I mean, you know they’re not real, right?
Well, I mean, of course they’re real. I can see them just as clearly as you can. They’re walking along, waving, signing autograph books (autograph books!). You can see them. Touch them. Talk to them sometimes even.
But you can tell, can’t you, that there’s a person inside, right? Right?
Of course, it all makes sense. Kids are little people who believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Why wouldn’t they believe they actually just hugged Pluto or Donald Duck or Minnie Mouse? Why wouldn’t they believe these people in costumes are not people at all but actual characters straight out of the storybook?
As an adult, I admit, I view the the Disney characters parading around the parks as nothing more than time wasters — fun sucks that keep you from doing something actually cool.
But to kids, they are magic. They are, indeed, real.
When we see a character stopped to pose with kids, my daughter always wants to go say hi and offer a hug. She gets this look in her eye like, Can you believe it?! Well yes, yes I can. Disney pays people to dress up and go hug children. But of course I never say this. Why spoil the magic? Why don my own Scrooge McDuck costume and crush her spirits?
So I suspend my disbelief and give her a high five and go out looking for someone else to hug, maybe even use one of those phone apps (like this one from Verizon) to pinpoint their locations. I may think these costumed characters aren’t the be all, end all of a trip to Disneyland, but I do like to be in the vicinity of the child when she sees them, feeling a little of that magic rub off and shake the adulthood from my cold, dark soul. Yeah, everyone needs a hug from Mickey every now and then. Everyone likes to believe every now and then.
Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!