Last time I was in Disneyland – and probably because I was on my way out of the country – I was looking around, suddenly hit by how this place, the feeling is such a part of what defines the privilege of being American. I was watching a group of tourists (one of a zillion) and thinking, we expect this – we’re taught to. The attention to detail, the way the confetti is perfectly prepared little Mickey Mouse outlines. The fireworks show that is a nightly, perfectly choreographed and synchronized extravaganza. (By the way, if you feel the need to leave a comment about how you hate Disneyland, a. you’re obnoxious and b. you missed the point.)
There are millions of people – myself included – who you will never be able to convince that Disneyland is primarily about making money. There are easier ways than paying attention to every nook and cranny, to having unbreakable ambiance, to literally having figured out how to make someone in a crowd of people feel “love”. People don’t come from China and Russia and Western Europe and Africa for nothing. They want that experience. Even other western countries, I’ve sadly confirmed, don’t know a thing about customer service, let alone celebrating their customer! But while you’re there, no matter where you’re from, you get to sense what American kids are raised on – you’re special. There’s nothing you can’t do. You’re unique.
So, while I could get caught up in the irritation of what year it was before it happened (2009 is just a little embarrassing for “firsts”) or the cynicism of the “enlightened” American young adult culture in which we downplay or deny or destroy the way we used to be loving, lovable people – I’m going to be honest. There is nothing but right about finally dressing up as yourself. Was it “hard”, necessarily, to dress up like a princess whose skin color didn’t match? Nope. Will it be a completion of Disney’s “we love you” brand when you realize you look just right? Yep. Will it be all the more post-racializing (don’t even say anything about that word or concept) to see other American girls dressed up as this new princess? Yep. Will I still dress up like Mulan? …..Yep.
…I love you, Disneyland. I have to confess that when I heard there’d ever been a concept of a Disneyland in Montreal, my first reaction was of support. And then as an act of contrition, I looked at the unsavory pictures from the lackluster EuroDisney and remembered. It must be done at home so that nothing is sacrificed. Everyone must understand this. For you, I will gladly visit California to return to the source.