Controversy Arises as Disney Princess’s Skin Tone Sparks Debate

in Disney Parks, Disneyland Paris

Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel looking surprised in Tangled

Credit: Disney

This Disney Princess is getting a ton of criticism.

rapunzel in tangled
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Officially Scraps Annual Pass Program at Disney Parks

For years, The Walt Disney Company has held a significant presence in the realm of theme park entertainment. They have delivered exceptional guest experiences and utilized cutting-edge technology across the Disney parks worldwide. Disney is widely known for leading the way, from incorporating augmented reality into attractions like the Haunted Mansion to using advanced drone technology in their famous nighttime shows. Despite Disney’s strong commitment to excellence, there might be times when they don’t quite reach that high standard.

disneyland-paris-fireworks-with-couple
Credit: Disneyland Paris

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, is famous for being “The Happiest Place On Earth,” a phrase coined by Walt Disney himself and upheld throughout the company’s history. As time passed, Disney’s influence spread across the globe, including destinations like the Walt Disney World Resort and the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. The impact of the Disney Resort brand extended even further, covering iconic locations like the Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Shanghai Disney Resort, and the Disneyland Paris Resort.

Princess Fairytale Hall Rapunzel
Credit: Disney

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There is something timeless about the Disney Princess. From the Disney studio’s first ever feature length Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to the days of Cinderella (Ilene Woods) in 1950, to the Disney Renaissance with The Little Mermaid‘s (1989) Ariel (Jodi Benson), Belle from Beauty and the Beast (1992), and Mulan (Ming-Na Wen, Lea Salonga) from her self-titled 1998 epic, all the way to Frozen‘s (2013) enchanting Elsa of Arendelle (Idina Menzel) to the spirited Moana of Motonui (Auli’i Cravalho) in Moana (2016) — these iconic characters have captured hearts.

Naturally, with a history spanning that many childhoods, the legacy of the Disney Princess is something a lot of people have a strong opinion about.

A “Tangled” Debate

Recently, the Disney park news account DLP Report posted a live Princess Week update from within the Disneyland Park of the Disneyland Paris Resort — and an accompanying image of Rapunzel from the 2010 animated Disney feature, Tangled, that consequently garnered a lot of traction.

Unfortunately, a large amount of that traction was negative.

DLP Report shared the following report that Princess Rapunzel would in fact be greeting guests at the L’Arbre Enchanté during Princess Week, with this photo of Rapunzel on location:

📍 Rapunzel, meeting Guests at L’Arbre Enchanté for Princess Week 👑

Almost immediately, the public was quick to respond. Not in excitement at the prospect of greeting Rapunzel herself, but unfortunately in derision.

A deluge of mean comments began, chastising the cast member — or in Disney theme park lingo, “friend of Rapunzel” — for not looking close enough to her animated counterpart. User Sheila Beef for example, threw shade at the actress, insinuating that they looked too old to play the role, commenting:

how long did it take to get down that tower? 20 years?

Adding to this, more comments like Natalie Brown’s about the performer’s darker, seemingly tanned skin tone began to surface:

Sorry who? Did Rapunzel sneak out the tower for day at the tanning salon?

Others like @sweetenerjojo are directly addressing the The Walt Disney Company, ridiculing the casting choice made by Disney and stating that Disneyland Paris ought to “throw the whole entertainment department away”:

i just need dlp to throw the whole entertainment department away

Meanwhile, users @Minachii and @Sorcerer_Minnie began a discussion about racism, and whether a performer not looking like the character they were portraying was considered racist:

@Minachii: Racist comments in 3.. 2… oh wait! It‘s already starting!

@Sorcerer_Minnie: How is it racist to say that a character performer doesn’t look anything like the character?

User @iandorable indicated upset that plus sized individuals could never portray Disney Princesses at the parks, while individuals who look nothing like the characters get cast:

The following contains language that may not be suitable for younger readers.

how is this okay but we can’t have fucking plus sized girls portray the princesses??????? bull fucking shit. nothing against this actress but god whoever put her as rapunzel needs to be fucking fired.

On the other hand, there were definitely members of the public who were equally quick to speak out in defense of this cast member!

User @OjeekuMagazine made a passionate defense, begging DLP Report to hide some of these not-so-nice tweets:

You have the possibility to hide the tweets which could hurt this friend of Rapunzel, or even worse, make her disapprove (like what happened following the tidal wave of hatred on Twitter against “Prince Alain” 🥲) so please DLPreport , hide insulting comments??

@_MeloDASB_ also chimed in to defend the cast member in question, reminding internet users that this was a real person “under the costume”, and to remember that when making meanspirited comments:

(translated) These comments ?
Are you aware that there is a real person under the costume?
With real feelings?
+ to see her quite regularly on DASB (Dream… and Shine Brighter! parade) she is really adorable! Even when you’re not bound (Disneybound, dressed up like a Disney character) she interacts with you!

Do you think cast members should be perfect recreations of their animated counterparts, or should there be some leeway? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Discover the Magic of Disneyland Paris Resort, as an unforgettable journey awaits at the heart of Europe. Situated in Marne-la-Vallee, France, this premier European theme park is located right next to the captivating Disney Village, an absolute must-visit for all ages. At Disneyland Park, dive into a world of thrilling rides, captivating performances, immersive stories, and delightful encounters with beloved Disney characters, including your favorite princesses. Explore the enchanting atmosphere of Sleeping Beauty Castle and embark on exciting adventures in Main Street USA, Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Discoveryland. Don’t miss the Disneyland Paris park’s iconic Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain retheme, Hypserspace Mountain. Nearby, Walt Disney Studios Park awaits with Avengers Campus and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, offering an even wider range of experiences for all.

You can check for updates on the newly renovated Disneyland Hotel, purchase and reserve your Disneyland Paris ticket and/or Disney Premier Access over at the official website.

in Disney Parks, Disneyland Paris

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