Monday, December 24, 2012

Of Moms and Princesses

Have you ever been to a meet and greet? I've never been to one, until today, that is, but I read about them often enough in blogs. My idea of a meet and greet is an organized queue leading to a raised platform where the celebrity stands/sits and has his photo taken with the adoring fan. Then a handshake, maybe a kiss if the fan is avid enough.

From my experience today, the truth is not as pretty as the blogs I've read made it to be. The meet and greet I attended was so chaotic and so disorganized. There were heated arguments, tempers flared and angry and frustrated fans. The mall security were so stressed and so powerless as they had very little information to give the demanding crowd. They had to call in for additional manpower. Big muscled bouncers also came to secure the area. A very flustered mall representative looked so lost and overwhelmed.

So, who were we there to meet? You'd think it would be at least some hot-shot local celebrity right? Wrong! We were there to meet and greet a Disney princess! We didn't even knew which one until she came on stage! The meet and greet was to promote this year's Disney on Ice show, Princess and Heroes which will run from Dec 25 until Jan 3 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ally wore her Little Mermaid costume
Anyway, the whole event was an experience like no other! It was supposed to start at 4pm but because of the disorganization (not sure if it was the mall's events team or the Araneta people's fault), it didn't start until about 430pm. One would just shrug off a 30+ minute delay, but when those queuing have babies, toddlers and little kids eager to see the princess, even a 5 minute delay is already too long. We were lucky we chose to arrive early so we were 4th in line and we were one of the first to go inside the greeting area. A lot of moms and kids weren't as lucky.

The main purpose of the meet and greet was actually to sell Disney on Ice tickets to gullible parents (like me). You couldn't get into the greeting area without buying show tickets first, and this was something that the ad posters failed to indicate. Originally, Jojo and I decided to skip watching the show this year (because we will be going to Disneyland next month), but Ally was already looking forward to meeting the princess so we couldn't back out anymore. Thankfully, they offered the tickets at 30% off so the unexpected expense wasn't too hard on the pocket. For some however, this having to buy a ticket was not accepted without an argument. Some parents already had their show tickets which they bought from Ticketnet or Araneta, and when they were told that they were not a priority to get into the greeting area, ayayay, there were arguments left and right. The poor security men and ushers were practically bullied and shouted at by angry moms, and they were well-dressed upper class moms too. Sorry but I found it quite amusing that behind every Gucci and LV-clad mom lurks her inner palengkera ready to battle for her child.

So were we able to meet and greet a Disney princess? Yup, and we had our photo taken with her too. Actually, we were able to have 3 photos taken (rule was only 1 photo per family but the assigned photographer botched the first one and the nice rep from Feld Entertainment took our photo twice to make up for it). All the waiting, the stress and drama, all for just 3 photos. Was it worth it? Yes! Ally was beyond happy the whole afternoon and she was excited to show the photos to our househelps once at home. She now has so many stories about meeting Belle, and she is also looking forward to seeing the Disney princesses skating show on Christmas Day.

Oh and we were given a spoiler for the show. Blake, the Feld Entertainment rep, told the crowd there would be a huge fire-breathing dragon in the show. This spoiler is much appreciated because Ally gets scared easily. Now we know what to expect, I have prepped her to just close her eyes and cover her ears once the dragon appears. Last year she asked to go home when the witches and villains showed up, and we had very expensive ticket seats then. Yikes right? Let's hope our preparation this time works and we get to watch the whole show in peace.

Watch out for my follow up post after we watch the show!

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