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Tattoo man has Disney under his skin

In Anaheim, Calif., heads are turning and George Reiger is loving it, sucking in the attention like oxygen, like a drug, like his flesh was an epidermal sponge.

This is what he lives for, what he craves: to strut through ZTC Disneyland and feel the bug-eyed recognition of people gaping at his full-body collection of Disney tattoos.

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From his shoulders to his shins, Mr. Reiger is Disney on parade.

Peter Pan flies across his right shoulder. Beauty and the Beast grace his left shoulder. Characters from "The Jungle Book" and "Song of the South" spill down his right arm.

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He has all 101 Dalmatians on his back and the genie from !B "Aladdin" on his chest.

"I have 303," said Mr. Reiger, 40, a maintenance worker for the U.S. Postal Service in Easton, Pa. "I'll have 400 by the end of next year. My goal is 500. Once I have that, I'll be happy."

Mr. Reiger says he has visited Disneyland 54 times, Walt Disney World in Florida 75 times, and Euro Disneyland near Paris and Tokyo Disneyland twice each.

He pays for the excursions by moonlighting as a magician.

"This is my religion," Mr. Reiger said. "This is my life. If I lived here, I'd come here daily. Every cent I have goes to Disney. At Christmastime, don't buy me nothing but Disney."

Mr. Reiger wore a loose-fitting Disney tank top and pulled it over his head for anyone who wanted to see his showcase skin.

"Wow," said Renee Whiteley, a Orange County, Calif., resident who stopped him in the lobby of the Disneyland Hotel.

"I have 10 tattoos that I don't show to anybody," he told Ms. Whiteley, as her finger tapped a half-hidden Pinocchio, then tugged on Mr. Reiger's waistband for a fuller view.

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"What are the ones you can't show?" Ms. Whiteley asked.

"Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Fantasia, Thumper, Bambi, Pinocchio, Dumbo, two brooms and Mickey Mouse," he said.

Mr. Reiger said he fell in love with Disney characters when he was a child. People who want to be a part of Mr. Reiger's life must accept the hold the Magic Kingdom has on him.

"My first four wives wouldn't go along with this, so they're gone," he said.

Brenda Reiger is his fifth wife. She's endured this for 10 years and said she didn't always understand her husband's obsession.

"He was like this before I met him," Brenda Reiger said in a telephone interview; she didn't want to make this trip.

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"Fortunately, I liked Disney before I met him."

She's allowed her husband to turn their 12-room home into a Disney shrine, complete with 8,000 Disney memorabilia items. And the rooms have themes.

The kitchen, she said, is "kind of a normal kitchen. It just has Mickey Mouse everywhere."

A Mickey Mouse cookie jar. A Mickey Mouse teapot. A Mickey Mouse waffle iron.

The bathroom is devoted to "The Little Mermaid" and the living room and their daughter's bedroom focus on "Beauty and the Beast."

What do the neighbors think?

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"They are a very nice family, but I think George is crazy," said neighbor Chrysanthe Swan.

Back at Disneyland, Kim Heckman, 22, a tourist from Nebraska, stopped Mr. Reiger for a look and seven people swarmed around him like iron filings to a magnet.

"It's nice," Ms. Heckman said. "It's not skulls and naked women."

Mr. Reiger just stood there, like a runway model or a piece of art.

"Can I see your back?" La-Raye Houston asked without waiting for an answer before she lifted his shirt.

"Too cool," Ms. Houston said. "The Dalmatians are the coolest."


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