By Katherine Wright
Following the release of “Frozen 2,” the world has been, once again, taken by a “Frozen” storm. Your favorite radio station plays “Into the Unknown” on repeat, posters of Princess Elsa’s face consume every movie theater, bananas proudly display snowman Olaf stickers. It is unavoidable and all-powerful — so the only option is to steer straight into the frenzy.
That’s how I ended up in the middle of a hectic “Frozen-themed” parent/child event, passing out muffins, throwing out empty plates and decked out in a complete Princess Anna costume. I was in a full pink cape, the princess’ somewhat archaic dark blue dress and, of course, her trademark red braids with a strand of white. The only thing missing were the black boots, which didn’t even come close to fitting, so I settled for a pair of Elsa’s sparkly flats.
Squeezing into the costume, I practiced my extra-cheerful princess voice and watched “Frozen 2” the night before, meticulously preparing for the role of a lifetime. I needed to be ready to answer any trick question a skeptical five-year-old would throw my way.
“Which kingdom are you from?” “Where’s Olaf?” “Elsa, can you freeze something for us?”
“Elsa” and I would tell the children that we’re from the kingdom of Arendelle (we studied our history the night before) and travelled very far to see them that morning. We would say that Olaf was very busy at the castle, but had left them a scavenger hunt inside the room with a special prize at the end, after which point we would begin searching for clues. And when Elsa was asked to freeze something, we were both trained to tell them that she couldn’t right now, as she didn’t want to hurt anyone or make the room too cold.
For every question, there was a carefully calculated answer, designed to help retain our identity and keep up with kids who have watched “Frozen” over 50 times.
At the end of the day, the most surprising aspect of my experience was that the kids truly believed we were Elsa and Anna. They believed we were the actual princesses from the movie, best friends with Olaf the snowman, Sven the reindeer and Kristoff the human. The same princesses who seemed to spontaneously sing their favorite songs and created a palace from the ice that shot out of their hands. Okay, maybe I can’t take credit for that one. That was all Elsa.
When you play a Disney character in real life, the kids really believe you’re the famous princess they admire so much and therefore, treat you accordingly. They take pictures with you like you’re a celebrity, sing their favorite songs to you and listen to anything and everything you say.
Playing a princess gives you a strange, momentary power, almost comparable to Elsa’s ability to create ice from thin air. So, as long as no one ever hands me an Olaf costume, I’ll enjoy this crazy, strange, magical experience.