If you went to elementary school in the second half of the 20th century, dress codes were something you knew as well as your ABCs: a quick check of the rule and you’d know if your outfit of choice fell within the guidelines. . Eventually deemed sexist, the rules aren’t as clear cut as they used to be, often leaving a bit more to interpretation – and it’s this ambiguity that’s causing a stir at Disney parks.
There’s no such thing as letting loose on vacation, but how little can you wear before Mickey Mouse makes you cover up? There’s a growing trend on social media to adopt a dress code at Disney parks, and many on TikTok have used the interaction as a badge of honor, bragging about the free loot they’ve received in exchange for concealing clothing deemed “skinny” or “inappropriate” by Disney employees.
Disney’s national theme parks, Walt Disney World and Disneyland, maintain a set of guidelines for their dress codes. These guidelines state that “proper attire, including shoes and shirts, should be worn at all times.”
“The parks are a laid-back, family-friendly environment,” he continues, further asking guests to implore “discretion and common sense” when choosing clothing for their visit to the park.
The list of items deemed inappropriate by Disney is long, including a detailed ruling on which fancy costumes can be worn in the park. The guidelines state, “Disney reserves the right to refuse admission or remove anyone wearing attire deemed inappropriate or attire that may adversely affect the experience of other guests.”
Clothing listed as inappropriate includes clothing with obscene language, excessively torn clothing, and clothing that excessively exposes parts of the skin that may be considered inappropriate for a home environment. Yahoo Life contacted Walt Disney World for a more detailed explanation of their dress code guidelines, but did not receive a response.
But how does Disney’s dress code policy compare to other theme parks? Orlando’s other major theme park resort, Universal, maintains its own dress code guidelines, though they’re even less specific than Walt Disney World’s. In addition to the costume guidelines, Universal prohibits “apparel that may create danger, incite disturbance, or display offensive language or content.” Yahoo Life contacted Universal Orlando for details on their dress code guidelines and was referred to the resort’s website.
Gray areas at these and many other theme parks seem to exist due to the very vague language used to describe dress code guidelines. Ultimately, this leaves the question of what is appropriate attire for a day at the parks up to the interpretation of the guest as well as the overworked employee tasked with enforcing it.
Amanda Dimeo, a 27-year-old woman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, unknowingly started a TikTok trend when she was reprimanded for her outfit by a Walt Disney World employee in May 2021. “When I arrived at the Magic Kingdom , I was stopped at the security gates and a cast member told me my shirt was inappropriate and showed too much skin,” Dimeo told Yahoo Life.
The shirt in question? Dimeo describes it as showing a small part of his “underboob”. It’s a shirt she says she’s worn in the Disney parks before without a doubt.
“The cast member said I could get a free shirt from the nearest gift shop to fix the ‘problem,'” Dimeo explains. “She handed me a piece of paper indicating that I was able to get a free shirt with a price of up to $50.” Upon arriving at the gift shop, Dimeo was not interested in any of the shirts in the listed price range, and a manager allowed her to choose a pink Spirit jersey, a popular style of oversized long-sleeved shirt, priced at $75.
“The situation didn’t make me feel bad because I was happy to have received a free item,” says Dimeo. “It was interesting to me so I did a TikTok about my experience and it ended up going viral. Lots of people tried what I called my ‘Disney underboob hack’ to get free shirts for themselves.”
The TikTok detailing Dimeo’s experience has garnered over 31 million views on the social media platform, as well as over 35,000 comments, including a fierce division of those both inspired and appalled by such tactics.
A year later, Dimeo’s video caught fire, inspiring a viral trend of others trying to get freebies at Disney parks using this hack. The hashtag #disneydresscode has amassed over a million views, with many calling the experience “Disney dress code”.
TikToker Toragrams had a similar encounter and also received a voucher for a free shirt. Ultimately, she agreed that the shirt in question, one using strings to hold the fabric together, may have violated park guidelines. A TikToker claiming to be a former Disney Parks employee chimed in, offering his theory in the comments of a TikTok recounting the incident: “The rule is your top can’t have just one string to hold it together.”
But is Disney waking up to this now-viral way to get Disney Parks merchandise for free?
Another TikToker, Nicole Delosreyes, also had a dress code at Disney, although she claims she was not intentionally trying to do so. In a video detailing the experience, she says she was not offered a voucher, but instead told to buy a shirt on her own or leave the property.
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