Despite my feelings, Disney is really popular (and not just in the US, everyone here loves it too). I began to think that maybe I was being an elitist snob. With so many die-hard Disney fans, there must be something to it, right? I like magic! and fairy tales! and imaginative stuff! I thought maybe I was missing out, and even worse, R was missing out by proxy.
So I decided to take her to Disney Live! Mickey's Magic Show where she could "see Mickey Mouse". It seemed a good fit, especially because she's been very interested in magic lately (and will regularly pretend to enchant things, waving her "wand" and saying "Abracadabra!").
OMG what an AWFUL idea. I hated it so much.
1. It was really expensive. I have taken R to many other concerts, plays, dance performances, etc etc (she's probably been more than 20 in her two years of life). This one cost almost twice the cost of all the others: and we bought the absolute cheapest seats.
2. As an adult, it was stultifyingly boring. The "story" was mostly non-existent, the human characters were incredibly annoying (whenever they were onstage I was counting the minutes until they would go away), and the music was not good. (Which is strange considering lots of Disney songs are pretty catchy.)
3. The horrible, grating sexism. There was a chorus line of sexy babes who regularly came out and jiggled in sync (so strange to have this in a kid's show). All the magicians were male, who performed tricks mostly on scantily clad women. The overall message seemed to be that women are passive and all cool stuff is done by men.
4. The cloying, dishonest sentimentality. The "moral" of the show was "Never give up", as highlighted by the continuing efforts of an incompetent magician to succeed at his tricks. This is a stupid moral: sometimes you should "give up"/redirect your efforts in a more productive direction. Also, if you try to do something and it doesn't work, that is a sign you should do things differently next time. Instead, the Disney universe was advising behavior exactly fitting the popular definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
5. The magic was pretty cool (I really like magic tricks, personally) but somehow the inclusion of the Disney characters made things less magical, I guess because it seemed to just be part of their universe and thus not surprising. It would have been more impressive had it been a traditional magic show where the tricks could have stood out more.
R liked it of course (and paid close attention the whole time while sitting properly, though that is standard for her at most performances at this point). But honestly I think she liked the Ramayana better. Truthfully small children like everything--their tastes are definitely not discerning--so choosing activities solely based on their "kid friendliness" seems like a stupid idea. Next time I will just choose performances I want to see.
At least I am confirmed in my hatred of Disney. It really is that awful (overpriced, intellectually vapid, sexist and tacky). Guess I can avoid taking R to Disneyland, ever, in good conscience!