Cinderella. Snow White. Aurora. Belle. And so many more. So many little girls dream of meeting them, and being them. I was no different, and neither is my own daughter. For my family, meeting those princesses is one of the highlights of every trip to Walt Disney World®. It was even more fun when my daughter was old enough to BECOME a princess. These experiences added another level of magic to our Disney trips. First, I took her to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Then recently, I discovered a great opportunity for some extra mother-daughter time, and a chance for ME to let myself go and enjoy the magic, even as the “grown-up”!
When I started planning our first family trip to Walt Disney World® in 2014, my daughter was just shy of her 4th birthday. As I researched our options of things to do in the parks, I stumbled upon the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (BBB) and immediately decided to book it! This is an experience for children ages 3-12 and it is highly recommended to book it 180 days. There are two BBB locations: Magic Kingdom® and Disney Springs™. Little princesses (and princes!) are made up by Fairy Godmothers-in-Training. There are multiple package options, with all including make-up, nail polish, and hairstyle. That moment when they did the “Big Reveal” – turning her around so she could see herself in the mirror, all dressed up and ready, was just priceless! She still talks about it to this day. It quickly became a tradition for us to go to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique followed by a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant inside Cinderella Castle.
A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to have a girls’ trip with my daughter, and decided that I wanted to get in on the magic too! We had planned to do a mommy and me photo shoot while on our vacation, and I wanted to get my hair and makeup done. As I was doing my own research about the salons at Walt Disney World® Resort, I discovered that there were packages available called Character Couture Packages that were similar to those offered at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique FOR ALL AGES!! MY.MIND.WAS.BLOWN!!!! My daughter is definitely not the only one in my family that enjoys getting all dolled up and pampered! I decided to book an appointment for each of us at the Ivy Trellis Salon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when we got there. I knew that it was a full-service salon for all ages so I was not expecting quite the same atmosphere – there were no Fairy Godmothers-in-raining and no Disney’s PhotoPass+ photographers available for pictures. For this experience, children have to be at least 4 years old. The pricing was similar (see below) – but there was one thing that was different that my daughter ABSOLUTELY loved! She sat down in the chair at the salon and was told that she could choose a hairstyle based on any princess she wanted! Her eyes lit up and she chose Belle. I chose the “I just want it up and out of my face” option! Then, I also had my makeup done. The stylists were friendly, and Linda was especially talkative with my daughter, who just loved it! And of course, in true Disney style, at the very end, we each had some pixie dust added! It was a really nice experience and perfect for mother-daughter time!
So, with all that being said, what would my recommendation be? Well, that depends on what you are looking for. Here are my thoughts for choosing each!
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Many people choose this option because it is right inside Cinderella Castle and directly across from the entrance to Cinderella’s Royal Table. There is also a location at Disney Springs™, where it is sometimes much easier to get an appointment.
There is just something about being in Cinderella Castle that makes the experience extra magical, especially for a younger princess or prince. The Fairy Godmothers-in-Training really play along and there is nothing like the big reveal and seeing your child’s face light up when she is turned around to see what she looks like. They also announce her name, something along the lines of “Presenting Princess Abigail”.
There are photographers available throughout the whole appointment capturing all of those moments, including the big reveal! I am a BIG fan of Memory Maker and this is another reason why. In addition, you can walk right over to Castle Couture to the Disney’s Photopass studio and get pictures taken, which will also be added to your Memory Maker if you have it.
If you are looking for the whole princess experience, complete with gown and accessories, this is the way to go! There are packages available for every budget and there are options for princesses AND princes! You start by choosing one of three hairstyles for your princess and then choose one of the following packages (prices are current and subject to change)
- Crown Package – hairstyle, makeup and face gem, nail polish and princess sash and cinch bag (starting at $64.95 plus tax)
- Courtyard Package – hairstyle, makeup and face gem, nail polish, t-shirt and tutu, princess sash and cinch bag (starting at $109.95 plus tax)
- Castle Package – hairstyle, makeup and face gem, nail polish, Princess necklace, sash and cinch bag, Disney Princess gown of your choice (no shoes) and coordinating accessories (starting at 199.95 plus tax)
- Princess Signature Dress Collection – Disney Princess gown made with high-quality fabric and intricate designs, crystal tiara with box, organza garment bag and satin hanger, hairstyle, makeup and face gem, nail polish, princess sash and cinch bag (starting at $450.00 plus tax)
For a little prince in your life, there are the following options:
- Knight Package – hairstyling with gel, sword, and shield, and confetti ($19.95 plus tax)
- Deluxe Knight Package – prince costume, hair styling with gel, sword, and shield, confetti ($79.95 plus tax)
Ivy Trellis Salon
My daughter loved the fact that she could choose any hairstyle she wanted, based off of her favorite princess. She was so excited to get her hair done like Belle. I loved that there were also options for me that were subtler but still allowed us to have that time together getting pampered.
The environment was quiet and I think a hidden gem! It was very easy to get an appointment and we had the salon to ourselves most of the time we were there– it was small but still in the beautiful setting of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. It was a breathtaking place to take some pictures afterwards.
Pricing was very similar to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and as I mentioned, there were many more options. It felt more personalized. Here are the options available and the pricing for both children and adults:
- Storybook Style – Includes your choice of character-inspired hairstyle: $50 (children ages 4-14) or $80 (adults)
- Magical Makeover – Includes your choice of character-inspired hairstyle and makeup: $75 (children ages 4-14) or $105 (adults)
- Timeless Transformation – Includes your choice of character-inspired hairstyle, makeup, and nails: $90 (children ages 4-14) or $120 (adults)
Overall, I feel that both experiences were wonderful! If it is your first time doing something like this, it’s a special occasion or you only plan to do it once, there is nothing like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for a little princess or prince! However, if you are looking for a great mother-daughter experience with an older girl, Ivy Trellis is the way to go. There are other salons on property that provide these packages as well. We chose Ivy Trellis because it was close to Magic Kingdom® and we took the monorail over and back.
We traveled in May, and we didn’t purchase any princess dresses that are sold in the parks this time. However, I found some GREAT options on Etsy. My daughter loved them because they were cool and comfortable and she stayed in them all day! Both places allow you to bring your own dress. You can change your child before your appointment so they are ready to go. The dresses that you purchase there are beautiful but if you opt to bring your own, there are many options.
When we went to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, we always did it just before our dinner. This worked well because my daughter wore her dress for the dinner and pictures and then changed into something more comfortable. That being said, if you are trying to get your money’s worth, and especially if you opt not to purchase the dress, I would recommend getting your appointment for as early as possible. Your child can walk around the park, get tons of pictures, and everyone notices a beautiful princess or handsome prince! I found that for either option, adding this extra bit of magic to my vacations was so fun and so worth it! They are both experiences that have given my own princess, and this sentimental mommy, some incredible memories!
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