AEIOU Parties Elsa From Frozen Review – Horrific Experience

AEIOU Parties Limited, Childrens' Parties London, AEIOU Parties Elsa From Frozen Entertainer

We booked an ‘Elsa from Frozen Entertainer’ from AEIOU Parties Ltd, a children’s party entertainment agency in London, for our daughter’s 5th birthday party.

We are deeply unhappy with the ‘entertainment’ AEIOU provided and the way they have dealt with this issue.  I’ve posted about our story, because I would hate for any other families to have the same experience.

A quick summary of this post:

  • The entertainer was late, and didn’t call us to let us know
  • The entertainer looked dreadful
  • The entertainer told the kids “Elsa couldn’t make it”
  • The entertainment provided was appalling
  • AEIOU Parties refused us a full refund

Our little girl was HUGELY excited, as were all her friends, that she would be having an Elsa Entertainer. Little did I know what a mistake I’d made trusting AEIOU.

The images below are of what the actual entertainer looked like.

AEIOU Parties Limited, Childrens' Parties London, AEIOU Parties Elsa From Frozen EntertainerAEIOU Parties Limited, Childrens' Parties London, AEIOU Parties Elsa From Frozen Entertainer

Add to this that the lady had a heavy Spanish accent and you begin to get a picture of the level of care put into providing us with an Elsa Entertainer.

According to the agency, they cannot discriminate over who they give a job to. Fine if the person can pull off the accent of the character they are playing and looks vaguely like them…

The Entertainer Was Late

Our party started at 4pm. The entertainer was due to start entertaining at 4:15pm.

She finally arrived at 4:20pm and didn’t start entertaining the children until 4:35pm.

We did not receive a call to say she’d be late. We called the agency twice, who didn’t know where the entertainer was either.

Any parent who has put their heart and soul into preparing a kids party will understand how stressful this was – greeting expectant guests and their parents with a rictus smile, whilst trying to contact the agency to find out where the entertainer was and dying a little inside that I’d trusted them.

How Our ‘Elsa from Frozen’ Looked

AEIOU Parties Limited, Childrens' Parties London, AEIOU Parties Elsa From Frozen Entertainer

I think the photos say it all. She looked dreadful, like she’d left a rave at 6am.

Apparently the Elsa outfit had been worn by another entertainer earlier that day and was wet with sweat. So, our entertainer decided to put the outfit on OVER THE TOP over her own clothes, which happened to be black.

She didn’t even bother to put the costume shoes on and wore a pair of tatty black flat shoes. The dress came undone at the back, someone did it up for her, but it wouldn’t stay done up, so she left it to hang off.

The wig didn’t fit her and she didn’t bother to put any make-up on.

AEIOU have since gone on to be quoted in a piece in TheMirror.co.uk to say that actually, despite it being their fault that the entertainer was late and her costume was dirty, it is actually our fault that she looked such a mess, because if our party was really so important, we should have given her more time… I’d love to know how that would have worked… “oh hold on kids, the entertainment should have started 20 minutes ago, but if you could just amuse yourselves whilst we help the entertainer get better prepared…” 

Here’s their laughable accusation…

‘We assume the responsibility of the delay, the wet costume and therefore not having the right amount of time to prepare, but I think that if the party was so important as we also think it should be, Luci should have go to the entertainer [sic] and give the time she needed to look great.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2940748/Mother-s-fury-Frozen-entertainer-s-sweaty-ill-fitting-costume-five-year-old-s-birthday-party-show.html#ixzz3QtWQbRKq

AEIOU Parties Limited, Childrens' Parties London, AEIOU Parties Elsa From Frozen Entertainer

The Entertainment

“Elsa couldn’t come to your party”

The entertainment was dreadful… To start with, when one of the children asked her…

“Where is Elsa?”

The ‘entertainer’ replied…

“Elsa couldn’t come to the party, so I am here instead”

I think everyone can imagine how that made our little girl feel.

Where’s the music?

The entertainer’s PA system wasn’t very powerful and had constant static and feedback.

The entertainer told my husband that she has a bigger PA system, but doesn’t like bringing it to parties because it is too heavy. Useful.

Parents open-mouthed in disbelief

She did some singing, but she hadn’t bothered to stage herself, rather she stuck to a corner of the room – a room with sloping eves – and it was all very underwhelming.

The combination of the way the entertainer looked, in her cheap and dirty Elsa dress thrown over her own black clothes, the ill-fitting wig, the totally inappropriate-for -the-character heavy Spanish accent, and the fact her singing was awful, had all the parents’ jaws dropping to the floor in disbelief.

Face painting stress & parents have to take over entertaining

I had expressed concerns with the agency about the time it would take to face paint 20 children, and had agreed with the agency that the entertainer would do a very small and simple design on each child.

This did not happen until I intervened.  If the entertainer had carried on at her pace, it would have taken her well over an hour to complete the 20 kids….

…which might have been bearable if she’d got something up her sleeve to entertain the children….

I’d asked the agency how the kids would be entertained during the face painting and was told…

“Each entertainer has their own special way of entertaining the kids whilst they are doing the face painting”.

Well this entertainer’s way of entertaining the kids was to turn the music off – because it was on her phone and she wanted to time her face painting – and do NOTHING to entertain the kids.

Instead she became increasingly frosty with the children as she made her way through the face painting.

Parents find a way to entertain the kids…

In the end, to do something to keep the kids amused during the face painting, my friend and my husband took matters into their own hands and started to entertain the children with games of musical statues and the hokey-cokey.

Bizarre Rock Music Moment

After the face-painting, the entertainer said she’d do a couple more ‘games’. These amounted to a couple of song things, neither of which were anything to do with the Frozen soundtrack, the second of which was some heavy rock number from the 70s, to which she started punching the air and looking like a complete loon.

This had my fellow parents at the party curling up in shocked laughter.

No balloon for the birthday girl

And to end the sorry state of affairs. The entertainer’s last job was to create balloon animals / shapes for the kids. She did this hurriedly whilst we did the cake and sang happy birthday.

When our daughter asked her for a balloon animal she said to her…

“Sorry, I don’t have time”

The only reason our daughter got her balloon creation was that my husband stepped in and pointed out that she was the birthday girl.

So, the entertainer was so unengaged with the party she couldn’t even remember who the birthday girl was. Impressive.

AEIOU REFUSED US A FULL REFUND

In total we paid £175 for 1.5 hours of entertainment, 50% ahead of the party and 50% to the entertainer on the day.

Yes, I actually handed over cash to this woman. I wasn’t going to, but having called the agency during the party to tell the agent I was appalled by the service, and that I wasn’t happy to hand over the second payment, I was advised  by the agent that I needed to pay the money and then complain to the agency in order to receive a refund.

If my brain hadn’t been so addled with stress, I would have ignored their advice and kept my money.

And I wish I had, because two weeks on from complaining to AEIOU, I have ended up with only a 50% refund. Yip, exactly the amount that I would have kept if I’d not paid the entertainer.

AEIOU Won’t Give A Full Refund If The Entertainer Shows Up

The agency insisted that their offer of a 50% refund was in-line with their Terms & Conditions.

The only issue with this being that we hadn’t been sent any Terms & Conditions at time of booking and the Terms & Conditions aren’t findable on their website.

I asked for a copy of the Terms & Conditions to be sent to me. 24 hours  later the Terms & Conditions still hadn’t arrived. I chased and was told…

“They are just coming over from our legal person”

Make of that what you will, I know what it leads me to believe.

Why I Want To Warn Other Parents About AEIOU

It takes a lot of time, care and love to put together a child’s birthday party, not to mention a lot of money.

Hiring an entertainer is a big part of the financial cost, and the entertainer is meant to be the focal point for the party.

To have created an Elsa themed party for our daughter and then have the ‘Elsa entertainer’ turn up late, shove on a dodgy wig and dirty costume over her own clothes, and then tell the expectant children…

“Elsa couldn’t make it”

… before launching into a second rate entertainment routine, RUINED our daughter’s birthday party.

In fact, the last thing our daughter said quietly to me before she went to bed that night was…

“Mummy, why didn’t Elsa come to my party?”

Which is not how I had imagined her birthday party day would end.

The poor service also ruined the party for my husband and me. Previously we’ve done the entertainment ourselves at parties, and this year we had wanted to relax and enjoy watching our daughter having fun at her party.

This was our daughter’s 5th birthday party, it was meant to be a really special and magical occasion for her. We worked really hard as parents to make it happen. We were totally let down by AEIOU and their entertainer.

A full refund would have gone some way towards recompensing us for a completely ruined party. It still wouldn’t have made up for the fact the party was ruined by the poor entertainment.

For AEIOU to apologise and say that this wasn’t their normal service, but then to go on to say that as the entertainer had shown up (eventually) it meant that they could at most refund us 50% of the fee, is belligerently missing the point that the cost to us of this sorry excuse for entertainment was far more than the fee we paid AEIOU.

So I’ll end with a warning to any other parents planning on booking an Elsa Entertainer… think really carefully about who you book and which children’s entertainment agency you go to.

Ideally go for a recommendation. In fact, if you tweet me @LuciMcQ I can share with you details of two Elsa entertainers, in the East London area,who have apparently done amazing jobs of entertaining. If only we’d known about them before we booked with AEIOU.

AEIOU Parties Limited, Childrens' Parties London, AEIOU Parties Elsa From Frozen Entertainer

 Author: I’m Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh, co-editor of parenting blog www.mumsmakelists.com . Mums Make Lists is the number one parenting blog offering simple tips for busy mums, tried and tested by busy mums. London based, loved in the UK and USA.

Find me on Twitter @LuciMcQ

The link at the top of the post to AEIOU is a nofollow link to ensure no SEO benefits to AEIOU from this post. 

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219 thoughts on “AEIOU Parties Elsa From Frozen Review – Horrific Experience

  1. Jordan says:

    Hi Luci. I’m so sorry to hear about your ordeal. This certainly isn’t the biggest issue here, but what 70s song was it that the entertainer sang? I’m just curious whether there was something in the lyrics that made her think it would be an appropriate thing to do.

  2. Emma says:

    That is very shocking – even if you took away the lack of effort in looking like Elsa, the “entertainment” was still abysmal!
    Not only a tragically poor look-a-like but also a clearly inexperienced and terrible entertainer!

    I’m really surprised at the lack of customer service you’ve received – the company should be doing what they can to put this right.

    I also read the daily mail online article and I was disgusted that the company had said you should have allowed the entertainer time to prepare … Hang on! She was late already and guests had already helped her fasten her costume and NO, it isn’t your responsibility to do that.

    A paid entertainer from an agency should be proficient at entertaining – after all that’s why you paid for one, and should arrive ready prepared!

    I really feel for you and your little girl – that is an awful position to have been put in.

    That company need to rectify this ASAP!

    I hope your beautiful princess gets to meet the real Elsa soon x

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Thanks Emma, yes I was a little curious as to how they could even think for a second that it was my fault she didn’t have enough time! Thanks for your well wishes, so many entertainment agencies have been in touch to offer to make up for the sadly lacking service and entertainment skills of AEIOU, that M will soon be having something very special to make up for the disastrous entertainment at her party x

  3. Lucie Campbell says:

    I run my own events company Jumping Jacks HQ and we also have Elsa impersonators & I am very shocked and disgusted that someone could let a child down like this! Although we are based in Liverpool, our impersonators would be happy to travel down to London to make your Daughters wish come true and she would truly believe that Elsa was there in front of her! I hope this does not put you off booking entertainment in the future xxx

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Hi Lucie

      That’s so kind of you, I really appreciate it. This hasn’t put me off booking entertainment in the future, but I will be going on personal recommendation from good friends or from entertainers we see in action over the coming year! We’ve been truly overwhelmed with the number of lovely companies, such as yours, who’ve offered us something to make up for the sadly lacking AEIOU. Thanks again, Luci

  4. Doug Roberts says:

    Luci, I have to thank you for your fortitude in this matter. You’ve touched on a very sensitive area, and there is a lot more riding on this than your story alone, as you quite rightly guessed..

    As you have now discovered, real kids’ entertainers see their profession as a vocation, not a vacation.

    I’m delighted that your daughter will now have a lovely experience with people who know what they’re doing.

    And because this matter has now been quite plainly reported in the national press, it’s time for Disney to take a stand, and make it’s policies clear.

    It seems to those of us who abide by the rules, that anyone can just set themselves up in business, and tout licensed Disney characters. There are literally hundreds of companies offering such characters online. Disney must be aware of this activity, yet takes no action…..so….is it OK to dress up as a Disney character, and sell my services?

    If so, then I want to know, officially, so that I can jump on thIs bandwagon too. And I’d do it darned well.

    But legitimate performers are caught between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea….we mostly could quickly train up some fabulous “Elsa’s”, or whatever the latest “must-have” act is. But we don’t because it’s breach of copyright.

    The real culprit here is Disney themselves…..who are surely aware of these breaches of their copyright….yet choose to allow it to continue.

    Which creates an unfair divide in our business, as all these “acts” are riding on the massive, incomparable marketing of Disney. How can the local performers even start to compete?

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      It’s certainly an interesting area, I’ve learnt a lot this week. There’s a big difference between offering to be a Snow Queen (based on the original story) and Elsa. The lady who entertained M this evening over Skype this evening was a true professional. I’m going to do a follow up post on this blog to say thank you to all the true entertainers who’ve shown kindness and support, so I’ll be sure to mention you. I am also thinking up post ideas for my main blog, which (normally, until this post) has a far bigger audience.

      • Doug Roberts says:

        Luci, I’m so pleased that you are getting so much support, you have inadvertently stepped into an area of controversy amongst entertainers. I hope you, as an “outsider”, will give a balanced opinion in your blog. And I think you should copy in Equity (the actors’ union).

  5. Stephanie says:

    I’m also sharing this on social media. I’m a princess performer myself and I work so hard to be as authentic as possible because it’s so important. Especially if you’re being paid good money to do it. I’m so sorry this happened to you. Sadly, I live and work in Canada otherwise I would personally do whatever I could to make your child’s dreams come true and somehow mend this ❤

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Thanks so much Stephanie for your comment and your kind thoughts. It has become very apparent over the last week for me, the difference between true children’s entertainers, and those just out to make a quick buck.

  6. Sharleen Baxter says:

    I am absolutely disgusted by the way your little girl was treated and shocked that the woman calls her self an entertainer!

    As a mum of 5 I know how stressful, expensive and how important a birthday is and my heart was breaking seeing the pics you put up. I haven’t read all the comments below yet but I am sure that anyone in the business would agree, you should be given 100% refund and a full apology!

    I see that you are based in London, I am a children’s entertainer based in South East London and I would like you to contact me as I would like to offer your little girl a free birthday party.

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Hello Sharleen

      Thanks so much for your comment, yes they really should have given us 100% back and a full apology. Everyone, including many decent entertainment agencies, seems to be able to see that, but not AEIOU!

      Thank you SO much for your kind offer, we’ve been overwhelmed with the lovely offers we have had – and much as I would like to accept them all, because I don’t want to appear rude, I also don’t want to be greedy! So, we’ve agreed a surprise party with someone who got in touch earlier in the week and M has also just had a surprise Skype call from someone called Elsa…

  7. Katy Hill says:

    MIND blowing! Wow. Good on you for spreading the word. I’m so sorry you had such a nightmare during what is a stressful time anyway! I actually thought the “Elsa” picture I saw at the start of the article was a joke! I recently had the exact opposite experience of yours with the WONDERFUL Button’s Parties and the lovely Ellie. Can’t recommend enough. I think you should go for the full refund. That’s not acceptable x

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Hi Katy

      Yes, my mind felt totally blown by the end of that day – and again this week at the response from AEIOU! Small claims court here I come! But yes, given that this company removes negative feedback from both its Facebook and Google Plus pages, which is somewhat misleading, I think it is really important to let everyone know what kind of ‘service’ they offer customers if things go wrong.

  8. Sue Pritchard says:

    My daughter has her own little business doing party visits as various characters including a snow queen character. I have to say that we are both appalled by what happened at your little girl’s party. We take her job very seriously because children that age truly believe in magic and that should be encouraged as long as possible. It is so easy to avoid cheap costumes and bad wigs especially when they are charging such high fees! It is very sad that there are such disreputable companies out there ruining children’s parties like that. Unfortunately, we have them in the US too. Everybody seems to be jumping on the Frozen bandwagon even though they don’t know what they are doing and don’t care about the children. They are just in it for the money and it is disgusting.

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Yes, I agree. I’ve heard about, and heard from, some brilliant sounding entertainers who do the job well, but this bunch of clowns just didn’t have the first clue, and seem to know even less about customer service, or what it is to hurt the feelings of a small child – and then charge the parents for the privilege!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

  9. katrina says:

    We own a flat down in london….when we were there, getting it ready for the next tenants to move in, we were out on the roof terrace at one point, and heard a horrendous, out of tune, and entirely laughable version of “let it go” floating through the air, across the suburb!

    It was VERY LOUD, and very very embarrassing to have to listen to…i couldn’t believe someone could be that bad!
    We later heard her talking over the PA to, to whoever was at the event, and the whole thing was cringeworthy, although we were rolling about laughing at the time at how bad it was…i assume it was from a venue over a mile away from us, but the sound carried across the thames…

    As both actors and singers in our earlier years, we were APPAULED that someone that bad, could get a gig like that and actually get paid for it…!

    Who knows which company they were from, but it seems like there are alot of people out there willing to take large amounts of money from unsuspecting customers with no regards for whose event they are wrecking, and for the massive embarrassment and disappointment caused to the hosts!

    I feel REALLY sorry for you, and pleased that AEIOU are getting all this “free marketing” as a result, as maybe there will be one less person disappointed as a result of giving them a miss!

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      OMG that’s hilarious! I’m glad that at least we were able to keep the dulcet tones of this ‘Elsa’ within the confines of the party venue!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it – and the laugh!

  10. baggypuss says:

    This is a breach of contract – threaten to sue them. Whilst buyer beware is a legal thing, they did not deliver the contract. Threaten to sue them for damages.

    • katrina says:

      Yes, lucy!
      Definately sue them and i am SURE you will get all your money back if not more!

      If you go online to https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim-online , that is the online official small claims service, and you just need to fill out the form, and submit the evidence and the judge submits his binding ruling online, so you don’t even have to attend court!

      There’s no way they would win, and they deserve to be taught a lesson!

      Absolutely disgraceful service, and they OBVIOUSLY aren’t a professional company, but take anyone the cat dragged in from the street as a “performer”, and put an ebay outfit on them and boot them out the door with a party address to turn up to!!!

      What a con job that company are!

      • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

        That’s the route I’m going to take. They really are shameful aren’t they. Thanks so much for all your brilliant comments, you’ve put a smile on my face this evening Katrina! And good luck with your pregnancy x

  11. Thomas Krul says:

    As a parent of 4 kids, I can only imagine how ripped-off you feel about your experience, and how you must have hated to have to expose such a young child a dose of “adult-world” reality. There are only a handful of times in your life that a birthday party is really special and exciting, and I’d argue that the 5th is right up there in the Top 3 (I know that many less fortunate people in this world would argue against this, but let’s just pretend the world is supposed to be perfect place for a second).

    Anyway, I think you should consider investigating the situation with the “Terms and Conditions” a little further. Being a Canadian, I’m not familiar with the Consumer Affairs laws in Britain, but I would expect that some basic laws apply to services and the transactions of businessines that provide services. You may have some recourse in this regard.

    In my completely unscientific and totally not in-depth analysis, I don’t believe that aeiou had any Terms and Conditions available to consumers until after they had quoted it as reason for the half refund and you had asked for a copy.I say this for a variety of reasons:

    1) you had to ask for it, it was not on their web site, and it took 24 hours+ to provide it
    2) it was posted, oddly, on the “contact us” page
    3) the version of their T&C’s currently on their web site was created on January 27, which is some time after the date of the birthday party
    4) if you go to the Internet Way Back machine and examine the snapshot they have of aeiou’s web site from December 18, the link to the T&C’s is not there (http://web.archive.org/web/20140620090023/http://childrenspartylondon.co.uk/entertainment-london-contact/) It’s not there in August of last year, either. I’ll bet that contact us page was edited quite recently to include the T&C’s.

    Again, this isn’t a fullsome research, and there’s the possibility that their Terms and Conditions were previously on a different page, who knows? Certainly it’s not easy to find now, and presumably it never has been.

    Good luck!

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Hello Thomas

      Thank you SO much for finding that archive page. You are totally correct from what I can make out… there were no terms & conditions until I asked them to share them with me. There were none shared or agreed to at time of booking and none displayed on their website. I will be taking this up legally and this evidence is so useful in showing how duplicitous this company seems to be. Thanks a million for taking the time to do this. Best wishes, Luci

      • katrina says:

        It doesn’t even matter whether they had “tems and conditions” listed on their website, as their T&C’S can’t violate consumer law anyway, and quite clearly in this case, based on the “professional ” amount that they charged for the service, vs what you recieved, the performer was not adequate and fit for use!

  12. Doug Roberts says:

    Having read Manuel’s comments, I’m disgusted that he has carped on about his “succesful business”, and not even mentioned the fact that he is illegally supplying Disney Character appearances.

    Of course you’re successful; Manuel. You have successfully scammed Disney and parents alike. Unless, of course, you have a license to provide these characters. Do you?

    And I’m sorry, but if only 98% of your parties were successful then Luci is quite right to point out that other parents have similarly been let down. 2% of them, by your own admission.

    I’m a kids’ entertainer, and I have never had a single complaint, after thousands of performances, not one. Every party and event is successful, because I know what I’m doing.

    The fact that 2% of your parties are a failure, leads me to suspect that a great many more are merely “adequate”.

    I also note that you are supplying West end actors for appearances. If you’re asking them to provide illegal entertainment, they could find themselves in trouble with Equity.

    All in all, you don’t have a leg to stand on. Repaying this client her full fee is only the beginning. You also will have to be very careful about advertising illegal characters on your website, or continuing to defraud these major corporations…….they will likely hear of your activities after this debacle.

    Frankly, from your response to this, I don’t think you deserve to be in this business. You’re a disgrace to the profession.

      • Doug Roberts says:

        I’m curious to see his response, Luci. This issue affects all serious kids’ entertainers, who abide by the rules,and create original characters and shows. We know we can’t just dress up as Spiderman, Batman, Donald Duck, etc. and tout our services.

        I’m also angry at the treatment you’ve received. It’s very clear that yours is not the first complaint they’ve had, otherwise a full refund would have been a no-brainer.

        Manuel clearly believes that he simply can’t afford a full refund every time he provides disastrous services. Says it all, really.

      • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

        Hi Doug, I think I’m shocked most that a company that claims 15 successful years in business in four countries, managed to mess up our entertainment so badly, totally mishandle dealing with the issue and as I’ve learnt through entertainers like you, offering a ‘Frozen’ service that is totally unlicensed by Disney.

        I’m the shocked in a secondary way that in his ‘response’ he tries to accuse me of discriminating against Spaniards and of trying to profit from the situation in order to boost stats to this blog…

        http://childrenspartylondon.co.uk/luci-mcquitty-hindmarsh-public-explanation/

        And then finally shocked that the one image he puts on his response, is of an Elsa Entertainer that I’ve never seen before, she certainly wasn’t at our party!!!

        Many others have tried to leave comments on his post, but he has deleted the lot of them – he’s done the same with his Facebook Page.

      • katrina says:

        …and Doug might have looked more like Elsa, than this broad who turned up looking like a bloke in drag to a kids party….!

        Maybe this “performer” should turn her attentions to doing an “elsa” shred character for bucks nights or something instead!???

      • Doug Roberts says:

        All the entertainers I know would be horrified to receive a complaint like yours. I personally would accept that the party was disastrous, bearing in mind the number of elements of the service that were unquestionably amateurish.

        And, in order to rectify the situation, I would offer a full refund, as well as a free party of your choice, if you still were willing to use my services.

        The last thing I’d want is someone doing what you’ve done, writing their story for all to read. Google AEIOU parties, and this article appears right up near the top of the search.

        It’s bad business from every angle I look at it. But it doesn’t surprise me. I’ve encountered many other similar companies over the years.

        A very small number of those who tout licensed character parties without permission, actually make considerable effort, and provide a fantastic party. I think at least some of these folks are working in complete ignorance that they’re violating copyright, and could land themselves in very deep water. These folks I have a fair amount of sympathy for, but still I don’t agree with what they’re doing. They are still essentially selling their services as Disney entertainers, when they are not. Of course, what child would choose some unknown character for their party, when they can have Elsa along?

        But most see it as a way to make big bucks fast. They hire inexperienced teenagers, dress them up as Spiderman, Elsa, etc, and pack them off to parties for fifty quid a pop. Great money for the teenagers!

        But the company charges the same rates as professional entertainers with 20, 30, 40 years of experience in the theatre. That gives them a whopping income. If AEIOU parties are providing 1,000 parties a year, that’s 20 a week, and the cost to them is practically nothing, just a few costumes.

        So they earn about £2,500 a week, for sending out illegal characters, once you take off the wages bill.

        And their business practices, you have experienced first hand.

        This is killing the children’s entertainment market, it would be a vastly different scene, if illegal character parties were to stop. Then you’d see all the great little acts around the country (and there are many) franchising, training newbies, and teaching the business the right way.

  13. Jessica says:

    Dear Lucy would be able to show people the size of your venue? including the loo that you provided to the entertainer get changed? this is from what i know the most similar https://www.google.co.uk/search?biw=1607&bih=756&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=small+loo&oq=small+loo&gs_l=img.12..0l10.41862.45156.0.47116.15.13.2.0.0.1.181.1255.7j6.13.0.msedr…0…1c.1.61.img..6.9.753.oP_MLdNB1b0#imgdii=_&imgrc=6nJt5rAEDEs62M%253A%3BQ-iy4xd4LoHJ8M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.classicalloocompany.com%252Fimages%252Ftoilet_cubicleSmall.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.classicalloocompany.com%252Fflexiloo_datasheet.php%3B156%3B234

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Hello Jessica

      Yes, I’m very happy to share details of the venue, it is a lovely white space called Hackney Forge that is regularly used for children’s parties, often with entertainers. This is the third year we’ve used the venue for our daughter’s party, it is also used for yoga, pilates, drama and dance classes amongst other things.

      The toilet is the only place to change and it is small, which is why I made these facts crystal clear to the agency when I booked.

      The entertainer arrived 20 minutes late to the venue. I.E she arrived AFTER all the guests had started arriving and also just after the time she was meant to start entertaining. I had no warning that she would be late.

      She spent 20 minutes in the toilet and materialised wearing the outfit over her own clothes and wearing no make-up.

      Let’s not forget the main issue of this sorry tale… a little girl’s birthday party was ruined.

    • Debra Sneddon says:

      Dear Jessica – if that indeed is your name and not Manuel – would you like to show people how long you’ve been working for Aeiou Parties Ltd?
      Because only someone who works for the company would argue after reading this post that perhaps a small venue – or inadequate changing facilities – might be to blame for the state of this so-called entertainer.
      She arrived 20 mins late. Perhaps she could have put on her costume before she got there!
      Stop passing the blame and grow up.

    • katrina says:

      How much space does one need to put on a dress and a wig?
      Not more than the average toilet stall!
      I could get dressed in one quite adequately, and i am 28 wks pregnant- so waht exactly is your point?

      She’s not Liza Minelli so therefore can’t expect the use of a stars dressing room!

      • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

        Totally! The agency was warned in advance… maybe if the agency had done some proper managing, they’d have made sure she was changed ahead of arriving… maybe even with the dress properly on rather than slung over her own clothes!!

  14. Roger Dunn says:

    Well what are you going to do next year for your daughter’s birthday are you going to :-
    A Get the then latest thing in Children’s Party Entertainment
    B. Book a tradditional Entertainer
    C Take the whole Family & Friends to a Local Theme Park.

    I do hope the answer is B

    No I am not touting for bussines.

    There are lots of Good Children’s Entertainers waitng for a Thaw in this Frozen party scene and returning to giving a good show for a reasonable fee !

  15. elosie says:

    I’m very tempted to post a link to your article onto their fb page – perhaps if everyone who has read this does so in rotation then the message will really get across. They possibly won’t be able to delete them fast enough!!

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Thank you. I put a link on myself a couple of days ago and they took it off, they seem to only want to use social media to push messages of how brilliant they are – guess you can’t blame them for that, but it shows a bit of a lack of understanding and a continued disregard for the actual issue. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and your offer x

      • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

        Unbelievable – or maybe not given their general scruples – it’s actually worrying how little an online company, who use social media for their marketing, understand about social media. Or customer service for that matter. Thanks so much for trying anyway!

  16. Eden Cairns says:

    I would have fired the girl on the spot.given you a full refund and offered to send a proper elsa at no cost. What they did was so incredably wrong I cannot even begin to to you how sorry I am for dveryone who does proper princess parties!

    Even sending a performer who looks like that was their first mistake and she hadn’t even entered the door yet, then to basically tell your daughter elsa isnt real and that she was her stand in….thats so wrong.
    Then to turn around and say she was tio lazy to bring a proper sound system so she could be heard even over her non understandable accent… its in excusable!
    I don’t know if it would help but I would like to offer her a skype call with elsa. And I will awnser any questions she might have.
    She is not from my company, but your little girl diserves to have a proper elsa at least talk to her.
    I run from canada but i’d be more than happy to do this for her. Either that or I can send her a letter and a picture.
    If you are interested please write me either on facebook under Northumberland princess parties or write me from our site princessparties@strikingly.com.
    if not I hope that you get your money back and a formal appology because that is just unacceptable!

    Sincerely,
    Eden

  17. Doug Roberts says:

    I’m sorry if this is harsh, because there are so many folks out there working as character entertainers illegally……and I suspect they don’t even realise it. I know lots of them are really good at what they do…….but consider this:

    Selling your services as a Disney character entertainer, is no different than setting up a burger van with a big “M” above it, and plastering your van with MacDonalds logos.

    Think about it. It’s illegal, and totally unfair to the legitimate competition.

  18. Harbinger of the Self says:

    Hell, I know several Elsa cosplayers that would have done A BETTER JOB for free or extremely cheap because they actually CARE about children. Unfortunately, you got scammed and they ruined a very special time in your child’s life.

    Seriously, next time, look for a cosplayer. We’re generally very friendly and the ones that put themselves out there for these kinds of events love seeing children happy.

  19. Phil says:

    Hi, I’m a puppeteer and children’s entertainer in Canada.
    When I was six or seven, my mother took me to see a touring company of Bertram Mills circus. At the intermission the famous Coco the clown was signing programs. I was the last in line, and just as it was my turn, Coco turn to me and said, “go back to you seat. The show starts.” I stood there, rather pathetically, I’m sure looking stunned until an usher had to take me back to my mother. I’m 63 now, and I have not forgotten or forgiven Coco. Thankfully we don’t remember all the bad things that happened to us as children but some things stick.
    I hope your little girl forgets this and I hope all her other birthdays are happier memories.

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Hey Phil, your story has made my heart ache and you’ve hit the nail on the head. Don’t underestimate the impact that these things, that might seem relatively unimportant to adults, can have on a small child. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I wish I could go back in time and kick Coco the Clown up the backside!

  20. kateherrell says:

    Luci–this is just horrifying! I, too, have been a children’s entertainer. the thought of appearing at a celebration as anything but PERFECT is distressing. I once plum forgot my wings for a faerie celebration…I can’t tell you how terrible I felt appearing before the children without them. They were gracious and lovely about it, but it still made my heart break to think I might have disappointed them. And I certainly did not collect the remaining balance. That mistake was on me, and the parents didn’t need to suffer for it.

    I see several comments in which you blame yourself, but I’m going to respectfully disagree that the true horror experienced at your daughter’s birthday was in any way your fault. AEIOU clearly has wonky priorities–and making children happy is at the bottom of their list. Your vigilance in spreading the word will save other parents from experiencing this horrid company. This kind of review was my company’s worst nightmare, and this kind of performer was absolutely not acceptable. I watched my boss go out of her way to refund parents if their performer was just a few minutes late. Entertainment companies should exceed your expectations, rather than make your celebration look like a bad dream.

    If I lived across the pond, I would offer a few hours of face painting to help your daughter make new memories. In lieu of that, I wish your daughter peace about her disappointment, and joyful future birthdays. ❤

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Hello Kate, thanks so much for your kind comments, I agree, the main issue with AEIOU is that their priority does not appear to be making children happy. And I still can’t get my head around why they think it is ok to keep our money rather than refund it. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it.

      • kateherrell says:

        It’s truly baffling–it’s as if sending a fourth rate quality performer was somehow an inconvenience to them, rather than an affront to you. It’s hard to understand the workings of such a thoughtless company–but I hope someone from the company sees the light. Best wishes for your future dealings with them.

  21. Lorraine says:

    Hi Lucy, I have been sent your post about your party. What an awful experience this must have been for you and your daughter. I run a bespoke princess party company in the UK and we would really like to help and ensure your daughter gets the party of her dreams. We would be delighted to offer a free party for you. We run the whole party for you and will theme and decorate your chosen venue. Please contact me through the website below. http://www.tinkerbelltentparties.co.uk

  22. devilstick peat says:

    £175 for 1 ½ hours entertainment, and by the sounds of it only half of that went to the entertainer.
    As a Childrens entertainer with over 27 years experience I have to say that
    A) I’m angry at the way your child was treated.
    B) if you pay peanuts, your going to get monkeys.
    I charge a minimum of £200 plus travel and if you book me via a agency then there’s their fee on top.
    If that sounds like a lot of money to you then your right, it is. But you have to balance that to the following facts
    I’m good at what I do. I wont do a theme that I’m not suited to. I believe in children and take playing with their imagination as a very important part of their lives.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think that, if what you describe is true, then you have a right to be angry. I know I would be. But learn from it, and next time check the price from various sources, and if you cant afford the highest one, at lest go for the top end of the middle ones, if you cant afford that, DON’T BOTHER AS IT WILL BE A WASTE OF MONEY.
    There’s a reason she was so cheap (and in my trade £80-£90 is stupidly cheap) and you now know what that reason is.

  23. Manu says:

    I am the owner of the company that had the problem with luci. First of all i have to say sorry again (as we have done many times to her via mail and phone and 3 different people). Sorry for the things that we did wrong but also for the anger and sadness in Luci. Anyway we dont agree in some of the things that Luci presented here and that many others have imagined or commented, so we are, among other things, preparing a post in our website explaining our full version and explanation of this story as there are many things that were not mentioned by luci or even not known about what happened to the entertainer who was going to attend. I think always is good to listen to both parts and then give opinions. Always with respect, and from our human nature that make us imperfect. Everyone can do mistakes. We did in certain things wrong, we say sorry for those, but we also need to express our part to make people acknowledge all before criticising. One of the main things is that despite somethings i have read and copy pasting luci’s email:

    “My little girl and her friends enjoyed the party” by Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh

    EDIT FROM LUCI – THIS IS AN OUTRIGHT LIE. WHAT THEY HAVE DONE HERE IS EDIT A LONGER SENTENCE IN MY FIRST EMAIL OF COMPLAINT TO THEM, WHICH ACTUALLY READS:

    “My little girl and her friends enjoyed the party in spite of the entertainment, rather than because of it”.

    THE REALITY IS MY DAUGHTER ENJOYED HER PARTY BECAUSE SHE HAD A LOT OF LOVELY FRIENDS THERE AND BECAUSE MY HUSBAND, A GOOD FRIEND AND I TOOK OVER ENTERTAINING THE CHILDREN AT TIMES DURING THE PARTY. I HAVE WRITTEN A FULL RESPONSE TO THIS COMMENT FROM MANUEL HERE: https://therealmcq.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/aeiou-parties-review-owner-leaves-comment-on-review/

    We have understood what we did wrong so, Luci, your work, as you said, is done. This will never happen again to any other family. Now, as you said you can feel calm about this hole thing. That is what i read although sometimes i felt you didnt want us but to deeply and agressively damage our 15 years and more than 15.000 parties and more than 98% happy customers. That is the absolute truth. We are so sorry that this happened to your party, it will never happen again, and we will explain in oir web how we will do and how all of you can check that is true. So you got your goal, this will not happen again, so if that was your aim, as you repeated here and in social media, after reading our post everything should be right

    we feel sad that because of the great relevance of this issue that you also feel surprised, you have taken advantage and redesign your template to make it more appealing, change menus, and even add, move, change.. a couple of follow links with not much reason to your website. If this is about your child, shouldnt make business of it. We feel used. Your main aim was to make us never give a bad service before, not anything else and not those commercial things

    Crisis are an opportunity to grow, and this is how we feel this moment. Honestly I have to say thanks for making us more exigent about ourselves and make this work better. This will not make us think anything destructive but we will analyse everything we can improve, everything we should improve, and grow much stronger with much more hard work than before in every field. So thanks and sorry. Shortly we will send you our post so that u can share with all your community with a no follow and maybe all can be better informed reading both parts

    thanks to the ones that here or mailing and calling us have brought to us the trust because they know us well, or at least the doubt if they dont know us. We also prepare the post for you. Thanks

    (we do as a post because we have talked to Luci a few times abouth this and the situation requires a full explanation to all of you which cannto be made individual)

      • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

        Hi Manuel

        I think you need to make it clear to people visiting your explanation post, that the image of the Elsa Entertainer you have used is NOT from our party, it’s very misleading.

        Your post is simply a long list of excuses, which basically make it even clearer to everyone that you and the entertainer are wholly to blame for this whole fiasco. You then try and accuse me of prejudice against Spaniards and further accuse me of trying to boost the stats of this small personal blog that has no more than five posts on it in as many months (i.e. I couldn’t give a monkey’s about traffic for this blog)

        I hope from the feedback you have received to your post, that you may now realise that you really haven’t handled this situation well and that the best thing to have done was to demonstrate the sincerity of your copious ‘sorries’ by giving us a full refund. It is amazing the number of entertainment companies who have approached me to offer an entertainer at no charge to make up for the experience we had with your entertainer.

      • katrina says:

        Manu
        why don’t you save your garbage for the small claims court judge?
        He will be interested in hearing the rubbish you spout, and probably have a chuckle at it also (before handing down his judgement in favour of Luci!)

        Just the fact THAT YOU WOULD EVEN TRY TO DEFEND THIS TRAVESTY of a performance speaks VOLUMES about what a shoddy outfit you run!

        ANYONE, WITH ANY SHRED OF SELFRESPECT would have fired this performer and apologised profusely with a full refund forthcoming, at the very least!

        The fact you make excuses for that mess that turned up at the party says it all!

        To be honest, i have seen blokes in drag, stumbling drunk out of a pub, looking more suitable to turn up at a childrens party than the “performer” you sent!

        You should be UTTERLY ASHAMED of your companies performance and customer response, and i hope the public will vote with their wallets!

        Have fun filling out your county court defense form, and i look forward to hearing the results of the proceedings here!

  24. Doug Roberts says:

    Speaking as a full-time kids’ entertainer, it’s very damaging to our profession when companies offer licensed characters illegally.

    Of course, kids want to meet their favourite Disney characters, that’s what Disneyland is for. I’m sure you can hire official Disney characters, at a cost. Same goes for Marvel Comics’ characters, Peppa Pig, and all the rest.

    These party companies come and go all the time, and if they do not have permission to hire the characters they do, they are committing fraud.

    At the same time, they are taking away work from legitimate children’s entertainers who create their own original characters and acts.

    By putting loads of Disney names on their website, it’s possible gain a massive SEO advantage, making them far higher on search enginges than they deserve.

    A good kids’ entertainer should run your whole party seamlessly, keep all the kids involved all the time, provide balloons for every child, music, games, and a show…..

    When booking, look for videos, if your chosen entertainer doesn’t have one or two on their website, be wary. All experienced entertainers know the importance of video trailers.

    Your kids will have a much better time with someone who has dedicated years of their life to the Art, and you’ll have the reassurance of knowing you’re not going to get a call the day before your party to say that Disney has contacted your party provider with a “cease and desist” order……

  25. Ash Bratcher says:

    A cosplayer prolly would have done it for free (if you knew one) & and alot better than that crap…
    It’s just disturbing ..it’s shameful they made your kids experience that!

  26. Jonathan Disher says:

    I would remind AEIOU that the advertised entertainer never actually arrived. What you got instead was an unqualified, underdressed, unprepared substitute that did not fit the advertised engagement you had agreed upon. As a father with a recently-minted five year old daughter who loves Frozen, I cringed the entire way through your story. I hope you get some traction with the agency and I hope your little one wasn’t scarred ;(

  27. Jenny says:

    Dear Luci
    I am so sorry to hear this. Your little girl must have been so upset.
    http://www.princesswishes.co.uk would like to offer your daughter a free party for up to 20 friends if you are based within a 25 mile radius of London.
    We provide West End actors as your favourite characters.
    Please do get in touch with me via our web.
    Best wishes
    Jenny & Susan and The Princess Wishes Team
    xxx

  28. Mr Bungle says:

    My name is Paul I have been performing my Mr Bungle show for 15 years , and I keep coming across these “Elsa” costume characters turning up at my parties as an extra with very limited experience in dealing with the parents or the children sometimes arriving in the middle of my show distracting the children and causing chaos , then nothing no entertainment just standing there , I asked one well now you’ve got there attention what do you do ? Oh sing if I can use your PA or just stand here and if they want a picture so annoying at the beginning the parents faces are smiling for their child’s reaction but as the children get bored and start running around as I can’t do a thing you think it’s expensive hiring a professional wait till you hire an amateur

    So sorry to hear of this believe me us entertainers are just as annoyed at this

  29. Colin says:

    Dear Luci. This is an extremely unfortunate situation, and it’s understandable how upsetting it is to have a special day ruined. The reaction from the company is woefully unsatisfactory.

    However, can I ask: how hard have you pursued a full refund? From your post it seems you were told “only 50%” and did not follow this up, (correct me if I’m wrong). I can’t help but think that pursuing this directly with them would have been a better approach – more time consuming and laborious on your part, yes, but more often than not you will eventually get what you want.

    The reason I say this is that mistakes do happen. They have clearly failed on this occasion and there is no excuse for that, but people in the comments quoting trading standards, copyright infringement, and calling for the company’s downfall on Yelp is reactionary, at best. For this one sorry affair, do you know how many other events the company has held which have been great successes?

    Social media is extremely powerful and your apparent desire for this to go viral and damage a company that could otherwise be providing a fine service is dangerous. They have clearly handled this all very badly, but whether or not that deserves their reputation to be disproportionately damaged beyond repair is up for debate.

    I should make clear I have no ties to any of the parties involved. I just thought this was an interesting piece that raised some interesting topics that warranted comment. Keep fighting for that refund directly with the company; I sincerely hope you get it and you can put it towards an extra special sixth birthday party for your daughter.

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Hello Colin

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, you raise some interesting points and I welcome discussion, so I’ll do my best to reply…

      I run a start-up business and look after our daughter without any childcare. The days are long, the last thing I needed was to be dealing with this and the ruination of my daughter’s party.

      My husband and I are both business owners, neither of us would ever treat one of our much valued clients in the way we have been treated.

      First off…

      The ideal scenario would have been…

      Book entertainer. Have brilliant time at party. Have happy memories and a happy child. Get on with our lives…

      The next best scenario….

      Book entertainer. Entertainment sucks. AEIOU apologise profusely, issue a full refund and assures me this kind of thing is a one-off and will never happen again.

      How hard did I push for a refund?

      I spend a lot of time over the course of two weeks – starting from during the party – trying to get a full refund from them. The only time I got to speak to the owner of the business, was when he called back after I’d used a different phone to try and get through to them. He had assumed I was a potential new customer.

      You can read in my post about the issue with their Terms & Conditions and make up your own mind on that.

      Is two weeks of chasing enough effort, or should I have tried harder, spent more of my time dealing with them speaking to me like I was some kind of irritant? Should I have spent time looking for a solicitor, calling Citizens Advice?

      How much time should someone put in to chasing a company that has provided a dreadful service and then determinedly avoided trying to compensate in a fitting way?

      Secondly… the use of social media.

      We live in a digital age, this company is an online business that makes use of social media to promote itself. Social media is not a one-way conversation. Any brand or business that feels they can just use social media to push out messages to its target audience is sadly mistaken.

      Any brand or business who doesn’t understand that social media is as much a voice for consumers as it is for brands is very naive.

      AEIOU makes use of social media and the internet to promote itself. It has a Facebook Page littered with positive messages about the company. For a couple of hours yesterday it had a negative feedback review from me. The company removed it from their Facebook Page. Do we, as consumers, know how many other negative reviews have been removed?

      AEIOU are on twitter. Instead of engaging with me on twitter, they chose to block me. Their choice to turn their back on me on Twitter speaks volumes about their attitude and ignorance.

      AEIOU also makes use of online listings sites. Each of these sites has a review facility for people to share their experiences of this company’s service. You cannot expect to treat a customer in the way that I’ve been treated and not receive a negative review.

      I don’t want to fight this company any more for a refund, it was never really about the money, it was about the principle and that we don’t feel happy knowing that this company has walked off with our money in its pocket after providing a wholly awful entertainment service and ruining our little girl’s 5th birthday party. And now we find ourselves in this situation, we are concerned that if they can do this to us, they can do it to other people.

      The only response AEIOU has made to my review post is to send me the following email…

      “It is fine to express your opinions about the service if you were not satisfied, but, as I told you before, you have not authorisation from the entertainer to publish her image. I am asking you to take the image from the internet before the entertainer decides to take further action. I am sorry for the inconveniences caused, as I said before”.

      Which simply demonstrates that they don’t care about me, my daughter or putting anything right. They don’t even care about me posting the review – or at least they didn’t, they may do now. They are also factually incorrect about the photographs.

      Is this a business that was ever likely to offer me a full refund and try and make up for ruining my daughter’s business without me having to spend days and days of my time fighting them? Is this the kind of business that deserves my silence, so they can potentially keep on in this vein with future clients?

  30. Kirsty says:

    I am also going to share this, I am so sorry for your daughter. That right there is not a definition of a children’s entertainer, I feel so cross for you right now and hope you get the full refund you deserve. x

  31. reynaevans says:

    I’m sorry for your experience. I don’t think you asked for too much. We went to an event where Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff came(and they were wonderful, and it was a free event, the hostess paid for their appearance)….They had photo ops and walked around and talked to the kids. I’m glad your spreading the word, and I hope it helps others. I’m disgusted they won’t fully refund. I wish I could send the Elsa we saw to see your daughter!

    Wishing you daughter a belated birthday!

  32. sally ryan says:

    Could I ask what area the lady was that booked this please, I am an elsa entertainer who is very sad to think a little girl was so let down, I am from sugar and spice parties and would love to offer a free visit from our Elsa and Anna, my area is se9 could you please pass this message on th the parents, Many thanks

    • Doug Roberts says:

      Sally, if you’re charging a fee for your appearances, you’re violating Disney copyright. Just so you know…..

  33. KiraTheUsagii says:

    This really makes me angry to read, not just because I and a friend pretty recently started to go at birthday parties as Elsa and Anna. And we do it for free right now and take it more serious than this company.

    If you can’t or won’t take your job seriously, no matter what: Don’t come at all and don’t ruin the day for the kids. Me and my friend did all we could to make the kids happy and make them have fun while having fun ourselves but people like this “entertainer” doesn’t seem to give a bat shit about the kids and that makes me really angry. You are showing up at kids birthday parties as a character to be the character for the kids and to make them happy and absolutely not doing this! >_<

  34. Gremlin says:

    I know facepainters that charge more than that for that time, to have all in one and only pay such Lil then i cant help but say, you get what you pay for.. Yes you shouldn’t gave to deal with this, but look into what your paying for…

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Fair point. We booked primarily for the ‘Elsa’ element, and I did query the face painting several times with the agency and they agreed that they’d reduce it down to a tiny something for each kid, as I just couldn’t get my head around how she’d manage to do it all. I even rang the day before to reconfirm that part of the deal. But that message didn’t get through to the entertainer. AEIOU have a lot to answer for.

  35. Merry Brush says:

    I am a face & body painter, and regularly work with other children’s entertainers to provide full party services.

    It’s too much to ask one person to do face painting, balloon modelling, and party games on their own – and for an hour & a half at £175 I would have expected the agency to have provided 2 entertainers to give the level of service you requested and paid for.

    I’m so sorry that you had such an awful experience.

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Yes, I tend to agree. We booked primarily for the ‘Elsa’ aspect and I queried the face painting from the start, even again the day before the party, when I knew for sure how many kids were coming along. The agency were meant to tell the entertainer to just do a tiny something on each child, but that message didn’t get through. The problem was, once she started, it was too hard to say to the other kids that they wouldn’t be getting their face painted. AEIOU have a lot to answer for to us and the entertainer.

    • Christine says:

      Really? I (and the other entertainers at my company) do it all the time. An hour or two to do any combination of singalongs, magic tricks, face painting, games, balloons, glitter tattoos, storytelling, and photo ops. It’s not that unusual, and once you’ve got your timing on everything down, it’s certainly not impossible.

  36. barefootchinadoll says:

    I am so sorry to hear the your daughters 5th birthday was such a dismal experience. I hope that she understands that Mommy and Daddy love her abd wanted the best for her and by no fault of their own got stuck with such a dreadful entertainer. The most important thing for your daughter is to know how much you love her. Next up- Take these people to small claims court for false advertising, and for not fullfilling their obligation. Glad you got photos as proof and I hope you got reciepts for the cash you paid. The company should be ashamed of themselves!

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, M knows she is very loved, you are so right, that is the most important thing of all. And yes, small claims court here we come, though I am thinking that the 57,000 views of this post in 24 hours and the flurry of activity on Twitter will be helping AEIOU to realise that they can’t get away with such poor service in every aspect of their business.

  37. Doug Roberts says:

    It’s completely illegal for anyone to offer “Frozen” parties anyway, without specific permission. This is a copyright character, and Disney will likely now hear of this debacle and come after them.

    Beware any party companies or entertainers who steal copyright in this way – it’s completely unacceptable, and unfair to all the legitimate entertainers who create their own act.

    • Kristina says:

      A lot of party companies offer disney princesses, typically under a similar but not copyrighted name and costume which is close enough but doesn’t violate copyright(since half of them are established fairy tale characters) this may have been the case here. Obviously once the entertainer gets there they’re referred to by character name, etc. It’s basically all to avoid C&Ds from disney

  38. TJ says:

    This is disgusting. As a professional balloon artist, I am so angry that an entertainment company would still be in business after doing such horrible work. They give all of us a bad name.

  39. Amy Tinoco says:

    I have been entertaining children for the past 20 years, it is my gift and my love to make a child’s birthday the very best! lately though people who come to audition for the job are dirty, smell like cigarettes , the costumes are filthy! They have no idea how to really paint faces they use stencils. It is so sad! Work in a prison but leave the kids alone!
    I suggest that if the actual entertainer is not insured, licensed or show a real web presence Do not book!

  40. Kellie says:

    i also booked for a mini mouse entertainer to come back in October for my daughters fourth birthday party. she arrived 10 minutes late and then put on a really shoddy clowns outfit. she was so quiet the kids Hardly know she was there and got bored of the really games Very quick. The face painting was a joke it was just a black line or two on the kids faces don’t actually know what it was supposed to be. Balloons she did would be Poppin within minutes cause they were so cheap so half the kids left with no ballon. I also not too sure if she could understand everything we said to her as I would have to repeat myself two or three times before she understood. I wished I kicked up more fuss to get a refund thinking about it now but just put it down to a bad experience and would never use them again.

  41. Karen Clarkson says:

    Disgusting.
    The agency art in breaches of their contract.
    The family are well in their right to push for a full refund or take the agency to the small claims court

  42. ScarlettKitsune says:

    Wow… I have to say I’m absolutely disgusted with this. I’ve seen people who do costumes for fun come out of a party absolutely drunk and look far better than that. What a disgrace.

    As a regular Yelp reviewer, I’d recommend copying your review there and rating the business. Sometimes when people look the business up in Google, the yelp page will be one of the first to come up and others will know to stay well away.

    Given your obvious distress, I would certainly think about taking them to trading standards and perhaps small claims court. Companies should not get away with such horrific service and expect to keep payment. The other half that you paid to the ‘entertainer’ was probably her wage, which the company can’t recoup if it’s cash in hand. You are well within your rights to withhold payment if you don’t believe you received the service for which you were paying. I wish more people knew that. I’ve made the mistake of paying a DJ up front for a party he then never turned up for, and sent one of his mates to cover it who were over an hour late (not their fault, as the DJ that was supposed to come didn’t tell his friend until 7pm, when he was supposed to turn up). It was my parent’s silver wedding anniversary, too. Never got a refund of any sort. When entertainers are involved, I’ve learned to always get a referral or check their reviews online.

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Absolutely, I will pop over to Yelp. And yes, I think we’re heading to the small claims court and trading standards with this one. That sounds awful about the DJ scenario – it’s the worst feeling isn’t it, when you realise that they aren’t coming when they said they were and there’s nothing you can do about it! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment.

  43. Ditzy Doodles says:

    My message to all these poor Elsa and children’s entertainer wannabees…..My heart absolutely sinks when I hear horror stories like this. I am a children’s entertainer and a mum, and to think that happy memories have been completely shattered for a little girl makes me so sad. I naturally have long red hair and a natural white streak in my hair…I’m a little like Anna but does that mean I would make a great Anna? NO! I can’t sing for starters! But I am amazing as Ditzy Doodles an original character that nobody can imitate! I am great with children and give children the most special gift an entertainer can give…happy memories! There are so many people jumping on the bandwagon and thinking if they put a wig on and a blue dress they can be Elsa and call themselves an entertainer! Well I’m sorry NO! NO!
    NO! You can’t! For a start you are breaking copyright and Disney will come down on you like a ton of bricks! They just see pound signs and don’t really care about the children. It makes me so angry, true children’s entertainers don’t need to hide behind a mask of a movie character. Genuine children’s entertainers work around the clock to learn our craft and give your children the best day, we attend regular workshops, training, rehearsing. Genuine entertainers have insurance run a professional business, pay our taxes.
    Meesage to Lucy….I am so sorry you have been duped by this poorly managed agency and your litte girl’s dreams have been shattered 🙂 I wish I lived closer to give your daughter a day she will never forget and for all the right reasons.
    My advice for all parents, try and find an entertainer without going through an agency, cut out the middleman because some don’t even know what they are sending out. Check out reviews online. Ask for references from other clients. Are the photos on their site actual images of their work or from their events. I have had other companies local to me steal my images and use them to advertise their poor imitation of what they do…misleading customers into thnking your something you are not is WRONG! It not only ruins the reputation of an amazing industry but the most important thing of all…..you are ruining the dreams and happy memories of children…a day they will remember for the rest of their lives. You should all hang your heads in shame!

    • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

      Hello there

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I really don’t know what the situation is with Disney and copyright, it wasn’t something that had occurred to me beforehand. But I do know that I’ve had some really kind offers of entertainment to make up for the sad disaster of entertainment that we booked for our daughter.

      I agree wholeheartedly about checking out online references and even going direct to an entertainer. I kind of hang my head in shame, because I work in digital media and should have been more thorough with my checks, all I can plead is the madness of booking entertainment in the mayhem of Christmas build-up!

      You sound like a truly professional children’s entertainer, it’s lovely to know there are so many of you out there – I just wish I’d booked one!!

    • Jessica says:

      Well if you are an entertainer… we should hear the entertainer version,, entertainers sometimes are forced do a job that actually that not they are not able to do , due to time costumes etc etc why you you think the entertainer does not have insurance ? you are judging a picture …people are vey rude please moderate the comments!!!

      • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

        Hello Jessica, I believe from your previous comment and one by someone called ‘Rita’ – but with an email address that has the same name as the entertainer, that you are a friend of the entertainer.

        The photos speak for themselves as to how the entertainer looked. The way she looked is not acceptable. I understand that the agency has a fair amount of responsibility over how the entertainment went so very wrong. But at the same time, the entertainer could have chosen to do her very best job, rather than decide to put on the costume over her own clothes. She looked a complete and utter mess and not one child believed she was Elsa… especially not after she decided to tell all the children that ‘Elsa couldn’t make it”.

        If it had been me entertaining, I would have been disgusted at the dress, but I would have worn it, so as not to ruin the party for the birthday girl and then gone home and had a good shower afterwards. That is the sign of a true show-woman and entertainer.

        We treated her with respect throughout, having entertained at previous parties, I know how much effort goes into the job. But she got stressed with the children, she told my daughter, the party girl, that she didn’t have time to make her a balloon shape… the PA system was awful….

        In fact if you read the post, you’ll see that the issues go far beyond the photograph. But a photograph is a best way to convey to as many people as possible, how bad the service was that we received from AEIOU. I have been very careful not to name the entertainer or to do anything other than highlight the poor service provided for and on behalf of AEIOU.

        Just put yourself in the position of a parent throwing a party for their child… we were the clients that day and the service we received was awful. There is no other way to dress that up, no matter what the reasons for it being this way. All that concerns me as a parent is that our daughter’s birthday party was ruined.

        I booked through AEIOU thinking that we would have a fantastic party experience. Instead it was dreadful and I have had to spend hours trying to sort this mess out and deal with a little girl who feels really sad that Elsa didn’t come to her party.

        If your friend has any issues they should take them up with AEIOU, who should have at the very least issued us with a full refund.

      • Mummy Central (@Mummy_Central) says:

        Wow it’s pretty obvious that you are connected to Aeiou Parties Jessica. Excuses excuses. A child was left disappointed by a rude and shoddy performer. A family paid £175 for a service they didn’t get. That’s all anybody needs to know.

      • Ditzy Doodles says:

        Jessica, I don’t mean to be rude but NO entertainer is forced to do a job they are not able to do!!!! We and I hope I speak for collectively for professional children’s entertainers do this because we love our jobs, in fact to call it a job is a disservice, it’s more like a vocation, we spend so much time ensuring our parties and acts are polished! And if that person is being forced to do a job then they should quit because they obviously haven’t put hours ands hours of learning in to their craft, you need to be adaptable to any situation that may arise in this industry and they clearly were not if they felt forced in to doing something they’re not capable off, but most important of all they don’t care about the children who are being left traumatised on their special day! Anybody reading this thinking it’s easy money being a children’s entertainer…it isn’t….please leave it to the professionals!

      • Jessica says:

        Luci you are assuming a lot of things , but I can tell you now that many entertainers are unhappy with this agency, however they did not provide the best service and they possibly send a lot of entertainers in stress etc etc those entertainers are not cancelling the bookings as they have a contract and a child waiting for them,(the cancelation was a good option) I can easily put myself in your place you are an unhappy mother and the entertainer is absolutely deeply frustrated with the results, and sad with the comments that people are making …
        Good Luck!
        BW

      • Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh says:

        I’m not really assuming much Jess… you were somehow able to reply and agree with Rita’s comment before it was published!

        Anyhow, I do take on board your points about entertainers not being happy with AEIOU and hopefully the fact this is being talked about will improve things.

        Whilst I appreciate you feel we should be grateful that she turned up, the reality is that she was really late and once arrived she did not wear the outfit properly and the quality of the entertainment was not good.

        This is a horrible situation full stop. I’m just a mum who booked an entertainer because I wanted to make my daughter’s 5th birthday special.

  44. Chloe says:

    Hi Luci, I’m from a company called Let it Glow Events, based in London.
    I’m absolutely disgusted by what I’ve just read and I’d like you to get in contact about your little girl having a free Elsa visit to try and make up for this horrible experience.
    Our facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/letitglowevents
    Our website is http://www.letitglowevents.co.uk
    Our email is letitlglowevents@gmail.com
    and my phone number is 07710642663.

    I’d love to hear from you. We have a very large amount of 5* reviews (and none with any less than 5 stars) and are a very reliable company who will not let your daughter down!
    Again I’d like to stress that this would be free.
    Thanks x

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