Last week I was invited to attend the opening of the new Disney Store in Atlanta. Have you heard about the new Disney Stores? They are SO fun! They are totally interactive—a playdate waiting to happen!
Asa loved this fun Mickey Mouse Clubhouse neighborhood where kids can spin wheels, press buttons to make noises and even crawl through a tunnel!
Lydia wanted to stay in the Princess castle, of course. You can wave a princess product in front of the mirror and a princess will show up on the mirror and talk to you. It is way cool!
But the best part is that Jodi Benson, the voice of The Little Mermaid was there to open the new store! And as a member of the media (yes, I am!) I got to interview her! Nothing like interviewing someone with 2 kids hanging off your leg!
I have always admired Jodi Benson because The Little Mermaid came out when I was in 6th grade and my friends and I could sing EVERY SINGLE WORD by heart! But when I found out she was a Christian, I guess I felt some loyalty to her. Years later, when I became a mother, I discovered out she narrated some Christian children’s videos called Baby Faith. (Which by the way, I know the puppeteer & puppet-builder of these movies!)
At the beginning of each of these Baby-Einstein-look-alikes, Jodi Benson explains the mission of these movies—to inspire growing families in their faith. And really? This is how my kids know Jodi Benson. Not because of Ariel but because of Baby Faith.
So, I asked Jodi Benson to talk about how media influences children. What is it like to be Ariel and Barbie AND the narrator of a Christian kids DVD?
And this is where it got good! She said, “You opened it up. You asked me. So, Disney can’t step in. I’m going to answer your question!”
And now my notes on what she said–scribbled on a Disney Junior notebook that was balanced on Asa’s bottom as he lay on my lap…
She explained that this (working with Disney–being Ariel!) was her mission and ministry. These gifts were to share with families and kids. She said she prays with her family every morning that they be salt and light–even with a kind word or smile. That is their daily motto. Her marriage with Disney has allowed her to impact families. She can relate to them and tell them (simply but profoundly) that God loves them! She said Roy Disney was like a father to her and a great respecter of her faith because they had the same heart–to make a difference in the life of families and kids!
I so wish I had grabbed my Flip camera and videoed her so I could have written it down more concisely. But those few words were backed with passion and fire! She really and truly believes (and I do, too) that God put her where she is.
Jodi’s husband and her children accompanied her and helped turn the key to open the new store. I even spoke to her husband and was in awe of their obvious protection of their children, their love for the Lord and their desire to use this opportunity in their lives as their ministry and place of service. They recognized it as a gift that could easily be taken away if not handled correctly.
Before Jodi turned the key to the new Disney Store she welcomed the crowd (there was a big one–they were giving away 250 limited Disney Store Mickey ears!) she said so many kind things but the one part that stuck out was when she said, “God bless you in raising your kids.” Just a small phrase. But guess what? I believe it was a prayer. And even a prayer uttered in front of a Disney Store can be powerful and effective.
me, Lydia, Asa, Jodi Benson, Mandi & her kids
I was so inspired by her because I love the idea that no matter where you are and what you are doing you can be smack dab in the middle of God’s will, His plan and His mission! Some people are pastors, some are missionaries, some are moms and some are mermaids!
Be encouraged–your work as a mom (stay-at-home or otherwise) is your ministry! It is your vocation! It is your mission! You can be salt and light to your kids, your husband and everyone you meet. God has given you the gifts he’s give you so He can accomplish His awesome and amazing and forever plan!
Thank you, Jodi Benson for inspiring! Thank you God for making us central to your plan and purpose no matter where we are!
If you’re interested in more info on the new Disney Store, I’ll be posting about it on my personal blog this week. Oh, and if you’re in Atlanta, the Grand Opening to the new Disney Store is this weekend! Mickey and Minnie will be there!
I was invited to this event because of my status as a Walt Disney World Moms Panelist and as a local blogger. I was not asked to blog about the event. I am NOT a Disney employee. All thoughts are mine. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Disney Company.
ps–I’d like to introduce my newest partner, Cha Cha’s Treasures! Her button is in the sidebar. Look for a fabulous post & giveaway tomorrow!