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.
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.
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?