Redefining Success: What I Witnessed at the “Meet Bella Thorne from Disney’s ‘Shake It Up’” Event at the Mall

There’s my daughter talking with Bella Thorne, her mom seated next to her, looking out at the crowd of hundreds.

How much do I love my daughter?  A lot! I waited in line with her for four and a half hours to get autographed photos in person from Bella Thorne, young dancer, singer, actress on Disney Channel. Several weeks ago, on Facebook, I saw an announcement that she was going to be at our local mall.  The show that she is on, “Shake It Up”, is one of Disney’s more wholesome shows that I’ve allowed my daughter to watch – check it out on  (This was before our decision to cut down our cable t.v. package, the way Marilyn and her husband did.  Read her post about it here.)

The event was announced as “Meet Bella Thorne…12 – 3pm.”  No other details were given, besides the date and the name of the mall.  I understood it to be a situation where we would be in line for an autograph.  We found this to be true.  My daughter and I got in line at 9:45 am, and I estimated that there were 200 people ahead of us.  Security guards let us know that they had to turn away those who wanted to line up as early as 3 am.  They were let in at 5 am.  It turns out my original estimation of the number of people ahead of us was way wrong.  What I didn’t know and couldn’t see was that in front of the stage where Miss Thorne was to be, there was a line that zig-zagged, cordoned off by ropes, like you’d see at an amusement park ride.  There were easily 300 or more people ahead of us.

Aside from the undeniable fact that mall management and security were unprepared for the crowd of hundreds of people that showed up, what was most appalling to see was the lack of decorum of the parents at this thing.  Children were allowed to be in line, unattended, like the two girls behind us, aged 10 and 13.  Many others screamed their heads off.  However, the upsetting part was when we had finally reached the rope line.  I witnessed three different parents tell their children to cut the line.  At this point, we had waited four hours.  The mom, ahead of me, had had her three young children with her, by herself.  She evidently had noticed one of these three parents, a father, try –on more than one occasion– to get his two daughters to cut the line.  When she got the attention of a security guard, this dad denied that they were with him.  These girls ended up right behind my daughter and me.

Why didn’t the people behind us cry foul, you may ask?  Well, the two girls who had been behind us for nearly four hours had at that point allowed for no less than a dozen of their family members to cut in front of them.  What could they do, but just look guilty of having done something similar.

It’s hard not to witness events like these and feel as though society isn’t going down the tubes.  Instead though, I’ll choose to see it as a call to be that much more careful with my kids.  I hope that you will do the same.

To quote Wendy, one of TFF’s Fabulous Readers, “Children learn by example and even when you don’t think they see and hear what’s going on, guess what? They do.”

Answering the call to redefine success,

~Aimee, TFF

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4 thoughts on “Redefining Success: What I Witnessed at the “Meet Bella Thorne from Disney’s ‘Shake It Up’” Event at the Mall

  1. I experienced something similar just last week,I was in New York City waiting for a cab, The line was long and there was a few minutes waiting time between cabs As the next cab pulls up a family ahead of me try to jump the line, Well you know New Yorkers are not going to put up with that, However the interesting thing was , in line before me and after me were English families who were quite surprised that it happened and remarked how unusual that would have been in England where every one queues up in an orderly straight line for anything buses,movies etc, etc.
    So, another teachable moment ,they are around us all the time

  2. Surely you must know that the creation of ‘Bella Thorne’ by Disney is purely a marketing tool, whereby her image is used as a implement to sell stuff? Disney knows and has calculated that tweens will do, wear, buy, be, eat, go and do what ever the imaginary ‘Bella Thorne’ does. My husband worked 12 years for Disney. So, I know.
    Since this event was ‘free’, I think it was most honorable for you to take your daughter and wait the 4 hours (BTW, did your daughter afterwards want to ‘buy’ something? Just curious.) There will always be adults who want to cheat the system. Parents, in turn, teach their children to do the same. Think cheerleading contests.
    You can’t expect law & order at any pop star event. I can recall my own hectic experiences at Madonna and Beatles concerts. At a Paul McCartney concert I almost lost my left arm as it was being ripped out of my left socket from storming crowds of girls as they tried to go through a theater door. Only the kindness of a police officer saved me. And my left arm.
    If someone cuts in front of the line, you can be as sure as heck I am going to speak up and out, loudly! You have no idea what waiting on line in New York City can be like.
    Hope your daughter had a good time and appreciated what you did for her. I am certain she does! It was a teachable moment.

    1. Oh yes, absolutely imagined about Disney Corporate, but now I know more; I appreciate your comments! Unfortunately, nearly everything is tied to Big Corporation you-name-it. I so worry about BigAgriculture and Big Pharma. But I digress…We try to look at commercials on tv and engage our kids in a critical thinking discussion, “What are they selling?” or “What part of what they are saying do you believe?”

      My daughter was very grateful for having gone. She did ask for the soundtrack when someone from a media store took advantage of the crowd. I said no, of course. Thankfully, she didn’t ask for it, again, or anything else. She was just as disgusted by what we both observed in that microcosm of greater American society today; I only wrote about one disappointing aspect of our experience. After we relayed it all to my husband, I savored what she said to us, “I am so glad you are raising me not to be like that.” Holding on to that memory for when she gets bent out of shape at us about the next thing we will say no to–Middle School starts tomorrow. Gotta embrace those teachable moments to get reflections like that from your kid :)!

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