Disney has long marketed itself as the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but one young British boy experienced anything but joy during his most recent visit.
According to his mother, Hayley McLean, 3-year-old Noah is quite the fan of Disney’s “Frozen.” In fact, his mother argues he’s “the biggest Elsa fan in the world.”
But Noah wasn’t able to have his happily ever after at Disneyland Paris — all because of his gender. The Daily Mail reported that McLean and her son attempted to book the “Princess for a Day” vacation experience, which includes makeup application, hair styling, and a “prestige” dress that mimics one of the iconic princess gowns.
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This is Noah. My middle of 3 sons. My other two sons are about as sterotypically boyish as you can be but Noah? He loves Princesses, especially Elsa. He knows every single word to Let It Go and most other Frozen songs. We're going to Disneyland Paris in November and I tried to book him in for the Princess For A Day experience as I knew he'd absolutely love it. But Disney replied to tell me he can't have it….because he's a boy. I am FURIOUS. Not just for Noah, but for ALL little boys who Disney won't allow to indulge their love of Princesses…Walt Disney himself said "If you can dream it you can do it" … apparently this doesn't apply to little boys who dare to want to be Princesses at Disneyland Paris. I've written a blog post and Facebook status to send Disney the message that this is outdated and WRONG…these are children enjoying dress up….that's all. What on earth can be wrong with that?! I'd really appreciate any support on this…the link to the Facebook post is in my bio!
Disney refused the service, telling McLean, “At this time it is not possible to book Princess for a Day for a boy.”
The mother was shocked. She told ITV:
“I was so angry, I literally couldn’t stop shaking for half an hour afterwards. […] I was just so shocked.”
Naturally, McLean was “FURIOUS,” not only on behalf of her son, but for “all” boys who wished to play and dress up freely. She explained on Instagram:
I am FURIOUS. Not just for Noah, but for ALL little boys who Disney won’t allow to indulge their love of Princesses … Walt Disney himself said “If you can dream it you can do it” … apparently this doesn’t apply to little boys who dare to want to be Princesses at Disneyland Paris.
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So last night my boys arrived home after a couple of nights staying with their Nan & Grandad (their first time doing so!). I couldn't WAIT for them to get back…I put out a little sweetie buffet of all their favourite treats for them arriving home, we made a pretend Jail cell under Tyne's bed because he's obsessed with bad guys and cops and knew he'd love it, I bought Noah a new big boy bed with Frozen bedding and a new Princess dress hung up on it…the works!! And they were excited when they got home which of course makes it worth it. But today? They have been AWFUL. Tyne's attitude is getting worse by the day, Noahs Terrible Two tantrums are off the charts and even Sailor seems to be getting them early…Jon & I have ended up bickering with the stress (after two days of getting on perfectly!) and I've found myself mentally counting down the days until school starts because I feel as though I need a break even though I've only just had one which I was wishing away because I missed them!!! Seriously…how confusing is parenthood?!! Yesterday I was ready to cancel our child-free trip to the Isle Of Wight next weekend, and today I can't wait to go!!! ???
The mother decided an Instagram post wasn’t enough. She took to her own blog, “Sparkles and Stretchmarks,” to write a strongly worded open letter to Disney.
She accused the theme park of hypocrisy, arguing if her son wanted to be a popular male character, there would be no issue:
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” […] What exactly will happen if a boy wears a dress? Will he burst into flames?
It seems like the international powerhouse heard McLean loud and clear. A spokesperson for the theme park told ITV in a statement:
Diversity is near and dear to our hearts and we want to make sure that all our guests enjoy their experience at our resort.”
The spokesperson promised that the gender-based discrimination would “not happen again.”