If you don’t know the difference, it’s a harsh taste and not at all like the typical yogurt you’d find in the US (which is essentially flabby ice cream).  If you aren’t used to the stuff, it can take a while to get used to, and they should have warned her as it was a dessert option on the kids menu.
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Side note, in front of the yogurt is the plastic Wishing Star that they give the kids.  I apparently didn’t get a better photo of them.

Most character meals have a get-up-and-do-stuff moment.  Some places have a parade for the little ones, others have a mini-dance party, it just depends on the venue.  At Cinderella’s Royal Table, the barely audible loud speaker starts saying something about making a wish with your star and wand.  As people quiet down you can hear better, but it’s still not very loud.  On the magic cue, some lights flicker towards the ceiling, then all the princesses walk away.

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My kids always participate in these moments, but the fact that the staff didn’t even call attention to it, and that you could barely hear it happening, well, that was just another disappointment of this venue.  I was kind of irritated that, for so much more money, the little girls couldn’t even walk around with the princesses on parade or do a dance or song or SOMETHING!

Now, if you noticed earlier, I only described 3 princesses coming to the table.  That’s because we got skipped by Jasmine.  None of the characters had handlers, which was odd enough, but there were also no staff members coming around and checking that each character had visited us, something that has always happened at every other character meal we’ve had.  In fact, I think this was our first time at a Disney sit-down restaurant that a manager didn’t pop by the table to check in.

So, my husband flagged down our waitress as we saw all the princesses leaving.  He asked if they were coming back out and the server gets and attitude and says, “what, are you going to tell me that they didn’t stop by your table?”  Really?  This is why I NEVER tip in advance.  If you have a guaranteed $30 in your pocket, you can be a complete jerk and you still get a huge tip for a bad job!

My husband said that it was just Jasmine that missed us.  The waitress sighed and started walking away.  She also stopped by a neighboring table and said “you know, you already paid in advance, so you can leave any time.”  In a nice tone, that wouldn’t be anything off putting to say, but it was not a friendly tone.

Jasmine reappeared and chatted my daughter up for a few minutes before disappearing to the back again.  Then we were made to feel like we needed to rush out as fast as possible, because our desserts had been finished for a whole five minutes.
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Also, when I booked the restaurant in October of 2014, I was required to pay for the entire meal upfront.  I already mentioned that, but part of the “package” I paid for as a diner included a free set of photos with Cinderella.  I felt so rushed and irritated while at Cinderella’s Royal Table that I didn’t realize until I returned home that the waitress never brought those photos to us, and there was no desk or location to get them from in the castle.

I emailed Disney’s customer service and they thanked for my interest in their complimentary photos, but said that they discontinued giving them out in January.  Wait wait wait – what?!  One of the main draws of choosing this restaurant over another character meal was the free photo set, because we didn’t buy Memory Maker, and the photos cost around $40 a piece after taxes.  That was basically the freebie that almost balanced out the insane amount of money they charged us to eat there.

I responded asking for a manger, because it wasn’t right to charge me six months in advance, then change what I signed up for without notifying me.  Disney World makes hundreds of announcements a month, it’s unrealistic for me to go through them all hoping that one applies to my vacation – especially for something I pre-paid to get!  Since all the money I paid didn’t go to food, couldn’t it have gone to at least a courtesy email about changes to my package and given me an opportunity to cancel my reservation?  Ultimately, this conversation went nowhere and, since this was our last Disney World visit, it certainly left me with a bad impression.

My overall thoughts on Cinderella’s Royal Table:

  • The portion sizes were pathetically small to where the kids’ meals had more food than the adults.
  • The prices were double every other sit down restaurant in the park.
  • The staff was not very nice and made us feel rushed every minute we were there.
  • It’s nice to have the princesses come to you, but they’ll only spend 1-2 minute per table, so any experience is minimal.
  • Considering the ungodly expense, the princess line up should be better.  I understand that Cinderella needs to be at Cinderella’s Royal Table, but I personally feel that the rest of the characters should be updated to the more difficult-to-meet princesses that have longer wait times (make skipping those big lines more worthwhile!).  Elsa, Anna, Merida (who is only available at limited times, weather permitting), and Rapunzel make the most sense to have in the restaurant, as their lines are always long, they are newer (and thus more relevant/recognizable for the children meeting them), and then it keeps the characters between here and Akershus completely different (meaning I can justify going to both places and spending more money!).
  • I felt very burnt over the “free” photo set getting ripped out of our hands without advance warning.

Truly, I was not over-the-moon for Akershus (the princess character meal in EPCOT’s Norway), but it was roughly half the price of Cinderella’s Royal Table, the entrees were twice the size, and it included a salad bar.  The princess line up is also very similar, except you get to meet Belle instead of Jasmine.  And, at least during our visit, the staff at Akershus was very good.  Overall, if you’re making a choice for a princess meal, Akershus is a much better deal, even though the adult entrees are a little strange (being Norwegian-themed food an all).  Alternatively, I would also recommend 1900 Park Fare for dinner as it has really good food, and features the Cinderella cast (Cinderella, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, and Prince Charming).  We did their breakfast buffet and left very impressed and happy with everything food-wise, although the morning characters are English themed.

Akershus Lunch Review

Recommended:  No for the food.  Yes to see the Princesses in one swoop.

Located in Norway, but surprisingly void of Anna and Elsa, I’m torn on whether or not to recommend Akershus, which is the only character meal available in the EPCOT World Showcase.

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If you are looking to collect a lot of princess autographs quickly, this would be the way to go.  A number of princesses, like Snow White and Belle, are not available for very hospitable hours.  Usually, you have to already know where they’ll be and line up a half an hour before they arrive to get your photo and autograph.  Typically, once the princess arrives to her outdoor station, the line to meet her has already been cut off.  Then, if it rains, the character doesn’t come out at all.  So, when thinking of Arkerhus in those terms, it is an easy way to meet five princesses in one shot.

They say the line up can change any time, but these are the princesses that we saw:

Belle meets you as you enter the restaurant.
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Then you’ll see Cinderella,
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Followed closely by Aurora,
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next is Ariel (in a green dress that she NEVER wears in any of the films – my daughter thought she was Merida because of that),
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and last is Snow White.
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Snow White only hangs around in EPCOT these days, and she is one of those weather-permitting princesses.  We’ve had trouble getting to her in the past, which is what brought us to Akershus in the first place.

However, be warned that there are NO Photo Pass photographers once you get to your table, so you will be on your own there.  There are also a lot of tables crammed into a little bit of building (Akershus was clearly built before Disney World saw the volume of tourist that is does today), so getting great pictures that show off the princesses beautiful dresses will not be a likely possibility.

We also felt very rushed with the time the princesses gave our table.  Much like Chef Mickey’s, we got about 2 minutes per princess in.  It was, hello, hugs, autograph, pose for photos, and goodbye.  They keep these characters on too tight of a schedule, it would be nice if the kids could have a few more sentences with each one and create a stronger memory of the event (like my daughter training squirrels with Rapunzel or teaching yoga to Merida).

The princesses also do a gathering/parade for all the little ones who want to join in.  That seems to happen at every character meal, and it’s always a cute touch.
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The Akershus building is magnificently beautiful.  It feels like an Old World castle that has been refurbished by a modern owner.  As you can see in the photograph above, the walls are stone, and put together in an uneven, ancient architecture type of style (something like Merida’s castle, I suppose).

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The artwork on the walls ranged from tapestry and flags to very somber paintings.

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And even the roof was magnificent.  My daughter said it looked like Elsa’s snowflake.  While the waiter denied any resemblance, I’d be surprised if the designers of Frozen didn’t find some inspiration in this building.
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The food is where the experience gets iffy for me.  Norwegian food is weird, if not gross.  At Akershus, there is a set price, and that include the salad bar, an entree, and a plate of three Norwegian desserts for the table.  Here’s a not-too-great picture of the Oven Roasted Chicken Breast.

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It came with potato dumpling and Brussels sprouts, but they had been cooked (boiled?) until they tasted the same with the same bland texture.  Definitely not my favorite meal from Disney, although my father highly recommended the meatballs.

The dessert portion of the meal was interesting.  They brought out two sets of the desserts, which included a piece of Apple Cake (not my cup of tea, personally), Chocolate Mousse (amazing, actually), and Rice Cream (no, not Ice Cream, a tapioca kind of warm, solid, goop – not a fan!).  Having two sets of desserts for five people, and only one of those desserts being any good, essentially leads to a fight over the Chocolate Mousse.  That is worth the fight, fork your children if you have to so that you can try a piece!  haha.  But, really, it would have been nice if everyone has a smaller sized sampler plate than making everyone share.  I actually missed out on the photo opp here, but I found a picture from DisneyFoodBlog.com to share.

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I also didn’t appreciate that we were a party of 5, we had made reservations months in advance, and we were crammed into a table for four.  There was not enough room for plates, the kids had to climb over people to get to the princesses, and the room we were in (the rounded room in the castle tower portion) was already a tight enough space without putting someone on the end like a baby in a high chair.  That was very poor dining management from whomever decided to seat us there…

So, if you’re looking for a good place to eat, skip Akerhus, there is much better places in the World Showcase.  If you’re looking for a guaranteed slew of princesses, this is your best bet in EPCOT.  It just depends on what you’re looking for.

The Huge Aladdin Plot Holes

Okay, everyone has been freaking out about the Little Mermaid recently.  The question was posed (the same thing I asked at age 6 when the movie was new, btw) – why doesn’t Ariel just write things down?  We clearly see Ariel sign her name on Ursula’s contract, and I used to ponder why she didn’t just grab a stick and write in the sand off the bat.  However, the most logical answer is usually the right one.  People, how do we know that Eric uses the same writing style as the mermen and women?  Think about it, even if they spoke the same exact language, the two cultures developed separately and would have created their own unique systems for writing.  TA-DA!  Internet solved!

However, I just watch Aladdin with my daughter, and there are a number of glaring plot hole that I think warrant far more intrigue then why Ariel didn’t pick up a pen in her film.  Lets dive in!

1) Why does the movie Aladdin start with the Genie’s lamp in the hands of a vender?
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There are lots of theories on this one.  The person who voiced the role is uncredited, but it’s clearly Robbin Williams (the person singing Arabian Nights, however, is not).  Sure, there’s a chance that the vender is actually the Genie in human disguise, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense.  It sort of implies that the lamp has no value now that the genie is free, yet, in all later incarnations of Aladdin (the TV show, Return of Jafar, Aladdin and the King of Thieves) we’re repeatedly shown that Genie still lives there.  So, what’s the deal?  Does Genie have to hawk cheap wares to make a living now that he’s not all powerful?  Well, no, because he could “poof” himself a house and food any time he wanted, as he retained all of his magical powers.  Was his lamp stolen?  Hard to say, but it’s definitely another story in and of itself.  Although, I do recall an episode of the series where Genie’s lamp was stolen, and he was in a huff to go find it, carrying on about how wrong it is to steal someone’s home.  So then, since the vender knows the whole story of Aladdin, is he, in fact, the Genie just wandering around, aimless and lonely now?  That might be the sad, simple reality of his life after Aladdin is long gone… T_T  All I know is that the vender does not reappear at the end, making him a very useless framing device for the film.

2) The Cave of Wonders declares that only “one may enter.”  Except for you Abu, you can come in too!
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Please tell me I’m not the only one that caught this?  Sure, perhaps Abu, being a monkey and all, doesn’t count – but then why could Abu, a simple-minded animal, likewise be able to violate the “touch nothing but the lamp” clause?

3) Speaking of the “touch nothing but the lamp” stipulation – we all saw them touching Carpet long before the cave has a meltdown, right?
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Abu steps right on him two seconds into the cave, then Carpet trolls Abu, then they’ll all buddies.  But, if the Carpet doesn’t count as a treasure that should not be touched, I think the cave is really underestimating the value of a flying rug.

4) What was the point of Jafar trying to kill Aladdin after he claimed the lamp?
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Sure, he’s pure evil and all, but what was the point of wasting that kind of effort?  What was Aladdin going to do, stop him?  He had the flipping lamp, he could have become Sultan, then a Sorcerer, then done whatever else and gone about his merry way before Aladdin even mentally caught up with the situation.  And, dude, the kid DID just give you all that power.  Since you’re dethrowning the Sultan and Princess anyways, maybe you could give Aladdin some rubies and let him have a shot with the now broke princess.  Just seems petty to kill him is all…

5) What was Price Ali the prince of?
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He had no title other than prince, he had no kingdom, he had no land.  How did the Sultan know that he was a real prince and not a street urchin pulling an elaborate con?  Or did the Sultan just not care at that point?  Lets face it, the Middle Eastern world was not THAT BIG, especially in the 500 AD era (when Aladdin is roughly set).  You ask a boy who his parents are, or where his kingdom is, and you are going to know who they’re talking about, because there’s only like five other kingdoms in the world at this stage in history!  Even back then, there were wealthy people who had a lot of belongings, and there was royalty, so who is not checking that this random kid is in compliance with the law?
And I get that Aladdin wouldn’t think twice about this, since he doesn’t know anything outside of Argrabah, but Genie (who exists outside of relative time and space – he’s essentially Dr. Who) was worldly enough to realized that you can’t just be the Prince of Thin Air!  Invent a back-story, man!  That should be part of the wish to be a certified prince!

6) Why in the world do the guards work for Jafar?
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“Hey, there’s a visiting prince in the castle, I want you to kill him,” said Jafar.
“Oh boy, oh boy, you betcha!” said the Captain of the Guard.
What?!  I get that guards are not supposed to question orders, and Jafar was in charge of peacekeeping, but when someone tells you to kill a prince, don’t you think someone might question that command and take that issue up the ladder to the Sultan?  And, look carefully, the guards are not enchanted with Jafar’s snake staff – they are totally into being jerks!  Alright, lets just start a war here by killing off a royal visitor…
Side note:  isn’t this the same jerk that didn’t recognize his princess in the Market Place and literally threw her to the floor?  How is his head not on a platter, or at the very least banished from the castle?  No one can trust a guard that doesn’t know who his chain of command is, and, last I checked, princess outranks adviser.

7) So Ali turns out to be merely Aladdin.
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And…?  Jasmine acts so shocked, but did he not just sort-of cover that he had an alter-ego that goes shopping in the market place?  Heck, that is the same outfit they met in! Even though the prince-hood was a lie, how does Jasmine have the mental context to know that Jafar isn’t messing with her more?  He did just put her father in his underwear and move the castle on top of a mountain, after all, why wouldn’t he lie about who Aladdin is?

8) Why does the endowment of “Prince” wear off?Screen shot 2015-04-03 at 6.12.17 PM
Really, it was Aladdin’s first wish, and I don’t see how Jafar changing his clothes back to normal erases that wish.  It’s like, if you download a game on the iPhone, and your phone crashes and wipes out all the data – you just go back into the App Store and redownload it for free.  How do wishes not work like that?  Aladdin never wishes Genie to un-make him a prince, and Jafar really did nothing by way of titles and possessions (although, Aladdin’s swag also mysteriously vanishes with no explanation – what new Sultan doesn’t need forty golden camels?).
So then, if Aladdin was outed as a pauper, then that was the extent of Jafar’s damage to that wish.  It was all verbal damage (minus the cost of the Ali duds). Genie tells Aladdin to use his third wish to make himself a prince again – but, unless Genie is peddling inferior wishes that can be undone by second-rate sorcerers, that shouldn’t be an issue. After all, if Jafar was THAT powerful at that point in the film, the “make me a genie” ending wouldn’t really have worked, would it?  And, either way, wouldn’t everyone just know he’s a fraud now, which would null and void his standing anyways?  So what good would re-wishing himself a prince do without a memory wipe to all of Agrabah?

9) Maybe Jasmine could rub the lamp?
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Okay, lets say Jafar was able to make Aladdin a Street Rat again, and a wish was the only fix to allow he and Jasmine to legally marry.  Uhh, obvious solution – let Jasmine rub the lamp!  Maybe she would have wished Aladdin back into Prince Ali and then ended poverty in her kingdom.  I mean, we see a LOT of homeless kids running around hungry in this film, and we don’t see the streets for very long.  What if Jasmine even used her third wish to make sure Agrabah could never be harmed by any supernatural or human forces again?  She could have come into power making her kingdom well fed, peaceful, happy, harmonious, plus get a prince to marry – and THEN Aladdin could have wished the Genie free (since Jafar used his wishes between Aladdin owning the lamp, this fits into the continuity that Jasmine could make wishes before Aladdin has to make his third wish) – but, nah, man, don’t let the girl touch the lamp, she got her a man, what else could she possibly need?  No, lets not think ten seconds past our personal feelings to help those that we struggled with our entire life!  Come on Aladdin!

10) The whole film highlights being trapped.
Think about it:  Jasmine is trapped by her royal obligations.  Aladdin is trapped by his poverty.  Genie is trapped by his servitude.  Jafar literally gets trapped by his greed.  But, is any of this internal unrest really addressed in the film?  Aladdin becomes rich, thus not being trapped in poverty any longer. Oh, but now he’s trapped with the burden of running a kingdom – something he knows nothing about and seemed to cripple him with fear in a number of scenes.  Yeah, I bet that stress will be great on a new marriage, too!
Genie gets freed, but, in the long-term (outside of this film) we find out that he still lives in the lamp, he still hangs around with Aladdin, and he’s still granting wishes unofficially.  So, even though he gains freedom and could go do other things, he’s still trapped by being alone in this world.  10,000 years in the lamp doesn’t offer a lot of surviving friends to go visit.
And Jasmine – does anything even change for her?  She still has to get married, and even though it’s three days until her next birthday, and her father only changed the stipulation of WHO she could marry, not WHEN (which ended up being a lengthy TV series and two films later until their wedding occurs – wowzers, that was a long three days!).  But, Jasmine is still confined by her obligations as a princess.  The only difference is that she found someone she’d like to marry (or so she thinks, they really know each other about as well as Anna and Hans), but her situation overall is the same.

Clearly, the crew of this film were fans of Swiss Cheese – because they left plot holes all over this story!

Re: 21st Century Disney Princesses/Characters

So, I was about to write a post on Monster University, and how I liked the sort of coded message that it gives to kids, but then I came across this interesting article by Dad for Disney (http://dadfordisney.com/2014/09/08/the-21st-century-disney-princess/) and thought I would lump a rebuttal in with my MU notes. 

When I was first watching Monster University in the theatres, I felt so conflicted.  I loved this film, and I thought it captured so much of the wow factor that goes into starting college and joining a fraternity.  Been there, done that, and it was some of the best years of my life.  However, once I graduated I realized that I was $40k in student loan debt and there were no jobs available to pay off that burdensome sum.  Because of the cost versus the job market, I have really turned against the idea of higher education, seeing it as a self-perpetuating machine and an unnecessary money pit (since, ya know, now they want people with Master degrees to manage McDonald’s or plan yard landscapes).  Obviously, I had good times at college, and I learned a lot, not just about facts and numbers, but about life and who I was as a person. 

But, when I was re-watching Monster University I found an almost hidden message about college.  *SPOILERS*  At the end of the film, Mike and Sulley are expelled from MU.  You’re set up to believe that they’ll be allowed to return to school, or that, perhaps, they’ll find another school, but that doesn’t happen.  After what I believe was a semester of college, Mike and Sulley are both permanently banned from the only school in the Monster universe.  Now, according to modern folk lure, that means that their life is ruined, right?  After all, you can only get your dream job by going to college, if you are to believe the hype that all the colleges put out to kids.  But, what happens instead?  Mike and Sulley find a newspaper add to work in the mail room at Monsters Inc.  They work their way up to the Scare Floor after years of hard work and dedication to doing their jobs well. 

And, you know, if we compare their journey to Randal’s, we could take the inference that college makes you a jerk.  Randal seemed like a nice guy at the beginning of Monster University, but, while going through the rush process, he changes his demeanor for the worse because of his college experiences, which seems to snowball until Randal becomes the bad-guy-child-abductor from Monsters Inc.  Meanwhile, Sulley starts college as a bit of an egomaniac, and is humbled by his expulsion, which is likely why he’s more of an approachable Regular Joe in Monsters Inc.  Moral of the story:  If you hit a road block, you can find your way around it.  Not going to college isn’t the end of your dreams in life, and attending college can change who you are, for better or worse.

 

Now, for my rebuttal.  Dad for Disney (should say, I’m a fan of his!) notes that these women have unique identifiers as 21st Century Disney Princesses because they are strong, moving away from the true-love seeking princesses, and ready to solve their own problems.  Now, as much as I do love each Disney character, I have to say “not really” to that analysis of most of these girls.  Unfortunately, like so many other movies, Disney seems to put a little asterisks next to the idea of a tough, self-sufficient female character, and, in that way, under-develops them compared to male leads.  

Tiana – She is driven and tough as nails, but she has faults as well.  She’s also stubborn and short sighted, as she fixates on opening a restaurant above all else.  She’s not interested in helping her mother get by, getting a higher education, or moving out of the 1920s version of the ghetto, she only cares about forcing a pipe dream to work, even to the point of kissing a frog in the hopes of getting a quick payday to make that happen.  Now, in the end *SPOILER* she marries Prince Naveen as a frog, which makes her a princess, and their wedding vow kiss thereby breaks the curse (since he needed a princess to kiss him).  Moments later Tiana is inexplicably opening the restaurant of her dreams.  But, where did this money come from?  If you recall, Tiana kissed the frog because the building she had her sights on was being sold the next day, and she needed a higher cash offer to beat it.  Not only do I have to assume that it took at least a few days for the two frogs to wed, but the Prince was broke, having been cut off from his family, so there was no one available to fund her restaurant!  Yes, we see Naveen’s parents at the end, and they look happy, but Naveen is dressed in regular-guy clothing that makes me assume he is still cut off.  Still, the only logical explanation is that his parents bought the venue for Tiana.  Moral of the story:  Hard work and determination pays off in the end – but only if you marry a rich man that you barely know and hit up his parents for money.

Rapunzel – I love Rapunzel!  She is more multi-demensional than most princesses, what with her Stockholm syndrome for Mother Gothel, her almost bi-polar attitude about leaving the tower for her dream versus keeping her mother happy, and her huge array of interests (I have to admit, as a child who was left alone a lot, I relate to the idea of collecting hobbies to fill your days).  What I don’t understand is why she didn’t figure out how to save herself once she realized that Mother Gothel was an evil abductor.  *SPOILERS*  Rapunzel could have easily saved Flynn’s life (which she was doing anyways) and then chopped her own hair off to become “worthless” to the old witch.  That way SHE had the power and SHE made that life-altering decision.  Instead, Flynn cuts it as a surprise maneuver, which also causes him to sacrifice his life to save Rapunzel (again, this is overly dramatic, he could have waited until he was healed to cut her hair).  Was this an act of true love, or a subtle message that you actually need a man to solve your problems for you?  I kind of think the second is right.  Instead of the hair cut being a moment of self-empowerment for Rapunzel, it is a scene stolen by Flynn to say “look, I’ll give up everything for you, even my life!”  This moment is also Flynn literally taking all power from Rapunzel (who may have liked having magic hair and wanted to keep it!) and made her reliant on the male lead since she was now rendered a normal, powerless woman.  What also bothered me is that Rapunzel’s parents don’t get much notice in the film.  They don’t even have speaking parts, which means that the ending love story/haircut overshadows Rapunzel’s accomplishment of returning home and being celebrated and embraced by her people.  Moral of the story:  Men take the power of women, both metaphorically and physically.

Merida – Everyone was so excited to see Pixar releasing a princess film.  I mean, really, Pixar has a problem with female characters, and they rarely create a good one that has a decent sized role or a lasting impression.  And when the first trailers went out for Brave, everyone could feel that moment when she shoots the arrow, she “wins” the game, then she looks over and her mother is staring her down, inches away.  Merida is the embodiment of pure defiance, and I love that we finally have a tom-boy princess.  However, while I agree with most of the Merida fanfare, there is a line towards the end of the film that urks me.  Once the contest of the suitors has been ended, and no winner is chosen, the boys are given the challenge of trying to win Merida’s heart.  We don’t see the aftermath of this unfold, and it’s kind of a PC way to send everyone home without starting a war with the other clans, but that moment really shifts the focus of the film for me and erases the previous disposition of Merida feeling that she doesn’t need a man to make her happy.  I would have really preferred that Merida be given the option to find out who she’d like to marry (if anyone at all), perhaps even have the chance to find an Aladan-esc peasant over making the winning of her affection a secondary contest between three men who are obviously beneath Merida’s brains and abilities.  Look out for a Brave 2/Bachelorette crossover in the future…  Moral of the story:  Listen to your mother, because even if you win the battle, she’s wise enough to win the war. 

Anna –  So many people carry on that Frozen is so great because it tells viewers to value sisterhood over relationships, but I’m not so sure.  I’ve mentioned this in other posts, but Anna jumps right out of Hans arms and into Kristoff’s.  Yes, she sets out alone into the mountains to try and fix her own problems, but because she refused to bring any help with her (sure, leave Hans behind, but NO ONE in the whole kingdom knew the mountains and could go with the Princess?  Not even, say, all those men singing Frozen Heart at the beginning of the film?!), so she becomes dependent on Kristoff’s help right from the start.  Anna has no transportation, she has no idea where she’s going, and the girl can’t even put on weather appropriate attire before leaving the castle.  This is a helpless Damsel in Distress if I’ve ever seen one, even though Anna tries to make up for that fact by having lots of spunk and a never-say-quit attitude.  *SPOILERS*  Even so, the film shifts to a tone of get-yourself-a-man when Anna is suddenly in love with Kristoff.  She doesn’t develop this feeling throughout the film, we find out that Hans is evil, and, sheer minutes later, Anna is braving the blizzard to get to Kristoff, not because she loves him, but because Olaf tells her that HE LOVES HER.  The next thing you know, it’s the final scene of the movie and Anna and Kristoff are together.  Nah, Anna doesn’t need to work on herself, build her relationship with her sister back up, or learn how to manage her duties as a princess – she needs a man competing for her primary attention.  And, again, she’s known this guy for a couple of days and is jumping into another relationship!  Moral of the story:  Sisters before boys – unless you think he’s a nice boy who really likes you for you (just like the last guy!), in which case, repeat your same foolish mistakes all over again.

Elsa – Elsa wasn’t mentioned in Dad for Disney’s article, and many people like to state that she’s a queen not a princess, but she starts out the film as a princess, so lets take a look at her because she is so layered that I can’t resist!  Elsa is the only main female character here that isn’t being overtaken by the “threat” of romance (maybe Merida would fall into this category too, but the driving force that creates the action in her story is the suitors coming to town).  Elsa has no men on the horizon, and she seems perfectly fine with that.  However, I wonder if there’s something being said by not offering Elsa the traditional Happily-Ever-After of a husband and babies.  Elsa is happy to have her sister, and she ends the film appearing to enjoy being the queen and serving her people.  While there were no characters introduced who could have sought Elsa’s hand, that was also a deliberate choice of the script.  So why is that? 

Some have speculated that Elsa must be a homosexual character because she doesn’t have a man, but I think that’s the farthest thing from the truth!  What I reason out is that Elsa was trapped, contained, and controlled by her father for many years, and even for three years after his death – that’s some real psychological power to have over someone!  The father wasn’t a bad guy, but he convinced Elsa that she was wrong, broken, and needing fixing.  When Elsa runs off from her coronation in shame, the beginning of Let It Go has her chanting her father’s words:  “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know…” as if she’s been brainwashed.  And as she breaks free of that oppression, of an authority figure telling her who she has to be and how she has to live, she retorts with:  “well, now they know!  Let it go!  Let it go!  Can’t hold it back any more!”  At that moment Elsa gives herself permission to not live under her father’s rules and judgement any longer.  She also stops fearing all the judgement of her people and decides that she’s better off without them – happy to be alone for the simple fact that alone means no one is there to judge you!  It’s her father who decided that Elsa’s powers were bad and ultimately ruined her childhood by trying to control her instead of embracing her uniqueness.  Elsa had no acceptance from the most important man in her life, and she was told that she had to be hidden away for her own good.  JUST LIKE MOTHER GOTHEL DID TO RAPUNZEL!  Except, at the end of Tangled, Rapunzel goes to her loving parents.  Who does Elsa have to help her overcome her life struggles?  Considering that the king dies minutes into the movie, that’s a lot of deep rooted trust issues that can never be resolved for Elsa.  So, if you grew up like that, and then realized that none of those concerns had to be true, would you want to run out and find a new man to be your overlord and tell you what to do? 

Interestingly enough, the giant snow monster, Marshmallow, has a final scene in Frozen where Elsa’s tiara is found, Marshmallow puts it on, and all the spikes turn soft.  While others have commented that this is some sexuality propaganda, I think it shows that Marshmallow was a girl throughout the entire film.  Elsa chose to create a strong woman to protect her, whereas her own mother passively went along with the king’s wishes to contain Elsa and tell her that her powers were evil.  And Olaf was created as a man who was non-threatening and full of unconditional love and acceptance, which is easily everything Elsa would have wanted from her father.  Oooh, did I just break some Frozen theories here?   Moral of the story:  Parents should really embrace their children and support them as they are instead of telling them who they have to be – but finding freedom and independence doesn’t equate to being gay.

 

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Personally, I feel that Mulan is by far the best Disney role model for young ladies.  She beats the bad guys on her own, with her own plans, not because some handsome man waltzes into the picture.  She also beats most of the soldiers during her training period because she is flat out better than them in every way possible.  Not only is Mulan lethal and intelligent, but she leaves the man behind!  That is unheard of in a Disney film!  When the movie ends, Mulan isn’t worried that Shang hates her for posing as a man, she’s afraid that her father is going to be upset with her once she goes back home.  And Mulan’s ultimate reward is her father’s affection, not the love of Shang.  Shang does show up, and the film hints at a romantic connection, but that is the after-thought to Mulan’s moment with her father, not the main focus.  In fact, I was surprised at how little attention the director gave that I-came-back-for-you moment.  The frosting on the cupcake is that Mulan got the man by changing nothing.  She didn’t chase him down, or buy a pretty dress to manipulate his heart, or hand any relationship power over to this man whatsoever – Shang liked her solely for her own good qualities, and it’s Mulan that takes the lead and asks Shang to dinner instead of the stereotypical vice-versa scenario.

 

So, there’s no doubt that Disney princesses have come a long way from Snow White and Cinderella, but there’s still a long way to go.  For me, there is still too much emphasis on being unhappy, or incomplete, until you get a man in your life, and while that sells movie tickets and dolls, it also leaves a lasting impression in the minds of young girls for who they are supposed to be in life.  And even though I will still let my daughter dress up as every princess under the sun, I try to make it a constant point to remind her that boys and babies aren’t what brings you happiness and fulfillment in life, and that she should focus on making herself the best person possible over trying to please boys so they’ll like her.  I would encourage everyone else to do the same with their daughters too. 🙂

The Princess Crawl

Have you ever heard of a Pub Crawl, where people mill around from one bar to the next to accomplish a goal of going to each one?  Well, my daughter and I attempted to do this with Disney Princess characters, and since the lines move so slowly, and there are so many places to visit, we dubbed it “The Princess Crawl” (a non-alcoholic venture, of course). Day 1, we began at EPCOT.  We expected to hit Alice, Mary Poppins, Belle, Aurora, Jasmine, Snow White, Mulan, Winnie the Pooh, and Duffy the Bear.  Not all princesses, I know, but it was essentially hitting every character that is around the world in EPCOT’s World Showcase. Unfortunately, the rainy season of Florida was not letting up, and the only character experience stations that were open were the indoor ones (Jasmine in Morocco and Pooh and Tigger in the UK).
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So, day 1 of the Princess crawl was a pretty big mission fail.  And, while Pooh rarely seems to have a big line, we waited over an hour for Princess Jasmine.  In better weather conditions, with more Princesses out and about, I assume the wait wouldn’t be as bad, but Jasmine seems to have very limited hours of availability compared to the others.

 

Day 2 was much more fruitful in the Magic Kingdom, where almost every character is found indoors.  Our goal was to hit every princess, and just to sweeten the experience (since it was just my daughter and I that day), I lugged around a bag with every costume we brought with us. First, we had a FastPass+ for the left side of the Princess Fairytale Hall:
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Next, we waited in long lines for Ariel’s Grotto and Fairytale Garden for Merida (which Kairi got to do yoga):
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Then, we had a FastPass+ for the right side of the Princess Fairytale Hall: princesscrawl5princesscrawl7

And, finally, we wrapped up the day with a FastPass+ to Tinkerbell, whom Kairi told that she was Elsa’s half sister, and it was a crazy life:
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Day 2 was a success! The wait time for Anna & Elsa was still tragically long at over 90 minutes, but we lucked into getting Fast Passes right after Disney World extended their hours and added more passes to the My Disney Experience website.  We also missed out on Tiana, because she is outside for a very limited amount of time, and her line filled up well before she even came out to meet people.

It also rained a lot again, so Tiana and Merida were by far the hardest Princesses to get to.  We had to get in line twice for Merida and wait over two hours combined due to rain outs. You can also find various characters around Magic Kingdom, like Peter Pan, Aladdin, Alice, and a slew of others, but they are not Fast Pass-able, and are subject to weather being decent. Definitely use FastPass+ to your advantage at Magic Kingdom!  For the most part, Fast Passers get to skip all lines, and they make the standby lines take a lot longer than they should.

 

Oh, and just for good measure, Kairi asks that I throw in her Tiana costume.  We were ready to go but they close down her line very quickly, as Tiana has very limited appearance hours.  Naveen and Tiana did walk by us though and had a little “hello, look at you!” moment, which was precious – but my camera and I weren’t fast enough to capture it!
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Meet Anna and Elsa – Extended Hours!

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Meet Anna & Elsa - Extended Hours!

So I was taking the kids to Disney World with my parents, and at the last minute my mom announces that she’s going to book a Disney Hotel so that my daughter, Kairi, can get a Fast Pass for Anna & Elsa (just FYI, she did not listen to me about how the Disney hotel is beneficial to FastPass+, so this did NOT work out as my mother expected).

But, as I looked at the FastPass+ selections, Anna & Elsa’s meet and greet was available! Apparently, the royal ladies no longer leave at 5pm each day and now stay until the park closes (Extra Magic Hours appear to be included in this too!), so a slew of Fast Passes suddenly became available.

Even though they did become available, we have trouble getting two spaces (one for me, one for my daughter). What I had to do was re-arrange my Fast Pass plans to get a space, and then register my husband for an Anna & Elsa Fast Pass. After that, I went in to edit the times and was fortunate to find one that overlapped.

Since I’m certain these spaces will continue to fill up like crazy for the foreseeable future, let me tell you some important information:

1) Children under 7 MUST be accompanied by an adult. You may get by with another child over 14 years of age as well, but you may not send a little one in alone. HOPEFULLY, that’s common sense.

2) Everyone entering the building must have a FastPass+ time to get in through the line. EVERYONE. That means if little Janey is seeing Anna and Elsa, and she’s 5, someone 14 or older must have a Fast Pass in the same time frame or you may not enter. You might get lucky and have a nice Cast Member who will let you through anyways, but do not count on it. Anna and Elsa are very busy with 180+ wait time in standby, most Cast Members will not allow multiple people to get through the Fast Pass line with only one person having the pass – even if the child is the only one getting in the photo.

3) Because of the age requirement to enter alone, My Disney Experience does not let you book a Fast Pass for a child by themselves. Because they only had one space available per time frame when I booked Anna and Elsa, I had to book the passes for two adults to get my daughter in due to the age issue. But there was no issue getting through, even though my daughter clearly wasn’t my husband.

Customize Your Own Magic Band

I love the Magic Bands that are customized with character details, but I hate the prices involved!  So, after looking into it, I tried a do-it-yourself method out.

Here’s what you need:
Magic Band,
Temporary Tattoos,
Clear Coat Nail Polish,
Scissors,
Wet Wash Cloth,
Nail Polish Remover (for mistakes),
~ 15 Minutes Per Band

Step 1)  Buy Tattoos.  I found these tattoos at Wal-Mart for $4 per package.  It had way more than I needed, so if you happen across smaller, cheaper tattoo packs, go for those instead.  Stickers have more options available, but they tend to peal off and not react well to getting wet, so I do not recommend using stickers.
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Step 2)  Get your Magic Bands and tattoos out, and with the tattoos still sealed up (with the protective plastic over the image), get a feel of how you want the tattoo(s) to fit on the Magic Band and start cutting.  Most of the time you WILL have to cut the tattoos down to fit any given area of the Magic Band.  I personally was able to fit 3-4 tattoos on a single Magic Band, your results may vary depending on the type of tattoos you get and how you like them to look.  DO NOT COVER UP THE MICKEY HEAD ON THE BAND!

Step 3)  Once your tattoo selection(s) are cut to fit the band, use the wet wash cloth to wipe down the Magic Band.  Then you may open up the tattoo and apply it like you would to your skin (press the wet cloth on top of the tattoo for about 30 seconds).  Not all tattoos are the same quality, so be cautious of any slips of the hand that may deform or crack your image.  Again, DO NOT COVER UP THE MICKEY HEAD ON THE BAND!

Step 4)  Use the clear nail polish to lock the image down once it’s dried.  You may also use a clear nail polish with glitter, and/or add rhinestones to the band for extra sparkle.  DO NOT use polish over the central Mickey Head or over the holes to snap the band on.  ONLY use polish directly over/near the tattoo.

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These are how mine came out.  As you can see, skin tones on tattoos vary based on the color of the band, but overall I think they look pretty cool.  They aren’t perfect or always straight, but it’s a much better alternative to $15 for a band cover.  I also cut to scale all tattoos except the ones on the yellow band.

IF YOU MESS UP, THE MAGIC BAND WILL WIPE CLEAN WITH NAIL POLISH REMOVER!

I read about this technique and gave it a try, you can be the judge for if it looks good enough for your personal standards or not.  But please do not mess with the center Mickey Head!  That head has to communicate with the stands in the park, and it may mess up your ability to use your band if you cover the Mickey Head up.  That’s four warnings on that issue now, so if you mess up your band to where it won’t work in the park, you only have yourself to blame, haha!

UPDATE:  I found some smaller sized Star Wars stickers from Hallmark (they were in Walmart in a long packet, complete with backgrounds, for about $3).  I’ve actually had some good results with these stickers staying on.  Here is a photo of our Star Wars themed customizations (2 feature “finger fighter” tattoos, 2 feature stickers – all with a clear coat over top of them):
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More Than Peacock Princesses

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“I don’t know how to fly this thing!”  – Kairi

This is my 6 year old, Kairi – she likes Star Wars, video games, Batman, My Little Pony, the Hulk, Princesses,  Pokemon, Teen Titans, Minecraft, Adventure Time, Legos, Minnie Mouse, Girl Scouts, soccer, dance, animals, swimming, gymnastics, and a giant plethora of other things.  She likes to wear fancy dresses, and she likes to roll around in the mud.  And when we went to the Enchanted Tales with Belle show at the Magic Kingdom, she “auditioned” and was chosen to be the Beast in that show, because she was the best roarer in the group.  Basically, she likes “girl” things and “boy” things, and I think most children are that way and should be encouraged to stay that way.

Now, normally, I don’t mind the idea of Kairi being called a Princess at Disney Parks, because, after all, Princesses are Disney’s bread and butter in a lot of ways. So when the Cast Members all say nice things to her, with the title of Princess attached, it’s pretty cool in my opinion, and it makes my daughter feel special. And, to be perfectly honest, she’s usually rocking a costume or shirt or other princess related thing, so we’re all but begging for the title to be thrown out there.  However, at our last Disney World visit, a Cast Member had some trouble finding a title for my son, and it got me thinking…

Here’s how the conversation essentially went down:
Cast Member: “Okay, Princess, get your autograph book ready! [moved towards my son]  And you too! Are you a Prince? [my son made a “no” face] How about a Dragon Slayer? A Space Ranger? A Cowboy? A Pirate? A Wilderness Explorer? A Jedi? Not a Sith, right?  How about a Super Hero? …”

The list seem to go on for 2 or 3 minutes straight, and at first I though – how cool that they have all these choices for who a boy can pretend to be a Disney World. Then I thought, well, what if a little girl doesn’t want to be a princess? Why is she limited to that one title while my son is getting a hundred options thrown his way?

It reminds me of being a young lady in high school, where I had developed a very keen talent for writing and working on the computer.  I was told over and over that I should be a secretary when I grew up, even given awards every year for what a good little word processor I was.  The fact that I was winning every local and state level creative writing contest I entered never even caught anyone’s attention at school, and I started to feel resentful that secretary was the best that any school figure could come up with for my future.  And mind you, I graduated high school in 2003.

I’m over thinking this, I know, but why can’t girls at Disney Parks occasionally be asked if they’re a Fairy, Super Hero, Space Ranger, Jedi, Cowgirl, Warrior, or something other than royalty? I get princesses are a huge part of Disney culture, even the toughest of characters end up with the Princess label in Disney (Venelope in Wreck it Ralph was the forgotten princess, Princess Leia kept the title despite losing her planet, and even Mulan got roped into the Princess category even though she has nothing to do with royalty), but there are other options out there like Jesse (Toy Story), Black Widow (Avengers), and Ahsoka (Clone Wars), to name a few.  I understand that the princess title has never been meant as an insult, and if someone is wearing a princess shirt or dress, than that’s fair game, but deciding a girl wearing an Avengers shirt is a princess – it feels like that’s pin-holing little girls quite a lot to that one targeted area. Kids are so suggestible that it could make girls feel like Princess is their only option to get positive attention from park staff.  So, if boys can get so many options, why not little girls too?

What do you think? Is Princess the best possible title for all girls, or should our young ladies get some creative freedom to be other types of characters too?

Being a Forgotten Disney Character

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My daughter is 6, and she loves to dress up for Disney World (great tip -I won’t let my kids eat in costume, have a spaghetti strapped dress or outfit on underneath so your daughter can come in and out of costume as desired while still looking good when the costume is on).

Every time we go she picks out which costumes she wants to bring with us, and we usually have 1 for each day, since they’re pretty filthy by the end of a day at Disney World.

In this photo, my daughter is wearing a costume she loves, and that I got for $0.99 off of eBay from someone just clearing out their closet. Do you know this movie character? Most people in the park didn’t, but kept calling her a princess, which my daughter found semi-offensive since she was

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take your final guess at the character now

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the gypsy Esmerelda from the Hunchback of Notre Dam (the photo pendant of Esmerelda is still on the costume as well).  And, yes, this was even the official Esmerelda Halloween costume from back in the day, even though it looks nothing like Esmerelda’s main or Festival of Fools costume (similar to the Mulan dresses I’ve seen with giant blue sections covered with butterflies, or Woody with obscenely large chaps).  It’s a beautiful, well-made costume, but Disney has not always been so worried with getting the look right for the character.

I know this movie came out in 1996, and much like Hercules and Tarzan, it’s not a film that Disney has continued to promote with constant merchandising and character visits in the park, so I don’t take offense that the Cast Members don’t recognize her.  Heck, most of them probably weren’t born when the movie came out.  It’s personally one of my favorite Disney films though, as the artistry and story line is pretty rich. I’ve had the hope for a beautiful Diamond Edition remastering, like other movies have gotten, but Hunchback seems to be a bit of a flop to Disney (I know the sequel was franchise-killing awful), and so my daughter will proudly continue to correct all the Cast Members in the parks who think she’s a generic princess.

Has your daughter or son, or even yourself, dressed up at Disney World? Share your costumes, and especially the details if you were a forgotten/obscure character like my daughter.

Disney Princess Favorites

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So, this has been a long debated issue among all Disney FanGirls, and I kind of love this video about Disney Princesses.

To me, there are 4 categories of Princesses:

Early – Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora.
Golden – Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Pocahontas.
Modern – Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida (even though Disney/Pixar gal), and, as of last year, Anna & Elsa.

Then we have the Forgotten Princesses that aren’t well advertised or remembered – Eilonwy (The Black Cauldron), Kida (Atlantis), Tiger Lily (Peter Pan), Melody (The Little Mermaid II), and maybe even Giselle from Enchanted if you want to debate whether she’s an animated or live action princess character. And there are probably more that I don’t even recall any more – feel free to post anyone I missed.

You could also argue for a kind-of-Disney Princess category – Leia (Star Wars), Kairi (Kingdom Hearts), and anyone potentially a Princess in the Marvel Universe too.  I’m sure there are dozens, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

Finally, you could opt to count the animal princesses too – Nala and Faline. Perhaps Maid Marian too, her uncle was the true king and had no shown heirs, but I’m not sure how that places her in terms of princess capacity.  So, I guess there could be 6 Princess categories, but I’m sticking with my original thought of 4.

Mulan makes the princess list, but I think that’s almost an insult to Mulan’s character. I like Mulan as she is, a rough and tumble tom boy who can’t do the girls thing very well. In the Disney Princess collection, Mulan is always in her kimono-style outfit and often with the white-faced make-up. This is also the only Mulan Halloween or dress up costume available, and I’ve never seen Ping-Mulan at Disney World hanging around. But… hello! she hated that outfit! It was probably the lowest moment of her life where she failed her family by not being “a perfect bride.” There was a whole song about it and everything. So, Mulan, you’re beautiful and I love you just as you are, but you’re the daughter of an ex-general (?) and engaged to another military man, so you aren’t exactly sipping tea at the royal palace.

Okay, end that rant, it’ll turn into a whole other blog post! But as for my picks? In each category I would choose Aurora, Ariel, and Rapunzel, with Kida being my favorite forgotten princess, and Nala my favorite animal one. How about you?