My Experience - "Princesses Don't Have Periods"

Contributor Isabella Finn writes about her Disney adventure

It was hot, really really hot. 27 degree summer heat in the Disneyland Paris Village and I had just found out that I passed my first year of college. Makeup was not a good idea and I envied anyone who could tolerate wearing their hair loose. But this was heaven to me, “The happiest place on earth” they say. I’d believe that. Non-stop singing, food stalls every five feet and adrenaline rushing rollercoasters sealed with Disney magic. I peeled myself from the plastic seat I sat in for lunch and made a bee line for the toilets. A quick pit stop before we headed back into the park for more adventuring. 

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror before I headed into a toilet stall. A puffy face and a frizzy ball of hair pinned to the top of my head. Stunning. Elegant. Beauty. I closed the door behind me and went about my business, but that is when disaster struck. My so-called gift from mother nature arrived early and I didn’t have a tampon. I double checked my bag but there was nothing. Then I noticed a familiar bullet shaped outline bulging from the secret zip in my camera bag. “I’m a genius!” I thought, until I opened the zip. Stashed away wasn’t a tampon, it was a small lipstick. 

In true survivor fashion I cleaned myself up the best I could and went to ask my sisters for help. Three adult women and not a single sanitary product between us. Inconvenient. But I saw this as an opportunity to finally use the steel box vendors that you find in public restrooms. I scanned the walls for the Pandora’s Box of tampons and sanitary towels. It was nowhere to be found.  

I exited the toilets and sought to find a tampon to stop the red sea. “Jolly Holiday” music pumped through speakers that were littered throughout the Disney Village. My sisters flanked my sides as I tied my jumper around my waist. An international signal of precaution. Fixing the pink glitter Minnie Mouse ears to my head, I set off on my mission. There were no convenience shops like a good reliable Centra hanging about so I needed to narrow my search areas. The targets? Other restaurant toilets. 

It’s an unwritten rule in Disneyland that the workers don’t say ‘no’ to anything. Although it would be taboo to use restaurant toilets without buying something at home those rules don’t apply in Disneyland. No one should take advantage of this but this was an emergency, a code red if you will. I was successful getting entrance into all my search areas in the Disney Village but there wasn’t a single tampon to be found. No steel boxes of menstrual safety. Nada.  

I didn’t know how much time I had before the gates of hell were unleashed and I really had to think on my feet. Desperation doesn’t come close and to top it all off I don’t speak French, but I wasn’t hopeless, desperate but determined. My frizzy bun had expanded in the heat to something the size of a bird's nest, Amy Winehouse would have been jealous. I can proudly say that my makeup had not melted. That would have pushed me over the edge. My sisters had walked the length of the Village in solidarity with me but I could tell the heat was too much. I advised them sit while I face this bloody demon on my own. Pun intended. 

The last restaurant on the strip was Plant Hollywood. A great big blue sphere sat atop of the building. My beacon, like the green light at Gatsby’s dock signalling Daisy. I entered through the gift shop entrance where two young women at the counter looked aghast at my appearance. Somewhere in my soul I just knew that there wasn’t going be a tampon vendor in the toilets so I just told my story. They blinked back blankly at me. They didn’t speak English and my heart grew heavy. I desperately hand gestured what I thought would demonstrate the logistics of menstruation but it could have been interpreted into something wildly different, see Bridget Jones’ Diary: Edge of Reason for cultural reference. 

Their eyes widened and I turned to leave. “No!” they shouted, I turned on my heel. From behind the counter one of the women produced a single sanitary towel from her personal backpack, she held it out to me. She beamed a smile and I couldn’t help but beam back. My throat tightened to a choke, shocked by the girl power transcending languages. I accepted the sanitary towel and uttered the only French that came to mind “Merci”. In this instance it held a double standard, this French goddess had granted me mercy in the midst of my peril. 

I had fixed my new security blanket to my underwear but my fight wasn’t over. My armour just gave me the will to carry on and find more recruits. I was staying in Disney for another two days. But in order to gather new supplies I needed to venture – outside the Disney compound. 

I crossed the security, heading in the opposite direction of hordes of families entering the park. I figured the train station would have a newsagents of sorts. In a brightly coloured box, stacked high on the shelves, I found my soldiers. Proud of myself but probably looking exhausted from the sweaty excursion, the till boy had the audacity to ask if I was having a rough day based on my purchase. But he wasn’t wrong. 

I joined the cue back into the Disney gates but I didn’t mind the wait, my panic was over. I untied my jumper from my waist – it was no longer needed. My sisters and I marched back into the park to find a good spot for the fireworks.  

 

Apparently in Disneyland princesses don’t have periods.