I mean, there are people who are willing to queue for hours at the Disney parks in order to take photos and obtain autographs from their favourite characters. The longest of these queues, of course, belongs to the Disney Princesses.
The Disney Princess franchise is a Big Deal, and there are people who buy into it hook, line and sinker. From the minute you step into the parks, every single Disney cast member will begin greeting all the little girls as ‘Princess’ and all the little boys as ‘Little Prince’. And the kids love it. They really do.
You can even bring your children to a special beauty parlour where fairy godmothers (with wands and everything) will transform them into miniature princesses or knights complete with hairstyling, makeup, nail art and accessories!
Fortunately for me, Little E, although she does love all things princess-y and had a lot of fun identifying all the different mini-princesses flouncing around the parks, is completely disinterested in dressing up in the costumes herself. (She did have the opportunity to try on an official Disney princess dress once at a friend’s birthday party. Although she thoroughly enjoyed posing in that sparkly, spangly thing for the duration of the group photo taking , she immediately afterwards requested to change back into her party dress as she found the costume “too spiky”. Since then, she’s never shown interest in store-bought princess dresses.)
We did manage to meet with all the Disney Princesses in the end, much to Little E’s delight. This is all due to some beautifully done wrangling on the part of A Becky Lee.
Firstly, A Becky Lee chose to celebrate her birthday at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot Center, which boasts not only a wonderful Norwegian buffet spread, but also the opportunity to dine in the company of several Princesses.
Secondly, A Becky Lee managed to wrangle us some extra Fastpasses (yay), which meant that we could use some of our Fastpasses at the Magic Kingdom to skip the queues and visit with the more sought after princesses at the Princess Fairytale Hall. Woohoo!
I have to say, the princesses really work SO hard to make every child feel absolutely special. Honestly, the way they look at you and talk to you, you really do feel like they have come out of their castles just to meet you, and only you.
Goodness knows how they maintain their composure, tirelessly smiling and trilling in sweet voices, whilst being pawed at all day long by hundreds of children with their sticky, sticky little jam hands. The most amazing thing to me was that each of those princesses politely asked Little E for a hug (sometimes two!) before saying goodbye, even though she was happy to leave them alone.
Oh yes, they were so charming that even J decided that he wasn’t going to stand by quietly and watch Little E chatting with these lovely girls all by herself. Oh, he got right in there and asked to be part of the picture – eventually screwing up the courage to ask his favourite princess if she would take a picture with him!
Visiting the princesses at the Princess Fairytale Hall was a different experience, because there were Princess Wranglers present who helped to keep things nice and orderly so that the ladies could concentrate on being sweet and charming (and not have to deal with pushy parents or children who wanted to hog their time). Additionally, it means waiting in the cool, cool air-conditioning and it was very obvious that the princesses are clearly much more comfortable in the hall than outdoors.
I am very thankful that we managed to use our Fastpasses for this because the regular queues were absolutely horrendous. The line to see Queen Elsa and Princess Anna from the movie ‘Frozen’ was 3 hours long when we visited – and we were told by the Princess Wranglers that during peak holiday periods, the waiting time can go up to 5 and a half hours! Incredible! Hats off to any parent who has queued for that long for anything at Disneyworld!
It is during this trip that I found out that Rapunzel is Little E’s favourite princess. I was quite surprised by this revelation – Little E has talked about nobody but ‘Ice Girl’ ever since she watched ‘Frozen’ – so I was shocked when I took her to the pin-trading store at Epcot Center and she passed over all the Elsa pins in their glittery glory for a simple Rapunzel pin hidden in a corner.
Needless to say, Little E was excited beyond all reason when she saw Rapunzel. She started dancing in the queue and didn’t stop until Rapunzel waved to her. Then, she was utterly star struck and immobile as the princess walked towards her to take her hand. I still have no idea what they talked about during their meet and Little E is keeping their conversation a secret. The two of them were whispering to each other and in the end, Rapunzel gave her a very close cuddle before posing for pictures.
Now if you ask Little E what her favourite part of the trip was, she’ll tell you that it was meeting the Disney Princesses. So, I’m very glad that we made time for that in the end. It was worth seeing the big smiles on both J and Little E’s faces!