A Guest’s Guide to Dressing Up at Disney
A Guest’s Guide to Dressing Up at Disney
Kate K.

Disney is the home of wishes, dreams, and imagination and sometimes we want to be a part of that magic. If you’re traveling with youngsters under the age of 14 then fulfilling that wish is as simple as purchasing any number of character costumes for your princesses, pirates, space rangers and superheroes. But what about teenagers and adult Disney fans? Well, it turns out that on a typical Disney Day you can’t dress up like the little ones do. But there are a few ways to express your Disney self all the same. So join us for the Guest’s Guide to Dressing Up at Disney.

Little Ones Dressing Up at Disney

So Why the 14 and under rule?

Disney is all about the ‘Magic’ and Walt Disney set up rules to preserve that magic for his guests. They include things like face characters (the princes, princesses, villains, and heroes that greet guests without a full mask) referring to their roles as a ‘friend of such and such a character’. This means that if you ask an off-duty cast member what their role is and they tell you, ‘oh I’m a Friend of Belle’ that means that they are one of the cast who puts on the Gold Dress and greets guests.

Another rule was that cast members had to stay in their designated areas. This means that you won’t see cowboys running around space mountain, or pirates raiding the It’s a Small World queue. So with such strict rules for employees, it may not be as much of a surprise that Adult guests aren’t allowed to wear full costumes. It’s to preserve the magic.

Imagine a small guest who loves Belle or Ariel, and they see a grown up, or even older teen dressed up in full Belle gear. They might think that the guest is the real deal, and having to be told ‘no it’s just another guest’ could potentially break the magic for them. And that is something that is never allowed.

But why the 14-year-old cut off?

It may seem a bit arbitrary, but that’s also the age cut off for many of the behind the scenes tours. The idea is that by 14 guests are old enough to be able to see ‘behind the curtain’ without taking the fun out of their visit. So if 14 is old enough to see behind the scenes and understand how the magic is made, then in Disney’s eyes its also old enough to follow the grown-up costume rules to preserve the magic for the younger group.

So How do I show my Disney Side?

Now that you know why full costumes aren’t allowed outside of special events, here are some fun ways to show your Disney side without breaking the rules.

Attend a Party

The official Disney Dress Code Rules state that “Costumes (and Masks) may not be worn by guests 14 years of age or older” unless you are attending special events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and Star Wars: Galactic Nights. For other special events, this rule applies to it’s best to check the official Disney website. What this means is that if you have tickets to any of these events then you can pull out the dresses, wings, and wigs, but keep in mind there are some specific rules to follow.

Party Rules for Costumes

Main Street USA Fall in Walt Disney World
Photo by Amy Humphries via Unsplash

Even though the 14 and under the ban is lifted for all guests during special events, there are still some guidelines that you will be expected to follow!

Guests can dress up as their favorite costumes but may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other guests. Now, this rule pretty simple on the surface, a guests stops you and asks to snap a selfie or for an autograph you say no. However, if you meet up with friends or find a bunch of people with the same costume and you all have to share it on Twitter I doubt Disney will mind that much.

No Capes…unless they only hit your waist. And no masks for anyone older than 14. Kids 13 and under can wear half masks that show the eyes. As far as we can tell, face paint is reasonable. (Though I don’t know many folks who would want to wear it in Orlando)

Costumes cannot contain anything that resembles a real weapon. So that means that your Han Solo and Winter Soldier will have to go gunless, but your Kylo Ren can still rock the lightsaber. You also can’t wear anything sharp, pointed, or hazardous to guests around you.

Costumes cannot reach the ground or drag on the ground. So full-length princess dresses are out, but you could totally rock Belle’s blue dress look. Any costume that covers the whole body is ‘strongly discouraged’. Anyone wearing one will be searched when you enter the parks!

You can also wear themed clothing, tutus, transparent wings, and headgear as long as your face is uncovered.

So go ahead and break out the Tinkerbell wings, the lightsabers, and the magic wands, because of its party time.

Rules for Grown Ups Dressing Up at Disney

Other Exceptions to the Rules for Dressing Up at Disney

So let’s say that your trip doesn’t fall in a time when Disney is throwing a party. Don’t worry, there are still a couple of ways to get into the spirit of things.

Disney Bounding

Disney Bounding is a fan trend that has been growing in the past decade or so. The idea is to emulate a character with a themed outfit. Since themed clothing is always allowed, a Disney Bound does not count as a costume. So this lets you dress up without breaking any rules. So while you can’t go to the parks dressed up like Tinkerbelle, for example. You could put on a pair of green converse, a pair of khaki shorts, a green top with glitter wings painted on the back. Pull your hair up in a bun and voila! You have a Tinkerbell Disney Bound. If you need more ideas on what makes a Disney bound, then you can check out YouTube for other examples folks have posted over the years.

The Epcot Rule

Another exception to the hard and fast ‘No Costumes’ rule is the traditional outfits sold in Epcot. Many of the pavilions sell the traditional cultural dress. These include cheongsams in China, Berrets in France and Mexican Skirts and Shirts in Mexico. You can purchase these items and wear them out of the store and around the World Showcase. You can even buy a Kimono in Japan and wear it out of the store. In fact, the store employees in Mitsukoshi even offer a special demonstration to show you how to wear your Kimono. Mind you, I’ve only ever known of one person doing this (I’m not saying it was me or anything…).  But to stay on the safe side I’d stick to Disney bounding and the Disney Party Rules!

The General Dress Code for all other occasions

If you don’t want to Disney Bound or dress up for a costume party that’s perfectly fine! But keep in mind there are some rules that will apply to you as well! Guests cannot show excessive skin, inappropriate tattoos or wear clothing with inappropriate messages.  Disney may tell you to cover up or change clothes if you are wearing anything that doesn’t follow their guidelines. This is why you need to know before you go! Disney also prohibits excessively torn clothing. The site also says that anyone wearing multiple layers can be subjected to additional searches.

Disney has also stated that they reserve the right to deny entrance to anyone wearing anything that they deem inappropriate or that would take away from the experiences of other guests. So if your outfit, costume or Disney Bound is a bit over the top we’d recommend packing an additional set of clothes. That way you can still get into the parks no matter what the occasion!

That’s our Guest’s Guide to Dressing Up at Disney! You can comment below if you have any stories you’d like to share or questions you’d like to ask.

Kate K.

Kate K. is a freelance writer, artist, designer, and programmer. She has been working with Homes4uu as our primary blogger, graphic designer, webmaster, and social media manager since 2014. You can also find Kate on her homesite www.k8ilyeverafter.com and her blog k8ilyeverafterpresents.com.

Read More About Kate K. here

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