Christmas in July: Santa look-alike asked to leave Disney World

St. Nick impersonator kicked out of park for 'confusing' guests


Yule love this one:

An Atlanta man who bears resemblance to Old Saint Nick was asked to leave Disney World recently for stealing fame from other costumed staff.

Some of the park's little elves scolded Thomas Tolbert in the magic kingdom for distracting park-goers. Tolbert says that he while was wearing 'Santa-related' clothing, he was not costumed as the jolly red giant.

"I had a shirt that had--it would be like a collage--and it had Santa faces and it had sayings from 'The Night Before Christmas,'" Tolbert told Local 6.

While he was in the park, Tolbert told the station that kids and adults coming up to him for autographs and photos because of his appearance, which is something he is used to--Tolbert works as a professional Santa Claus, according to his talent agency profile page.

On his last day at the park, Tolbert said he was he was grabbed by a Disney grinch in the middle of a crowd. 

"[The rep] said you can't be portraying Santa," Tolbert told the station.

Park policy states that a park visitor cannot wear "adult costumes or clothing that can be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character."

A representative for Disney told

"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."

The Kris Kringle look-alike changed into something less Christmas-casual and more park friendly, but that didn't stop kids from egging him on for photos. 

"Disney had informed me that I must inform anybody who came up to me that 'I am not who you think I am, I am on vacation and please leave me alone,'" Tolbert said.

"Disney does not own the image of Santa," Tolbert said. "Santa Claus is not owned by anybody, except for the world."

This isn't the first time Disney World has had an unwelcome Father Christmas visit, but it doesn't look like Disney will put a clause in their rule book for this Claus.

It wasn't all coals through the chimney--Disney gave Tolbert tickets for a future visit.

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