I was still skipping as we went inside Castle Couture. I was stopped in my tracks by what I saw. There was Sleeping Beauty's dress changing colors, just like in the movie. I looked around for the fairies doing this, but I could only see pictures of them next to the dress.
"So Toni," Mommy asked putting her hands on my shoulders. "Which color dress is your favorite?"
I looked up at Mommy and then back to the dress alternating between Pink and Blue. I looked down at the Pink Sleeping Beauty dress I was wearing, feeling the fabric and frilly lace. I knew Pink was the color dress I liked the best, but boys are not supposed to like Pink dresses. No . . . that's not right. It's not just Pink. Boys are not supposed to like dresses, but . . . but . . . I do. If I say Blue, will at least part of me stay a boy?
Sheepishly I said, "Pink."
While waiting for our Photo Shoot, we walked around the store. It was almost all girl stuff. As a boy, I never would be able to look through this stuff like this. Now Mommy was encouraging me to look around. I stopped in front of some shelves with Princess Dolls on it.
"Mommy," I grabbed her hand and continued to stare at the dolls. "Will Daddy let me keep the doll and tiara I get at the Tea Party, or the dress and make-up from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique?"
I couldn't look at Mommy. I already knew the answer. Mommy said nothing as she put her hand around me. Giving me a slight squeeze, together we walked to another part of the store.
We looked at some pillows and toys. When I was looking at some frilly girl shirts, we were called over for the photo shoot. In the room with the photographer, there was Cinderella's dress. The one the animals made for her. While Mommy talked to the photographer, I stood there looking at all the details on the dress.
I knew today was my Disney Wish and only through Disney Magic was it happening. It is just like Cinderella, when the clock strikes twelve I turn back into a boy. Looking down at my shoes, there was no doubt in my mind, they were NOT glass slippers. I slipped one off and looked at it. If I walked away right now leaving it behind, would a prince come find me?
"Ready Princess," the photographer asked interrupting my thoughts? "It is time to capture your beauty with the camera. We will do a few pictures with the sash on and then some more without the sash."
My dismal thoughts drifted away as the photographer kept telling me how cute, pretty, and beautiful I was. He would pose me, say something to make me smile or giggle, snap a picture, then get me to change position for another shot. Mommy took a few pictures herself with her camera. I frowned and slumped when the photographer announced we were done.
We exited Castle Couture directly in front of the Merry-Go-Round.
"Can we Mommy?" I pleaded.
After a quick look to see what time it was and how long the line was, "We can probably do one ride if you want, before we have to head for our next stop."
The Cast Member at the line entrance stopped us, "Oh my, we have a princess with us today. I feel so honored. Are you having a good day your highness?"
As my cheeks got red, I ducked behind Mommy.
"Sorry," Mom responded. "Princess Toni is a little shy at times."
"That's okay," the Cast Member said with a smile. "Princesses have that right. Enjoy the ride."
Standing in line waiting for our turn, I had time to examine the dress. There were a lot of different fabrics and each felt different to the touch. My favorite part was the feel I got when I quickly turn to one side or the other.
With a slight giggle, Mommy commented, "I remember doing that when I was your age. Which do you like more, the feeling of the dress on your legs or the hair on your neck?"
Looking up with a smile, "Both."
When we finally got a chance to pick a horse, Mom made me get on one in the down position. She said it would be easier to get on with the dress. I will admit the dress did make things a bit more difficult getting on and off the horse. The ride however, was just as fun.
After the ride, we headed for Main Street on the other side of the castle. We couldn't walk through the castle this time. Mommy said the front doors were closed due to the show they put on in front of the castle. We took the trail on the right, walking around the castle. I skipped my way down the slope. At the first crossroads, I stopped and waited for Mommy to catch up. Grown-ups can be so slow at times.
"Excuse me Princess," I heard from behind me. "I have been looking all over for you. You know your highness, you shouldn't be out with the commoners without protection."
I turned to see Prince Phillip looking down at me. He reached out his hand as Mommy came up behind me. I looked up to Mommy who nodded to me, indicating I should take his hand. With hesitation, I reached out and took it. The prince kissed the back of my hand, I giggled.
"You know Princess Aurora," the Prince said as he led me towards the bridge to Crystal Palace. "You still owe me a dance. You promised me last night that you would dance with me again."
"And what may I ask is so funny Princess Aurora?" Prince Phillip asked with poise.
Struggling to hold back the giggles, I answered. "I am not Princess Aurora."
Prince Phillip stopped and got down on his knee in front of me. "Then who art thou?"
"I am Toni."
"Oh, Princess Toni. Aurora's little sister. You look so much like your big sister, it is hard to tell you two apart," Prince Phillip said with a smile. "Well, since I can't seem to find your sister, will you dance with me?"
Prince Phillip stood back up and took my hand as we continued to walk towards Crystal Palace.
"So Princess Toni, are you having fun in the kingdom today?"
"I went to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the Merry-Go-Round. Now we are going to Disney Girl's Perfectly Princess Tea Party."
"Sounds like a day fit for a Princess," Prince Phillip said as we passed the Crystal Palace.
"Yeah," I said giggling as I turned to make sure Mommy was still behind us.
"Don't worry my little Princess. You are safe in my hands, and your Governess will always be close by."
I giggled. I wanted to tell him she wasn't my Governess and I wasn't Aurora's little sister, but I was having too much fun. We stopped in front of Casey's Corner. Prince Phillip talked to the guy at the piano and he started playing one of the songs from the Snow White movie.
Bowing, Prince Phillip asked, "May I have this dance your highness?"
I looked over at Mommy, who encouraged me to dance with him. Turning back to the Prince, I took his outstretched hand and we started dancing. I don't know how long we danced, but it was lots of fun, and everyone was watching us.
At the end of the dance, Prince Phillip said, "Thank You Princess Aurora, oh I mean Princess Toni. It twas my pleasure to have this dance with thee. May you enjoy your Tea Party. I must be off now. I need to make sure the Kingdom is safe, and it appears I am still on the hunt for your big sister. If you see her at the Tea Party, tell her I am looking for her."
"Thank you," Mommy said. "May you find your patrols uneventful. If we see Princess Aurora, I will make sure Little Princess Toni relays your message."
As soon as he had left, Mommy and I broke out in a fit of giggles.
"Wow Mommy, he really thought I was a Princess."
Once we got back out on Main Street, Mom stopped me to get a picture of the two of us with the castle in the background. We had done this a lot yesterday, our first day in the park. Mom said the PhotoPass photographers could take lots of pictures and we would get a CD at the end of the trip with all the pictures. They could also take magic pictures using Disney Magic. They could see some Disney characters through their magic cameras and we wouldn't get to see them till we got home and looked at the pictures. This guy commented on how pretty I looked and said he would try to get Tinkerbell to show up in my hands if I held them out for her.
"Perfect," the Photopass photographer said. "Tinkerbell always loves to visit the pretty little princesses in the park. We weren't expecting Princess Aurora to visit the park this early, but we're glad you graced us with your presence my highness."
The photographer bowed with a fancy little waving of his hand. It looked silly, causing me to giggle. Did he really think I was Princess Aurora? Prince Phillip did. No that is silly. I am not old enough to be the princess. Do I really look that much like Princess Aurora? No, I am a boy, that can't be. But everyone did seem to be treating me like a girl . . . a little princess. Mom took my hand and we headed down Main Street.
Before we reached the Town Square, a few more people commented on how pretty I looked. As a boy, no one said anything to us walking around Disney, but as a girl, people stop us and tell us how pretty I look. Do they really think I am a girl? They must, or they wouldn't be saying that, right?
"Mommy," I asked as I took her hand. "Am I a girl now, or am I just a boy in a dress?"
Mom took both my hands and got down to look me in the eye. "You look like a little girl Toni, but you are what you feel inside of you. What do you feel like Toni? Do you feel like a little Princess? Or, do you feel like a boy wearing a girl's dress?"
I looked down at the dress and back up at Mommy I was confused. I wanted to believe I was a Little Princess, but how could I get around the fact that I was just a boy in a dress. Daddy had said no one would ever see me for anything other than a sissy boy in a dress. The night before leaving on the trip, I remembered lying in bed still awake listening to Mommy and Daddy yelling.
Daddy was angry with Mommy for letting me do the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the Tea Party. They were for girls and he declared that his son was no girl. He hadn't raised a sissy and he wasn't going to let his son go around acting like one. This had all gone on too long and he was going to put a stop to it.
Mommy was yelling just as loud as Daddy. She asked him what my favorite color was. Daddy told her Yellow, saying it had been my favorite color for years because I liked smiley faces. Mommy told him a secret, something she promised me she wouldn't tell anyone. She told him it was Pink and I only said Yellow because it was considered both a boy and a girl color. She pointed out that I don't like sports, no matter how much Daddy tried to teach and encourage me different things. She reminded Daddy of what my favorite activities were; cooking with Mommy, coloring, and reading. She explained how I would play with dolls at doctor offices while waiting to be seen. She went on and on. I thought I had hidden my girl interests, but Mommy knew. She even knew I would slow down in department stores when we passed the pretty little girl dresses, so I could look at them.
Mommy was mad with Daddy that night. The last thing I remember is her telling him that this was the Twenty-First Century, and she was not going to let 1950 mentality dictate how her son was raised. I was crying when I fell asleep that night. Now Mommy wanted to know if I felt deep inside like a girl or a boy.
I am a boy. I have always been a boy. Everyone has told me that since the day I was born. How could I be anything else? Can a boy really be a girl deep down inside? I looked around. We were in the middle of the street and no one was looking at us strangely. Did they really just see me as a girl, instead of a sissy boy in a dress? The Prince and the Photo-Pass photographer both thought I was not only a girl, but they thought I was Princess Aurora. They wouldn't think that if I was just some boy in a dress. Would they?
"It's okay sweetie. It's okay." Mommy said trying to calm me.
A tear started to come down my face. I didn't know why, but more just started to come. I was happy in this dress. I was having lots of fun with the Prince and the photographers. Everyone thought I was a girl, and I . . . I was happy. Then why was I crying?
"I don't know Mommy," I managed to get out.
"Is everything okay Ma'am? Is your daughter okay" a Cast Member came up and asked?
"Ummm. . . Yes. . . Toni here is just struggling with a few things at the moment. Not used to wearing dresses, and wearing one in a place like this just brings up a lot of emotions,"
"My little sister was the same way at Toni's age," the Cast Member recounted. "She resisted getting into a dress, feeling like she was betraying the boys on the baseball field, but she loved the way she felt in one. She was such a ball of emotions in a dress."
"Yeah, Toni never wears a dress, but since we are going to the Disney Girl's Perfectly Princess Tea Party, a dress seemed the best thing to wear. Then to stir up more emotions, we just met Prince Phillip and he danced with Toni," Mommy relayed.
"Wow Toni," the Cast Member proclaimed as a large smile spread across her face. "Sounds like you are having quite a magical day. Pretty little girls like you are so special. I have never gotten to dance with Prince Phillip. I am so jealous."
"Weally," I asked trying to fight back the tears?
"Did you like dancing with Prince Phillip?" The Cast Member asked with a big smile. "I have heard he is soooooo charming to be around."
I let out a small giggle. "Yeah, he was so nice and he kept mistaking me for Princess Aurora."
"It looks like you also went to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Did you like getting the beauty treatment?"
I smiled widely.
"So, it looks like you enjoyed the girly girl treatment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and liked being treated like a princess by Prince Phillip. I know you look absolutely gorgeous at the moment and the other little girls at the Tea Party are going to be envious they don't look as pretty as you."
"They will not," I abruptly stated.
"Oh Toni," the Cast Member said. "You are just as pretty and beautify as any of the Princesses her at Disney. You should have seen me at your age. I had the worse school picture you could ever imagine. I looked goofy whatever I put on. I could only dream of being as pretty as you are right now."
I looked to Mommy. She was smiling and shaking her head yes. I looked back at the Cast Member and saw her smiling too. They were telling me I looked like a girl, a pretty girl. But Daddy said I wouldn't. The Cast Member, Photographers, and even Prince Phillip thought I was a pretty girl. I thought back to the mirror once my hair was done. A happy little girl was looking back at me, not a boy in a dress.
"Mommy," I hesitantly said. "I do Mommy. Deep inside I do feel like a Little Princess dressed like this."
Mommy hugged me.
"Well Princess Toni," the Cast Member said. "No matter what you wear, always remember you are always a Little Princess deep down inside. Letting her out every now and then can be fun."
"Thank You," Mommy said to the Cast Member. "I think Toni here will be better able to handle the Disney Girl's Perfectly Princess Tea Party now."
"My pleasure. I am glad I got to meet such a sweet nice Princess. Enjoy the Tea Party Toni. You are definitely a Perfect Princess. I wish I could join you, but I am not a Perfect Princess, so I have to stay here. Have fun Little Princess and remember even a tomboy is allowed to have fun in a dress."
"Are you ready to go to the Tea Party . . . Princess Toni?" Mommy hugged me and with a big smile said, "That is sweetie, if my little girl wants to."
As a huge smile went across my face, I gave Mommy a big hug, "I love you Mommy."
The Cast Member waved goodbye and walked away.
Mommy wiped the tears off my cheeks and we walked hand in hand for the front gate.
As we went through the turnstile out of the park, a Cast Member said, "Thank You for visiting princess, have a good Mommy and Daughter day."
Holding Mommy's hand walking up the ramp to the Monorail platform, I thought about it. I was having a good Mommy and Daughter day. My first day ever. Although my mind was also telling me it would be my last day too . . . it was my day to be Mommy's little girl. My day to be a little princess. My day to be Aurora's little sister. Today was my day to be me. Until the clock struck twelve, I could be a girl. I knew Daddy would never let it happen again, but for now, it is just Mommy and me. I squeezed Mommy's hand tight and looked up at her with a big smile.
There were not many people on the Monorail platform leaving Magic Kingdom this time in the morning. Mommy and I went to one end away from everyone else. When we finally stopped and waited for the Monorail, I gave Mommy a big hug.
"Thank You Mommy. Thank You." I melted into her.