In the typical parent-child relationship, there comes a time when the child becomes better at something than the parent. It is as inevitable as night following day. Some parents consider this moment a sign of their imminent uselessness. To me, it’s a sign I taught my children well.
Recently, I had to face the fact that my daughters’ Disney knowledge now far exceeds my own. It did not happen overnight. They’ve been taunting me about it for years. Every time they read one of my Disney-related articles, their comments–good or bad–are accompanied by the observation that they should be writing about Disney. Whether they mean instead of or in addition to me is not clear, but I have my suspicions.
“After all, Dad, we know more about Disney than you.” Ouch.
It all started innocently enough. At a very young age, my daughters were introduced to Disney by the Disney Sing Along Songs series. We watched the VHS tapes so many times I still see the bouncing Mickey above the lyrics whenever I hear a song from the series.
Before long, they progressed to full-length feature films: Lauren, my oldest, favored The Lion King while Monica was partial to Cinderella. They watched each new Disney release over and over until they had committed the dialogue, songs and staging to memory. Still unsatisfied, they reached back into the vault to catch up on movies released before they were born.
And, of course they watched their share of Disney Channel during the So Weird, Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens era. But their acquisition of encyclopedia-like Disney knowledge was not limited to movies and television.
Vacations, originally intended for visits with snowbird grandparents, became trips to see Grandma, Grandpa… and Mickey. Before long, jaunts to Walt Disney World became the focal point of our Florida visits. Then, we added a second yearly visit. They set out to learn as much as they could about the history of the parks and about Walt, himself.
Their obsession developed to the point where they could only do their homework while listening to Disney park music. Now, since they live in different cities during the school year, they work and listen to park music together via Skype. It is like being in a scene from Epcot’s former Horizons attraction.
Last summer, before Lauren left for college, they decided to embark on their own unique Disney film project. Already having mastered most Disney feature films, they set out to watch as many Disney sequels as possible. Their take on these sequels is fascinating and worthy of a separate future article. Naturally, they think they should write it.
They have taken their Disney passion to a level I never imagined possible, and it has been gratifying knowing that, in some small way, their mother and I inspired that passion. Recently, that passion and knowledge were put to the test.
During a recent visit to the Magic Kingdom, we staked out a spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade at the end of Main Street. Having done everything we set out to do that day, we arrived nearly two hours before the start of the parade and caught the attention of a gregarious cast member who was beginning to direct traffic near our location.
“You must be huge fans to line up this early,” she said while deftly avoiding a stroller-trash can collision.
Lauren’s response, a Scar-like, “You have no idea,” caused Monica to chuckle and the cast member, ironically named Lauren herself, to smirk. She felt challenged. The game was on.
Over the next hour or so, cast member Lauren challenged Disney fan Lauren and Monica with obscure Disney trivia questions such as which Disney movies have a single word title and which ones have no appearance by a human? They answered each question (they are more difficult than you think!) with an ease that seemed to disarm cast member Lauren. Cast member Lauren appeared to be too busy to keep the game going, but I suspect she had already used up her “A” material.
In the interest of full disclosure, Lauren and Monica received a huge assist that evening from NDK’s 1-3 who exhibited equally impressive Disney knowledge. NDM1 also assisted…a little, but it was clear she, too, was outclassed by this next generation of Disney fans.
I, on the other hand, strained in a vain effort to contribute anything. My few suggestions, however, were just met with silence and laughter.
And I couldn’t have been more proud.
Contributed by: John Marchese (NDD#172) John is the DDL Media Relations Blogger.