Monday, September 12, 2016

Birthday Princess

Birthdays are weird. The older we get, the more we realize that getting mountains of toys and running around with cake smeared on our faces is not the most important thing anymore. Or wait, let's be real, it probably is, but it is also generally frowned upon in civilized societies. Last year I had a Unicorn Party at a bar in central Paris and made the friends gathered around me color Unicorn pages, take a Unicorn quiz, and eat Unicorn cake on Unicorn plates. That is the closest I could get to recreating my youth... Until this year...

While I have found that my favorite thing to do on my birthday now that I am a "legal" "adult" (whatever that means) is romp around distant lands and travel to my heart's content, this year I had not the option to galavant. Coincidentally, about 95% of my friends in Paris were out of town, sick, or previously engaged, so it was up to me to concoct a bit of birthday glamour. Enter: Disneyland.

I have now lived in Paris for about three years and I have to admit, I have long since wanted to check out Disneyland Paris. I have been to the Orlando and Los Angeles locations multiple times each, but now it's been a good 15 years since my last experience. I can't say I am a massive Disney fan. I don't drool over Mickey ears or cherish branded paraphernalia. But since I've always wanted to be a princess and live in a castle, it is somewhat of a natural fit. Plus who doesn't wax a bit nostalgic over those classic cartoons like Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, and my personal favorite: Robin Hood. If I could choose an animated character to marry and/or make out with, it would hands down be the foxy do-gooder. 

So, in true Angela fashion I took advantage of my open-ended birthday to don a princess gown and tiara and head off to the Magic Kingdom. Fortunately, I had one good friend who was willing to participate in some Sunday afternoon frolicking, so off we went! The park is located in the suburbs of Paris, an easy RER train ride past the Parisian borders. I had actually gotten the renewed idea to go when passing through the train stop on my way to Montpellier a few weeks back, as the entrance is a stone's throw from the train. And as luck would have it, this was one of the best possible weekends to attend because school had just gone back in session. We barely waited for any ride all day long, a 25 minute wait being the longest we endured, and only two or three very new attractions boasted an hour wait at most. 

My friend and I spent most of the day hopping from one enchanted story ride to another. Apparently, her first time at Disneyland a few years back had consisted of mainly roller coasters and nothing else. Since I am not a fan of that crashing to your death sort of feeling, she got to see the classic rides I prefer, from Peter Pan to It's a Small World to Pirates of the Caribbean. It was interesting to be an adult running around the park now during the age of technology. When I was young, I would never have even dreamed of having a smartphone, never mind using it while being on rides. I would have had an old fashioned camera that would have allowed me pictures a week or two later if I was lucky. Nowadays they can't really stop people from clicking and clacking their phones and taking pictures left and right, though thank goodness selfie sticks are banned from the park. In some ways I think all the gizmos take away from the old charm. I only pulled my device out for a few rides, to snap some photos I never would have gotten as a young child. But for the most part, I preferred to experience everything in the moment, more wowed by the creepy lifelike animatronics than the reproductions displayed on my iPhone screen. 

It was a happy and satisfying birthday outing. Especially since I am quite certain there were a few young gals dressed like Belle or Elsa or Jasmine who definitely thought I was a real princess and coveted my dress. But mostly because I got to dance around in my youth for a few minutes as I entered the next year of my magical life.

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