• Nicole Pekurar

Time To Dig A Little Deeper

Updated: Jul 30

While working at the Columbia Harbour House during my first College Program in the Fall of 2017 I was also given the opportunity to work a special event called Tiana's Riverboat Party. This event provided sweet treats, a meet and greet opportunity with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen, as well as a special viewing of the Festival of Fantasy parade from the Liberty Square riverboat. This event is where I saw the most magic take place right in front of me: birthday surprises, bridal showers, and even marriage proposals. It was such a privilege to be able to see that certain kind of magic up close and personal.

As I was checking on each guest around the boat to be sure everyone had an ample amount of sugar coursing through their veins I found a little girl who was a bit shy to go say hi to the Princess from New Orleans, but her eyes were excited and ready for the parade to begin. Children who tend to have a wall up against adults tended to be the ones who were secretly bursting with energy and excitement so I started by asking her what she was most excited about seeing in the parade. She, of course, answered Tiana and I mentioned how dancing with Tiana and Naveen is one of my favorite pastimes. Then, her next question was "Are you a princess?"

Are you a princess.

Four words. One question. So much weight behind it.

So, of course, I responded with, "Well, of course I am! And so are you! We are all Princesses and Princes in the Magic Kingdom!"

Because, honestly, is there any other response? In this little girls eyes it was true. She just needed someone to confirm and validate what she was already feeling. And who was I to take that away from her?

After hearing this her face lit up and she skipped away, excitedly reporting back to her parents that she was, indeed, a Princess.

Unfortunately, Tiana's Riverboat Party no longer exists. However, Tiana is finally getting the recognition that she deserves. As confirmed by the Walt Disney Company Splash Mountain will be converted into a ride dedicated to Princess and the Frog. Now, this news brought some varying points on both ends of the spectrum. Some thoroughly excited and some...not so much.

Even though my home location was Frontierland during my second program in the Fall of 2019, I didn't particularly have any emotional attachment to Splash Mountain. I thought it was a fun ride, but it was never my "go-to". Some people have deeply rooted, emotional memories with family and friends that are associated with Splash, and it's the memories I can appreciate and understand why this change may be difficult. Some people believe that Princess and the Frog don't have a theme connection to Frontierland and it could interfere with the flow of Magic Kingdom's layout. I understand that too, in a sense. However, I choose to see the possibilities, rather than the impossibilities.

Sure, change and uncertainty can be nerve-wracking and scary and hard to accept, but I trust the Disney Imagineers, who also see the countless possibilities and opportunities and who believe this is a chance to make Magic Kingdom great. This decision was not made on a whim and it wouldn't have been announced if there was not a plan in place that took years to make. I genuinely believe Disney is trying to do better and be better. And while this change may be met with resistance, it's important to remember that change is necessary to grow and to keep moving forward.

“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” -Walt Disney

** Cover photo from IG User: 773_don


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