If You Go to Disneyland with Erin…

09/29/2011 By Shawn Burns

…there are no lines. You might wait to go on It’s a Small World for five minutes, but then the ride will break down and the cast members will hand you a front-of-the-line pass for any ride in the park…

…the characters will line up to meet you, and escort you to your destination…

…you will always be part of the show…


…you will make a new friend who will like you so much that within five minutes she will give you a princess dress.


Sometimes I am staggered at the way Erin sits in the world, a center of gleeful gravity attracting everything else to her. It happens everywhere, but it seems to be especially evident when we go to Disneyland. I can’t wait to see what happens next time.


Erin has been obsessed with “The Little Mermaid” for a couple of months now. Ariel is probably the Disney princess I like the least, for a whole host of reasons, and I worry that she’s become a role model for Erin. On this last trip to Disneyland, Erin finally met Ariel, face-to-face.


And what does my Little-Mermaid-obsessed daughter have to say to Ariel when she meets her?

“You needed to listen to your daddy.”

I swear to god, that’s what she said. I didn’t prompt her one bit. I was reluctant to even allow another tendril of Little Mermaidness into Erin’s life, fearing its influence. I underestimated my own impact on my daughter’s character.

Ariel replied, “But he was trying to keep me from my one-true-love, Prince Eric!” I cringed. Was Erin about to succumb to her heroine’s cheerful demeanor? Would she nod enthusiastically, and agree that yes, that was really the most important thing?

Erin thought about Ariel’s response for a little while, then insisted, “Yeah, but you needed to listen to your daddy.”

Dad 1. Little Mermaid 0.