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

wilkeliza

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
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!
OH no so sorry your princess had her heart broken at the tea. What a shame that you did everything right and it didn't work out right.

Just wondering how do they get the names for the tea? It would be a shock if they saw MISS EVAN and a child with long hair (and I assume she still likes princess dresses) and still said prince. My niece has a masculine name and I know her mom was looking at this but I want to warn them if they may slip up. It would seem if a parent provided MISS on everything the announcing CM shouldn't have assumed anything as there are many little girls now that have what would be considered boy names.

The floral issues is also bad. If the embroiderer was confused they should have called or emailed to clarify not assumed that you chose the wrong col.or and pillow case. Again what if a girl had wanted blue and Mickey or a boy pink and Minnie. Such a silly thing to assume a parent/gift giver did wrong.

I'm glad the rest of the trip was wonderful.
 

Dug720

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
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.
I'm so glad you had such a good experience!! I used to work at the Disney Store in Times Square and had the honor and pleasure of ringing up a Mom at the box office as she was buying the entire Princess Tiana costume, shoes, and accessories for her son who was already wearing them and the cutest Princess Tiana ANYWHERE. I was choking back tears as I said "I wish I could hug you right now!! THANK YOU!!!!" (And I DID have to go backstage after I finished the transaction to compose myself.)

And I'll say it to you too. I WISH I COULD HUG YOU RIGHT NOW!!! Thank you for being so accepting of your son as he is!!! :hug::hug::hug::hug::hug:
 

Dug720

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
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!
Oh no!! I'm so sorry both of those things happened!! :( Those are heartbreaking. :( Those CMs in no way should have imposed their gender judgement on either the pillowcase OR the Tea. So not cool.

I AM glad that other than those two issues the CMs just accepted - as they should.
 
  • anomamatt

    Fastpass+ Strategist
    Joined
    Sep 28, 2016
    Just wondering how do they get the names for the tea? It would be a shock if they saw MISS EVAN and a child with long hair (and I assume she still likes princess dresses) and still said prince. My niece has a masculine name and I know her mom was looking at this but I want to warn them if they may slip up. It would seem if a parent provided MISS on everything the announcing CM shouldn't have assumed anything as there are many little girls now that have what would be considered boy names.
    I am not sure how they decide boy vs girl, unfortunately. They have everything setup and the cards all filled out (the cards say princess or prince) ahead of time. When you check in, they didn't check with us but announced Evan as a prince and her sister as a princess. We immediately corrected them (as Evan was crying) and I saw they go and swap out all the gifts (doll for bear). They had a table setup with what looked like extra sets of bears and dolls, I assume in case this type of thing happens. While it was frustrating because I called ahead AND created a new MDE profile for Evan (using Miss) for this reservation, they did do a great job from that point forward. No one batted an eye. And everyone consistently called Evan a princess from that point forward.

    If this wasn't my child and I saw her reaction to what happened, I would have said "no big deal, they fixed it ASAP.". I still somewhat feel that way, but it's just unfortunate because I was worried about this very issue and I tried to be as proactive as possible. And it's clear that kids going through gender issues are VERY sensitive to these kinds of "slights". What might seem minor to someone ("hey they fixed it ASAP") still is very upsetting to the child involved. But again, kudos to them for fixing it and being great from that point forward.
     

    anomamatt

    Fastpass+ Strategist
    Joined
    Sep 28, 2016
    And I'll say it to you too. I WISH I COULD HUG YOU RIGHT NOW!!! Thank you for being so accepting of your son as he is!!! :hug::hug::hug::hug::hug:
    Thanks for saying that. =) I was raised to be pretty open minded (thanks Mom!), but I also think it's natural (for me, at least) to be accepting of your child. I know it's not that way for every child and it makes me sad... but for my wife and myself, we might not always be consistent with the pronouns that she prefers (since we knew him as a boy for so long!), but we try and would do anything to make her happy/comfortable.
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    Thanks for saying that. =) I was raised to be pretty open minded (thanks Mom!), but I also think it's natural (for me, at least) to be accepting of your child. I know it's not that way for every child and it makes me sad... but for my wife and myself, we might not always be consistent with the pronouns that she prefers (since we knew him as a boy for so long!), but we try and would do anything to make her happy/comfortable.
    I wrote that response before reading the follow-up that she is now living as female. So please amend my statement to "accepting your daughter as she is"! :)
     

    fabfemmeboy

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 17, 2014
    If this wasn't my child and I saw her reaction to what happened, I would have said "no big deal, they fixed it ASAP.". I still somewhat feel that way, but it's just unfortunate because I was worried about this very issue and I tried to be as proactive as possible. And it's clear that kids going through gender issues are VERY sensitive to these kinds of "slights". What might seem minor to someone ("hey they fixed it ASAP") still is very upsetting to the child involved. But again, kudos to them for fixing it and being great from that point forward.
    As someone who has gone through this (though at an older age than your child), I can honestly get both sides. When you see yourself one way and others treat you another, it can be incredible upsetting. However, this won't be the last time people get it wrong, and that's something that both you and your daughter need to be prepared for. It might help to have a conversation with her about how people make mistakes, but that good people fix the mistakes as fast and well as they can. Those mistakes have nothing to do with who she is - and sometimes have nothing to do with who they think she is, either, but are just silly mistakes. My (cisgender) brother was even recruited by a women in science program when applying to college even though he has a traditional male first name because his middle name - a family name - is more common for women! Unfortunately, in the world we live in, she will have to advocate for herself more than any child should need to, and it's an important first lesson. People will screw up pronouns. People will give strange looks or insist that her name isn't what you say it is or will assume that you made a mistake checking 'girl' on the form - and it stings. But helping her understand that mistakes - especially ones made before even meeting her and only going off her name - don't define her may help take the sting out by making it feel less "personal."

    I echo the others in saying good for you for being so supportive and advocating so strongly for your daughter. Just offering my $.02 as a person who deals with this on too-frequent a basis.
     
  • DrunkJam

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2016
    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).
    Your kid sounds awesome!
    I don't know, but I bet if you just gave them a heads up there will be no problem. I hope you all have a wonderful time.
     

    DrunkJam

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 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!
    Oops, Didn't read all the posts.
    Sorry for the problems, glad it was over all good, and all the best for you and your daughters.
     


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