Santa not welcome at Disney World? - FOX 35 News Orlando

Santa not welcome at Disney World?

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Thomas Tolbert has professionally groomed hair and a beard that are part of his daily effort to look like jolly St. Nick. Thomas Tolbert has professionally groomed hair and a beard that are part of his daily effort to look like jolly St. Nick.
ATLANTA -

A Roswell Santa impersonator says he was not welcome at the Magic Kingdom in Florida because of his appearance. Disney says that appearance was disruptive.

Thomas Tolbert, the activity director at Summers Landing Assisted Living in Dunwoody, has no problem portraying Santa to everyone, young and old.  Tolbert has professionally groomed hair and a beard that are part of his daily effort to look like jolly St. Nick.

In mid-June Tolbert was visiting with family members on vacation when he says a Disney official asked him to tone it down.

"He asked me if I could go back to the hotel and get something less Santa-ish," said Tolbert.

Tolbert says on the third day of visiting, while at the Disney studios, a company representative asked him to change his clothing. He says he never solicited autographs or pictures but was asked anyway, which apparently wasn't appreciated by the Disney rep.

"He said, ‘Listen, you cannot have your photograph made or sign autographs,'" said Tolbert.

Tolbert says Disney provided him with a shirt from their gift shop and asked him to not acknowledge he was Santa.

"If anybody comes up to you, you tell them, ‘I am not who you think I am,'" said Tolbert.

In a statement, Disney said, "The guest was asked to change his attire because it was disruptive to our operations and confusing to our other guests, particularly children who asked to take photos with him. He was not asked to leave. Instead, we tried to work with him so that he could continue his visit."

Tolbert acknowledges Disney never asked him to leave, but says he's not sure he'll ever return under conditions imposed by the Magic Kingdom.

"The only thing Santa can ever give is his time and his heart and if that means that I can't go back to Disney, who I love and adore, then that's a sacrifice I am willing to do,' said Tolbert.

Tolbert says Disney did give his family free passes for the future but he's not sure he's ever going to use them.

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