Thursday, February 7, 2013

Disneyland Character Racist?

That's the claim of a family who said their kid was rebuffed by a Disneyland White Rabbit. I have no way of knowing whether the bunny was indeed racist (the family, named Black, is black), but oddly enough, the other day my sister-in-law told about an unpleasant experience her family had just had at Disneyland. It seems that her son--my nephew--who's turning four, approached a Cinderella and asked her to sign his autograph book. (The book is handed out upon entry, and kids are supposed to fill it up with signatures of various Disney characters they come across during the day.) For some reason--it might have been the end of her shift or something--she refused, which, understandably, made my nephew quite upset; it isn't every day you get stiffed by Cinderella.

Exasperated and more than a little shocked, my sister-in-law said, "Can't you just sign the kid's book?"

Cinderella, who happened to be standing with Snow White, replied in her high-pitched cartoon character voice, "No I can't. And you're very rude. Let's go, Snow White."

At which point the two Disney chicks turned tail and swanned off. 

My sister-in-law later complained to the Disneyland "mayor"--apparently, that's the procedure when you have a complaint about a Disney character--but to date has not heard back.

Now, it could be that Cinderella was sexist, but I think she was just being a bitch.

Having a bad day, Cindy?


Carlos Perera said...

In the 1970s, when I was a college student, I worked several summers at Disney World (a logical choice for summer employment, as my parents lived in nearby Kissimmee, Florida). I would sometimes take my breaks in the same area as the costumed characters. They were the most foul-mouthed, nasty-tempered bunch with whom I ever shared workplace space! (As expected, the men--quasi-dwarves with short man complexes in the generality--were somewhat worse than the women, but the latter were not far behind in their mastery of Anglo-Saxon expletives . . . and had a commensurate attitude.)

Part of the problem is that those costumes get awful hot in the Florida summer sun--the folk who wear them are drenched in sweat when they doff them--so that they are allowed frequent breaks . . . and if you catch them just before an allotted break time, it's a little bit like getting between a thirsty camel and his watering hole in the desert. Also, many parents (not your sister-in-law, obviously) allow their kids to abuse the costumed characters, as though they weren't sentient humans, which does not improve their disposition. (The characters by and large reserve their most . . . colorful language for the kids they deal with; unfortunately, they tend to lump the good together with the bad.)

None of the above excuses the way your sister-in-law and nephew were treated, of course. As a former Central Floridian, I can only express my regret and mortification at their bad experience with Snow White and Cinderella.

scaramouche said...

I agree that wearing being a Disney character on a hot day isn't the best gig around. But this happened at Disneyland, on a cool, drizzly day two weeks ago.
Also--you really want to crush a three-year-old kid who just wants your autograph--while keeping in character the entire time? I think Cindy needs to go back to Disney school. Either that or hand in her glass slipper and call it a day. ;)