AHEM. *leans on doorway* I would like to know about that time you led a strike in preschool.
Okay, storytime. Both of my parents worked full time, and the woman who ran the family daycare across the street “went away for her health”- a charming euphemism for her family having her institutionalised because they couldn’t cope with her schizophrenia, but that’s another story for another time- so I went to preschool for two years. The preschool I went to was a good one. Still is, actually. My brother and his wife have their little sprout on the waiting list already, and he’s not two yet. It’s built onto the side of an ex-church, and it has great play areas, a sandpit, ducks, the works. Nice. We did all the usual preschool stuff; craft activities, storytime, naptime, playing with toys. To help us learn to be responsible and cooperative human beings, we were expected to clean up after ourselves, and put things away when we were done with them. Being small children, this had mixed results, so at the end of every day, there’d be a big group cleanup, where we went through and picked all the toys and books up off the floor of the main room and put everything in order.
All very nice, right? Trouble was, about half of the kids got picked up at 5, 5:30ish, and the other half, whose parents worked later hours, would be there till 6 or 6:30. The cleanup usually happened around 6, so the kids whose parents could pick them up early never had to clean up, and I noticed pretty quickly that the kids who never had to clean up at the end of the day didn’t seem to pick up after themselves during the day, either. They knew they wouldn’t have to deal with it, so they didn’t care.
I feel I should mention that my mother was, at the time, the secretary of a large public sector union. She’d been a unionist for some time (we’ve got a great picture somewhere of baby me on her lap at a Women In Leadership conference) and sometimes she had people over for dinner, and they’d talk about union business. I knew what was going on, here. This was a discriminatory practice. It targeted kids whose parents couldn’t afford for one of them to stay home with the kids. It encouraged unfair behaviour in the kids who didn’t have to clean up. This had to stop.
I went to the staff first. Mostly they laughed at me- in their defense, please picture a tiny blonde four-year-old in a princess dress squaring up to you about “dithcriminatory practitheth”- and told me I should set an example for the other kids by being tidy. Well. That wasn’t going to change anything. Having been knocked back by the administration, I took the struggle to the people. While we were cleaning up, I talked to the other kids who had to stay late, and we came to a consensus that things had to change. Look, to be honest, I don’t remember this happening with any kind of clarity. I was very small. Mum has told this story with great pride for some years, though, and most of the details come from her retelling. I don’t know if it was me who first suggested strike action, but I know it was me who led the sit-in protests; I’m told it was me who made an inspiring speech about fairness and division of labour, and it was definitely me whose parents got called.
Upshot was, we went over to a system of shorter clean-up sessions throughout the day- one before lunch, one after naptime, and one at the end of the day- and my mother has never let me forget that four-year-old me was a rabble-rousing monster child.
Oh Princess and the Frog, how you have been so horribly shafted I will never understand. So in this post of Imagineering I am going to discuss the many places the beautiful and wonderful Tiana’s Place could go in Walt Disney World and what that experience could consist of! Let’s begin shall we?
Also known as the Crown jewel of the crescent sea. Obviously here we have a very heavy New Orleans theme going on. So in my opinion there is one place this beautiful restaurant belongs, and that’s at The Magic Kingdom.
But where? I present to you one of the giant expansion pads for the Magic Kingdom. This one is just north of Big Thunder Mountain. Reason why I chose this space is because it has the biggest plot of land available that is near a body of water. Cause we all know Tiana’s place has to have a killer water feature right behind the restaurant itself. But my idea is a bit more ambitious than just a restaurant, I say if we are bringing Tiana’s Place to the MK then we are bringing NEW ORLEANS SQUARE over here. Take the Disneyland Concept and expand upon it. This gives huge security to the project so that even if investors or whomever is skeptical since the IP in question isn’t a billion dollar maker the fact that this is really a fusion of New Orleans square and PATF should be more than enough to greenlight the project.
Onto access, with the train tracks being so close it would create the perfect station to have guests disembark and explore all that Tiana’s version of New Orleans has to offer. The station can house both the train disembarking, and of course
The Liberty Belle, Just imagine seeing that boat at night with popcorn lights dropping folks off to check out new orleans square. The only way in and out for now would be through train and boat, giving a real sense of journey and kinetic energy upon arrival!
As for what’s there when you arrive make it an adventure! Have guests explore these streets, fill em live bands playing for guests, make this a place where you can spend time just walking around absorbing all the details. Have characters such as lottie roam around during the day searching for her prince charming among all the new guests and interacting with them! Make shops with land specific items, and make experiences that are true to the film! Such as
Now this could be a meet and greet on the same level of Belle’s enchanted Tales. Make this a show and greet, one where some poor unlucky guests get to meet Facilier face to face
I want a shadow projections and all, even end with him summoning his friends on the other side and disappearing after taking what he wants from someone.
As for how it would all would work here is a little quick sketch. The restaurant space is in blue, the train and boat docks in black, and extra theming to hide backstage areas and create a view for the restaurant in red. Everything else can be high class shops, a club 33, and even a state of the art E ticket dark ride based on the film. Mapping out the details for all of that could take even longer than this post so I will just leave most of that to everyone’s imagination here! But if we are going to have the ride’s facade be something why not have that location start off somewhere we know? La Bouff Mansion anyone?
But I am ahead of myself, the real star for this place is Tiana’s Place. Here’s why it could be killer. Just think of Tiana serving up her Gumbo for guests among other Cajun delights which would absolutely kill amongst the Disney Crowd. And we all know the MK needs more great food beyond burgers and fries.
And the sights and sounds of her high class establishment could wow anyone who walked in.
With appearances from Tiana during the daytime with Naveen, think a princess/owner checking in on her guests to make sure everything is going great. And if Disney really wanted they could milk this to the bank and make her have lessons for kids on how to cook up some sweet treats (beignets anyone?). But most important of all would be the transformation of the establishment from high class eatery during the day, to full on jazz bar at night. Hosted by the Firefly Five!
Bring the great tradition of swing lessons from Disneyland and permanently install it here!
So in conclusion if I can come up with all of this in the span of an hour or so there is no reason why Disney can’t one up me with some ideas of their own. Princess and the Frog has been slept on for far too long, and with this idea you have a shot of creating New Orleans square at the MK with all the swanky bonus stuff on the side. As always if you like this idea please hit that heart button and if you really enjoyed throw a reblog my way!