If anyone should be told to "Let It Go," it's Disneyland Paris after an outraged mom called them out for their unfair treatment of her 3-year-old son.
Disneyland Paris has apologized to mom of 3-year-old Noah after they refused to let him participate in the Princess for a Day experience because of his gender.
Hayley McLean-Glass wrote an open letter to the theme park outraged that her son would not be allowed to participate in the princess-themed makeover and photo shoot at the Disneyland Hotel.
“If there’s such a thing as a "Frozen" super fan, Noah is it,” McLean-Glass wrote in the letter, which she posted to her blog. “We have spent a small fortune in Disney items for him, he wears his beloved Elsa dress all day every day ... 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!”
McLean-Glass decided that the Princess for a Day experience would be the ideal Christmas gift for Noah, because he would love nothing 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.”
The mom received the rejection from Disneyland hotel staff when she went to sign Noah up for the activity.
“At this time,” a staff member wrote in an email included in McLean-Glass’s blog, “it is not possible to book ‘Princess For A Day’ for a boy.”
But she didn't take this rejection lightly. What she said to the theme park had them rethinking their rules.
“I was just so shocked that somewhere like Disneyland, which I have always thought [was] one of the most inclusive places in the world, was saying he couldn’t do something purely because of his genitalia,” she said. “It made no sense to me at all,” she said.
The mother was furious that the company was making decision about what her son should be allowed to participate in because of his gender.
“I was so angry, I literally couldn’t stop shaking for half an hour afterwards — I was just so shocked,” she told NBC News’ British partner, ITV News. “I mean, I’m his mother and if I’m okay with him doing it, who are Disney to tell me that he can’t do that?”
Their response to McLean-Glass surely reinforced gender stereotypes, which called into question what other decisions the big brand makes for their children's activities and merchandise.
“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,” she wrote. “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!’”
After the letter was posted, the theme park officials issued an apology to the family, noting that their original decision was “not reflective of any policy or belief held here at Disneyland Paris.”
“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 statement read, according to ITV News. “Of course, both boys and girls are welcome to enjoy the Princess for a Day experience in addition to all our other special activities. We are going to ensure this does not happen again.”
Since the mother's outcry, the wording on the Disneyland Hotel's official website has been changed from "Grant every little girl’s wish with this experience” to “Grant every child’s wish.”
“It may seem a small thing to some,” McLean-Glass said, “but I believe language like they were previously using sends a strong and clear message to boys that this is a girls’ activity, and they are in the minority for wanting to have it.”
“I want people to understand that equality is a right and it’s for everybody ... if a child wants to wear a dress and emulate his favorite character, there is nothing at all wrong with that, regardless of what is under that dress,” she concluded.