This past weekend, my wife and I took our daughter to see “Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic.” Having taken her the previous year to see to see a different incarnation, we assumed she would be thrilled to be going again. Instead, her response?
“I think I have plans that day.”
Upon further prying and questioning, her reasoning for not wanting to go was revealed: Villains. Fortunately for us, this particular show was bad guy lite. Just a handful to worry about: Gaston (brutish, but not scary), Huns (a threat to China, but not to us), and…Monstro the whale. Ahh, Monstro, you devilish whale, you. My little girl, who used to be inseparable from her plush Pinocchio, wants nothing to do with you. No movie, no ride at Disneyland, no Disney on Ice… not even Storybook Land. Casey Jr. is okay, but riding a tranquil boat through Monstro’s mouth is out of the question.
Of course, she’s not the only person out there to be frightened by Disney.
My father told me of going to Disneyland when he was five years old. He was bound and determined to ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride all by himself; no parents, no siblings, he was a big kid. He could to it. Therefore, his parents let him. How did you like that ride, dad? “Scared the HELL out of me.”
My mom loved to tell the story of taking my sister to the movies when she was a toddler to see Snow White. Everything was fine until the Queen transformed herself into the witch. The theater fell into silence as the old hag crept through the dungeon. You could hear a pin drop. You could hear a cute little two or three year old say “Oh sh–….”
As for me? Well, aside from the fact that, as stated in a previous post, I refused to ride Space Mountain due to lack of seat belts, not much phased me. Really. Unless, of course, you count the real mice that hide in the bushes of the Matterhorn, then I may be guilty of freaking out just a touch. But I digress.
After much cajoling, we finally got out daughter to the arena, sat in our seats, and generally speaking, everything was fine until the second half began with…. Pinocchio and a giant ice skating whale. At this point our little girl, tears rolling down her face, was screaming, “I COMMAND YOU TO GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!! I COMMAND IT!!!!” Instead of acquiescing to said commands, my wife and I held her hands, covered her eyes and ears and acted as human shields until the segment was over. Once it was over, she watched the rest of the show with rapt attention. On our way home, she said from the back seat, “I’m so glad we got to go to Disney on Ice today.” Then, looking in the program, said, “That silly Monstro didn’t even look like Monstro!” She had forgotten her fears (at least temporarily) and managed to have a good time and can’t wait for the chance to go again.
And that’s part of the magic of Disney – no matter how scary, how harsh things may get, good triumphs over evil, and we walk away happy, remembering for the most part, the good stuff. To this day, my dad still rides Mr. Toad, my sister still loves Snow White, and I ride Space Mountain without seat belts.
But I will still move to the other side of the line if I see a mouse in the bushes….