A 15-year-old girl in Florida is making headlines because she says she was not allowed to wear her Tinker Bell costume inside of a Disney theme park, citing company policy against teens and adults dressed as characters.
The girl says she spent hours doing her hair, makeup and costume so that she and her boyfriend, dressed as Peter Pan, could celebrate his birthday at Disney.
The pair had no problem getting into Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but were stopped when trying to enter Disney’s Animal Kingdom, because her outfit too closely resembled those worn by the various Tinker Bells who wander the parks posing for photos with visitors.
“They said I looked too good,” the teen tells CBS’ Orlando affiliate.
Park staff provided her with clothes she could change into if she wanted to enter, but she tells CBS, “I didn’t want to take off the costume.”
A Disney rep explains:
The guests were asked to change because costumes that could be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character are not appropriate attire for our theme parks. The costumes were disruptive to our operation and possibly confusing to our other guests, as children were asking to take photos with them. To make up for any inconvenience, we provided them with replacement clothing and assisted them with the rest of their visit in our parks.
“They were talking how the little girls, it ruins their dreams,” said the 15-year-old. “But it ruined my dreams because I just want to be Tinker Bell.”
Disney’s reasoning goes far beyond merely ruining the dreams of children and teens. If someone enters the park in a convincing character costume, it seems believable — even likely — that other visitors might assume this person is a Disney employee. If that in-costumer person then begins to act in a manner that reflects badly on the park and the company, you’re going to have a hard time explaining to families (or their lawyers) how the Goofy that flipped off your camera was really just a guest in a really good costume.
So before you spend hours and hours putting together your elaborate outfits, please check the park’s website to make sure you won’t be blocked from entering at the gate.
Disney makes ‘Tinker Bell’ change clothes [ClickOrlando.com]