It all began when my older brother was able to get greatly discounted tickets to this year’s “Disney on Ice” at Barclay’s Center. He gathered his little brood of boys and offered tickets to his nieces and nephews as well; it was a sweet Chanukah present for all the children. An extra pair of hands was needed to chaperone, so they gave the ever-dutiful Aunt (me!) a ticket as well.
To the outer world, I like to pretend I’m a trendy yuppie with a hopping social calendar. I meet the girls for drinks, then I attend some swanky East Side professional-networking event, and finally, I freshen up my lipstick to meet a dashing date.
My reality is more “with the kids” than “with the band.” More “Dora the Explorer,” less 22 year-old exploring. Of course I love being with my nieces and nephews, but whenever I attend a Sesame Street Show at Madison Square Garden (3 times so far) or toddlers’ amusement park, I’m reminded of how “un-adultish” my existence truly is. When my friends are too occupied to meet me (which is usually the case), I’m left with no other alternative but to color, er, paint the town with a trio of 5-year olds. If it involves a stash of Care-Bear DVDs and Mott’s apple juice on a Saturday night, then so be it.
As far as this “Disney on Ice” situation? It was different than the usual “Oh-my-G-d, why-am-I-here?” sentiments that Uncle Moishe concerts brew in me. I haven’t seen a Disney film in years, but when Sebastian sang “Under the Sea” while doing Triple-Axels that evening, I felt very happy. You read that correctly. Happy.
If your childhood—like mine—was defined by Disney, then you’ll realize the irrevocably cheerful effect it has on you. Even if life has morphed you into a jaded creature who gobbles sarcasm for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as a 90’s child, your heart is still bound to turn all soft at the sight of Rafiki lifting Simba at Pride Rock, or Aladdin taking Princess Jasmine for a magic carpet ride.
Aside from the inexplicable sense of joy that Classic Disney offers, I’ve learned quite a few lessons from my favorite Princesses:
Her ability to bravely defy the status-quo is awesome. She protested to her father that she shouldn’t be forced to marry. She had little tolerance for idiocy or conformity—and she showed it. Jasmine in two words: Beautiful bad-a$$.
Belle motivated me to read when I was growing up. Sure, the local townsfolk and simpletons thought she was peculiar, but she proved them dead-wrong in the end. Reading has taught her not to judge the proverbial book by its cover. She was able to see the good-hearted man crouching within the Beast’s deformed self, and thus bask in true love.
A melodic voice and beauty do not always guarantee happiness. At times, the answer to contentment lies in another world. Ariel had a “deeper calling” (a euphemism for teenage hormones) and she didn’t let anyone prevent her from reaching it. In all seriousness, I admire her relentlessness and sheer guts. (Even if what she was fighting for was just teenage lust).
OH, AND I ALSO LEARNED THIS FROM DISNEY...
My love for Disney was clearly latent and had to be woken by a ticket to Barclay’s. Shrouded by tedious schoolwork, heart-suspending races to the subway, a co-worker’s mean jibe, and the general daily grind, my inner child loses her way and eventually slips into the quicksand of time.
So, dear nieces and nephews, your Auntie may no longer go with you to Sesame Street Live! or Uncle Moishe, but say the word “Disney” and I’m there in a jiffy.
UNTIL NEXT TIME!