Three-year-old Noah McLean simply wanted to dress up as Elsa, his favorite Disney character from the film Frozen, but Disneyland Paris thought it was not appropriate because of his gender.
Hayley McLean-Glass, mother of the Princess Elsa “superfan,” wanted to surprise Noah for Christmas with the opportunity to be the “Princess of the Day” and dress up as the popular Disney character.
Disneyland Paris is offering the experience of granting “every little girl’s wish with a real princess’ make-up and hair-styling session.” The website also described the treat as an opportunity for “a fairytale transformation” that the participating children will “treasure forever.” Disneyland Paris will only offer four different packages for the event, which will be held at the Disneyland Hotel near the park entrance. Each makeover package will include make-up, hairstyling, and a princess costume. The child will then have a photo shoot while portraying their chosen Disney princess.
When Noah was told of the possibility of getting an Elsa makeover, he was “buzzing with excitement.” McLean, a native of Devon, England, said that there was nothing her young son “would love more than to get to wear a pretty dress” and put on some makeup so he could have a photo taken of him as “one of his beloved Disney Princesses.”
A 3-year-old boy was told by Disneyland Paris he could not take part in the "Princess for a Day" event. https://t.co/aFneGVYaca— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) August 31, 2017
Noah’s mother tried to book the treat for her son but was rejected. According to McLean, Disneyland Paris denied her application by saying “at this time, it is not possible to book a princess for a day for a boy.” The organizer of the event offered to give Noah a Princess-themed autograph book, a cuddly toy, or a playset instead, according to Metro.
McLean’s first reactions were anger and shock. She related that she literally couldn’t stop shaking for around 30 minutes after receiving the reply from Disneyland Paris. She also said that she couldn’t fathom why Disneyland is telling her that Noah can’t dress up as a princess even if she’s fine with it.
McLean-Glass wrote an open letter on her own parenting blog, Sparkles and Stretchmarks, on Tuesday. She explained that Noah likes to wear his Elsa costume every chance he gets. The family has, in fact, “spent a small fortune” on Disney merchandise; particularly those based on his favorite princesses.
McLean questioned the move by Disneyland Paris to prevent Noah from joining the event. She asked why Noah can’t enjoy the same experiences that little girls do when they visit Disneyland just because “He’s a boy?” She argued that girls are allowed to play and dress like pirates and superheroes in Disneyland, so it felt like his son was being discriminated for being a boy who wants to dress and play as a princess.
“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!”
A spokesperson for Disneyland Paris addressed the issue by offering an apology. The spokesperson told The Guardian that the experience of getting a makeover as one of Disney’s popular princesses could be enjoyed by children ages three-to-12 regardless of gender. The company also reached out to the family to offer their sincerest apology for “being provided with inaccurate information.”
Disneyland Paris also said in an interview that what happened was an “isolated incident,” and the response of the cast member or employee did not reflect any policy or belief held by Disneyland Paris.
[Featured Image by Mark Ashman/Disney Parks/Getty Images]