Thursday, April 3, 2014

Boobs and Breastfeeding at Disney World

We just got back from a four day trip to Disney World.  If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you'll know I'm a huge Disney fan.  We've been twice in one year.  Yes, we're those people.

It's fake and it's commercial and it's a complete rip off but I love it.  It holds great memories for me, is super kid friendly (obviously), and I have the whole fast pass, line bypassing thing down to a science.  (Perhaps a topic for another post, I seriously think I should start a business planning Magic Kingdom itineraries for tourists.  Not to toot my own horn, but I'm damn good at it).

Notwithstanding all of this, it pains me to say that I have some issues with Disney World on two fronts.

First, the boobs:

Seriously, what is up with this????


This picture is taken from the Little Mermaid Ride, "Under the Sea."  I have seen this movie many a time.  And I have been on this ride on prior visits.  But for some reason, on this visit, the fact that Ariel is wearing practically nothing but shells on her boobs really bugs me.

Maybe it's because I have young boys now.  Or maybe it's because I'm getting older.  Or maybe it's because I'm just jealous of Ariel's rocking body?  But SINCE WHEN IS IT OKAY TO SEXUALIZE THE DISNEY CHARACTERS THAT MY KIDS IDOLIZE?  WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO MAKE ARIEL PRACTICALLY NAKED, MINUS MINI-PURPLE SEA SHELLS COVERING HER LARGELY PROPORTIONED BREASTS?

(Answer - definitely a man's).

Listen, I'm no prude.  I wear a bikini myself (though perhaps not anymore - after baby #3 it remains to be seen).  But for some reason, this didn't sit right with me.  I just wonder what kind of message it sends, at such a young age, to both boys and girls?  I tried to shake it off and tell myself that really it's no big deal - that my children will never objectify women - until this happened:



This is Princess Jasmine, from the movie Aladdin.  We are having lunch at Cinderella's castle, and she came over to say hello to the boys and pose for pictures.  Casey hugged her, and in doing so also kissed her on her stomach.  We all laughed, in an awkward, that was really weird, sort of way.

Dear God.

I'll have you know that there were no half naked princes to be found walking around the Disney parks.

Maybe I'm just getting old and super sensitive.  But I'm trying to raise boys that are enlightened. That see women as equals and not just as sexual objects.  That can see past the Super Bowl commercials and music videos and, I suppose, Disney characters.  I know (at least, I hope) that their value system will come from me and what I teach them, and not from the images that they are bombarded with on a daily basis.

But sheesh, Disney.  This isn't helping.

Second, the breastfeeding:

Though I've been to Disney World many times, this was actually my first time being there when I was breastfeeding.  I was happy to learn that the Magic Kingdom has a Baby Care Center, with a room specifically designated for nursing moms.  It's located near the entrance to the park, so I figured that if it worked out, I would breastfeed there.  Otherwise, I would just find a bench and do the deed.

As an aside, I don't know if it's because it is my third child, but I have no problem nursing ANYWHERE.  I have nursed at parks, at restaurants, in my car, on buses, in doctors office waiting rooms, etc. There really is nowhere I feel is off limits.  The fact that this is a controversial position is unfathomable to me.  I breastfeed my baby.  If my baby needs to eat, I'm going to feed him. Period.

So while I was glad there was a nursing room, it wasn't necessary per se.  I figured I would just find a seat somewhere and feed him wherever and whenever the time came.

That proved to be difficult, however.  Last week was a spring break week and the Magic Kingdom was PACKED.  More crowded than I had ever seen it.  Thus, finding a place to sit down was a constant struggle.  There simply wasn't bench space, and not even any space to just sit on the ground without being run over by a stampede of people.  So, no matter where we were in the vast Magic Kingdom park, when it came time to feed Colin, I separated from my family, and trekked to the Baby Care Center.

Now, I don't want to get picky.  But this Baby Care Center left a lot to be desired.  I would leave the sun and warmth and Disney giddy happiness for this:


It's fine, of course.  But it's dark.  And dank.  And overall a bit depressing.  And not all that big actually - there were six chairs in the room.  (And not the most comfortable, I might add - have you ever tried to nurse on a thin wooden rocking chair?  Not easy.)

Worst of all, I missed my family.  By the time I made my way there, nursed, and made my way back to them, it was a good hour.

As it so happened, during my long walks to the Baby Center, do you know what I passed? Designated smoking areas.  With nice benches.  And nice views of Cinderella's Castle.  It was quite lovely, actually.  After a little research, I realized that there were 7 designated smoking areas in the Magic Kingdom.  All outside, all well located near major rides, and most with seating available.

How ironic.

It got me thinking.

Hey Disney World, I have a proposition for you.  How about you convert your smoking areas into nursing areas?  That way we nursing moms (and I'm sure there must be a lot of us) can stay close to our families, stay outside, and sit down.

You can send the smokers to the nursing room.  (And maybe create a nice, cheery room for those women who don't want to breastfeed in public).

And speaking of breastfeeding in public, surely you don't have a problem with that, right?  I mean, with Ariel and Jasmine strutting their boobs for all to see, surely the feeding of my baby, under a nursing blanket for God's sake, is appropriate?

Just saying.


12 comments:

  1. Wow. After Nordstrom nursing how can go nurse in _that_. Probably Disney's way to get moms to concede to buying a Dumbo bottle, water and a sleeve of Enfamil. I'd have expected more from DW - everything I've heard is that they do it well and do it right for their guests. I think DC moms could lobby for improved nursing. If you can get a corporate sponsor :)

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  2. I actually think that looks like a perfect nursing room. Typically, when my daughter was a baby, I needed to remove her from all stimulation to nurse. She simply was waaaay too alert and interested in everything to ever nurse her in public. She would constantly be looking around, etc. I am also thinking that in the warmer months, it would feel quite nice to get out of the heat to nurse in an air-conditioned spot. I think this is a MUCH better option then outside, personally.

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  3. I like the look of the nursing room. After all the excitement and activity outside it'd be the only place I could get my LO to get calm down and eat. Then again, you're much more experienced at nursing than I am, so maybe you know tricks I don't. I second that the chairs aren't as comfortable as a glider or something you'd have at home, but a man probably designed the room and remembered moms typically having a rocking chair.

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  4. Love this! I totally agree! When I was breast-feeding, I would do it anywhere. But sometimes, there was nowhere. And being in a dark room would never be my preference!

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  5. Oy, where I agree with PP's some kids need the quiet/dark space. But if that was all I got I would be totally depressed and esp having to hike all the way back! Honestly I think even if it is quiet and dark that they would make it cuter and more nice to be in… I mean Nordstroms room is better then that! How about they change the smoking sections like you said AND added a small quiet room for the Mom's who need that private dark space…. Make the smokers hike back, plus it would be good for their lungs to get the extra fresh air.

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  6. Guess what the world doesn't revolve around you and your breast feeding, you choose to breast feed - goody goody gum drops for you. You don't deserve special treatment, a special place just for you - it's your choice you deal with YOUR choice. It's easy to make a smoking area - put up a sign and a bench - boom it's done. My guess if Magic Kingdom put up a sign that said "breast feeding" and bench...you'd complain about that too.

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    1. Actually, a sign and a bench would do me just fine. :) And if someone deserves a "special place" it is definitely us breastfeeders, and not the smokers!

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    2. Do smokers deserve special treatment??

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    3. This is so ridiculous I don't even know what to say. It's DISNEY WORLD. A place specifically intended for families with young children. So if there's anyplace in the world that really should "revolve around" the needs of mothers and little ones, this is maybe it? I think they should try a "Children Present: No Smoking in the Park" policy, and convert all those nice benches to "Infant Feeding" areas. I'm guessing the mothers with the bottles would enjoy using them as well.

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  7. why just one nursing place? isn't the idea supposed to be that you can slip away for the feeding and then rejoin the group with minimal hassle? I agree, the room is ugly, but I'm more offended by making you walk back to the entrance every time the baby is hungry!

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  8. Very good point about the designated smoking areas, but no designated nursing areas--they would be a good compromise for a family-friendly company like Disney that also has to consider the cultural differences of its vast array of guests from around the world. I've nursed my baby in every nursing center at DW (all 4 parks). They are all actually a bit different--Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom have private rooms, for example, whereas Epcot and MK have the big nursing rooms to share. Those wooden rocking chairs absolutely suck--they are uncomfortable for you and do not provide a soft place for baby. Some of the nursing facilites have more comfortable options. I think they are overall decent though--I think its necessary to have indoor space, not for privacy but because its SO HOT most of the year, those nursing areas were a blessing--getting me and baby out of the sun and into a quiet, calm place with A/C. I would like the outdoor area too, though, for those few temperate months that being outside in FL all day is really enjoyable, or those moments when baby wants to eat NOW and you have a long trek to the nursing center. Although I too will nurse anywhere, having the designated area provides the same "protection" for those people who are uncomfortable with nursing as the designated smoking area provides for those who don't want to be around smoke. Good idea!

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  9. I go to Disney World 3-5 times a year, we went when my little guy was 8 days old, 6 months old, 11 months old and most recently at 13 months old.
    I enjoyed the cool dark room, especially on a hot day, i don't want to be nursing a baby when I'm all hot and sticky and so is he. I only have one child so when I was there when he was 8 days old i liked the privacy since I was still trying to figure the whole nursing thing out.
    AND, the nursing center is not at the entrance. It is at the end of main street closest to the castle which is the entrance point into each of the lands... it is very centrally located. I agree that there should be more of them but it is not at the entrance, it is right next to the Crystal Palace.
    On another side note, there are counter service restaurants EVERYWHERE at the parks, wouldn't it be just as easy to duck into one that was close to your family and grab a table?
    I totally agree that the smoking areas should be fewer and further between and there should be more nursing areas, but I think that the tone of this post is a little dramatic...
    Did you take the time to go to the guest relations counter before you left and leave a suggestion with one of the cast members? They love suggestions and I'm sure would take your comments to heart since they do have so many nursing mothers there.
    Ashley

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