Hey, Bethany,

I agree: uncorroborated allegations are not to be trusted, but there is nothing funny about sexual assault. In legitimate cases of groping, victims' reactions range from "Stuff is funny!" to feeling extremely violated and traumatized. I'm glad you laughed off Winnie's grabby paws, but to some, it could have been very uncomfortable...
As a former high-school mascot, I'm inclined to chalk this up to wishful thinking on the part of the gropee. You can't really see what you're doing or where you're going in most mascot suits--that's why I had a handler--much less articulate the hands well enough for more than a high-five.
I will also add that my polar-bear paws were bigger than dinner plates, so even a pat of the back covered a lot of surface area. If you aren't comfortable being touched, don't ask a mascot for a hug.
Having worn some of those giant character costumes for work, I'm a little skeptical that Winnie could really see what he (or, slightly more likely because of the height of the person the character suit fits), she) was grabbing. It's pretty easy to be off by a foot when you're trying to put your giant paw on anything.
But stuff is funny. I once attempted to play hopscotch (at the demands of a small girl) while dressed as Lambchop, and fell over. It took two coworkers to haul my ass upright.
Yeah it's unlikely Winnie the Pooh had any idea where his giant costumed mitt was going.

FWIW, the majority of those costumed characters are played by women. The costumes are built for small/short people and typically that means they cast women in those roles. This per our guide at a backstage tour of Disneyworld.
@1 you're right, there is nothing funny about sexual assault, unless you're being sexually assaulted by a six foot duck at an Amusement Park. Then it is goddamn hilarious.

Your story makes me desperately want a blog about the mishaps of amusement park character employees. World, make it happen!
pervert alert:
@2-@5: If this happened to anyone else besides Bethany, I'd believe it was an accident. As it is, I'm thinking Donald found himself unable to resist her spell...
Thank you, Bethany, @2, and @4, for your insight and level-headedness. (And good humor!)

@1 - Anyone who doesn't want to be groped should not hug a stranger - whether that stranger is wearing a duck costume or not!
@10 - I agree. But as long as these parks promote and encourage their guests to hug and interact with their characters, they are responsible to make sure that their guests are SAFE to do so.
@6 - if it had happened to me, I probably would have asked Donald to do it again for a souvenir photo, but for some people, it is never funny. And it is never acceptable to diminish that response.
It's kind of hard to see when you wear those things. And the gloves are not that sensitive.

Furries ftw!

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