Having the kids make the most of fancy dress in Walt Disney World is one of our top tips. And taking your existing dress-up or buying it before you go is an easy way of saving money - and not being nagged about it when you are there!
There are a few reasons we suggest this. Firstly, you're going to be meeting a lot of the characters that your kids like to dress up as. The photos of mini Aurora posing with the 'real' Aurora are going to be super cute. And if you are getting Memory Maker, either separately or as part of your Ultimate ticket, you'll be taking a lot of photos.
But it is not just the photos. The interactions the kids have with the characters when they are dressed up, is really special - they go out of their way to make a fuss of them and it has resulted in some of our best memories. It can be the complete fancy dress, or an outfit with the characters on it - it gives them something to work with. When our daughter dressed as Minnie Mouse, Mickey kissed her hand as if she was the real thing, and then Minnie showed her how to pose. When in a dress with Belle on it, Tinkerbell talked to her about how they shared the 'Belle' part of their names. She dressed as a pirate and Captain Jack Sparrow made a beeline for her during the pirate show.
Tinkerbell talking about Belle
This is especially true when it is as a character that is a little less common - Anna and Elsa see hundreds of mini versions of themselves every day. When our daughter dressed as Doc McStuffins, Doc spent ages with her, comparing stethoscopes. When dressed as Snow White, the princess made a huge fuss of her, persuading her to kiss her cheek and leaving big red lipstick kiss on our daughter's cheek in return.
Two Docs showing off their stethoscopes.
Snow White getting a kiss from her mini-me.
It is also worth knowing that the princess costumes in particular, are everywhere in Disney World. And they are expensive. More so than the Disney Store in the UK, and certainly a lot more than the ones you can get on Amazon or in the supermarkets here. And there are lots of kids dressed up. So if you've got a dress-up loving little one, especially a princess loving one, you might feel the pressure while you're there. Ward that off by taking one or two outfits with you instead! these are some of our current faves:
If dress-up is their 'thing', there are also some fantastic makeover opportunities that you may wish to consider booking. At Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, kids aged 3 - 12 can be transformed into a princess or knight, complete with hair styling and make-up. Or become a pirate, empress or mermaid at the Pirate's League. There are different packages available to book, from just the hair, to make-up, to a full makeover with costumes. We strongly recommend buying a dress/costume and taking it with you - it will be far cheaper than buying one there as part of the package, or around the parks. And once they've had the makeup, trust me, they will want an outfit too, so best be prepared! And don't worry, you won't feel like a cheapskate - it's a perfectly accepted and common practise.
Just one additional tip to bear in mind - some of these costumes can get hot - we usually take a regular set of clothes out with us so the kids can change if they want to.
(Note, this article is focussed on kids because cos-play of Disney/Marvel/Star Wars characters by anyone 14 and older is not permitted within Disney).