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A Mickey Moment

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Forty-five minutes into the line and I was still not ready to give up. I was on a mission and my wish would not be denied. I needed a picture with Mickey Mouse before leaving the Magic Kingdom in Disney World on that March day.

Why this was so, it was hard to tell. It’s normal for people to resort back to and be excited by the old, familiar faces of their childhood such as those of cartoon characters and movie stars. But, for me, the absurdity lay in the fact that Mickey had never been on of my familiar faces- maybe Alice in Wonderland or Cinderella, but never Mickey. In fact, I probably couldn’t answer even the simplest questions about him. When I learned of my spring break trip, however, I became oddly obsessed with this icon of Disney. It was as if I had stolen someone else’s character as my own. Every time I started getting excited for the trip or needed a distraction from excessive homework, I would think about posing next to this unmistakable character. I started chanting “M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck.”

It was my first trip to Disney and I was already almost sixteen. In fact, as some airplane travelers going to Disney for the first time fell asleep on their mothers’ laps, I was busily studying the driving permit booklet for my test when I returned. My travel companions were my friend Michaela and her two twin brothers, Isaiah and Jaiden. The twins were three and it was their inaugural trip too. This was perfect. I was under the impression that walking around the Disney Parks I wouldn’t be able to miss the hundred or so Mickeys that were wandering the premises and that my excitement would fit right in with the twins’.

Not exactly.

Not one Mickey was to be seen among all the hubbub. And, I was the only one in the group who seemed to be interested in him. We finally figured out that Mickey was stationed inside a house for crowd control purposes and Michaela thought I was insane when I proceeded to wait on the hour-long line. But, there was no way I was going to go home without this picture.
The room was dark and the line seemed to wind endlessly; you were never sure how close you actually were, a feature which they probably designed intentionally. The average age of those standing in line was about seven. I stood again reading my driving manual while someone behind me didn’t feel well, people looked for the rest of their party and others expressed their excitement through irritating screams. Among the smells of carnival food, I started to notice the random props around the room that were all shaped like Mickey. There was a cake, a cactus, a watermelon, a head of lettuce, some tomatoes and a pie all modeled after the iconic symbol of Mickey’s head.
While standing in line, I felt proud to be representing my age group in such a way. Basically the only adults in line where those accompanying their children who probably planned to use this picture for a holiday card and there were no teenagers. It was a pathetic image, but I didn’t feel pathetic. This is what I had come for. I was three-quarters of the way through the line and Michaela had long since abandoned me to go study lines for her upcoming play. My fellow little inaugural companions were also nowhere to be seen. Their interests seemed to lie now in the Disney racetrack which they rode over and over with their parents.
Since no one shared my enthusiasm, however ridiculous and unjustified it may have been, and I was alone in line I got the people behind me to take the picture when it was my turn. They were tourist who barely spoke any English.
The warm nature of those eternally smiling faces and the gold and red oversized bows welcomed me right into the photo room. Minnie was adorable with her red-and-white polka dot dress and accentuated eyelashes. Mickey seemed jolly as well despite the probable reality of the feelings of the person inside the costume. Actually, the person inside could have been close to my age.
I was a little older than most of the fans, but just as excited as any. My silly childishness was overwhelming, but I still felt like my stubbornness in waiting had paid off.





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