Ariel with legs has been my daughter’s dream princess forever. When we went to Disney World Ariel was her target. If she didn’t see Ariel with legs then the entire trip would be a bust and she would never believe in anything again.
Luckily I knew where to find her (you work on a Disney website for over a decade and that kind of happens)—at a character meal in EPCOT. People mock people like me for liking Disney. They don’t get it, and that’s fine. They have a cynical view of Disney that, frankly, I understand.
But when my daughter, who was well past the age of believing that this was actually the animated character come to life, saw Ariel with legs her eyes widened with glee. She started bouncing with excitement and when Ariel came over to talk with her my daughter blurted out, “Do you like my socks?”
All week long she had been wearing ocean-themed socks in case she met Ariel. My daughter and Ariel then had a fast-paced conversation about the merits of socks with seahorses on them. Ariel signed the autograph book, posed for a photo, hugged my daughter and stole a fork from our table as she left.
Funny thing is, being the angry, bitter, cynical jerk I am it should be second nature to mock this sort of thing. And you may want to as well. But you’re wrong.
We all knew that this wasn’t real. But magic does exist, and it does require you to believe. You have to want magic to exist. But it’s not spells or illusions or charms. It’s having that ability to live in a moment and allow it to be what it is and nothing more. That wasn’t an actress talking to my daughter at that moment. For that brief moment, it really was Ariel sharing her love for the sea with a little girl. And that moment was real because we let go and simply enjoyed it. No strings, no cynicism, no justifications, just the knowledge that sometimes it’s okay to immerse yourself in a fantasy. And that was magic.
The world needs more moments like this.
this is kind of how I feel about everything. like entertainment (most especially TV shows and video games) and religion.
if you need the magic, you will find the magic, or else you will make the magic, and it will keep you alive.