Not Everything in the Magic Kingdom is Magical

A few summers ago, I took my kids to Disneyland.

Nearing Cinderella’s castle, my daughter Julia (four-years-old at the time) spotted Cinderella emerging from wherever it is the character actors hide at Disneyland.

Julia ran toward her like she had found the Messiah.  Eyes wide, arms wider, jaw dropped.

She crashed into Cinderella’s leg like a human missile.

Cinderella was knocked off stride.

Recovering her balance, Cinderella looked down at Julia, who was now hugging her leg.  Holding on to it for dear life, really.

Cinderella reached down and hugged Julia with both arms.

It was one of the sweetest things I had ever seen. And judging by the hushed “awww” that swept through the crowd, it was one of the sweetest things they had  ever seen too.

Then I did something I still can’t explain.

I tried to hug Cinderella.

A whole bunch of things then happened in quick succession that did not happen when my four-year-old tried to hug her.

First, there was the look of pain on Cinderella’s face, like the one on Oswald when he was shot by Ruby.  Then there were Cinderella’s lightning-quick reflexes, which ensured my “hug” consisted of nothing more than my right hand grazing her back.  And then there was her handler, who the best I can figure dropped from a tree to put himself between me and the princess.

All I can say about my actions that day is that I was caught up in the magic of Disneyland.

But from the looks on the faces in the crowd, the moment was anything but magical.  You’d have thought I had wrestled Mickey Mouse to the ground and pulled off his mouse head.

Julia herself said nothing.  We just continued on our day together.

And later that day, we spotted Pocahontas.  Julia ran toward her even faster than she had Cinderella, which I thought was a little strange because I knew Cinderella meant more to her.

It was so fast, in fact, I couldn’t keep up.

Which I then realized was the point.

Four-year-olds can be very smart.

37 thoughts on “Not Everything in the Magic Kingdom is Magical

  1. “You’d of thought?” A frickin’ lawyer writes “you’d of thought?” For shame.

  2. Cinderella was SO busted– that was actually Sleeping Beauty’s castle she was sneaking out of. Cindy seems to find that prince more charming.

  3. I relate – I started sobbing happily & uncontrollably when my 4 yr old daughter posed for a picture with Cinderella….Disney magic brings out the best in all of us:)….and of course my 7 yr old son couldn’t get enough of Jasmine

  4. I hope you are staying away from the Disney characters this time! Stay in a bar where you’ll be safe from them.

  5. Sheesh all you did was try to join in the magical moment, why did they all freak out!? I thought Disney was all about magical moments!!!

  6. Mickey wouldn’t sign an autograph in those autograph book things, so once he turned to walk away I said “Well f— you Mickey.” What was strange was Goofy was the one they had to restrain.

  7. Cinderella castle is in Disney World. Sleeping Beauty castle is in Disneyland.

    So…where were you?! D:

  8. A friend of mine spent several summers working at Six Flags, and dressed as several characters, including Daffy Duck. Daffy’s costume included a giant fiberglass head, which precluded the wearer from seeing anything lower than four feet off the ground – great idea for a lovable kids’ character, eh? One day, a 3- or 4- year old came barrelling at him and landed full-force in his, er, package. His natural instinct was to look down to see what hit him. Which meant that the enormous duckbill was going down at exactly the moment the kid bounced off of him, going backwards into the bill. Knocked the kid out cold. Daffy Duck *was* his favorite character before this incident. But after that, he was probably scarred for life.

  9. My sister was Shamu’s body guard at Sea World, San Diego. Not the whale but the series of high school kids in a hot whale costume with limited outward visabilty. They would send the kids in costume out and some knee high kid would come up from behind, toss their weight in to the area above the fluke, and pop went the costumed creature’s ACL. So my sister would walk behind the whale costume sort of like a blocking tackle.

  10. @ Spaceman,
    I noticed that the lawyer corrected his mistake before I read the post. Now he has plausible deniability. He can just as easily say that you misread the words.

    BTW, is it possible to create a double-contraction? Instead of writing “you’d have,” can you write “you’d’ve?” (or “you’dve?”)

    BBTW, I worked one summer in college at Disney in Florida. I worked on the Jungle Cruise ride. (sorry, “attraction”) I never got to hug Cinderella or Snow White or Sleeping Beauty either. They frown on the conecpt of grownup guests getting touchy-feely with the characters.

    “Jungle” Jim

  11. You just got carried away. Nothing to be ashamed of. Well, maybe a little to be ashamed of.

    Be ashamed. Be very ashamed.

  12. Jim, I wondered the same thing. I came to the conclusion that, even if it can be done, it probably shouldn’t.

  13. For a totally touristy – but kick-ass fun – bar in Key West, try Irish Kevin’s right on Duval Street. You can’t miss it.

  14. My dad took my best friend and I to Disneyland one summer. I think he was trying to relieve part of his childhood. But anyway, DIsneyland can still be fun for two 18 year old guys…Until dad books dinner at Ariel’s Grotto, a restaurant designed for 6 year old girls in princess costumes. In fact, part way through the dinner, 5 different princesses come out, one at a time, and make rounds to all the tables. Guess who happened to be at the first table they visit as soon as they turn the corner? Yup. We got our picture taken with every last princess. And boy, in hindsight, 3 of them look truly terrified.

  15. You probably could have hugged Sleeping Beauty. I understand that she’s a skank.

  16. I think what we’re missing here is that Pastis is gently nudging us towards coming up with the details of a Pearls before Swine theme park. After all, who wouldn’t wanna hug Rat?

  17. Stephan: That was an “awwww” moment. At least, it was an “awww” moment for Julia and the poor woman playing Cinderella. In her case, it was s summer gig, and she was probably hoping that it would lead to getting a real job in a great movie or sitcom and blah, blah, blah. In your case, it quickly became an “aw, shit” moment, since the goon could have snapped your neck. Disney is a mondo corporation with real goons and people that are very corporate looking to ruin Florida (they have) and run parts of California and Paris and Japan, neh? So, dude, your picture is likely on some “Most Wanted” Mickey Mouse picture on every bare wall in the secret lairs where these poor “actors” wait in between being mauled by people and sometimes little kids. Julia may talk about this in therapy one day. Still a hilarious visual, though. At least you didn’t try to grab Cinderella’s ass. THAT would have been tacky.

  18. I had the privilege of being a “handler” for various characters at Disney World for almost a year and I can confidently say we do not hop out of trees- but we can lurk in unsuspecting places until needed to prevent characters from being mauled by wandering lawyer/cartoonists. Fortunately I mostly worked with the Power Rangers and I can confidently say even the Pink Ranger could kick any overzealous cartoonist’s butt.

  19. My cousin was kicked out of Disneyworld because Mickey accused her of punching him in the face. She said that she wanted to see what his nose was made of so she “tweaked” it.

  20. Is there a restraining order in your future? A little ironic that a cartoonist crosses the line with a cartoon character. Makes me wonder what inappropriate actions Pigita might have been subjected to.

  21. For some reason I look at your blog and think two words to myself:
    “Sore Winners”
    Why? I have no idea.

    And that really has nothing to do with the post.

  22. I happened by Disney World a few years back.
    And let me tell you, as the rightous, Duck-fearing, Pig-loving, Croc-abusing, Pearls die-hard that I am proud to be, it is hard to get caught up in the magic.
    But there was this one family walking around the park singing “It’s a Small World”. And they were on every ride my family went to.
    If only DisneyWorld would at least take some of Rat’s advice and change that %#$& music.
    My life would be so much better right now.

  23. HAHA!!!!!!!

    Maybe she knew who you were and thought you were going to pull a Rat. That is try to hug her and then do something INTENTIONALLY stupid.

    BTW: My friend got mad at me for wearing my Pearls “HELP!” t-shirt since he thought the strip has unbecoming humor, which he thinks I wouldn’t like since I’m gay. Now I understand why we didn’t work out: no sense of humor on his part. The Beatles aspect didn’t help either, since he hates them.

  24. I live in Orlando, by the way. Far enough out on Orange Blossom Trail that I can usually forget about all that idiocy on the other side of town. And no, I’ve never been to Disney World.

  25. When I was at DisneyWorld about 15 years ago, I was appalled at all the families so freakin’ intent on seeing/doing everything, they forgot to have fun – running hither & yon, maps unfurled, looking for the end of the next attraction’s line. I also learned a valuable lesson: never wait for & watch the parade under a tree near one of those open-air restaurants. Missed half the parade, in the ladies’ loo, washing bird poo out of my hair.

  26. Two years ago, we took our then-6, 4, and 3 year olds to Disney, and paid half of our yearly mortgage to have lunch with Cinderella in the castle. During our 30 second meet-n-greet, my youngest, a boy, had his picture taken with the princess. Afterwards, he looked up and asked her:

    “Cinderella, will you marry me?”

    “Oh, I didn’t know you’d ask that. I’ve already married my Prince Charming!”

    Many jaws dropped after his reply.

    “What if he’s dead?”

    I kid you not.

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  28. Wow, they have spies in the trees of Disneyland?! I will never think of the “wonderful” world of Disney the same way ever again.

  29. I’m thankful I stumbled upon your site on google. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my wife ended up being just preparing to do some research concerning this. I’m very happy to see such wonderful details getting shared freely out there.

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