Sunday, February 14, 2016

I Live Out my Middle School Disney Romantic Ideals

The trifecta of movies known as the Disney Renaissance movies, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, came out during my middle school years. The idyllic romantic moments in each movie made quite an impression on my pre-teen and early teen romantic sensibilities. It came of course as an utter disappointment to me that middle school boys had no interest in twirling me around a ballroom or floating in a blue lagoon.  To be honest, boys pretty much had no interest in me until I got to college. In the end it all worked out. 

Now I’m a happily married adult, going to Disney World for my anniversary. I asked, and my husband agreed to help me live out my middle school Disney romantic ideals.

The Little Mermaid

I vividly remember seeing The Little Mermaid for the first time at a sleepover. 
This movie gets me, I thought as Ariel belted out Part of Your World. I immediately acquired a VHS copy and watched it almost every night during that summer.

Of course my favorite romantic moment is the Kiss the Girl scene. The fireflies, the singing fish spitting out little fountains; the secluded blue lagoon. It seemed the pinnacle of romance. I'm pretty sure the scene contributed to my lifelong adoration of blue water.  

Disney World did their best to recreate the scene in the Voyage of The Little Mermaid attraction. 

I was able to successfully kiss my husband while our clam shell glided through the blue lagoon. The problem is that the ride is extremely dark, and when you're cloistered in the clam shell, it is darker still, making the moment impossible to document. A generous park guest was happy to assist with a re-enactment of the moment in brighter circumstances.

Beauty and The Beast

I thought nothing could be as great as The Little Mermaid, then I saw Beauty and the Beast. Ariel got me, but Belle was me. Belle is still my favorite Disney Princess, and Beauty and The Beast is my favorite Disney animated movie (yes it does have a lot to do with that library). It is the movie I have seen the most times in a movie theater, seven. I still get goosebumps when The Beast and Belle float around the beautiful ballroom.

I was overjoyed when we finally procured a reservation at the Be Our Guest restaurant (having failed to do so during our previous trip). 

The ordering process at Be Our Guest is a mixture of fascinating and unsettling. You walk up to a touch screen, and tap, tap, tap, your order is complete; neat and convenient. You then take a seat and eventually your food magically appears. The servers are able to locate you via your magic band; just a little disconcerting.

The restaurant is a recreation of The Beast’s castle. 

The ballroom is spot on with golden chandeliers set against a ceiling mural, complete with winged putties (Thank you Mrs. Maines for teaching us that term). 

The enormous windows look out onto a perpetual winter landscape. Snow flakes fall gently to the ground. 

The details are marvelous. 

The one downside, the ballroom is vast, noisy, and busier than Grand Central Station. Servers are constantly pushing food carts, or feverishly clearing tables. Kids are scampering around, and adults are attempting to remember where they were told the silverware was located. Not quite the romantic location I envisioned. Certainly there was no way to take a twirl around the ballroom without either seriously injuring ourselves, or others. We had to settle for a quick picture, 

and decided to enjoy our lunch in the less frantic west wing.

The west wing is the coolest of the dining areas at Be Our Guest. Every so often there is thunder and lighting, and the ripped painting of Prince Adam flickers between Adam and the Beast.  

The West Wing is also where the Rose Gallery is located. Like the thunder, every so often, a petal falls from the rose. 

For our meals, I ordered the slow braised pork. 

Shannon got the roast beef sandwich. 

Both of our lunches were yummy, though the pork was on the salty side so might not be the best for people who have to watch their sodium intake. 

Of course we had to get The Master’s cupcake. It's topped with the “grey stuff”. Yes, it was indeed delicious.

Having lunch at Be Our Guest was everything my Beauty and the Beast loving middle- school- self wanted it to be.


I love Aladdin, but it didn’t capture my fancy enough to bump Beauty and The Beast from my number one spot. The romantic scene and the Whole New World song however, is my favorite romantic scene of the three movies.  Always having a love for adventure, even as a teen, how could I not be completely captivated over being able to travel and see the world on a woven common household object? 

I assumed I could realistically find myself in a lagoon, minus the singing fish of course. I certainly could visit a ballroom, but I doubted any of my junior high classmates were harboring an enchanted carpet in their lockers. The closest that I will ever come to actually flying on a magic carpet is The Magic Carpets of Aladdin attraction.

 I had to slightly adjust my imagination to envision that we were seeing the sights and wonders of the world and not just whizzing past the same few fabricated buildings over and over. 

It was actually a fun ride, and as the breeze ruffled my hair, I connected to the middle school girl who longed to see the world.

I had a great time re-enacting, to the best of my ability, the scenes that I thought were the utmost in romance when I was a young lady. A young lady who was just beginning to learn what romance was. More than floating in a fake lagoon, strolling through an ornate ballroom, or flying in the air on a carpet, perhaps the most romantic experience was actually having a husband who was willing to amuse me by allowing himself to be dragged around to all of these attractions. Someone willing to help me live out my middle school romantic ideals is truly my Prince.

Extra Note: While we were having our adventures that day, a sky writer flew over Disney World. What the plane wrote could not have been more perfect if we planned it. 

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