It used to be the dress was enough. Then came cute little custom shoes. Now virtually every accessory you can imagine is available to transform your cherub into the princess of her choice. Purses, tiaras, wigs, wands…wait. what? Why? Dunno, but by gum every well-dressed little Cinderella impersonator should have one. And now the transformation is truly complete with the full package offered by Walt Disney World’s own on site salon, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Commercial over, because unless you have been living under a rock for a million years, you already know about this place. There are two locations, one at the Magic Kingdom and the other at Downtown Disney. The prices range from expensive to expensive-r, with some tips and tricks here to keep costs down.
The packages run from about 50 dollars to over 200 dollars, depending on the level of “makeover” and the costumes and other accessories purchased. There can be photo shoots as part of the package, as well, and as with so many things Disney, a good part of the experience is just that: the experience, so it’s hard to put a price on that.
Listen, I won’t lie. I am…not a big fan of the BBB. I think sometimes CMs go a bit overboard in their makeup job on these tiny princesses and the result is more Bibbidi Bobbidi Bimbo. Some of the little girls look just sweet as candy and you want to snatch them up and hug them. (Note: Do NOT snatch strange little children up and hug them at Disney. In fact, make that a general policy in your life.) Other little girls, I am sure equally sweet in truth, look like Mom just dragged them off the set of Toddlers and Tiaras. When done well, the concept is adorable. When not, well, let’s just say it’s not.
But it’s popular as sin, and honestly, my “little girl” is my not at all girly 14 year old niece, so I don’t have the same urge to get a little cherub of my own into the mix to be dolled up that other folks do. If my niece could go get some sort of Stitch make over, then I would be soon going broke(r). At the moment, though, I am safe.
There are some options to mitigate cost a bit (options, as you see, are a recurring theme on this blog) and still provide a wonderful time to your little princess.
First off, are you gung ho to Bibbidi Bobbidi your little one because SHE wants to, or are you more excited about it? Either way, if you have the cash, and your heart-or hers-is set on it, by all means. Please never think I am trying to pee in anyone’s Wheaties about this just because I am not a fan. I don’t like falling elevators either, but I send my husband up Tower of Terror quite happily. It’s just the first thing you want to think about, because if you can guide your tiny princess to some less expensive alternatives that will have you breathing a sigh of relief, then let’s do that.
Second, eighty-six *any* idea of getting the dress in the park, especially at BBB, that day. I will cover this in detail in its own article, but suffice it to say that many places carry licensed Disney costumes, and also gorgeous, non-specific princess dresses, for a fraction of what they are at the parks. The deluxe ones are also the ones you will most likely find at BBB, too, and sometimes the cheaper ones are far preferable when walking around in the Florida sun all day.
Third, if you go with BBB and you already have your princess dress in hand before you arrive, I recommend going with the least expensive option available. All packages include the hair and the makeup, as well as a sash. The nails can be painted for the next tier up, but you can do that yourself the night before, and the additional stick on (read: fall off) nails they put on over top are a recipe for tears when they end up in the drink riding it’s a small world. That’s five dollars saved right there, not to mention the cost of the dress.
The more deluxe packages are often pushed because you get the added photo package, which, unlike PhotoPass media, is included in the price of BBB. But let’s look at “included”. The minimum cost for the “Castle” package is $189. You have your dress and can do the minimum option for a relatively small fee. The pictures are admittedly lovely, but how beautiful (and creative. And cheap.) would your own photo shoot around the park(s) be? Why be limited by the satin couch and ruffled backdrop their portrait room affords? Why not a gorgeous, sun soaked shot of your princess at La Fontaine de Cendrillon (Cinderella’s Fountain to you ruuuubes out there. :)) ? Or at the Wishing Well? If you are skilled with even a decent point and shoot, you can get black and white shots, sunny shots, softer shots…and then bring them all home and play with the images in a photo editing program like Picasa. If you MUST have the professional touch, consider a bargain photo package at Sears or similar service. They usually have a fairly princess-y background option and are miles cheaper.
Of course, the least expensive option isn’t the BBB at all. If your daughter is fine with letting you put on her makeup and dress and just wants a little extra attention and pixie dust, think about sidling over to the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street. For less than 20 dollars they will cut your child’s hair and style it simply, with a flourish of glitter, confetti, and even coloured hair gel, if you like. The experience is more small town than royal engagement, but magical enough that most tiny pixies likely won’t even know the difference. Rest assured, these folks famous for their “first haircut” package also know how to treat a lady…or a gentleman. While the boys also have a “Knights” option at BBB, most little fellas wouldn’t be caught dead in such a girl realm, and the Harmony Barber Shop works for a more mixed crowd. You don’t even have to do the cut-ask about pricing for just the style and bling.
Also good to know, while costumes on grownups are not permitted at Disney (which makes me seethe with princess envy) the other available services are there for kids of all ages, so go ahead and get that princess makeover if you like. Just tell them no Tammy Faye.