I can’t remember if I told you that Emily didn’t want to go with us to Disney World.
Well, I’ll tell you now. She didn’t want to go.
I think, in her tweenage mind, she assumed that Disney is 1000% only about THE DISNEY PRINCESSES. I think she assumed that we would be spending several days having a tea party with princesses inside of Cinderella’s castle with nary a pair of leggings-as-pants in sight—we’re talking Tulle City Sweetheart. She deemed Disney World to be appropriate for her baby sister, but not for her. I tried to explain to her that my dad, her grandfather, often chooses to celebrate his birthdays in Disney World, complete with “It’s My Birthday” stickers attached to his person. I showed her photos of the roller coasters and the ridiculous rides like The Tower of Terror (“do you honestly think a ride like that would be for the princess lovers?”) and then I told her that…
…she would be able to try out for American Idol.
And she stopped dead in her tracks.
“Mama, I think I’d like to come to Disney with you guys now.”
On day #1, activity #1, we visited American Idol auditions at Hollywood Studios, where aspiring singers could audition in front of some fancy people. If those people deem you worthy of moving on, you are chosen to participate in The American Idol Experience. Six times a day, three finalists get up on stage, and participate in an eerily-similar-to-the-real-American-Idol experience, completely with a host with the same mannerisms and hair as Ryan Seacrest.
Imagine the job offer on this: Must look like Ryan Seacrest. Must be able to say THHHHHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIS is American Idol.
Not-Seacrest, three judges, and an audience will decide which of each set of three was the best, and then at 7:30 each evening, they have a final 7th show with all of that day’s winners. The winner at the end of each day nabs a golden ticket, which allows the bearer
an endless supply of chocolate a trip to the front of the line at ANY real American Idol audition. Pretty sweet, eh?
Well, Miss Emily hit a tiny little snag even before her American Idol Experience began.
She was under 14.
But they said she could sing anyway, just for fun, just for the experience.
Only what happened then was…unexpected. When Emily told them that Barbra Streisand was her hero and that her lifelong dream is to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony and that her audition song was “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” the producers were much more interested in this pint-sized auditioner.
They absolutely loved her.
They told her that she absolutely must come back when she is actually 14.
They gave her this fancy necklace and told her she was a VIP.
They invited us to come and sit in a dress rehearsal of one of that day’s performances and then sit way up in the front in special seats.
They gave us special seats at that day’s Pixar parade, right on the front steps of the American Idol Experience building—coveted seats, indeed!
They asked Emily to help them warm up the crowd of hundreds of people who were waiting for the parade to start. They handed her a microphone and she sang Don’t Rain on My Parade in front of many, many strangers like it was her job.
My kid, man.
SHE DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO COME.
And then she ended up having the best day of her life—”so far, Mama. There are bigger, better days to come, obviously.”
Disney really is the happiest place on earth, even for sometimes moody tweenagers.