Thomas Tolbert bears a striking resemblance to Santa Clause and Disney World officials were not having it during his recent trip to the family friendly theme park.
Tolbert was wearing a t-shirt that featured various pictures of Santa smiling and he was being approached by children who wanted his autograph until park officials noticed the commotion he was causing. Disney World employees quickly approached the Santa Clause look-a-like and asked him to change into less “Santa-ish” clothes to avoid being a distraction.
As the fan of Santa told Local 6:
“I had a shirt that had- it would be like a collage- and it had Santa faces and it had sayings from ‘The Night Before Christmas.”
Tolbert than admitted that he never approaches anyone, the kids simply see his resemblance to Santa Clause and approach him. With that being said Tolbert is quite happy signing autographs and taking pictures with his many children fans.
Disney officials however didn’t want Tolbert distracting family’s from money-making attractions and therefore told the Santa Clause look-a-like that he must turn away children and adults if they approach him.
According to Tolbert:
“Disney had informed me that I must inform anybody who came up to me that ‘I am not who you think I am, I am on vacation and please leave me alone.’”
In a public statement Disney’s PR team said:
The guest was asked to change his attire because it was disruptive to our operations and confusing to our other guests, particularly children who asked to take photos with him. He was not asked to leave, instead, we tried to work with him so that he could continue his visit.”
Disney did give Tolbert some free tickets for a future visit but he admits the same confusion will always exist.
The Walt Disney Co. has turned other park visitors away or asked them to change clothing but typically that only happens when they dress as characters owned by Disney World.