Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting the happiest place on Earth, Disneyland, sans child. Decked-out in my Sovorsky Crystal encrusted Mickey Mouse ears (Yes, I underpaid my nanny to painstakingly apply every precious crystal by hand.) I giddily wandered through Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Adventureland as if in a dream. As my son had not been invited to attend, there were none of the usual banal cries like 'I'm hungry,' or 'I'm tired,' nor my personal favorite, 'Daddy please stop doing the choreography to GET'CHA HEAD IN THE GAME from High School Musical, you're so not Zac Effron - you're just pathetic.' I was able to wander the park gaily. (God, I've so wanted to use that word!)
I flounced from Pirates of the Caribbean to The Haunted Mansion to Space Mountain preening in my sparkly ears, happily unfettered by the whiny demands of my son who last year had the audacity to announce that he did not care for Disneyland as the rides were 'scary' and 'loud.' Can you imagine such a grotesque pronouncement? Naturally, I berated him for being some kind of pinko-commie, un-American, unholy, agitator-terrorist and reminded him that Disneyland was a God-given privilege not an earthly right. Like Lucifer my son Ethan was now officially cast out of the kingdom of heaven and would remain so until he was imbued with the light and goodness of our God, Walt Disney, whose frozen, Nazi-sympathizing head is rumored to be held fittingly in suspended animation beneath Space Mountain.
Like the Shroud of Turin or the Veil of Veronica, Walt's frozen head is a holy relic, whose viewing is strictly reserved for the most exalted of Disney pilgrims. Despite my Jewish roots and propensity for flamboyance (wink, wink) I'm praying that with the purchase of enough overpriced season passes in addition to buying all those Chinese manufactured Disney 'collectables' I too will be permitted to view Walt's head and like Salome kiss his dead, frozen lips. Please God Walt, let me be worthy!
I was particularly humbled on this particular day I was granted entrance to Ariel's Grotto, which like the Roman House of Vestal Virgins, is home to the purest, wisest, and most enlightened women in the Kingdom of Heaven, The Disney Princesses. Like the Vestals, the Disney Princesses are pure of heart, chaste, and beyond reproach. The answers to life's most damning questions can be found here. Sibyl-like, the Disney Princesses are omnipotent, their powers absolute.
I do not speak and keep my head respectfully bowed as I descend the sweeping staircase that leads to Ariel's Grotto. I take my place at a greasy table and nervously glance at the menu. I take a moment to foolishly debate with my fellow pilgrims whether to order the ghastly short ribs or anemic salmon when I suddenly feel a soft, gloved hand on my shoulder. I glance at my fellow pilgrims in alarm as their mouths have gone slack, their eyes wide, for as I slowly turn and follow their gaze, I peer into the flawless, shining face of Belle from Beauty and the Best.
"Well hello!" Belle says dreamily as she takes my hand in hers, "What brings such handsome men to the kingdom this fine day?"
Shocked, I stammer, "Oh Belle, I have so many questions, so many 'issues,' where do I begin?"
Belle gazes at me beatifically, thinks carefully and with unquestionable sincerity responds, "Perhaps, like any good story, you could start with ONCE UPON A TIME..."
(To Be Continued)