Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kids and Disney

Like most children, my girls grew up loving Disney movies and Disney characters. Amber loved “The Little Mermaid,” Marie loved “The Lion King,” and Christine loved and still loves “Lilo and Stitch.” Most Disney movies were fair game for everyone and our family has a group of favorites – “101 Dalmatians,” “Peter Pan,” “Dumbo,” and “Fantasia.” Although Amber and Marie loved the Disney Princesses, Christine has never been into the foo-foo characters, preferring instead to follow “Alice in Wonderland,” “Winnie the Pooh,” or “Mulan.”

When I was little, I enjoyed watching “The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” on Sunday nights with my family. “Swiss Family Robinson,” “Old Yeller,” “The Scarecrow,” “The Parent Trap” and “Treasure Island” were some of the many programs we watched as a family. Naturally, this was many years before the invention of VCRs or DVD players, so we popped popcorn ahead of time and had our drinks ready before the beginning of each show. Commercial breaks meant bathroom breaks and with only one bathroom, there was usually a mad scramble to see who could get to the bathroom first.

I didn’t get my first VCR until Marie and Amber were 3 and 5 years old, but owning a VCR didn’t mean I could afford to buy movies. We would rent movies almost every Friday night and the girl’s preferences were always Disney or other animated movies. “Pinocchio” was one of the very first Disney movies released on VHS, so it became a mutual favorite, but before long, we were renting “Rainbow Brite,” “Care Bears” and “Dr. Snuggles.”

By the time Christine was born, Marie and Amber were 8 and 10 years old, and we were starting to amass a large collection of VHS movies, with Disney remaining a favorite. During this phase in our family life, I was working 12-hour night shifts, so I’m ashamed to admit, my girls watched lots of movies for entertainment, mainly because I wasn’t home to supervise, but they also watched movies when I was home because I was always so busy. I can probably sing you songs or recite lines from most of their favorite movies because they were always on in the background - I may not have been watching, but I was always listening.

Like most families, my girls grew up and soon Disney movies were replaced with films about teen anguish, romance or horror. I found myself wishing we could leave the teenage years behind and return to the happy, carefree days of early childhood. We continued to have family movie night, but it was becoming increasingly harder to find movies we all agreed on.

Deterring a moment from my theme of Disney movies, my hubby and Christine have almost the same interest when it come to the make-up of a movie. Where I go to a movie purely for escapism and entertainment, they can tell you everything about a movie – the director, the producers, the main actors, the production team, when the film was released, where it was filmed, and the list goes on and on. They are like a walking encyclopedia of movies, my own personal Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

Fast forward to present day and 2010 is shaping up to be a memorable year for our family. Not only are we expecting our first grandbaby – a little girl due in June – but also our youngest daughter will be heading off to college. Even though Christine is finishing up her senior year and making grand plans for the fall, she is also having a resurgence of nostalgia for Disney movies. She has begun her own collection of DVDs with all her favorites; she even has a list of release dates for Disney movies so she is watching for her favorites. She has even invested in a few “stuff animals” for her room, with the newest addition being a large blue Stitch from “Lilo and Stitch.” She is looking forward to sharing her love of Disney with her new little niece.

I have a feeling I will be “knee-deep” in Disney movies again in a few years when my granddaughter, and future grandchildren, will discover their own love of the Disney classics. Some things just never go out of fashion, and in our family the Disney brand is firmly entrenched in our memories.