We all get tagged in a post on Facebook by a friend. Sometimes once a week, sometimes once an hour. A few of the posts we’re tagged in give a minor chuckle. Most are meh. In December, my friend Emily tagged me in a post. She’s one of my closest friends and also one of the funniest people I know so I know it’s going to be a good one. The post is along the lines of “Overnight Disney Movie Marathon”. I already know I’m in.
I agree quicker than I would to a free ticket to a Spice Girls concert and forget entirely about it.
Until last weekend when it rolled around. My 30 year old self is as excited as my 7 year old self would be.
12 hours of Disney movies, back to back, at the Prince Charles Cinema in Soho. I don’t even know what films are on. Nor do I care. I love them all.
I spent all week obsessing about what to wear, what to pack, what snacks to take, whether or not I should take wine (not allowed by the cinema!).
Clothes were easy. I decided on stretchy jeans, layers of tops and fluffy socks. A blanket and my flight cushion were must-haves. I’m 30 now. Comfort over cool every damn day.
I recently bought a Google Pixel XL 2 and the battery is phenomenal but 12 hours is a long time and we were off to the women’s march in the morning after the marathon so I needed to be prepared. In goes the portable charger and cables.
Snacks were a dilemma. Nothing too smelly or noisy so as not to annoy others. Nothing that needed to be warm or needed utensils. Slimming world friendly. Fruit? Veg and humus? Sandwich? I accidentally stopped in M&S on the way and got deli snacks, crackers, sweet treats and pork pies. Never go shopping when you’re hungry.
I hop on the train and head to Soho. Arriving in Soho on a Saturday night in comfy jeans, with the intention to sit and watch Disney films in fluffy socks is an odd concept that my grown-up self is conflicted with. A usual trip to Soho would involve Chinese food, gin, tequila, a tuktuk and making BFFs with drag queens.
I used to think I was super cool. I realised I’m not. I’m absolutely okay with being the kind of woman who goes to Disney marathons on a Saturday night.
We get to the cinema, check in and get settled in our seats. My anxieties have been high this week with work and the weather but at the forefront of my mind, I’ve been worrying about tonight, for Emily. She is 6 full feet of goddess and her legs seem to take up about 4 foot of that height. How is she going to settle in to this space for 12 hours?
Luckily, the Prince Charles isn’t like your average high street cinema. It’s spacious and clean, the seats are comfy and well maintained. They charge £20 for 12 hours of Disney heaven, not £12 for every average film on the market.
I get into my comfies, get set up with snacks and drinks around me, blanket and pillow at the ready and settle myself in for a night of nostalgia.The list pops up and we’re on the way! The atmosphere is beautiful. Every person has either a blanket, slippers, Disney pyjamas or all of the above. Everyone cheers at the beginning of each film and claps at the end.
By 1am, I’m waining.
I didn’t have great sleep Thursday or Friday, my planned power nap was disturbed. Between around 130am and 7am, I sleep on and off, despite the bright screen and the very loud soundtracks. I’m not alone. I’m in a mass napping cult by now.
I sleep in a warm cosy Disney haze, an upgraded version of the awful sleep you get on planes. I managed to catch the first and last ten minutes of most films, with snatches in between.
The credits roll on the last film; everyone cheers and we all bundle up our nests into bags and schlep off into day light. The middle of China town at 840 on a Sunday morning is an eerie place. Bright, brash, with none of the usual beautiful sights, sounds and smells that usually embrace you as you pass through the tunnels of lanterns.
I stumble home, looking no better than someone that’s spent the weekend in a rave in a warehouse, to my warm bed, where I spend the next 5 hours sleeping with “Got no Strings” from Pinocchio pinging around my brain.