(Article last checked: April 14, 2016)
This is a guest post from Christina Weyers. For info on how to be a guest writer, check here for more info. Here's Christina...
So when I was thinking about planning our family’s first trip to Disney World, making an appointment at Bibbidi Bobbbidi Boutique for our 4 1/2-year-old daughter was on the top on the list.
Due to some circumstances, we actually only booked our Disney trip 45 days in advance. In talking with our Disney planner, BBB was one of those, “if we can’t get it, it’s not worth going” experiences in my mind. Luckily, she did get us an appointment so we were all set!
But there’s so much to consider even before booking the actual reservation. Here are a few things to keep in mind and some tips on making the most out of your magical Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience...
Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom or Disney Springs?
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique has two locations - one inside Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom and one at Disney Springs. I had heard the Disney Springs location was bigger and less crowded, but we chose the Magic Kingdom location for a couple of reasons.
First, Cinderella’s Royal Table was closed during our visit and I really wanted our daughter to have that go-inside-the-castle magical moment and this was a way to achieve that.
Second, we only had 3.5 days total in the parks so the thought of taking the time to travel back and forth to Disney Springs, especially in the midst of the construction traffic nightmare, seemed like a big waste of time.
With that said, the castle location is small and there’s minimal seating in the waiting area and the salon. So with dozens of crazy hyper girls, overzealous parents, fairy godmother stylists and a few PhotoPass photographers running around, it’s organized chaos at BEST.
When to schedule the appointment during your trip
Because the whole purpose of doing Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is for your little girl to have that magical transformation experience where she leaves looking and feeling like a princess, strongly consider booking the appointment at a time that coordinates with a princess meal or princess meet-and-greet.
Our Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointment was at 6:30 p.m. on our first day at Magic Kingdom prior to our FastPass+ reservation to meet Anna and Elsa at 9:40 p.m. Yes, a FastPass+ at 9:40 p.m. for our 4 year old - don’t judge until you’ve tried to get a FP+ for Anna and Elsa 45 days out. You take what you can get!
For our daughter, meeting Anna and Elsa was her most memorable moment so having BBB precede this was perfect timing.
Tip #1 - Bring your own dress and accessories from home
There are several packages to choose from, ranging from $60-$195. We booked The Crown package, which was the most basic. In my opinion, it’s all you really need. It includes hairstyling, shimmering make-up, face gem, nail polish, a princess sash, and tote.
We brought our own Elsa dress, shoes and princess tiara from home and I just let her change into everything right before we went to the boutique. Sure, she saw all the dresses there to buy, but I would say the majority of girls we saw brought their own dresses.
(Note from Shannon: there are dressing rooms inside Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where you can change if you'd like.)
In looking at the other packages, the price jumps just don’t seem worth it for what you get. Check here for all of the pricing and style details (click the "Read More" link under "Princess-Perfect Packages" for the info).
Tip #2 - book early and plan accordingly
This probably goes without saying but appointments fill up FAST. If you have an idea of what day and what time you want, book as early as possible. There’s a very small chance you’ll be able to walk in to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and actually get an appointment.
From Shannon: booking is done by phone at 7 a.m. eastern time, up to 180 days in advance by calling 407-WDW-STYLE. People who are booking 180 days in advance might find it tricky to plan BBB around dining reservations (especially if trying to pair it with Cinderella's Royal Table), since dining reservations open up at 6 a.m. eastern time online but BBB appointments can be booked by phone beginning at 7 a.m. To increase the odds of getting them together, I'd suggest trying to book them both for late morning.
Tip #3 - allow extra time for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique’s tardiness
We booked an early dinner at Crystal Palace so that we'd be done eating before our 6:30 reservation at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. After our appointment, we had an 8 p.m. FastPass+ for the Electrical Parade. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointment itself takes about 35-45 minutes depending on the hairstyle chosen so I thought we’d be ok (so did our travel planner).
But the later in the day your appointment is, the higher the chance that they will be running behind. Hence, our daughter didn’t sit down with her fairy godmother until 50 minutes after her appointment time. (Can you say mom panic mode!) She also chose the Disney Diva hairstyle which was the most time-intensive.
The bonus? Our daughter actually had THREE fairy godmothers working on her at one time to move along the process. My husband and son were already at the FP+ location for the parade. We cut it so close that the BBB manager actually walked us all the way down Main Street to the FP+ parade location to ensure there were not issues.
Lesson learned? I would carve out at least 2 hours of your day for the BBB experience just to be safe. And booking a time earlier in the day is better than later to avoid the boutique running behind.
Tip #4 - bring cash to tip your fairy godmother
Tip is not included in your package, and you can’t add it afterward with a credit card or your MagicBand, so bring cash to tip your fairy godmother. I know this is a personal call, but I think she deserves it. I followed typical hairdresser tipping rules of 15%-20%.
Tip #5 - bring your own camera
Bring your own camera/video recorder. Don’t count on the PhotoPass photographers to capture the whole experience. There were only 2 photographers there for about 15 girls in chairs, so they only come around periodically and then at the end for the fairy dust moment.
Tip #6 - Be prepared: your princess may love it, BUT she may hate it
Your BBB godmother will tell you that the hairstyle will last up to 72 hours and your little princess may want to keep it in that long or she may not.
Everything to do with BBB is definitely fun- the big beauty chair, the cape, the fairy godmother, the fairy dust, the makeover, etc., but the hairstyle itself is most likely going to be out of your little princess’ comfort zone.
It’s tight, it’s itchy, it’s sprayed like a concrete wall and there’s a crown sticking into her head. So after a few hours when the BBB honeymoon wears off, your little girl may be ready to take it out…
....or she may want to leave it in FOREVER, so think about if you’re ok with the hairstyle in all of your photos, videos, and touring around Disney World for the next 3 days of your trip and think about what it may look like on day 2, 3, or 4.
Our little girl was somewhere in the middle. She insisted on sleeping in her new hairdo the first night and so the next day we headed to Hollywood Studios with her princess hair still intact...sort of.
Honestly, it was already a train wreck. I literally avoided eye contact with other parents who were probably judging how I let her out in public looking like this. But all I could do was laugh.
It was a hot mess, and by lunch on Day 2, she was done (it was itchy, it hurt, etc.). Unfortunately, we couldn’t attack the disassembly process until we got home that night.
She was back to being happy at bedtime after we removed the hair piece and did a thorough shower hair scrub.
Will we do this again next trip? Honestly, probably not. Our daughter had a great time and I’m glad we did it, but when you ask her about her favorite moments of the trip, this is not one she talks about. It was more about meeting all the princesses and riding the rides. Next time, I think we’ll skip it.
But did Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique deliver that once in a lifetime princess moment? ABSOLUTELY, which makes it worth doing, even if it’s just once.