Tips for gender nonconforming son (4 y.o.) at Disney World?

anomamatt

Fastpass+ Strategist
Joined
Sep 28, 2016
Hi all,

My son, who is 4, has been gender non-conforming since about 2.5 -- as soon as he could express a clothing and hair style preference. He wears all "girl" clothes, but he prefers male pronouns. He's been obsessed with princesses for the past 6-9 months, which is what led my wife and I to schedule a Disney World trip for Feb/March.

We live in a pretty liberal town (Ann Arbor, MI), so we have not had many issues at all and everyone we know accepts him for who he is. I honestly don't give it much thought anymore (because it's just become who he is and normal life for us), but I assume Disney Would would not be a problem?

One specific question I had... as part of being excited for our trip, we have been watching youtube videos and he wanted to do a princess tea party (I forget the exact name), but was upset because all the boys were "knights". Does anyone know if you could pre-arrange with Disney to make sure he would get the doll and be a "princess" rather than a "knight"?

I thought about making him a Miss rather than a Mstr in his MDE profile, but despite his very long hair and all "girl" clothing, he doesn't like being confused as a girl.

My wife and I are super excited for him to meet all the princesses. We decided on the trip altogether like 185 days out (so lucky, I had no idea!) and managed to get two reservations at CRT.

Thanks for any suggestions!
 

wilkeliza

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
For the princess gathering just let them know he wants the princess package and not the prince. Use him/he pronouns and CMs will catch on. Most are pretty good at dealing with gender non-conforming people. If anything before your tea have one adult stop by and speak to the manager or even call when you get to Florida and ask them to put a note on that reservation so they have a heads up.
 
  • Princesca

    <3 Pink sugar heart attack! <3
    Joined
    Jun 14, 2011
    I haven't experienced this at Disney. I imagine CMs will be fine... I think the most dissonance you'll experience is probably comments and/or questions from other guests: other children, and possibly some adults. ("Mommy, why is that boy a princess?" etc.) Unfortunately, this is likely to be quite brow-raising for a lot of people who haven't had experience with gender nonconformity. I am not sure how or if you should prepare your child for that, but if he is accustomed to not having to deal with that, it might be a good idea to just have a talk with him (if you haven't already) about how he is unique, and that people may be surprised, or have questions, and that it doesn't mean he is in any way wrong for being the individual he is. I just think if a child grows up in a very accepting environment, it can be upsetting to have those first experiences in a more diverse population where everyone may not be as accepting.

    Kudos to you for being so supportive of your child!
     

    kamik86

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2010
    I would be very surprised if Disney had any issue with it. I know at CRT I have definitely seen a few little girls request swords and never saw a CM bat an eye they just switched the want for a sword and moved on. (I so would have been one of those little girls too, I always thought that boys get cooler toys)
     

    anomamatt

    Fastpass+ Strategist
    Joined
    Sep 28, 2016
    I think the most dissonance you'll experience is probably comments and/or questions from other guests: other children, and possibly some adults. ("Mommy, why is that boy a princess?" etc.) Unfortunately, this is likely to be quite brow-raising for a lot of people who haven't had experience with gender nonconformity. I am not sure how or if you should prepare your child for that, but if he is accustomed to not having to deal with that, it might be a good idea to just have a talk with him (if you haven't already) about how he is unique, and that people may be surprised, or have questions, and that it doesn't mean he is in any way wrong for being the individual he is. I just think if a child grows up in a very accepting environment, it can be upsetting to have those first experiences in a more diverse population where everyone may not be as accepting.
    Thanks for your comment! We live in a bastion of liberalness, so we rarely have to deal with people making rude remarks. But the few times we have, he reacts much better than I do (I usually ignore them). He's told kids at daycare that "it's OK to be different and wear what you want".

    He's so excited to meet all the princesses (I told him too early since we still have a long while to go). I'm still working out all of our plans, but for whatever special events we do, I will be sure call ahead to make sure he gets whatever the "girls" get (doll, tiara, etc).
     

    Princesca

    <3 Pink sugar heart attack! <3
    Joined
    Jun 14, 2011
    Thanks for your comment! We live in a bastion of liberalness, so we rarely have to deal with people making rude remarks. But the few times we have, he reacts much better than I do (I usually ignore them). He's told kids at daycare that "it's OK to be different and wear what you want".

    He's so excited to meet all the princesses (I told him too early since we still have a long while to go). I'm still working out all of our plans, but for whatever special events we do, I will be sure call ahead to make sure he gets whatever the "girls" get (doll, tiara, etc).
    One thing I did with my niece that I thought was cute (insert pat on own back here) is I went to Dollar General and bought several cheap little princess things - one for each day. Not necessarily Disney themed... but like a sparkly baton (scepter), a crown, etc, and wrapped them in brown paper and tied with string, like packages, and addressed them to her like they were mailed, return address with TinkerBell's name. I used Disney stickers for stamps. I snuck them outside the door or under her pillow so she wouldn't know they were from me and called them TinkerMail. :D

    I live in Kentucky, so a bit of a culture shock is just the first thing I thought of when you mentioned this. Much of America is more traditional, especially in that "middle America" zone of people with whom DisneyWorld does tend to be super popular. Thankfully, most people are tactful, in my experience, but there are always ones who aren't. I'm glad that your son is already somewhat experienced with these differing perceptions. Good for him for maintaining his uniqueness! Life is too short to be ordinary.
     
  • anomamatt

    Fastpass+ Strategist
    Joined
    Sep 28, 2016
    One thing I did with my niece that I thought was cute (insert pat on own back here) is I went to Dollar General and bought several cheap little princess things - one for each day. Not necessarily Disney themed... but like a sparkly baton (scepter), a crown, etc, and wrapped them in brown paper and tied with string, like packages, and addressed them to her like they were mailed, return address with TinkerBell's name. I used Disney stickers for stamps. I snuck them outside the door or under her pillow so she wouldn't know they were from me and called them TinkerMail. :D
    Thanks, that is an awesome idea. I looked into Disney's packages they offer (from Disney Florist) and they are crazy expensive. I love the idea of doing something small every day.
     

    Princesca

    <3 Pink sugar heart attack! <3
    Joined
    Jun 14, 2011
    Thanks, that is an awesome idea. I looked into Disney's packages they offer (from Disney Florist) and they are crazy expensive. I love the idea of doing something small every day.
    Yeah! It's cheap, and she loved it. I think I did socks, a princess wand, some costume jewelry... and I figure that's a way to make sure that your son has a perfectly princessy experience! You can also go to MagicYourBand.com and order decals (or custom design your own) to cover MagicBands with. So many different ways to make it all the more magical.
     

    marchingstar

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2014
    your trip plans sound fantastic, and I really hope your family has a blast :)

    One idea that's crossed my mind: Disney gives out all kinds of celebration buttons (first trip, birthday, a more generic "I'm celebrating"). Maybe you could get a button made for your kiddo with "Princess [Name]" on it? It might not always mean staff default to bringing the 'princess' gifts, but I would hope it at least means they'll offer, for instance, a wand or a sword?
     
  • KPeveler

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 17, 2006
    He will not be the first boy princess or girl prince/knight I have seen. They willl also welcome him at the BBB if he wants a princess makeover. I have heard of boys doing the experience and loving it. Just give a heads up to the stylist that he is a princess that uses he/him, and they will just go with the flow.
     

    beagee

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2016
    This is us exactly, except we have a daughter and she's a year older. We just returned from a DW trip. So much of Disney is about "gender" that I was a little nervous. But it was really a non-issue. The few times that it came up, the cast members were awesome in a didn't-bat-an-eye kind of way, which is just what you want.

    A few kids had questions or mixed-up pronouns in the pool or wherever, but in our experience, it's always like "Oh? You're a girl? Okay." And they get back to doing whatever they were doing. (On the other hand, other parents are much more likely to make it into a Thing by apologizing or getting flustered.)

    Have fun. Your son must be so excited for such a princess-filled trip! Candidly, Disney is a little more magical for princess lovers than superhero fans. :)
     

    anomamatt

    Fastpass+ Strategist
    Joined
    Sep 28, 2016
    I must have turned off notifications because I missed the recent posts until this evening. Thanks for all the recent posts!

    Long story short, but I found that annual passes would save us a little on our Feb/Mar trip, so I bought them. And since we have APs, why not do a quick visit right before Christmas. Haha. So we are going down for two nights next week. I will certainly update this thread with respect to anything relevant once we get back.

    Lately he has been fine with being considered a girl (he told us not to correct people, "unless we know them really well" he says), so my wife and I thought about changing his profile to Miss, because he wants to do all the "girl" things. His hair is now quite long, so we've gotten used to just letting people think he is a girl (as long as he is OK with that). Related: we saw santa this past sunday and santa thought he was a girl. He didn't correct santa, but he immediately retold santa his name and his street, and then asked Santa to repeat it, just to make sure he had the right kid (pretty good for 4 years old). He asked for disney princess legos. ;-)

    Thanks for all the reassurance on this thread. It sounds like we won't have any problems and I think me and my wife worry more than we should (in general).
     

    anomamatt

    Fastpass+ Strategist
    Joined
    Sep 28, 2016
    Okay, we got back from our mini-Christmas trip and all was good. Uniformly, as expected, everyone thought he was a girl. But when we used male pronouns in reply (as he prefers us to do), CMs switched without hesitation and seemingly without question. I didn't notice a single confused look, which we do see from time to time (like on the flight back home with a flight attendant). Everyone was very awesome at WDW. He wore his Belle costume into the park the first day and he loved being called a princess. On the boat from WL to MK, the captain said it was a princess cruise and he just beamed.

    The character meets were so awesome too... everyone was amazing.

    We are going for a longer (7 night) trip in Feb/Mar and if anything relevant comes up, I will post back here.
     

    anomamatt

    Fastpass+ Strategist
    Joined
    Sep 28, 2016
    We got back yesterday, here is an update from our trip:

    A couple weeks before the trip, my older child (Evan) decided she would prefer to be a girl and has now requested female pronouns. She wants to keep her same name for now. Hey, there is Evan Rachel Wood (the actress), so it can work, we think...

    Overall, the trip went well. She has long, curly hair so she is universally assumed to be female. So that works and CMs / other guests guess correctly and use female pronouns. The only issues we had were that I ordered a Disney Floral package ahead of time that included pillow cases. I specifically requested Pink font color and the Minnie pillow case. But they gave her Mickey and blue writing. I just wrote them a somewhat nasty email, explaining that my daughter was heart broken from this because she wanted the same color and Minnie like her sister got (who has a classic "girl" name). But regardless, they should not change the order without calling me and checking if I made a mistake. Not a fun way to end our first night.

    The other "problem" was the reason I started this thread in the first place... she wanted to do the Perfectly Princess Tea and wanted the "girl" gifts. To make sure this would happen, I even called ahead (no problem I was told) and also created a fake MDE profile (using "Miss"). But when they announced us, they said "Prince Evan". She started crying and said she didn't want the bear and sword and wanted to go back to the hotel. They did fix it and wasn't a problem from then on. But again, not a fun way to start an event.

    My wife and I are still adjusting to being fully consistent with the pronouns, and if we slipped and used "he", every CM we encountered still didn't skip a beat. I was impressed.

    So overall... the trip went quite well, the problems above not withstanding.

    Now back to reality and the need to tell grandparents about the change in pronouns. Ugh. If only we lived in disney world all year!
     



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