For decades now, the Walt Disney Corporation and its many subsidiaries have tried to convince the American and global audience that they are the place for everyone. Calling its parks “The Happiest Place On Earth,” they have cultivated a place for families to come and enjoy themselves. Targeting kids of all ages, backgrounds, and economic levels, they wanted to offer something for everyone.
Now allegations from a TikTok account called “@jahsokattano” featured a highlight reel of her time cosplaying as various Disney princesses. She outlined the backstory of a man simply known as Bryce. This man is well known by her and the other princesses she works with. He has a severe form of autism that has left him with the mental capacity of a 5-year-old. In clips comprised of video from Mandy Commons, Bryce’s mother, you can see what happens as he attempts to have a character interaction.
Approaching Snow White, Moana, and Merida, they all had negative interactions with him.
Snow White greeted him by declining the hug, and in the video, a very awkward back and forth came, with Bryce trying to get his hug as she persisted and kept him at bay. Quickly she ran away from Bryce. Moana also refused the hug, as well as what he calls a “twirl” with him, as that’s one of his top choices in interacting with them.
Merida had something far worse in mind for him, though.
Per a Facebook post from Commons, “Merida refused to acknowledge him. He wanted a picture and to give her surprises he made for her. She saw him and ran in the opposite direction. He turned to me with tears in his eyes saying, “I thought she was my friend” [sic]. He’s autistic with a heart of gold!! The Merida performer reportedly filed a complaint with security against him. Which made absolutely no sense because she didn’t interact with him at all!! So sad that he’s treated this way at the ‘happiest place in the world’. [sic] Shame on you Disneyland!!”
After retreating and calming down Bryce happened to encounter her again where he attempted to hand her a gift. Again, the girl playing Merida ignored him and raced off and asked to have security called on him yet again. Commons described Bryce’s heartbreak after they told him of her quest to have nothing to do with him, and to ignore the surprises he made for her. This aggression against him should not stand.
Jahsokattano summed it up with her post.
“People don’t wanna spend thousands of dollars to go all the way for them to be disappointed like that. To those parents, you broke their babies heart. Not once, but TWICE, it being the SAME Merida. The fact that she knew who he was, and turned her ass around to run away to act like she didn’t see him was dirty and foul asf! And you can clearly see him trying to get her attention! He’s not creepy or weird. He’s just an adult with autism. And a very respectful man! I literally can’t stand it anymore.”
This is the kind of treatment at other parks that drew so many people to visit Disney. It was supposed to be a safe place for kids of all ages. If you’ve ever been to Disney World in Florida, the characters interact in gimmicks with everyone they see. Old or young, black or white, crippled or fully able; they make no judgment. People who want that experience get it, so for these ladies to push him away and to say “no” is not fulfilling their duties.
Had Bryce been a threat he would not have been welcome at the parks, or allowed to stay after the first report. If these ladies cannot do their jobs and properly interact with their autistic guests, then perhaps it is time for them to find new lines of work. This wasn’t a difficult request to give him his moment.