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Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Boot: Why does Disney kick out people who look like characters?

Thomas Tolbert, a gentlemen who moonlights as Santa Claus, is in the spotlight because of an issue that seems to pop up frequently at Disney Parks.

If you missed it, it was just over a month ago a girl was kicked out for dressing like Tinker Bell.

So what's the problem? 

Jennifer left some great comments on one of my posts here, and really inspired me to write this post. She brings up some great points, and I'd encourage you to check them out.

Read on to get my take on things.

First off, one of the first things I think of when it comes to people dressing up as characters is Comic Con. I'm not big into it, I just always see some outrageous (and amazing) costumes each time the event is held.

Imagine if Disney was similar to Comic Con-and really, it would be, if people could wear costumes. You board the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and look who's sitting right behind you- 

It's Jack Sparrow... or actually, just a guy who looks exactly like him. This guy was actually at a Comic Con event.

Here's the deal- Disney has 100% control over their characters- where they are going, what times, what they say, their autograph- they are a part of the Disney brand. 

These people who dress up, and walk into the park- they have absolutely no control over what they are going to do. Who knows, the guy who looked like Santa could have mooned your grandma as she bit into a turkey leg. Or, when your kids went up to ask for an autograph, he cursed and yelled at the kids.  Not very Santa like-and imagine the complaints then. Even worse, your kids might have an entirely different view of Santa now. 

Also, Jennifer brought up the point of your children being kidnapped by one of these people. While it's true that there may not be a correlation with costumed characters and kidnappers, if Disney allowed people to wear costumes, imagine what a goldmine that would be. However, since Disney says no costumes to everyone, they have to hold firm on their policy, and apply it fairly to everyone.

In the Santa case, I did a little more reading-at first, I read that he had just looked like Santa. I found out that he was also wearing a Christmas t-shirt about the Night Before Christmas. Come on- he really was asking for a little attention.

On top of that, he was offered free park tickets for a future visit. That's a pretty fair exchange, in return for Thomas to just tell kids he's not really Santa.

Allowing people to wear costumes is too much of a wild card. And since they have this policy in place for everyone, they have to uphold it 100% of the time. 

And if you really want to dress up as a character- here's your way in!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I'll admit I got a little carried away the other day...! I think I was shocked at Disney's reaction to him but what really got me was the comments on the original article I read - it almost reached the absurd (especially the one where it noted the person worked in a school system yet didn't seem to know proper grammar or how to spell... I thought that was funny!) And just for those who might have read my other comments, I DO agree with what you said about Disney's policies for patrons wearing costumes - how would we know who was the REAL Peter Pan?! Lol! Seriously... He can't change his appearance (facial) nor should he be expected to but he sort of was asking for it wearing his Christmas shirt. I did see where they gave him free passes but for them to ask him to blow off those kids (if they really did ask that of him) I thought was a little extreme. I am glad what I wrote inspired your thoughts -- even if I did go a little "goofy" about it!!