Friday, June 3, 2016

Florida Flashback Friday - Ariel's Necklace

So I think it's fun to have regular events on blogs. And I love alliteration. So what do you all think of a new feature, Florida Flashback Friday? I'll either post a special memory from a past trip I've taken, or a nostalgic look at Walt Disney World's past in general.

Let's do this thing!

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite experiences I had when I made special necklaces for my favorite princesses on our trip in October, 2013. Ariel's reaction was utterly precious!

This is the necklace I made for her. I made necklaces for Anna, Ariel, Belle, Elsa, Merida, and Rapunzel. I would have done more, but each one was designed and hand-drawn by me, and it took a long time just to do those!

Here was Ariel's necklace:

I tried for an Art Nouveau style on the necklace, with the swirls of the ocean and the slightly more "realistically" rendered Flounder and Sebastian.

And here's a wonderful video Tom took of me giving her the necklace.

In case you can't quite make out what we're saying in the above video, here was our conversation...

Me: I have something for you!
Ariel: For me?
Me: Yes!
Ariel: For me!?
Me: For you!
Ariel: (opens box) Oh my gosh! This is beautiful!
Me: There's you, and it has Flounder, and Sebastian, and a little pearl...
Ariel: Oh my gosh! (puts hand to mouth) Oh my....
Me: laughs, grinning like a madwoman
Ariel: Look, guys! It has me! And Flounder and Sebastian! And the most beautiful message I've ever seen!* And it has pearls from under the sea too...
Me: Do you like it?
Ariel: Oh my gosh I love it!
Me: Yay!
Ariel: Oh thank you!
Me: (hugs her)
Ariel: Thank you so much. It's my favorite treasure I've ever gotten ever! Well, other than my legs, I should say.
Me: That's true. And your prince!
Ariel: Oh and my prince, oh oh! Don't tell him I said that! (laughs)
Me: We're here for our anniversary (conversation moves on)

*Each necklace was presented in a box with a paper that said "For all you do every day to bring joy to the lives of children of all ages. Thank you sincerely."

She was adorable and sweet, and her enthusiasm at her gift seemed really quite genuine.

Before our trip, I did research on what Disney World's policies are for characters accepting gifts from park patrons. I never did receive a definitive answer, but one thing that kept popping up on message boards and sources online was the idea that the characters were allowed to receive gifts valuing $50 or less. Handmade gifts especially seem like a safe bet for them to be able to keep. The bottom line is...although I'm still not absolutely sure if the princesses were actually allowed to keep their necklaces, I like to think they were.

One thing Tom and I both noticed separately when we gave our gifts to the characters...they always ask "this is a gift for me?" and wait for a clear reply in confirmation. This same format was followed so many times that we started to suspect that it was a directive from the Mouse: in order to be able to keep a gift, one has to have asked and had it confirmed clearly that the item was meant as a gift for the recipient. Once again, we've never had this confirmed, but we've noticed it again and again when we give gifts to characters.

I highly recommend giving characters small gifts. It's absolutely in keeping with the idea of Disney magic, and is a great way to give back to these amazing people (and mice, and rabbits, ducks, etc etc) who bring such moments into the lives of everyone who visits the parks.

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