We did it.

My parents flew down for a long weekend and today they treated all the grandkids (and parents!) to a day at Disneyland.

I told Mercy that we were going to meet Cinderella. I told her other things that we would do there, but I don’t think she heard anything after that. She wore her special Valentine’s Day dress to show Cinderella and she even had a “happy cry” in the van as we pulled up to the gates this morning. When I asked her what she wanted to tell Cinderella when she saw her, she thought about it and said: “Welcome to Disneyland!”

The Disney commercials are a bit misleading. They always show the characters wandering the park, kneeling down to talk to kids and hug them. We didn’t see any characters anywhere the entire day, other than the Alice in Wonderland Queen racing past the Dumbo ride on her way to a break. But in our brochure we read that there was a place you could go to meet the princesses, so after a few rides, an overpriced lunch, and some rigorous Jedi training for Mercy’s cousin, we made our way to the “Princess Fantasy Faire.”

There was a line to get into this little area where three princesses awaited to meet and greet our little ones. I asked one of the staff and found out that indeed Cinderella was inside. And so we waited. And waited. It was easily the most slow-moving, annoying line of the day, and we all made comments at various points about whether this was even worth it. Mercy’s cousin was a trooper and stuck it out, as did my sister (though her husband drew the line at princesses, and he and my dad took their other little boy to meet Mickey). Jordan, Aaron and Elijah were the only boys in the entire line.

When we finally made it to the entrance area, we spotted our first princess: Jasmine. Aaron could not take his eyes off her glittery midriff, and Mercy was eager to tell her about the Jasmine doll that her Uncle David had given her for Christmas.

Next in line was Mulan. Her hair was amazing and she was very sweet with Mercy, but Aaron kept his distance.

As we said goodbye to Mulan and turned to go, we spotted the final princess: there, in all her blue-dress glory on the floor, sat the one and only Cinderella. Mercy took the next few steps in almost slow-motion and then she stopped. Then a giant grin covered her face and she ran full-speed and jumped into the seated princesses arms. And as cheesy as I think the whole Princess thing is most of the time, my little girl’s raw delight made me cry.

But it was actually Aaron who stole the show. As Cinderella talked with them, Mercy made sure to tell her “welcome to Disneyland”, and Aaron listed off all of his favorite Thomas the Tank Engine Trains for her. Then she invited them to sit down on her puffy dress for the requisite photo opp. Now Aaron has a very goofy smile-thing that he does when you take his picture. He squints his eyes, sticks out his chin and makes this pained look. But as the photo shoot progressed, his silly grin started to morph and his eyes actually started to close and his head began to bow. By the last photo, he was in full prayer posture.

When it was time to get up and say goodbye, Aaron still refused to open his eyes. Cinderella put her hands on either side of Aaron’s face and gave him a big lipstick kiss on his forehead. He stood there, frozen, head bowed and eyes closed, hands clenched on either side. And he did not move. For a long time. This totally cracked Cinderella up, and pretty soon people were coming over to see the little boy who had been frozen by her kiss. Finally, she raised her hand to high-five Aaron, and he lifted his own to meet hers. And he smiled.

And every moment in the annoying line? Forgotten.


  1. I think you’ve captured the magic of Disneyland. The place exists to make people happy and happy to fork over large amounts of money to a multi-billion dollar company. But I have to admit that just being there chips away at my cynical shell. By the time I’ve walked through Main Street and have gone on a couple of rides, I’m pretty much all smiles and there is something to be said for a place that can manage to do that.

  2. Yeah, I was totally shocked at how retail-driven the park is. I just had no idea there was so much shopping inside!

    We let Mercy and Aaron each pick out a big balloon ($7 each, I think), as well as spend some Christmas gift money. Mercy bought a set of Princess figurines (surprise, surprise) and Aaron got this cool Buzz Lightyear toy that lights up.

  3. I went when I was 5 (I’m 46 now). I don’t remember anything about it except … Cinderella. And I got a Cinderella figurine with a watch at the bottom. The watch is long gone, but I still have that figurine and she watches over me in my livingroom … one of my prized possessions from my childhood!! I know it’s cheesy and horrible, and the movie makes me gag … but that figurine is so special somehow. I can’t explain it.

  4. It’s funny how are kids are so much alike. I think my Lydia would explode if she got the chance to meet “the girl in blue.” And Luke would like nothing better than to show everyone he meets his Thomas and Percy trains.

    It sounds like you had a fun day.

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