Announced today, Disney theme parks, including Walt Disney World Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, are banning admittance to anyone with visible tattoos.
Per The Walt Disney Company’s spokesperson for Consumer Relations-Theme Parks Division, April Engañar: “We don’t think that tattoos fit into the image of a wholesome Disney family. For years we have received complaints from concerned parents saying that they didn’t want their children to be subjected to tattoos so this decision has been a longtime coming. We still value tattooed customers, we just want them to cover up before experiencing the Happiest Place on Earth.”
Reactions on social media have, as one would expect, been very strong.
“I used to bring my family to Disney every year!” Travis Barker tweeted this morning. “Now we will never go there again!!!! #knottsberryfarm4lyfe”
Legally, Disney has the right to refuse entry to anyone they please because the parks are their private property. “While we respect individuals’ freedom of expression through tattoos, we do not think that ink has any place in the Magic Kingdom,” Engañar told Inked. “For those who didn’t bring long sleeves or have neck tattoos we opened gift shops in front of our gates so that they can buy a Disney sweatshirt or scarf to cover their tattoos up before entering our theme parks.”
For years it has been rumored that Disney CEO Bob Iger has despised tattoos, not just for the aesthetic quality, but because of tattoo artists making money for inking Disney logos and characters without compensating his corporation.
“Ownership of trademarks in this country means that nobody can profit off of your intellectual property,” he wrote in an internal memo that was leaked to Breitbart.com in 2014. “But I have seen thousands of Disney tattoos on patrons of our theme parks and I haven’t seen one dime coming from any of those tattoos. It is like we are being mocked in our own house.”
Other than tattoos, Disney has also banned facial piercings other than earrings and nose studs. That means no lip, eyebrow, septum or dimple piercings. We asked Engañar if nose rings and ear plugs/tunnels were allowed but she didn’t understand what those were, so she said she wanted to “look into it.”
Last year, Disney banned selfie sticks and hoverboards, but this is the first time the parks have restricted any form of body art or permanent cosmetics. We at Inked applauded Walt Disney World and Resort for backing the Florida Competitive Workforce Act which pushed for LGBT rights in the workplace but we strongly believe that the banning of visible tattoos is a severe discriminatory practice.
Sadly, the parks are also removing seven of the pirates from their popular Pirates of the Caribbean ride because they have tattoos. “This is a zero tolerance policy beginning today, April 1st,” Engañar said. “Not even Johnny Depp will be allowed into our parks with short sleeves.”