I am writing this column in my head while standing in a two-hour line at Disneyland to meet some $%#$^#*! Disney princesses with my 4-year-old niece, Danielle.
Before we entered the line, Danielle required a costume change. Now, like the 5,000 other cranky children standing in the relentless sun, she is dressed in an elaborate princess costume, and carrying a magic wand.
I want to use the wand to smack the hell out of all the screaming, crabby, badly-behaved children in this line. But, apparently, you are not allowed to smack children at Disneyland—just another reason to hate this place.
The cost of admission for the two of us was about $200, and the kid isn’t interested in anything but the damned princesses.
I forced Danielle to go on It’s a Small World After All, but she refused to sing along.
As we sat on the ride, Danielle crossed her arms firmly across her chest, and made a pout reminiscent of the time I made her try Brussels sprouts.
“Come on, Danielle,” I pleaded, as I desperately tried to get her interested in the Dumbo ride. “Have some fun.”
“I’m not having any fun until I meet Mulan,” Danielle said.
Mulan! Of course, of all the princesses in the Disney kingdom, Danielle had to pick the most elusive one.
Rumor has it that Mulan only appears on “special days” at Disneyland. When I was Danielle’s age, my mother used to refer to her menstrual cycle as her “special days.” I hope this doesn’t mean that we’ll be subjected to the cranky, bloated, teary Mulan.
“Listen, Danielle,” I said, after I finally gave in, and escorted her to the Princess Gulag—a festering pink holding cell for all the troubled children who want their picture taken with a member of Disney royalty. “I don’t support this interest of yours in princesses at all.
“They’re terrible role models. All they want to do is get married, and sing to animals. This has never resulted in a fulfilling life. I’ve made you watch Mad Men. Look at that poor Betty Draper. She’s a mess, and totally reliant on a man, because she doesn’t know how to take care of herself.”
“She’s pretty, and she lives in a big house,” Danielle said, swinging her wand at me, hoping to transform me into a helpful, singing/dancing Disney rodent. “Plus, Mommy says you shouldn’t let me watch Mad Men. Or sip your beer. Or sit on your lap and steer when you’re driving.”
“Your mother is insane. I’m trying to prepare you for life,” I explained.
The night before, Danielle and I had an argument over what she should be when she grows up. She said a nurse. I said a doctor.
“Nurses take care of people,” Danielle argued.
“So do doctors. And they make a lot more money,” I said.
“Nurses get to wear white dresses,” Danielle countered.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” I yelled, which is how most of our arguments end.
About an hour into our wait to meet the princesses, Danielle turned to me, and said, “Aunt Jen, this is boring. Can we cheat?”
My eyes lit up. Maybe there’s hope for this kid after all.
I broke out of the princess queue. I put Danielle on my shoulders. I scaled the wall that was surrounding the princesses, so that she could peek over. There, on the other side of the wall, was Mulan…who ordered a guard to shoo us away.
Danielle and I ran away giggling.
“Mulan is a jerk,” Danielle concluded. “Let’s meet Minnie Mouse instead.”
“Now you’re talking,” I said. “She’s an independent gal who never allowed a man to come between her dreams or ambitions. And Mickey respects her all the more for it.”
Hey! I wrote a book. You can buy Dateland on Amazon.