Monday, October 26, 2009

Worlds of Fantasy

While I make no apologies for my objections to clothing and other paraphernalia branded with television and movie characters the likes of Dora, SpongeBob, and Tinkerbell, it would be deceitful for me not to admit that certain characters themselves I find endearing. A quick mental categorization between the charming and irritating indicates a strong personal preference toward those characters that influenced my own childhood and have remained popular because of a sort of "classic" status. That rule is not all-encompassing however. I really like the little Canadian boy named Caillou on PBS kids/Sprout who stars in what used to be practically the only TV show my daughter would watch. And just because I played with Barbies and Strawberry Shortcake as a child does not automatically make me a fan of their new singing and dancing DVD series'. So there are definitely exceptions.

When Disney reintroduced the concept of the animated feature film with The Little Mermaid in 1989, I was at the impressionable age of eight, and I still count this movie among my absolute favorites. In the years that followed, my parents' garage, when empty, became my undersea fantasyland. I would strap on rollerskates and circle the garage singing "Part of Your World." I felt as graceful as a mermaid, but probably looked as awkward as a lobster.

At one- to two-year intervals Disney released another amazing cartoon adventure, and for a while there it seemed that each one was better than the last. Then they reached Pocahontas, and well, they can't all be winners. For me, it was downhill from there, but perhaps that has more to do with my own growing up that paralleled the progression.

For the most part, I appreciate each of the classic Disney princess movies, but this whole Disney Princesses as an enterprise of its own turns me off. As Madelyn is old enough to choose what she likes and wants to obsess about, I'll work to keep my aversions under control and allow her an appropriate amount of freedom to identify with characters if she so chooses. But for now, we just steer clear of commercialized toys, books, and et cetera that would create a premature longing.

All this introduction culminates here: we went to see Disney on Ice~Worlds of Fantasy on Saturday. I was unsure of the extent to which Madelyn would enjoy it. First of all, the showing we could attend started at 7pm, nearly her bedtime. Also, due more to her short attention span than any self-righteous purpose, we haven't introduced Madelyn to Disney movies, so I knew she wouldn't recognize Ariel, Sebastian, Simba, and Scar. And lastly, while I am deeply fascinated and awestruck by the athletic art of figure skating, I was quite sure that Madelyn would not be able to appreciate the incredible skills demonstrated on the ice.

But Madelyn's newest favorite show (replacing Caillou) is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Incidentally, I have mixed feelings about that show: the characters are the classic Disney mice, ducks, we all know and love, but the new-fangled digital animation bugs me. I know, I am weird. But at least I've set my crazy opinions aside in this case and let Madelyn watch this relatively innocuous and fairly educational show. I happen to find the theme song kind of cute, and I love that the fun "Hot Dog song" featured at the end of every episode is written and performed by They Might be Giants, a mainstream alternative rock band. But I digress. Because of this current fixation with Mickey and friends, we opted to take advantage for the opportunity for a fun family night out.

Madelyn fared well under the circumstances, but her mother, on the other hand, was enthralled. I LOVE watching ice dancing and fantasized about being a figure skater in my youth. I realize that I don't think I've ever seen skating like this in person, only on TV. So I was enthralled by the performances, and to make the deal even sweeter, two of the featured stories were from my two all-time favorite Disney movies: The Little Mermaid and The Lion King.

My interest began to wane along with Madelyn's toward the end, however, as I'm not very familiar with the new Tinkerbell movie. The skating was still interesting, but one drawback of the excellent seats Gary got us is that it was easy to see the faces of performers who looked bored or broke character when they passed each other and laughed. I know that performing the same routine night after night, month after month, can grow mundane. But seriously people, you get to travel the country dancing on ice skates. This is probably what you dreamed about as a child, so enjoy it! Most people's jobs are significantly less interesting than yours.

I am so glad that we went to this show. The skating was captivating and the flood of warm childhood memories welcome. Madelyn might not fully appreciate everything that she saw, but she was mostly entertained, and rotated between Mom, Dad, and Grandma's laps munching the Kettle Corn we snuck inside. Indisputably, her favorite parts were the little breaks when Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy graced the floor, and also when bubbles floated down from the ceiling. Enjoy a few photos, if you will.

Who knew mermaids could do the splits?

This is ME in my garage on rollerskates.

We did have really great seats, but some of these close-ups are courtesy of my amazing new camera.

The entire 'Little Mermaid' portion was the highlight for me.

Simba's a little washed out, but marvel at my shutter-click timing!

I nearly don't believe it myself, but Pumbaa appeared to be portrayed by one skater with his or her hands wearing skates in the front. It was the weirdest thing to watch and imagine trying to do.

As much as I love 'The Lion King,' the lions on their hind legs in bodysuits was a bit strange. I was able to look past it for the most part.


Bridget said...

Wow, those are really good seats!

Did you see Mikael there? Or was that a different show?

Amber said...

Disney on Ice was one of my favorite things to do when I was in the 5-7 year old age range. I had more or less forgotten about it's existence, but now I'm kind of excited that in just a few short years I'll be able to experience it again, but this time as a mom. It looks like it was a pretty good show, and what luck to have such good seats!

Kristen said...

I didn't see Mikael, but did read her blog post about it. Obviously it's a huge place, but I think they went to the matinee showing.

And we paid extra for the great seats of course, but it was still only $36. I think that's pretty reasonable.


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