Tuesday 3 May 2011


I returned last night from a glorious trip to Southern California, expressly to visit Disneyland with my family.  We had sunshine every day and we wore shorts and sandals!  I didn’t write a thing and only checked my email and Twitter twice!  What a treat after the longest winter I can remember here in Alberta.  My kids, who are six and three, had a blast and we were able to get full value out of our five-day park hopper. 

My daughter, who has loved Princess Aurora since the day she first set eyes on her lovely pink dress, tried all week to find her at the park.  We went three times to the Princess Fantasy Faire, watched the Royal Princess Ceremony thrice and stood in line two times to meet the princesses – but only Princesses Tia, Ariel and Belle could be reached for photos and autographs. 

Finally, on day five, we returned to the Princess area.  We asked which princesses were available and found the same three.  We went to watch the Ceremony AGAIN and while we were waiting, “J” approached a young man in prince attire and asked if he could take her to Sleeping Beauty.  He couldn’t then as she was “taking tea”, but after much persuasion, he promised “J” she would come out for autographs after the ceremony.  We waited the thirty minutes and then the show began.  “J” watched desperately and positioned herself beside the princess for the one time she descends from the stage – during the maypole dance.  She walked beside the princess and told her she was her favourite and asked if she could sign her book.  The princess said yes, but I worried it was just a ploy to keep a young girl from crying.

The ceremony ended and the princesses disappeared behind the set.  We waited with bated breath.  Then “J” approached another lady who was part of the show and she said she would get Princess Aurora.  “J” was elated, but I worried as the minutes ticked by.  Then the castle door opened and out came. . . Snow White.  Hmm.  Closer, but not quite and then. . . Sleeping Beauty!  “J” ran to greet her and said “Do you remember me?”  Sleeping Beauty said “Of course!”  She signed “J”’s book, posed for a picture, talked prettily, and gave her a hug.  My little girl was overjoyed, her face a shining orb.  It was, indeed, the best part of her trip.

I couldn’t help but notice, with my Austen-shaped mind, how much I enjoyed the rides dedicated to Disney movies – especially Peter Pan, Snow White, Pirates of the Caribbean and Sleeping Beauty’s castle.  I loved how Storyland looks like a little English village.  I delighted in becoming a part of the story.  And I wondered – wouldn’t it be grand to have a Jane Austen-land?  You could dress up in Regency garb, ride a carriage around Pemberley, waltz with Henry Tilney, share a sisterly chat with Elinor Dashwood, break for tea with Fanny Price, stoke a fire and just stare and stare at the beautiful clothes and antiques.  Well, maybe that is a North American idea, but I’m certain we could all enjoy ourselves, imagining we’d met the real Jane Austen and all of her fabulous characters.  Which one would you wait all day to meet? 


  1. You brought tears to my eyes! Your writing is so wonderfully climactic! I am so happy for your little girl! Every girl should have an opportunity to meet "Her Princess". I love Austen land and would be first in line! Thanks for sharing a portion of your family adventure!

  2. Thanks for the lovely comments Tanya. I hope someone will take up my Austenland idea too:)

  3. My daughter danced the Maypole with Aurora last year, so much fun! Glad your daughter was able to get her favorite princess's autograph, those are the best Disneyland stories!

    Austenland would be very cool, but then I love Austen and I am kind of a Disneyland freak, so it would be heaven for me!

  4. Thanks Jessica. Disneyland is so great, isn't it?