Author: Canadian Diva
“Fa Mu Lan sits and waits. She learns to be still while the emperors, the dynasties, the foreign lands flow past, unaware of her slender form, thinking it a tree in the woods, a statue to a goddess long abandoned by her people. But Fa Mu Lan, the Woman Warrior, is not ashamed. She knows that one who can exist without movement while the ages pass is the one to whom no victory can be denied. It is training, to wait. And Fa Mu Lan, the Woman Warrior, must train, for she is no goddess, but girl — girl who takes her father’s place in battle…” – from the play FOB by David Henry Hwang
Fa Mu Lan or Hua Mulan is a legendary Chinese Folktale, told and passed down to generations. This folklore was revisited by Chinese-American author, Maxine Hong Kingston, in her book The Woman Warrior: Memoir of a Girlhood among Ghosts. This is also where Playwright David Henry Hwang drew inspiration for his American play FOB and his character Grace, who says the monologue above. I had the honour of playing, “Grace” in a production of FOB in Toronto. Being of Chinese descent on my mother’s side, it was really wonderful to study and immerse myself in the character and to learn a bit about the famous tale of Fa Mu Lan, the Woman Warrior.
In 1998, Disney created the animated film “Mulan” to re-tell this incredible story. Mulan is voiced by the magnificent actress, Ming-Na Wen (who is currently playing Agent Melinda May in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.) and the singing voice of musical legend, Lea Solanga (who is also the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in the Disney movie, Aladdin).
It is wonderful to see Disney interpret this story of Fa Mulan so that a wider audience can know about the woman warrior who loved her ailing father so much and tries to bring back honour to her family, she disguises herself as a male to fight in battle. Some argue that Disney “Disney-fied” the story by leaving many details out and adding characters not true to the original tale, however it is a great story to be told and I believe Disney did it well for it’s intended audience.
Although it is a Chinese folklore, it speaks to so many of different backgrounds and generations. I felt it was a wonderful animated film to introduce a bit of cultural history to my own daughter. She loves Mulan and was so excited to meet “Mulan” at Walt Disney World. “Mulan” was very engaging. She was energetic and asked my daughter all sorts of questions. My daughter’s favourite was when she told Mulan that she does Martial Arts too, and Mulan asked if she could show her a move, so my daughter demonstrated her own warrior moves!
Are you a fan of Mulan?
You can meet Mulan at Epcot in the breathtakingly beautiful, China Pavilion in the World Showcase. Showtimes are between 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, however please check your guide to see when she will appear for the day.
- Mulan takes a break every hour so if you miss her, do what we did, take a tour of the China Pavilion, check out “Reflections of China”, and line up around 10 minutes before she is to appear. Ask a Cast Member where the line starts.
- The line is not covered so if it rains, you will be out of luck like Mushu in the beginning of Mulan.
- Mulan sometimes appears at the Akershus Banquet Hall in the Norway Pavilion for the “Princess Storybook Dining” experience, although we have never encountered Mulan there during Breakfast or Dinner.
- Don’t forget your autograph book and pen (we have many great articles on tips for Character signing and photo ops)
As we say in Cantonese: Juk Lei Ho Wan (May you prosper!)