Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Why Can't My Son Be A Princess At Disneyland? : An Open Letter To Disneyland Paris

Dear Disneyland Paris,

This is my son Noah.

Noah is about the biggest Elsa fan in the world.

You won't know us but we know you very well....we've visited you twice in the last 10 months because on our first visit we fell so deeply in love with your magic.

I wrote about it here on my blog, the fact that you had become my happy place....my escape from anxiety and mental health issues....a place where magic was the norm and where everyone was free to enjoy life inside the fairytale bubble, where the perils of the real world seem so distant.

We loved you so much that we booked to come back again in November and April along with our good friends...since our last visit my young son Noah has taken a real interest in your much loved character Elsa...as well as Rapunzel, Anna, Jasmine, Belle and Cinderella too. Gone were our days of searching for cruise deals, instead we were returning visitors to you.

We have spent a small fortune in Disney items for him, he wears his beloved Elsa dress all day every day...twirling about in front of his dressing table mirror, singing his heart out...convinced he is the real Elsa! He even refuses to take it off at bedtime. He knows every single word to Let It Go and all of the other Frozen songs, he'd be able to stand on your stage in the Frozen show and give your Elsa a run for her money I'm sure!

If there's such a thing as a Frozen super fan, Noah is it!

When I was scrolling through a Disney Facebook group one day, I came across some beautiful photos of little girls dressed up as Princesses in your Princess For A Day shoots at the Disneyland Hotel...Noah who was sitting next to me saw these too and was buzzing with excitement!

I decided I'd like to book him for the experience as a Christmas gift...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.

So I emailed you about it...and here is your reply:

So let me get this straight....my son, who fell in love with the concept of Disney Princesses at Disneyland, is not allowed to have the same experiences as the little girls who visit you simply because "He's a boy"?

I can't help but wonder if the same rule would apply should you introduce an activity at your parks that is only for boys....I say introduce because of course there isn't anything that is just for "Boys" as this would never be allowed. 

If a little girl wants to be a super hero, she can be. If she wants to be a jedi, she can be. She can be whatever she wants...just like Walt Disney himself said, "If you can dream it you can do it!"...

..Unless you're a little boy who wants a Princess experience at Disneyland apparently...that you CAN'T do!

I notice that Disneyland Paris has a Pride day on October 20th which uses the tagline "Celebrating Diversity at Disneyland Paris"... so does that statement apply only on October 20th? If we visit you on that day will you allow my son to be himself and have the princess experience?! Is October 20th the ONLY day that diversity is permitted in your parks? Must we all keep our true selves hidden every other day of the year at Disneyland Paris?!

Of course it's very kind of you to compensate us with the offer of some princess themed goodies for him....at the cost of 300 Euro of course...to be enjoyed in the privacy of his room, where he can't offend anybody else with his dress-wearing ways.

Some people may wonder why I even bothered to email you and ask if he'd be allowed to book in for this experience...the reason is this: My son is very young, he doesn't yet have any idea that there is such judgement and outdated perspectives in the world. He has no reason at all to believe that anybody would ever see anything wrong in a child playing dress up...and I have no desire at all to expose him to the ridiculous inequality of this world until it's absolutely necessary, so I decided to check that this would be ok just incase any behind-the-times staff member on the day was to make a comment that would burst his bubble and make him doubt himself and the things he likes.

I NEVER expected the reply I received from somewhere that claims to bring magic to the world and introduces these beloved characters to children.

I'm aware that there are many people in the world with outdated opinions on subjects such as this who will no doubt say that I'm creating drama or that I need to just pipe down and accept the fact that he is a boy and therefore he shouldn't be allowed to wear a dress....well here's the thing, usually my anxiety means I shy away from writing blog posts on controversial topics because I don't feel that I can handle the backlash. But in this situation? BRING IT ON! Because anybody who has an issue with this, is 100% WRONG and nothing will ever change my mind on that.

This isn't even a gay/straight debate...this is a child. Who wants to be just like his favourite character.

Nobody would see any harm if it was Jack Sparrow or Spiderman...not even if Noah was a girl....but because he's a boy and Elsa is a Princess it's "not allowed".

How absolutely ridiculous.

I didn't force my child to try on an Elsa dress....he chose it for himself. I have 3 sons, the other two are about as stereotypical BOY as you can get....my eldest child would recoil in horror at the mere mention of him wearing a dress, infact he doesn't even want to go to your Princess restaurant (which we were planning to book despite the high prices, because Noah would love it....maybe I should check, is he allowed in there or would he need to leave his penis at the door?!)

I'm really not sure what the reasoning is for your decision on this as you never explained it, you simply stated he wasn't allowed to book it because "He's a boy"....what are you afraid of? What exactly will happen if a boy wears a dress? Will he burst into flames? Will he grow up to be *Shock horror* GAY and I might sue you for it?

Please do explain to me what terrible awful fate may befall him if you indulge him in his desire to have his hair done, put on an Elsa dress and wear a bit of blusher for a photo? Because frankly, I am baffled.

Yours Sincerely,

A very sad and dissapointed Mother to a very sad & disappointed little Disney fanatic.

UPDATE ON THIS POST: http://www.sparklesandstretchmarks.com/2017/08/the-final-word-on-disneyland-drama.html

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  1. Please let us know if they reply...I would be very interested to know what they say!!!

  2. I would love to know how Disney are following up on this.

  3. Outrageous! Would not have expected this from Disney. Apparently where dreams come true as long as it falls within a certain set of presuppositions of good taste. I hope your little boy gets to have his dream come true.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with your questions to Disney. My son used to dress as Snow White and hates to be remind.
    Surely from a commercial point I'd have thought they'd be happy to take your money.
    Good luck!

  5. can we see your email to them? Did you make it clear you wanted the exact same princess for a day experience as a little girl for example the hair and facepaint. Could they have assumed you wanted an equivalent for a boy that they dont do eg. no facepaint no hair could that be the problem?

    1. Edited above, email I sent is at the end. I made sure to make it very clear incase of language barriers x

  6. can we see your email? Were you clear in what you were asking? Could they have misunderstood

    1. Edited above, email I sent is at the end. I made sure to make it very clear incase of language barriers x

    2. how old is noah they need to be over 3 to do PFAD

    3. As it says in my email to them, he'll be 3 when we visit

  7. This breaks my heart. I worked at Disneyland in California for 8 years and I know everyone would have been overjoyed with this and welcomed him with open arms!
    Unfortunately, Disneyland Paris is owned by Disney but is operated by a different company which is likely the cause. There are a few pig-headed people who work at every park and they often forget the magic that they should be showering people with every day.
    I hope you get to enjoy an experience with him soon in order to put this all behind you.

  8. My boy is obsessed with fairies! He loves to dress up and put on his fairy wings. People always try to correct him by saying he's dress as an elf, but he replies with 'no, I'm fairy'.
    I would have never thought Disney, which is in the business of making wishes come true, could have such a stupid attitude toward a boy who wants to dress up as his favourite Disney character for the day.
    #disneylandparis #boyscanbepricessestoo

  9. That is shocking!!! I really did not expect this from Disney. :( x

  10. Wow!!! I'm kinda not surprise as if you ever watch any of the Disney channels they are all about empowering girls to be whatever they want and that they too can do anything annoy can. It kills me that they don't empower little boys to be whatever they want and do whatever they want. There's no song show casing boys at all. I'm a mom of too boys and I am the one that is always encouraging them that they can do whatever it is they want to if they out their minds to it. I feel like Disney does cater more to girls in their theme parks. And it's not like there isn't any boy characters. But when a little boy falls in love with a character it should not matter. Sad to hear that this was your experience.

  11. Hayley, whereabouts do you live? I run a princess entertainment company and would be happy to have some princesses meet your adorable little boy and give him a makeover! Just pop me an email and I'll see what we can do. Pixiedustpartiesuk@gmail.com

  12. My son worked at DLRP as a character. He has been one of the good fairies from Sleeping Beauty and the Queen from Alice in Wonderland. His wife, who worked there too, has worked as Smee, King Louie, Eeyore. What double standards. I'm shocked.
    I hope you're lovely, happy little boy gets his wish and you all have a wonderful time.
    Also, maybe check out some companies that do Princess for the Day makeovers (for birthday parties, etc) X

  13. We went to DLP for a mini-moon after our same-sex marriage. We asked in City Hall if they had any groom pins for gay couples, like their Mickey and Minnie pins as Bride and Groom. they told me they do any merchandise like that because Mickey is heterosexual!

    Sorry to hear about your experience with your little boy. They're utter, utter idiots.

  14. Just watched the news and saw the 'about turn' from DLRP. Go and be a princess Noah! X

  15. Firsty, may I say how amazing Noah looks in his Elsa outfit.
    This has struck a chord with me as my son was just like Noah (he is ten now).
    He adored dressing up as princesses. He made a gorgeous Belle! I am mortified that Disney treated him like that x

  16. Hi there,
    we are D87 a company who specializes to help people live their dreams at the kingdom of dreams.
    We feel very sad that Disneyland Paris won’t allow a boy to become his favorite princess or for that matter even a girl becoming her favorite prince.
    We believe that’s all dreams can come true and should.
    Therefore we would like to offer our help, so your little boy will have an unforgettable experience on your next visit to Disneyland Paris.
    Just contact us with the dates you’ll be staying and will get back to you with all the details.

  17. If you're still going to Paris, contact Oh, My Princess, they do special princess parties and workshops to empower girls, but the owner has two boys and I know she would have no problem doing a princess tea party and/or give princess lessons (he'd get an official a Princess Diploma after, so he's be a true princess) for a boy. She has beautiful handmade silk princess dresses based on real princesses' dresses. I am sure they can make his dreams come true. The owner is bilingual French / English, too. I hope Disney does through for you as well. I am so disappointed in them.

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