WALT DISNEY WORLD, Fla. - April Spielman wanted her boyfriend's first trip to Walt Disney World to be memorable, so she planned to do something special -- dress up like Tinker Bell.
"My makeup took two hours, my hair took another hour, and then I had to spray my body in glitter and paint my nails," said Spielman, 15, who had purchased a Tinker Bell costume online.
Spielman said she and her boyfriend, who was dressed as Peter Pan, had no problem getting into Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park on Sunday. But when they tried to visit Disney's Animal Kingdom later, Spielman said security officers stopped them at the front gate.
"They said I looked too good," said Spielman, referring to how closely her costume resembled Disney's official Tinker Bell theme park character who poses for photographs with visitors and signs autographs.
Disney officials told Spielman she had to change clothes in order to visit the theme park.
"It just broke my heart," said Spielman as tears rolled down her face. "I didn't want to take off the costume.
Walt Disney World's dress code for visitors, which is published on the resort's website, states "adult costumes or clothing that can be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character" is inappropriate theme park attire that "may result in refusal of admittance."
According to Spielman, Disney officials explained that children might confuse her for the theme park's official Tinker Bell character.
"They were talking how the little girls, it ruins their dreams," said the 15-year-old. "But it ruined my dreams because I just want to be Tinker Bell."
Disney park officials gave Spielman a free shirt and other clothing to wear instead of her costume. The company also provided her family with numerous FastPass tickets, which enabled them to skip the lines on rides they missed while the teenager was changing clothes.
Walt Disney World spokeswoman Kathleen Prihoda issued a statement on Tuesday:
"The guests were asked to change because costumes that could be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character are not appropriate attire for our theme parks. The costumes were disruptive to our operation and possibly confusing to our other guests, as children were asking to take photos with them. To make up for any inconvenience, we provided them with replacement clothing and assisted them with the rest of their visit in our parks."
Disney sells children's costumes inside the theme parks and offers princess and pirate makeovers to younger visitors who would not be mistaken for official Disney theme park characters.
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