5 Ways to guarantee a magical experience for your princess
If your pint-sized princess lights up every time that she pretends to be royalty, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a must-do at Disneyland. From head to toe, she’ll be transformed into any princess that her little heart desires. And the best part? You don’t have to wish upon a star or depend on the wave of a wand and a few magic words to make her dreams come true!
1/Primping your princess
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique has several package options to suit any little girl from the basic Crown level up to the Castle level. The Crown package includes a hairstyle of your daughter’s choice (with cute little extras like a crown for her bun or colorful extensions), glittery makeup, princess sash, cinch bag, sticky gems for her face, and nail polish. Cost: $59.95.
The Castle package is the ultimate experience. It includes all of the Crown options, plus any princess gown from the shop, crown, wand, photos taken near Cinderella’s carriage, and magic dust on top! She’ll be escorted by her fairy godmother-in-training (because there’s only one true fairy godmother) out of the boutique and paraded next door for priority entry into the Royal Hall in Fantasy Faire (read: bypassing long lines) to meet the Princesses as a princess herself. The Princesses in the Royal Hall rotate, but you can expect to see Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel or Belle. Be sure to bring your autograph book with a pen, so you daughter can get signatures. (We bought a Frozen book with a pen for $8.49 on Amazon Prime, before arriving. You can buy them in the park, but they’ll cost a bit more.) Cost: $199.95.
KidTripster Tip: If you can’t spring for the grand daddy package, you can still give her the royal treatment! A quick trip to the Disney Store before your vacation, and you can buy a princess dress to surprise your little diva. On sale, I scored one for $20! In the boutique, they start at around $69.
KidTripster Tip: There’s something for boys, too! For brave little knights ready to tackle dragons, the Knight package includes hairstyling, sword, and shield.
2/Do splurge on a few extras
Even if you buy the basic Crown package and bring a dress from home, don’t miss out on a few extras to put your daughter’s day over the top. We splurged on the photo portrait package; it was well worth it! Our little Rapunzel waited eagerly along side other little girls to take professional photos after her makeover. All of the girls were playing with wands in their fluffy princess gowns and wore sparkly jewelry. So naturally, we caved and bought the wand and jewelry, which made her feel extra special! When she glided into the room housing Cinderella’s carriage, her eyes twinkled. The photographer asked her to use the newly-purchased wand and say “bibbidi, bobbidi, boo!” Suddenly, the lights in the room turned off, and the light in the coach turned on. It was a fairy tale moment indeed, one that she’s talked about for weeks. Plus, the princess photos are truly priceless.
3/Visit the princesses
If you don’t go all-in on the big package and get escorted next door, still visit the princesses after your daughter’s transformation. She’ll feel like she belongs with royalty with her hair and makeup perfected and her dress flowing. An added bonus, all of the Disney cast members will call her “princess” while she’s in costume for the rest of the day.
We didn’t wait in line more than five minutes, but timing is everything, my friend! Depending on the time of the day, waits can be 45 minutes or more; mid-mornings and mid-afternoons appeared to be the busiest. Best to get in early or hope that a friend, spouse or grandparent is willing to secure your spot in line, while your little one is transformed.
Also keep in mind, you can take your own photos when meeting any princess (or any characters in the park). Professional photographers will also snap a few pictures and add them to your Disney PhotoPass card, which you can buy prints from later.
KidTripster Tip: The princesses rotate at the Fantasy Faire; a sign out front tells you who is inside. Our Sleeping Beauty-crazy girl wanted desperately to meet Princess Aurora. She is the unicorn of princesses, though; often talked about, rarely seen. But if you ask the Disney cast members at the entrance to Fantasy Faire, they’ll tell you where and when princesses (and other characters) will be around the park. Or you can use the free Disneyland map app. It’s brilliant for giving you times and locations for character sightings (plus shows, food, bathrooms, and more).
4/Don't forget lunch
If you have a princess- or prince-crazy kid, a royal lunch is an absolute must! When you make your BBB reservation, ask the reservation specialist how long the experience will take, given your package and photos. Then make a lunch reservation accordingly.
Head over to Disney California Adventure to dine under the sea at Ariel’s Grotto. This royal lunch features appearances from several princesses, while you eat from a price-fixed menu. First you’ll walk down the winding grand staircase to be greeted by Ariel (read: photo op!). Then you’ll be seated. Our little girl was on Cloud Nine as each princess stopped at our table and spent several minutes chatting with her, peppering her with compliments on her princess makeover and signing her book. The experience absolutely made her trip. She smiled ear to ear. Now that’s Disney magic at its best!
KidTripster Tip: You’ll need a Park Hopper Ticket, at least for the day you go to BBB and Ariel’s Grotto, as one is on the Disney side, while the other is on the Disney California side of the resort.
While there are several salon chairs for little princesses, you’d be wise to book ahead. The BBB only takes reservations over the phone; you can call (714) 781-7895 up to 60 days in advance. The website outlines the different packages, so choose wisely.
Book ahead for Ariel’s Grotto. Again, dining reservations can be made up to 60 days ahead. Mark it on your calendar! The restaurant books up quickly. You can make a reservation online or by calling (714) 781-DINE.
Meghan Kalkstein is a former journalist, living in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and two children. When she’s not chasing a 3-year-old and a baby, you can catch her wielding a hot glue gun, sewing or crafting like crazy.