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5 Tips for Dressing Your Kids Up at Disney

One of the questions I get asked a lot on social media is about Livvy Bird and her outfits. For her, dressing up is part of going to Disney. Her friends do it and she doesn’t remember not doing it herself. The older she gets the more she has an opinion on outfits and the more elaborate and close to the characters she wants them to be. Back in the day I could dress her in anything these days she’s pretty much against dressing as a male character, even if it’s a dress version, she wants the gowns and isn’t that content wearing the cotton unusual version and now she’s all about wigs and accessories, she’s definitely heading more into the cosplay territory of things. The bags of outfits I take the park are definitely getting heavier (thanks LB) but seeing her face is worth it.

Because I get asked so often about her outfits I thought I’d share 5 tips for dressing your kids up at Disney. I’m going to try and make it as broad as possible so it applies to any and all Disney parks, but the weather does affect to what sort of outfits we pack. She’s also 5 years old and very opinionated. If they’re still young you can get away with anything, just make sure they’re comfy and weather appropriate.

Talk to Your Child About What They Want.
I cannot stress this enough. You may have seen little girls in full princess gowns, wigs, the works and dream of your kid meeting a princess like that but a lot of kids cannot deal with all the extra fuss and a wig on top. You might have dreamt about sibling sets but an 8 year old might not want to dress as Donald Duck to match their sibling as Daisy. You have to take their feelings into consideration. My nephew is 4 months older than LB and there is no way he’d want to be matchy matchy with her, in fact he only wants to take his Star Wars outfit regardless of who he meets. As much as my sister and I would love to give LB a Peter to her Wendy or  Woody to her Bo Peep, it’s not going to happen and we have to respect that. I have seen parents forcing their kids into outfits and it’s not pretty and although the photos may make me laugh it’s hardly a memory any family wants to have. LB doesn’t do any villains except the Tremaines, and even then she’d still rather be Cinderella.. we have a gorgeous Mickey dress I love but she’d rather be Minnie. It can be disappointing but what would be even worse would be ruining her experience for something I want.

Look at Scheduled Character Meets and Character Dining.
If you or your kid is wanting to match the characters they’re going to meet, a good starting point is to check out the meet and greet schedule. Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris have an app that has meet and greet spots and often times marked so I can plan what outfits to wear. People often ask “how did you know that character would be there?” I’ve not got a special radio that tells me who is going to be out and there, I just plan around the apps. Like wise when it comes to character dining. Although Auberge de Cendrillon in Disneyland Paris does switch up it’s princesses, Cinderella is always there as it’s her restaurant so if you want your kid to match a princess that’s a safe bet. Cinderella is also always at Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom and Belle is always at Akershus in Epcot if you’re doing Walt Disney World.

Splurge on the Unusual.
Although on the whole, all of LB’s outfits are handmade as she has sensitive skin. A lot of the store bought outfits irritate her and she ends up with a eczema flair up. I’ve always been a firm believer in picking dresses that can’t be bought in store. They do make for much more interesting meets and it’s a conversational point to talk about other dresses especially among princesses. Characters like Pinocchio, Lilo and Wendy love to see their outfits on other people since you can’t buy them in store and then characters you can’t meet like Bo Peep, the Bimbettes and even Jane are great if you meet characters from the same movie. Some of my absolute favourites like Briar Rose and Ariel’s Kiss the Girl dress have made for some fantastic meets because they’re so unusual.

Think About the Weather
I’m going to start with Disneyland Paris, especially in the Winter. I see posts about dressing kids up in the Winter all the time on Facebook groups and I’m going to tell you now, that with planning it’s possible. We went during the coldest week of the year last January. It was even too cold for most fur characters to be out and the fountain best Plaza Gardens had frozen over, LB still dressed up. She was Daisy Duck, Wendy Darling and Belle in her pink dress. These are all outfits that were too big for her, heck she’d never even worn pink Belle prior to this trip as it had been too big but they were perfect for layering up. I bought thermal underwear, thermal tops, skii fleece and tights, leggings, gloves, the lot. I got creative by buying a cape for her pink Belle dress and ear muffs to put her Daisy bow on. By the time I was finished she was snug as a bug! I took her coat too but she barely wore it as she was so warm with all her layer plus the oversized costume.

Walt Disney World is the opposite, it gets so hot in the summer that many people argue against letting your kids dress up. But with some pre-planning and using etsy, you can. Pick light weight cotton dresses, if your kids wants a princess dress search for “inspired” dresses. LB had a gorgeous halterneck Snow White dress on our last trip. She also had sleeveless Briar Rose dress. The lightweight cotton dresses are actually cooler than a t-shirt and shorts and they still feel like they’re dressing up. We also have a no wigs policy in WDW. It’s caused some upset and worry that she won’t be recognised but I would rather she was cool and thankfully she understands that.

Don’t Take Too Many Changes
We have a 3 outfit rule. Maybe four if we’re taking a break at the hotel but if we’re out all day I will only carry 3 and I feel that’s quite enough. I spread the sorts of characters out we’re going to meet. If we’re doing Magic Kingdom and she’s taking Wendy we’ll see Peter and Tink on the same day. She usually only wears Jane Porter at Animal Kingdom even for multiple characters as the exploring theme works well. At Epcot Honey Lemon is great for all Future World meets freeing up for two other costumes for World Showcase. If she’s wearing Daisy we’ll go see as many of the Fab 5 as possible.. this way it saves on multiple changes especially if it’s hot. Yes it’s nice to match, but it’s not always possible and you don’t want to take too much and end up with creased dresses!

If your kids wants to dress up at Disney, I say go for it! As far as LB is concerned it adds to the experience and magic for her, especially in Florida when she can do group dress up with her friends. Don’t let the weather put you off and with some planning you can come away with some wonderful photos of matching outfits and brilliant character meet memories.

And just a note to say thank you to Livvy Bird’s fairy godmothers, Bee at Closet Geek and Vivi at Magical Things. You have made her so happy with your wonderful creations. Be sure to check out their shops and contact them if you want any customs.

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