Disneyland Paris has apologized after a 3-year-old boy was initially told he couldn’t participate in a “Princess for a Day” event.
The “Princess for a Day” program at the Disneyland Hotel in Chessy is billed as giving children a “total Princess makeover” and hair-styling session. Noah, a 3-year-old from Devon, England, whose favorite Disney character is Princess Elsa from “Frozen,” was told the event wasn’t open to boys, his mother said.
“I knew that there would be NOTHING he’d love more than to get to wear a pretty dress, put make up on like Mummy does and have his photo taken being one of his beloved Disney Princesses,” Hayley McLean-Glass wrote in an open letter on her blog.
The mother said she tried to book the package for her son as an early Christmas gift, but was subsequently denied.
“At this time it is not possible to book princess for a day for a boy,” the email stated, Ms. McLean-Glass told NBC News’ British partner, ITV News.
“I was so angry, I literally couldn’t stop shaking for half an hour afterwards — I was just so shocked,” she said. “I mean, I’m his mother and if I’m OK with him doing it, who are Disney to tell me that he can’t do that?”
“The way I look at it, if a little girl went to Disneyland and wanted to do a pirate experience or a ‘Spider-Man’ experience, there would be no way that they would stop a girl from doing that because there would be an uproar,” she said. “So why is it different for a boy?”
In a statement to ITV News, Disneyland Paris said, “We are taking this situation very seriously and sincerely apologize to Hayley and Noah for the distress caused.”
“An isolated incident, the cast member’s response is not reflective of any policy or belief held here at Disneyland Paris. We are going to ensure this does not happen again,” the statement said. “Diversity is near and dear to our hearts and we want to make sure that all our guests enjoy their experience at our resort. Of course, both boys and girls are welcome to enjoy The Princess For a Day experience in addition to all our other special activities.”
Ms. McLean-Glass wrote in a blog post Thursday that she’s been on the receiving end of hateful emails and messages since her story made news. She said the upside is that the Disneyland Hotel updated the wording on its website to be more inclusive.
“To all of the people who were outraged at Disneys original response, thank you for the support and HIGH FIVE…we did it!!!” she wrote. “We’ve actually managed to change something for the better and hopefully no other little boy will be turned away in future.”
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