Six months ago, Claire had no idea of Disneyland. Mickey Mouse, Snow white, Elsa and Anna, all these names became now her daily conversation topics. Having heard a lot about Disneyland from TV, YouTube videos, toy commercials and especially from her classmates, Claire kept asking us to take her to this fairy kingdom, where she dreamed to encounter all beloved princesses. Even before our journey, she was proud to talk about it at school and came back home with excitement.
She didn’t know where came from such excitement but believed it. Then we hit the road. “Are we there yet?” the 8 hours’ drive burned her impatience but doubled her expectation for the special discovery. We got up at 7 and hurried to the main gate. Waiting the doors to be opened, I heard so many parents repeat their children’s Disneyland symptoms : “they refused to sleep last night!”
The day was hot, the park was crowded and long long lines made visitors more impatient. “Take a picture with Mickey”, parents began to cheer up, “there are also princesses waiting for you!” But in fact, for a 4 year-old girl, taking picture is just a followed pleasure. Was the picture good or not? Many children didn’t care. “Look, the sleeping beauty castle!”, we shouted, while Claire was busy with her cookie breakfast.
“Can I buy 3 toys? You promised me!” She couldn’t move her steps in front of all the charming toy stores. We bought her a princess dress, a magic wand and a Frozen doll. “That’s it, we can go back to hotel,” she seemed so satisfied and wore a big smile on her face.
It was later that she realized Disneyland was an adventure park. But for her age, she was unable to enjoy most of the games. Frightened by the simulated monsters and the darkness in several trips, she refused to try more. She even quickly run off the sleeping beauty, believing that there was a bad witch who might make her asleep too. The Mickey Mouse town didn’t impressed her.”I saw it in TV,” repeated her, “It should be like this.” The carousel cheered her up but the line was too long.
“Do you like Disneyland?” we kept asking her all the day. But sometimes, she just nodded without a comment. I and her daddy seemed more excited.”Did you like Disneyland?” we already had the answer. It was just a way to emphasize our own positive feelings. Having lost her magic wand, Claire turned upset. We refused to buy her new toys, since everything is expensive. So much temptation but so mean parents. “I don’t like Disneyland any more,” sobbed she. There were so many children who were crying. We could easily imagine the situation.
After a little rest at the hotel, we entered the park again, Claire showed no more interest, because she was exhausted and only wanted to go to bed. “But we will have the firework,” we insisted, imaging that the beautiful scenes would make her day, “And the night parade, you should wait.” She had no energy.
“Did you like Disneyland?” We unconsciously repeated the same question the way back home. Sometimes, Claire just waited and waited before trying to say a shy “Yes”. Maybe she guessed that the negative answer would let us down. The same question bothered her when our friends and neighbors mentioned our trip. Sometimes, she just let her silence in to mark her shyness in front of them. “Yes and No”, she smiled and quickly jumped over the topic.
I am not sure if Claire really had a good journey and enjoyed the Disneyland park. Sometimes, we just told ourselves that we tried everything to make our children happy and the Disneyland ought to be one of these things. We cheated ourselves because we didn’t want to hear the negative answer, after a very tiring and expensive trip.