My aunt, uncle and 3-year-old cousin had a wonderful trip to Disneyland this week (my first ever to a Disney park).
As somewhat of a Disney movie connoisseur, it was hard to contain my excitement as we made the long drive from their house in Arizona.
An older gentleman who checked my bag at the gate to the park asked me if I was ready to enter “the happiest place on Earth.” His tone and expression made me think he may have been sarcastic, but he laughed at my enthusiasm when I replied, “I am SO ready!”
If you can’t exude a child-like effervescence at Disneyland, where can you?
I made it my mission to introduce my little cousin to as many classic Disney movies as possible. First up was “Cinderella.” I’m a “Little Mermaid” girl myself, but my cousin already had a Cinderella costume to wear to our lunch with the princesses, so I had a suspicion Cinderella would be her favorite.
If it’s been a while since you’ve been around a 3-year-old, they have a funny way of narrating things that makes you just want to squeeze them. Watching Cinderella was no exception.
“Look!” my cousin exclaimed when Cinderella twirled in her new dress. “She made her the REAL Cinderella, with sparkles!”
To my cousin, Cinderella wasn’t herself in the clothes she wore as a servant.
What’s interesting about Cinderella is, even though she grew up a servant, she remained poised, gracious and kind. Though she was treated as a servant, she behaved as a princess.
It reminds me of a line from another of my favorite films: “Apart from the things one can pick up, the difference between a flower girl and a lady is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.”
One of the Disney employees who doted on my cousin when she was in her Cinderella dress said, “You are such a beautiful princess today!” When my cousin said, “Thank you,” the employee responded, “The next time someone says that you say, ‘That’s every day.’”
I hope it’s a message my cousin retains.
“As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don’t think you are the most important being on earth,” author Harper Lee wrote in one of her letters to a young fan. “Rich or poor, you then can look anyone in the eye and say, ‘I’m probably no better than you, but I’m certainly your equal.’”