• John Fiorella


My two-year-old daughter and I stood in line for what felt like forever to meet Winnie the Pooh. It didn’t matter that it was 101 degrees and we were sweating through our sun screen, come hell or high water, we we’re determined to meet that bear. Only, when it was our turn to finally greet him, he took a lunch break and was replaced by Eeyore. Hold up… are you telling me, we waited all this time to meet the self-loathing donkey??

When I got home, I promptly wrote Walt and vented my frustration. Can’t the Disney empire afford a second Pooh costume? Or how 'bout you hire another teenager to jump into your one & only bear suit and keep the Pooh-train rolling?

In response, Disney sent my daughter an autographed snapshot of Pooh. Despite the fact that Pooh spelled her name wrong (clearly, he's a bear of very little brain) she was over the moon. She did a jig and slept with the picture beside her pillow. Crisis averted.

The following year, Ariel had taken center stage. My daughter had the dolls, bed sheets, and of course, Ariel’s dress,

which she wore daily. One afternoon, while at daycare, the mean girl in class hit her with, “A real princess can’t wear glasses!” Now, even at three, my daughter was pretty tough and could stand her ground, but for some reason, this hit her like a ton of bricks.

I tried to convince her otherwise, but she wanted incontrovertible evidence. Fortunately, we were heading to Disneyland in a week and I was certain we’d run into a princess that wore glasses. Why was I so certain? Because I bought a pair of glasses to give to a princess when my daughter wasn’t looking!

But I was foiled by Disney once again! It didn’t matter that we were in a secluded room, with just my daughter and Cinderella, the actress was under contract not to break from character – not even for a second! Same went for Mulan and all the rest of them. Curse you, principled & dedicated actors!!

That night as we drove home, my daughter felt the finality of her situation sink in - a real princess can't wear glasses. “Nonsense!” I blurted. “We only saw Cinderella, Mulan, and Belle! Surely Ariel wears glasses! She has to! It’s so dark underwater, how else can she read?” And with that, I planted the seed...

Later that night, I scoured the internet for some Ariel cosplay and found a fantastic, wholesome shot of Ariel, played by Nelly Lafeison. I sent it over to my Photoshop Guru, Ian Hannin, and within minutes, he fitted Ariel with a beautiful pair of spectacles.

Without even looking at it, I took the file to Kinkos and printed it out, only to discover that Ian had used a different, rather foxier picture of Ariel. It seems the image I found was too low in resolution, so he chose another. So be it! There was no time to lose! I signed it myself, stuck it in an envelope, and dropped it in our mailbox.

The next morning, my daughter's mind was thoroughly blown. A real princess can wear glasses (and look pretty foxy doing it). Oh, and, albeit 3 years later, we met that diva Pooh bear after all.