Looking for a fun way to add extra magic to your Walt Disney World® Resort or Disneyland® Resort vacation? Both kids and kids-at-heart can join the character fun by dressing the part!
Costumes for Kids
Lots of little ones will want to dress up as their favorite characters when visiting a Disney Park. Don’t worry about getting any confused glances – you will see many kids dressed in ball gowns or pirate garb everywhere at Disney Parks, and it’s totally normal to want to join in the fun!
You can plan ahead by purchasing costumes for your children prior to the trip. You have several choices when it comes to buying costumes:
- shopDisney.com is the official online retailer for Disney. You can find costumes here for both classic characters (think Minnie Mouse and Cinderella) and new friends (such as Moana and Kylo Ren).
- I personally love Little Adventures-brand costumes, available from Mom Approved Costumes online and at local retailers. These outfits are praised for their practicality – no loose glitter, super comfortable, and machine washable!
- You can find custom-made costumes of all kinds from sellers on Etsy! Many Etsy sellers can also accommodate special needs.
- Are you a crafty mom, dad, or grandparent? Consider sewing some costumes! If you like to sew, this is such a fun way to creatively prepare for your upcoming vacation. I can personally recommend the Everyday Princess pattern collection from Made for Mermaids. Simplicity makes a number of officially licensed Disney character sewing patterns, including Frozen characters, Snow White, and Merida. I have also used Create Kids Couture patterns to sew unique character costumes, like Tiana’s waitress uniform.
Costume Changes On the Go
Chances are, you will run into one of these two challenges when your kids are dressing up at Disney parks. 1.) Your child will likely get hot or uncomfortable and want to change out of his costume and into regular shorts and a t-shirt. Or, 2.) your child will love costumes and want to keep changing throughout the day, especially as she encounters different characters. (This is my daughter.)
It helps to be prepared for quick changes! Here are a few tips to manage costume changes in the park:
- Kids can wear tank tops and shorts or leggings under costumes. We do this for my daughter! When she wants to change, we just slip off one dress and throw on the next while waiting in line or stopping for a snack.
- Plan for which characters you are likely to meet or encounter during your park touring day, and plan accordingly. This can minimize disappointment and the number of costume switches you have to pull. For example, on the day you’re eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table, make sure to bring the princess and knight costumes. On your Disney’s Hollywood Studios® day, don’t forget the Star Wars™ costumes for meeting characters at Launch Bay. You can use the My Disney Experience and Disneyland® apps to find out which characters meet in each park!
- Roll costumes in order to fit several in your park touring bag. I can fit three rolled-up princess costumes in a Ziploc bag if I press out all the air! These bags stuff nicely in the bottom of backpacks.
- Leave the accessories at home. Crowns, wands, capes, and swords are so much fun, but they take up a LOT of room in your park touring bag. Unless you plan to rent a locker for accessories (believe me, I have done this!) it’s best to stick with just the garment itself.
Tips for Keeping Comfortable in Costumes
Let’s face it, theme park days can be hot or cold, sunny or cloudy, and maybe even rainy, and most importantly, long.
- Choose costumes that are easy to walk in and still allow the child to sit comfortably in your stroller. Avoid full-length gowns that could cause tripping or skirts with multiple layers of tulle.
- Look for costumes that make bathroom breaks easy. A one-piece Captain America bodysuit might not be super practical for a last-minute dash to the potty!
- Carry some Shout Wipes and a Tide To Go pen in case a Mickey ice cream bar comes into accidental contact with a favorite costume! (Machine washable costumes can always get thrown into the laundry at your resort.)
- Plan accordingly for the weather. Visiting during winter? Steer your daughter toward Princess Anna’s costume with matching cape or Merida’s long-sleeve dress. Winter could be perfect for a full-on Darth Vader robe, too! For a summer trip, kids would be more comfortable in something like Moana’s spaghetti-strap top or a sleeveless pirate costume. Check a website such as Accuweather and consider what kind of costumes might be appropriate for your visit.
- No matter the costume, enforce the “Everyone Wears Comfortable Shoes” rule! Costumes and dresses are lots of fun, but walking at Disney is serious business. Leave the plastic dress-up heels at home, and convince your daughter that Elsa would totally wear New Balance sneakers with that dress.
- Minimize accessories for comfort and your own sanity. My daughter loves her Zarina the Pirate Fairy costume, but we don’t allow her to carry her sword and bag of blue pixie dust through the parks.
- Above all, follow your child’s lead and keep safety first. If he seems hot or flushed in a costume, it’s time to change into something cooler, take a break in the shade, and drink some water. If she is complaining that the dress is scratchy, take time to change, even if you haven’t had that character photo-op yet. Your vacation will go much more smoothly!
Disneybounding for Kids & Adults
Disneybounding is when someone wears street clothes that evoke the spirit of a Disney character, rather than a full-on costume. Disneybounding can be a great way for grown-ups to get in on the Disney fun, and a wonderful option for kids who aren’t interested in costumes.
- First, get informed about the official rules related to adults in costumes by reading these Disney Theme Park Dress & Costume Guidelines. Always make sure your Disneybound outfit plays by the rules!
- Ladies can check out the Disney Dress Shop for some fun Disney Parks-inspired dresses!
- Be creative! Search for ideas on Pinterest and add your own fun ideas. Disneybounding can be as simple as wearing a yellow sundress to evoke Princess Belle, so it’s really accessible for all Disney fans.
- Consider a group Disneybound for your family or travel party, such as the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves or all of Ariel’s sisters.
- T-shirts are the easiest way to dress the part! Work with a local screen printer on a fun design for your group, or check out matching Disney t-shirt options on Etsy, or Key to the World Travel ®’s favorite, Enchanted Tiki Tees. shopDisney.com also carries a wide selection of officially-licensed character t-shirts for the whole family!
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