Back in early July, a 15-year-old girl dressed as Tinker Bell was told she had to change clothes while visiting Walt Disney World. Now, there seems to be an even “bigger” problem. Thomas Tolbert of Atlanta was visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks when he was advised to change things up a bit because he looked too much like Santa Claus.
Tolbert was in Orlando having a good time with his family recently when cast members at Walt Disney World advised him he needed to stop portraying Santa. While he wasn’t dressed as Santa, Tolbert let it be known that it isn’t the clothes that make the man.
“The face and the persona and the heart is what makes Santa,” said Tolbert to WKMG. “They’re looking at my face and looking at my features.”
Tolbert is a professionally trained Santa Claus impersonator, but wasn’t trying to be him at the parks. Disney guests seemingly were coming up to him and asking for pictures or autographs of him since obviously children believed him to be the real deal.
In a report to WKMG, Tolbert said that Disney advised him to tell those that approached him:
“They said ‘You need to say I am sorry. I’m not who you think I am. I am on vacation and you need to leave me alone.”
While adults wearing the costumes of Disney characters is not permitted in the Disney theme parks as per stated rules, Santa Claus is not Disney property. But the way guests were coming up to Tolbert did appear to disrupt things. Disney released this statement as a response:
“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.”
It is indeed true that Tolbert does look like Santa Claus and is obviously good at this job of doing so. Disney does have their rules and regulations as does anywhere else, but just make sure before visiting that you look as much like “you” as possible.
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