Having spent the last four days at the different theme parks at Disney World in Orlando I had the opportunity to observe a large variety of people- families, friends, school groups. It was definitely a people-watching bonanza!
I have always been fascinated by the little girls wearing their princess dresses. When my children were younger, I’m not even sure if they sold the princess dresses. Kris didn’t relate to princesses; at times he was very critical of the princesses’ actions.
As the trend of having little girls wear their dresses to the theme parks became more popular, I found myself observing them. One girl stands out. Her name is Ellie. I know this because all you have to do is sit by a family for no more than 10 minutes and you will know more about them than they could ever realize.
My family and I started our journey to the Magic Kingdom on a bus from the resort to the park. Ellie sat nearby with her parents and brother. She had climbed into her seat and she was adjusting her dress. Her mother reprimanded her, “Ellie, princesses sit like ladies.” Ellie perched on the bus seat sedately, hands folded in her lap. Occasionally she would smooth out the fabric of her Snow White dress. Her eyes kept straying to the mini-Cinderella sitting across from her. Cinderella was a perfect replica of her princess counterpart, her golden blonde hair styled into a perfect updo, her lips shiny with pink lip gloss and her cheeks glowing.
She tugged on her mother’s hand. Her eyes trained on Cinderella, she asked softly, “Do I look like Snow White, Mama?” Her words were said softly, with a bit of uncertainty.
Her mother glanced down and said, ” Of course you do, Ellie.”
At that moment Cinderella squirmed in her seat and her foot poked out. The kiddie equivalency of glass slippers!! Ellie’s eyes widened, her mouth forming a small ‘o’ in wonder. She slid forward so her feet touched the ground, quickly pulling the edge of her dress down to cover her tennis shoes. That motion caused the sleeve of her dress to fall off her slight shoulders . She tried to adjust the sleeve to hide the tank top she wore underneath. When she looked down she saw the worn shoes on her feet and she slumped forward.
“Ellie, stop squirming!” Her mother spoke the words out of habit, not really noticing what Ellie was doing or why.
Ellie slumped back in her seat and one hand reached up to wrap one of the loose curls around her finger. Those curls were impossible to manage in this humidity and they kept escaping from the tight pigtails.
“Your hair is the wrong color.” This came from her brother, Jake. “You should be Ariel instead. Or Merida.”
“I like Snow White.” Ellie’s voice was filled with sadness as she locked eyes with the beautiful Cinderella across the way.
“You’re not even wearing make up!” Jake’s tone was derisive.
“Kids don’t wear make up!”
The siblings both looked at Cinderella, then Jake glanced at Ellie with a shrug. They sat in silence until they passed the sign welcoming them to the Magic Kingdom. Both children squealed with excitement, all talk of princesses forgotten, and turned to kneel on their seats to get a better look out the bus window. Ellie tugged and pulled at the skirt of her dress, trying to get it out from under her knees. In frustration she cried, “Mama, can I take this dress off?”
She was stripped of her dress to reveal shorts, tank top and tennis shoes. A wail from across the aisle grabbed the attention of everyone’s attention. “Why does she get to wear shorts? Mommy, I wanna wear shorts too! Not this clumpy dress.” Cinderella sat in a sea of netting, lace and fluff, tears streaming down her face, causing steaks on her cheeks. Cinderella’s mom sighed.
Ellie balled up the Snow White dress and handed it to her mom, who stuffed it into her backpack. Then she took Jake’s hand and they skipped off the bus, with their parents jogging to keep up, their giggles of joy floating back every step of the way.
This post is the response for Writing 101, Day 6: A Character-Building Experience