In case you didn't already know, I'm a princess person. I love the princess movies; nothing puts a smile on my face faster than precious little girls in their princess dresses (and yes, I even have my own Belle dress hanging in my closet); and I'd rather spend my entire day at Disneyland taking pictures with princesses than riding any rides!
When I get in line to meet one of the princesses at Disneyland, I start out super excited and as I get closer in line, I inevitably start getting super nervous about actually speaking to them until Kate pushes me up there! I'm just like the three-year-olds who have been talking for weeks about meeting Cinderella and want to do nothing else at Disneyland but meet Cinderella, and are dressed as Cinderella, and the minute it's actually their turn to meet her, they freeze up! What can I say, the three-year-olds and I are in awe in the presence of royalty!
And if you happen to be one of those people who thinks that Disney princesses are bad role models for our little girls because they need a man and always wait to be saved, I would like to politely ask you to please keep it to yourself and go spend some time watching Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Tangled, and Frozen because you obviously haven't watched them enough!
All that to say, I was surprised to find that my most magical moment from this past weekend at Disneyworld did not involve a princess! Quite the opposite in fact! It was a tall, arrogant, villain who made my day this time (unheard of in my book). I knew Gaston was a character I wanted to meet on this trip because he's the only one I know of who I can't meet at Disneyland. I knew he'd be hanging around his tavern in the new Fantasyland and as I walked over, I could see the line stretching long of people waiting to meet him. I tucked myself into a corner and just watched him for a while and as I did I began to understand why so many people wanted to meet this Villain. He's a comedy show waiting to happen! I've never seen so many people just stand around watching a character (people who weren't even in line, they just wanted to watch him interact with guests!). My favorite interaction was with a little girl dressed as Belle who seemed very shy to meet him. After talking to her a while (complete with marriage proposal) he put one arm around her, flexed his other arm, gave a ridiculously over the top, model smile and said in his deep voice, "now we've been over this Belle, just look straight at the camera and say, "I do!" There was another little guy that Gaston was attempting to teach how to make any woman swoon and he got the little dude to practice on the character greeter standing by!
After nearly an hour of just watching him interact with other guests, I finally worked up the courage to get in line myself. Kate wasn't there to keep me from chickening out this time so I grounded my feet and made myself stay in line! When it was finally my turn I stepped up to him (the top of my head not even reaching his shoulder) and he looked at me and gushed, "You are so attractive! Just look at that hair! And those gorgeous eyes!" At that point he took my sunglasses off my face and held them up to get a better look at his reflection, which is of course what he was talking to the whole time! Typical!
We took our pictures together as he did his array of model poses and at the end of my few minutes I asked if we could take a flexing muscles picture like he was taking with the guys in line. He scoffed and said, "you don't have muscles! You're a girl! You think you have muscles?" I timidly nodded in the affirmative and he grabbed my hand and pulled me across the street saying in his booming voice, "alright move aside everyone! We've got a girl here who think she has muscles!" He plopped his arm down on the flat top of a trash can and challenged me to an arm wrestling match then and there!
It wasn't going too well until he told me I could use both hands at which point...I still couldn't budge him! Come on, what did you expect! He's the quintessential muscle man! He gave a wink and I was on my way back into fantasyland.
And that was my magical moment...getting beat in an arm wrestling match by Gaston! Sound silly? Maybe so, but he was better at his character than anyone i've ever seen and he took so much time and focus on each guest, making them laugh, making them blush, making them roll their eyes. So while I'm a self-proclaimed princess fan, team villains earned a point yesterday! That's princesses: 1,000, villains:1. Well done, sir! keep it up! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to attempt to sleep on this last leg of the flight and dream of deep voiced, dreamy, Disney villains!