November Princess Anniversaries

It's a big month for princess movies. Last week was the 28th anniversary of my favorite movie, The Little Mermaid. As I've discussed in a previous post, Disney is going all out this month to celebrate the 80th anniversary of their very first movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. On Monday night, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City put on a live show to unveil their gorgeous window displays honoring the film. The displays are similar to the ones at the Emporium at the Disney Parks, but much larger in scale. They portray detailed animatronics of every major scene in the movie, from the wishing well to the fated kiss, as well as the new clothing designed specifically for the event.

Display of Snow White at her wishing well from Saks 5th AvenueDisplay of Snow White singing to a bird at Saks 5th Avenue

The special, called "Once Upon a Holiday," was streamed live on YouTube and social media. Fans crowded around Fifth Avenue to see the Saks Fifth Avenue president give a moving speech about the film, followed by a choreographed performance from the Seven Dwarfs. Sofia Carson, who plays the Evil Queen's daughter in Disney's Descendants, gave a breathy performance of "With a Smile and a Song." Her backup dancers paired off into couples and gave an impressive performance wearing beautiful costumes that were clearly inspired by Snow White's fashion. Afterward, she announced the arrival of Snow White and her Prince who danced gracefully alongside the other performers. The event concluded with a light show on a castle facade built onto the storefront. The glistening lights sparkled like icicles similar to the way that Walt Disney World decorates Cinderella Castle during the holidays. It was a breathtaking display that I only imagine would have been amazing to see live.

Snow White may be getting all of the attention this week, but she isn't the only princess celebrating an anniversary. Don Bluth's masterpiece, Anastasia, just had its 20th anniversary yesterday. This movie will always be a favorite of mine. Showcasing gorgeous state-of-the-art animation that featured sparkling visual effects, a strong female lead who was ahead of her time, and the iconic singing voice of Liz Callaway, Anastasia was the perfect non-Disney princess movie produced. It's a shame that FOX Studios never gave it the publicity it deserved, but it clearly has not been forgotten. The new Broadway play based on the film is a unique more historical take on the story.

I was only 11 when this movie came out in 1997. I still have my San Francisco Music Box Company replica of the music box that Anastasia's grandmother gave her at the beginning of the film. The internet was still pretty new at the time. Anastasia's official website was one of the first sites that I remember browsing. It played the songs from the movie (if I waited long enough for them to load on my dial-up modem), which was something I had never seen before on a website. The site also featured animated gifs of the logo that sparkled and shimmered. I remember wanting to see the movie in theaters a second time after my screening let out. "Journey to the Past" was an instant favorite of mine that I sang constantly. I was also impressed with the music video summarizing the events of the movie they played at the end alongside the song "At the Beginning." It may have been the first video I saw that inspired me to make music videos from my favorite movies using editing software a few years later.

Original Anastasia poster

Today is also the 10th anniversary of the live-action/animated hybrid, Enchanted. I have fond memories of when it came out as well that are quite different from my memories of Anastasia. Enchanted was released when I was in college and had a lot more freedom. I took advantage of that freedom by taking a local bus to New York City to try to get into a special screening of the film that the cast and crew were attending. Wearing a tiara for good measure, I showed up at the theater and watched the press taking pictures of the red carpet. After making polite conversation with them, I asked the lady who was handing out tickets if she had any extras. To my great fortune, she did! I was granted entry into the theater, where I watched the mayor of New York City give a speech along with the movie's directors. Since most of the film takes place in New York City, the local government was very proud of it. Thanks to that escapade, I saw the movie a few days before its national release. To me, that felt like the most magical thing in the world. If I had still lived with my parents, I would not have had the freedom to go on such an adventure. Though Enchanted is not the best princess movie, it's still a lot of fun. It's hard to believe it's already been ten years.

If you don't pay attention, time will pass you by in the blink of an eye. It's important to savor each day and be thankful for every experience you have because you never know when one chapter in your life will end and a new one will begin. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, now is a great time to count your blessings. For me, having the experiences of seeing these wonderful movies that shaped who I am today was a huge blessing. I hope everyone has a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving, and remember to be grateful for all of the wonderful things in your life.


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