My children still live in a wonderful world. A world where anything is possible. A world where mice really can talk and Superman really does fly above the skyscrapers of Metropolis. It’s fantastic. On our recent trip across the country, many examples cropped up of this beautiful vision of the world that children have.
On our way down, we drove directly through Metropolis, IL, the “home of Superman”. Unfortunately, it was around 1am when we actually got there, so visiting the Superman Museum or other such sights were out of the question. I did, however, make the executive decision to wake my children up from their car seat slumber to check out the (pictured) Superman statue that sits in an area known as Superman Square.
Although both were incredibly groggy from being woken up in the middle of their uncomfortable sleep, they quickly became excited by the prospect of being in Superman’s hometown. My daughter continually asked if we were going to be able to meet the man himself (to which I had to respond that he was more than likely asleep). My son kept asking where Batman was (I have to work with him on that one. . . ).
There was no question of the reality of this iconic character, just the question of when we would actually get to see him fly across the sky.
I did find myself concerned for my daughter’s suspension of disbelief soon after arriving at Disney World itself as she started discussing the fact that the Mickey we were seeing could not possibly be the real Mickey. Her reason was simple. He didn’t talk.
I had no real response for that. I merely brushed off the comment to allow her to work through it in her own head. She’s a rather bright kid, but I could tell she still wanted to believe. Of course, at the same time, she did mention that it wasn’t the REAL Mickey, not that Mickey wasn’t real.
At the end of the Hyperspace Hoopla (a special show performed during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) the mouse came out dressed in Jedi garb and at the end of his appearance he lined up with the rest of the group on stage. Complete with moving mouth he stated, “May the force be with you!”. My daughter was ecstatic. She immediately erupted into a long string of comments about how this MUST be the real Mickey because he talked, and for the days following kept repeating the line as though it was something only ever uttered by Walt’s most important drawing. This kid’s seen Star Wars countless times, yet all of that was lost on the fact that she was now certain she had given a hug to the main mouse himself.
It’s incredible. Throughout the week, questions about whether these characters slept at Disney World or elsewhere constantly cropped up, they needed to know the specifics of how these characters’ lives worked. Surely they had lives of their own outside of taking pictures with their countless fans, right? Crush the turtle from Finding Nemo had to escape the aquarium from time to time to right the EAC, didn’t he?
This concept of blurring the line between reality and fiction is an odd one. I tend to try to stray from straight up lying to my children, but I also like to keep the magic alive. I wish that my brain worked the way theirs do, where magic truly exists, and at any moment we could find ourselves face to face with a duck that can talk.
Anyways, that’s all I’ve got time for today. I hope you all have a “magical” day. (cheesy, right?)