Updated January 4, 2017
Disneyland and California Adventure are seen differently from the eyes of a princess fan. The castle, the characters, the attractions and more all add up to a magical place for adoring eyes and I don’t want you to miss anything the parks have to offer.
Here, I’ll detail how to dress your little one, what you’ll need to bring, where to get a Disneyland makeover, which attractions you shouldn’t miss, where to meet and see princesses, and how to dine with one. Also included, some tips on photographing your daughter beyond the basics you already know.
Grab your wand, and let’s get busy!
In this article
- The Dress:
- The Dress Accessories:
- Princess Essentials:
- The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique:
- Check in for your BBB Appt at the Royal Reception:
- Here are the brochures you’ll find in the boutiques:
- Princess Attractions:
- Princess Encounters:
- Princess Dining:
- Parades and Shows:
- Photographing your Princess:
- To Go Directly to the Princesses:
- Final Tips:
- Bitts and Pieces, on Etsy, has darling options that are made with t-shirt material on top. These dresses are soft and comfy, too, for an entire day in the park itch-free.
- The Pauper’s Castle has fancy dresses that are comfy, as well. She has a range of designs to choose from – to keep it simple or really make a statement.
- Amazon, Target, Walmart and others sell princess dresses at a fraction of the cost for what you’ll buy in the parks. While the park versions are beautifully embellished, you won’t find a huge change in quality and you can achieve the same look for $20 (off-site) rather than $65+ (on-site).
- Consider resale shops. I’ve bought several dresses for as little as $5 each at places like Children’s Orchard, Once Upon a Child and others. When you shop resale, ask the store associate if they have costume dresses. Often, they’ll keep them in the back waiting for Halloween.
- If you buy a Disney dress, have your princess wear her dress OVER play clothes because at some point, the dress might get itchy and she’ll want to take it off.
The Dress Accessories:
- Wands can be bought off-site for less. Walmart carries a large selection of ‘party favor’ items that work well for wands.
- Mardi gras beads and those similar in quality allow your little one to feel dressed up, but won’t stress you out if they lose or break a piece.
- Tiaras and crowns can be found off-site, too, at discount retailers. As with dresses, check Etsy for creative and one-of-a-kind options.
- Sparkly eye shadow and nail polish are fun additions for princesses that won’t easily wear off with sunblock or sweat throughout the day.
- If your princess insists on the plastic heel variety of shoes (like mine), bring along a pair of socks for when they start to hurt. Go ahead and re-stock band aids, too.
- Poms, bows, or gift wrap embellishments are a fun addition to regular shoes to coordinate with princess dresses.
- The autograph book is a must. She’ll need this for princess encounters and for other Disney characters, too. Buy them off site for less or grab one at just about any store or kiosk at the parks for just under $20.
- Make sure your princess has a pen for her autograph book because princesses don’t have pockets, of course! Felt tip markers work best for most characters because they’re working with gloves and clunky costumes.
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique:
I consider this one of the best values at the park and I wasn’t expecting to say that when I scheduled our session.
- Just beyond Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the boutique offers ‘princess makeovers’ with varying packages and rates to match. We have always chosen the Crown Package for $59.95, which includes hair styling, make up, princess accessories and nail polish. Our princess wears her own dress in, but there are options which include the dress.
- The experience includes the actual makeover and a sweet ‘first presentation’ which still makes me tear up each time I see it. When your daughter is ready, the fairy godmother styling your princess turns her around for a first look with lots of special attention. The curtains are pulled back so the princess can see her reflection in the magic mirror while stars appear in the glass.
- After your little one is dressed head-to-toe, you can continue the experience with the Capture the Magic option (for an additional fee). Photographs are taken in the back of the boutique by a PhotoPass photographer in a darling setting complete with carriage and woodland critters. If you purchase these photos (for $35), you will be given a code for the images so that you can add them to a PhotoPass package. PhotoPass photographers are not out for the actual makeovers.
- Knight packages are available for your prince, too, starting at $15.95. These include hair styling, a sword and shield.
- Knight packages are available to boys and girls and princess makeovers are the same. If your little boy wants to be a princess for the day, he’s more than welcome.
- Your little one will leave with a bag filled with beauty products used during your session including the brush, make up, nail polish and more.
- Call ahead to make your reservation at (714) 781-STYLE (7895).
- I recommend selecting a morning time so that your princess can enjoy the makeover’s results throughout the day and into the evening.
- Check out Anna and Elsa’s Boutique in Downtown Disney for Frozen themed makeovers. The prices are lower than the BBB and the hair styles are darling!
Check in for your BBB Appt at the Royal Reception:
This house is located to the right of Pinocchio in Fantasyland. Check in there for your BBB appt and then you and your children will be escorted through Fantasyland to the boutique.
The house looks like this:
The inside of the house is darling. You’ll be able to browse the princess dresses and the knight shirt now available. These options are on display in the house and for sale at the actual BBB.
The knight shirt is $35 and is not part of the knight package, which includes the hair style, sword and shield.
Here are the brochures you’ll find in the boutiques:
These attractions are perfect for your princess, with some specifically themed for princesses and others that simply fit with the genre.
- Alice in Wonderland
- Mad Tea Party (tea cups)
- Storybook Land Boats
- King Arthur Carrousel
- Sleeping Beauty Castle Tour (walk up and through the castle)
- Snow White’s Scary Adventure (can be VERY scary for little ones – this is a dark ride)
- Little Mermaid (at California Adventure)
- Fantasy Faire – This is the princess mecca and shouldn’t be missed. Royal Hall is a meet-n-greet for up to 3 princesses at a time and is perfect for photos and autographs. The Royal Theatre is located here, too, and has the Frozen Show and Tangled.
- Pixie Hollow – Tinker Bell and a friend can be found in this fairy sized hollow. Blades of grass and flowers tower above you making you feel like a tiny fairy. Wait in line in the cute little scene for your Tinker Bell encounter.
- Meet Elsa and Anna – From the super popular Frozen, Elsa and Anna are set for a meet-n-greet in California Adventure. See this post for everything you need to know.
- Elena of Avalor has arrived at California Adventure and there’s a lot to know! Be sure you’re prepared before your visit.
- The premier princess dining experience is at Ariel’s Grotto Restaurant in California Adventure. This table service option is princessy fun and requires a reservation. Call (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time) to secure your time. Character dining is a great option for up-close encounters. You can mingle with the characters, take photos and get autographs, too.
- While not specifically themed for princesses, I recommend Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe as an affordable option for a “princess” meal. This is a quick service restaurant with a Mary Poppins theme, a beautiful patio to dine in and has varied views of the castle. It photographs beautifully for your ‘royal feast’. This isn’t set up for princesses by any means, but the backdrop is pretty.
Parades and Shows:
Each of these options includes princesses in some way and would be a great addition to your princess-themed day. Check the daily entertainment schedule for times and dates. Not all on this list are scheduled everyday.
- Mickey’s Soundsational Parade – Disneyland
- Fantasmic – Disneyland (on hiatus currently)
- World of Color – California Adventure
You can find more info on parades and fireworks in a previous post.
Photographing your Princess:
- Change your settings to black-and-white or use a similar filter when finishing your images. This adds a timeless, classic feel to your pictures.
- Take photos of candid moments in addition to the posed ones. These often turn out to be favorites because they tell the story of your visit.
- Have your camera ready for important encounters like seeing the castle for the first time or waving at a favorite princess during a parade.
- Position your princess in the middle of Main Street for a nice juxtaposition between busy, determined Disneyland guests and a sweet little princess taking it all in.
- Take photos from your daughter’s eye level or below for a perspective from your child’s point of view. Rather than looking down on your princess, crouch to street level for photos. This puts your child as the main focus with Disneyland as a back drop.
- Walk just to the right of the castle toward the Snow White Grotto for a less crowded photography spot. This area gives you more personal space and allows you to capture the water around the castle in your photos, too. Keep walking to the wishing well at the grotto for more fun photo ops.
To Go Directly to the Princesses:
If you are completely focused on princesses and aren’t worried about the rest of my recommendations on how to start your mornings at Disneyland, this map will show you how to get directly to Fantasy Faire.
- Locker Storage is available for elaborate costumes (and anything else you bring in). Having bulky items stored nearby and off your back will decrease your stress for the day.
- Remember that being a princess is hard work and occasional melt downs are part of the gig.
- Embrace the princess years. They don’t last forever!
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