My Beautiful Shit-Denying Twisted Fantasy of a Disney Cruise

The rules of Disney magic rely on some fundamental denials. At Disney World they hide the trash and there are underground tunnels so you can’t see Olaf take off his snowman head. The movies function on denials too—make Pocahontas a 20-year-old to give her the ability to consent to John Smith’s advances (although in real life she was kidnapped at 17 and later married John Rolfe). In the book, Mary Poppins is an ass, but in the Disney version of the movie they literally sing about how she’s so lovely. And the real Ariel dies and is turned into the sea foam. But there are larger denials that Disney relies on. The denial of cost. (Magic is for everyone, Disney declares on a boat that we paid thousands of dollars to step aboard.) The denial of shit. (Why was the Mickey Pool closed so often?) The denial of shadows. (Where is [the disappeared passenger] Rebecca Coriam?) The denial of danger.

At the center of this is a larger denial, one that parents love to perpetuate themselves. Childhood is magic, says Disney, and we look at our precocious children, about whom we’ve learned to tell such charming stories, and we agree. We wonder at their simple hearts and clear heads. We mythologize their belief in magic. We forget that it’s easier to believe in magic when the world seems so beyond your control. When you have little choice or say about what happens to you.
— Lyz Lenz