Teen Tinker Bell Made to Change Clothes Before Entering Animal Kingdom

A teenager was recently denied entrance to Disney's Animal Kingdom. The reason? She was dressed like Tinker Bell.

Fifteen-year-old April Spielman said she spent two hours preparing her costume before heading off to the park. She and her boyfriend, who was dressed as Peter Pan, visited Disney's Hollywood Studios late last week and then tried to enter Disney's Animal Kingdom later. They were stopped by security guards and Spielman was told she would need to change before she could gain admittance to the park. Spielman said she was told she "looked too good" in her Tinker Bell costume and that she might be confused for a cast member.

Disney has a dress code for its guests and has it published on their website. It states: "adult costumes or clothing that can be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character" is inappropriate theme park attire that "may result in refusal of admittance."

Park officials gave the teen Tinker Bell a "free shirt and other clothing" to change into and also gave her and her boyfriend "numerous" FastPass tickets. This "enabled them to skip the lines on rides they missed while the teenager was changing clothes."

In a statement issued on Tuesday about the incident, Walt Disney World spokeswoman Kathleen Prihoda said:

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.


Kristen K. wrote on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 11:51:

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I'm very sorry for this little girl, but Disney's had this policy for years and years, trust me, my teens complain about it all the time. If she had just done a little research, she would have found it easily.

Sadly, I think that Disney has created the problem themselves with the sale of princess dresses for little girls and the commercials using little girls in princess dresses. To a teen that wants to dress up there isn't a difference between them and that 5 year old. Now we have video of this girl all over the internet from legit news sources crying and saying how Disney ruined her dream.

My problem with what happened is that the parks were inconsistent. She should have never been let into Hollywood Studios to begin with.

Mase wrote on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 14:18:

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I agree with Kristen 100%. How can we deny the teenagers to dress up as their favorite Disney characters when they promote places like the Pirates League and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? I fully understand that rules are rules but to let say my daughter in wearing her Belle dress, and not letting a teenager dress as Tink... its kinda not fair. And I guess this is a question in itself... but can you dress as any character come Halloween during their party? I guess I'm kinda torn about this issue... we have passionate fans who would love to dress as their favorite character, but can't because they could be mistaken as cast members. Understand that... but I feel bad for the teens because they are in-between. But the nice thing is... Disney made things right. They gave her clothes to change into, and FP's for missing any ride. I think thats stand up. Because thats something they don't really have to do.

Janice wrote on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 14:29:

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Disney has had this policy in place for years. This isn't the first story I've heard where a person was denied admittance to a Disney Theme Park dressed as a character because they looked like a cast member. Considering the level of professionalism that's expected from a Disney cast member, I don't have a problem with their policy. Plus, the fast passes and free clothing were examples of Disney's top notch service.

BexMcB wrote on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 14:42:

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I assume there are some management/CM's in Hollywood Studios that are hearing about this. I do agree that the inconsistency between Parks was wrong on Disney's behalf.
Aside from that, their costumes were TOO good. I can understand the teen's disappointment, she put a lot of work into her outfit, hair and makeup. That aside, I think Disney has the RESPONSIBILITY to their guests, especially young children, to make sure their Characters are portrayed in a proper manner. It would be quite confusing to small children who approached for autographs, photos...at some point I'd guess the teens would turn people away. The bigger concern, however, would be the potential for kissing/PDA. I imagine a lot of guest complaints would arise if Peter Pan and Tinker Bell were caught in even the simplest of acts.
Disney seems to try their best to be a place of Magic for any and every age. However, the youngest children, who Believe in EVERY aspect of the Magic, deserve Disney's protection, and that's exactly what Disney did. (and they did it with class)

Jessica Souza wrote on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 14:48:

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I think it is a really crappy, sad situation and I feel horrible for the girl. BUT, Disney did what they had to do. It doesn't seem like they were jerks about it, they gave them free stuff and fast passes, that was pretty nice of them. They could've just denied them entrance and called it a day. Firstly and least importantly to me, they are very strict about their themes and she probably wasn't in the animal kingdom theme not to mention they are all highly trained to follow very specific acting guidelines,specific movements and whether they are to talk or not to talk I can see where they'd be very concerned looking like a cast member with the other guests getting confused.. Second, you have to envy their precautions. If everyone were allowed to start dressing like characters to the point of not being able to tell the difference, in this sick world we have today you would start getting pedophiles and bad people doing it and if it did happen for Disney that would be a billion dollar law suit for allowing people without a cori to have the opportunity to come into contact with the kids. If this girl has a dream then she should go to college and try to get into Disney as tinkerbell. Whether it is an intern or a job, not sure I think they're all interns.

salejune wrote on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 16:46:

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I agree with you all. I'm sorry for the teen and I hope she'll not let this keep her from coming back to Disney. Disney did handle this properly and very classy.

twilightsparrow wrote on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 16:51:

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I think that the only thing that I disagree with is the inconsistency in the parks. Being that it is policy the issue should have been addressed at DHS. I feel bad that the teenager is upset, but you can't be able to be confused as a CM. I don't think young children would understand if they were to see Tinkerbell and Peter Pan be affectionate with one another. And I don't think Disney expects a 5-year-old dressed as Cinderella, Belle or Tinkerbell to be mistaken for a CM. Disney did do a good thing by providing them with a change of cloths so they could stay at DAK.

Kristen K. wrote on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 18:42:

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Mase - Anyone is allowed to wear a costume at the MNSSHP.

HOWEVER - I've talked to several people that had very professional looking costumes at the party, that were spoken with by employees not only at entry, but several times throughout the night. They were strongly advised not to take pictures with other guests and not to represent themselves as the character for any reason. This was even more seriously with the people in costumes of characters that you don't see very often in the WDW Park. A couple of folks with the fantastic Nightmare Before Christmas Costumes had been fairly harassed by cast members "warning" them all night long.

It seems to me that Disney's bottom line at MNSSHP is to encourage costumes, just not good ones. LOL!

Miki wrote on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 20:27:

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I don't feel sorry for the teenager - she is old enough to know better (same for the boyfriend); she's not a "little girl" - she's 15 for crying out loud. All they had to do was do some research. Disney gave her free clothes and fastpasses - which they didn't have to do since it is on their website and I'm sure it is written at the entrance. If you ask me they knew what they were doing and were hoping to get away with something. If it had been MNSSH that would be one thing, but that is not when this happened.

I think the inconsistency is wrong and Disney should do something about that.

Jessi5989 wrote on Sat, 06/09/2012 - 02:33:

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The main reason she was asked to change was because she looked TOO much like Tinkerbell. And while it may seem unfair to make her change but not a little girl dressed like Cinderella, it's also obvious that a 5 year old isn't the Cinderella character performer. This girl could've easily been a character performer of Tinkerbell for all the (newer) guests knew. And the main problem with this was that she could've compromised character integrity. Disney takes that very seriously. Our characters not only stand in the park and take pictures, but they become that character, not just a person playing that character. They do this as to not ruin the magic for everyone, especially kids. But say someone came up to this girl and asked to take a picture and she said no. ...they would've been really hurt because they thought she was really Tinkerbell. Or if she had been walking around the park and said something inappropriate that a guest heard, even a kid. ...that kid would have always remembered Tinkerbell as what she said, not as what our actual characters say.

I do however agree that she shouldn't have been allowed in HS to start with though. But honestly the people at the turnstiles see so many people a day and are responsible for looking over everyone and making sure they don't have something inappropriate on their shirts or aren't wearing something inappropriate, like a costume. They have to do this all while still making sure everyone can get in and that their tickets work and all that stuff. I can imagine it gets hard, especially because they are watching a couple of turnstiles at once.

But in the end, I think Disney did the right thing by making her change. She's been on all the local news stations here crying and acting like her life is over, but we all know that Disney did alot for her because she was let in, then told she needed to change. I know for a fact she was given clothes (or at least a shirt) to change into free and she probably got some other things, or at least a thousand apologies.

Karen wrote on Sun, 06/10/2012 - 12:41:

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My sister and I, both 40 something, dressed very realisticly as Flora and Merriweather from Sleeping Beauty for one of the MNSSHP in late Sept, 2008. We had lots of people ask us to stop for pictures with their children. A cast member in the Emporrium even asked for an autograph! No one ever approached us about not taking prictures with guests. We had the most fun we've ever had in the Magic Kingdom that night. Maybe they have gotten a little stricter with the policy and warnings in recent years. I saw a Captain Jack Sparrow in the queue for POC that night whom I thought was a cast member until I noticed his armband.

Animal Costumes wrote on Thu, 06/14/2012 - 05:08:

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I think Disney handled the situation very well. And for sure, the girl does not have a hard heart against Disney because the Management was well too accommodating to their needs.

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