Disneyland Hit With Discrimination Allegations After Princesses Refuse To Hug Autistic Man

in Disneyland Resort

Bryce follows princesses Merida and Snow White at Disneyland Resort.

Credit: Mandy Commons via Facebook

A heartbroken mother is calling on social media to help her case against Disneyland Resort. She alleges that Disney Princesses devastated her adult autistic son, Bryce, by refusing to hug him and, in some cases, interact at all.

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Disney character performers bring the magic of our favorite movies to life. They’re expert actors and actresses trained to encounter guests of all ages, including autistic kids and adults. In 2019, for example, a heartwarming video of Snow White comforting an upset autistic child went viral.

Cinderella signs a little girl's autograph book.
Credit: Disney

Of course, autism doesn’t present the same in every person – and not every Disney cast member has the same mental health knowledge. But Bryce’s mom, Mandy Commons, and his loved ones remain disappointed with Disneyland Resort Princesses’ behavior towards the autistic guest.

The Disneyland Princesses

TikToker @jahsokattano shared Bryce’s story. She’s met him multiple times in her work as a Disney Princess party cosplayer, performing as various unofficial versions of the Disney characters for events and parties. The TikToker claimed that every Princess she worked with loved meeting him: 

@jahsokattano

‼️PLEASE SHARE‼️@Disney Parks and to sit there and refuse the gifts he makes, is so disgusting. You could at least take it act like you want it and throw it away later if it’s that deep. Dont break his heart like that! There’s literally no excuse or reason PERIOD. They need to do their job THE RIGHT WAY. 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. Shame on you disneyland California. You guys need to find a new Merida. #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #autismawareness #autismacceptance #adultswithautism #disneylandcalifornia #disneyland #disneyparks #waltdisney #disney #disneyprincesses #disneylandanaheim #anaheimcalifornia #anaheimdisneyland #californadisneyland #viral #awarness #enoughisenough #meridacurse

♬ original sound – 𝕵𝖆𝖍𝖘𝖔𝖐𝖆𝖙𝖙𝖆𝖓𝖔

She included videos posted by Commons of Bryce with Snow White, Moana, and Merida. In the Snow White video, the Disney Princess tried to avoid hugging Bryce in character.

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Commons told Bryce that Snow White didn’t want a hug, but he seemed determined. The character performer darted away after he tapped her on the shoulder while she had her back turned.

“Homegirl should know d*mn well he has autism,” the TikToker said. “Why are you treating him like that?”

A shot of Michelle and Snow White from Full House
Credit: ABC

According to the TikToker, Moana also refused to hug Bryce or “twirl” with him, which he enjoys doing with the party Princesses and Disneyland Resort performers. (In one public video on Common’s Facebook, he gleefully spins with Mirabel from Encanto (2021).)

But the worst experience, according to Commons, was with Merida from Brave (2012). Allegedly, the Disney character performer reported Bryce to security after he followed her through Fantasyland at Disneyland Park.

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“Merida refused to acknowledge him,” Commons wrote. “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. He’s autistic with a heart of gold!!”

Merida running after a little girl dressed as merida and her mother during Disneyland Princess Nite, an event celebrating Disney Princesses
Credit: Disney

“She filed a complaint with security against him,” she continued. “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’. Shame on you Disneyland!!”

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Later, Bryce saw Merida again – and went toward her to give her a gift. As shown in the video, she avoided him entirely. Commons says she reported him again after that.

“We met security again,” Commons commented on Facebook. “She filed another complaint… He is truly heartbroken because we just told him he is not allowed to talk to her. She absolutely wants nothing to do with him! All he wanted was a picture and to give her surprises that he made for her.”

Merida puts her hands on her hips at Walt Disney World Resort.
Credit: Disney

The family allegedly tried to show security the video of Bryce trying to meet Merida. They firmly explained that “he is not to have any interaction with her.”

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“It didn’t matter to security, they didn’t even want to see it,” Commons explained. “We just broke the news to Bryce that… she doesn’t want to take pictures with him and he is absolutely heartbroken. He just doesn’t understand! To tell you the truth… we don’t understand either!! Shame on Disneyland for allowing someone like that to represent them.”

Social Media Response

“To sit there and refuse the gifts he makes, is so disgusting,” the TikToker wrote. “You could at least take it act like you want it and throw it away later if it’s that deep. Dont break his heart like that! There’s literally no excuse or reason PERIOD…To those parents you broke their babies heart. Not once, but TWICE, it being the SAME Merida.”

Merida poses in Magic Kingdom.
Credit: Disney

“The fact that she knew who he was, and turned her *ss around to run away to act like she didn’t see him was dirty and foul asf!” she continued. “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. Shame on you Disneyland.”

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Like the TikTok Princess performer, Bryce’s loved ones and strangers were furious at Disneyland Resort.

“They are supposed to be known for making dreams come true nah they known for ruining dreams,” @firefighter_wife_2023 wrote. 

A picture of Sleeping Beauty Castle with Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse's Partners statue in the foreground at Disneyland Park in Disneyland Resort. Photo by Ed Aguila
Credit: Ed Aguila, Inside the Magic

“Terrible way to handle this kind of situation,” said @niconiconou.

“ON BRYCE?!? What?!!” @darthorgana asked. “I legit love seeing his photos with you! This literally breaks my heart. I can’t imagine how his mama feels.”

“EVERYONE deserves to enjoy the magic of Disney & Bryce deserved better,” @cookiexvii wrote.

Elsa and Anna hold hands in front of the Fantasy Gardens at Hong Kong Disneyland
Credit: Hong Kong Disneyland

It’s important to note that Disney character performers have a right to consent and can refuse physical contact with guests that make them uncomfortable. While Bryce’s friends and family know him as a kind, harmless person, the Disneyland Resort Princesses only interacted with him briefly. Disney cast members historically experience rampant sexual harassment, mainly from adult male guests, and many are wary of physical contact with men.

Disneyland Resort hasn’t commented publicly on the situation, and the Disney Princesses didn’t offer their side of the story. It’s impossible to know the details of Bryce’s interactions with the characters beyond what Commons shared.

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Though Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort offer accessibility resources like Disability Access Service (DAS), none cover meeting Disney characters. Guests of all ages are allowed at meet and greets if they behave appropriately. Utilize your best judgment when interacting with characters, and ask a Disney cast member if you have any questions.

If you have an issue with a Disney cast member, speak with Guest Services. Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort have numerous disability services to help families best enjoy their visit. 

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney Parks Guest experience. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

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