Walt Disney World loves creating new ways for guests to experience the magic of Disney. They now offer a unique way for guests to transform themselves into a Disney Character during their vacation. These magical makeovers or Character Couture packages at Walt Disney World Salons draw upon the growing popularity of Disney Bounding. The Character Couture package is a makeover primarily for adults but is also available for children ages 4 – 12. These packages are available at all 4 Walt Disney World Salons.
This review comes from first hand experience of Character Couture starting in October 2018, but has been updated (most recently February 9, 2020) with the latest information released from Disney and our experiences.
Late 2017, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida quietly started offering Character Couture Packages. With the overwhelming response, Disney is now making Character Couture a permanent offering as of Spring 2018. Curious about this new experience, we decided to make an appointment for our daughter. With her 11th birthday around the corner, I’m sure this early birthday present will be the perfect way to celebrate. She has done Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in the past but Character Couture seems like a better fit for our budding tween!
Walt Disney World Salons
First, decide which Salon works best for you. Travel time to the salon is an important factor to consider. This is especially necessary if you are staying on Disney property and plan on utilizing Disney transportation. WaltVil Disney World Resort has the following salons to pick from:
- Ivy Trellis Salon at the Grand Floridian Resort
- Ship Shape Salon at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort
- La Vida Salon at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort Salon by the Springs.
We were happy to score an appointment 3 weeks out for Ivy Trellis Salon at the Grand Floridian Resort. The Grand Floridian is the only Salon on the Monorail loop which is convenient for going back to the Magic Kingdom, but Wilderness Lodge is nearly as close only a short boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom. The Beach Club Resorts Ship Shape Salon is your closest option if your plans have you in Epcot or Hollywood Studios with Coronado Springs also nearby with the Gondola Skyliner for access.
Also, make sure to ask if there are any current specials or discounts. Disney Vacation Club (DVC), Annual Passholders, and Disney Visa cardmembers currently enjoy a 15% discount on services. I suggest booking your appointment a minimum of 2 weeks prior to your desired appointment date. Appointments fill up even faster for those who want to pair their experience with a special event such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Villians After Hours, or any other special event.
There are currently 3 packages available with prices ranging from $50-$90 for children and $80-$120 for adults for you to pick from:
- Storybook Style (hairstyle)
- Magical Makeover (hairstyle and makeup)
- Timeless Transformation (hairstyle, makeup, and nails)
Planning for your makeover
Once you’ve made your appointment, the fun starts! No transformation is complete without the proper attire. The first step will be to decide which Disney character will be inspiring your makeover. After a couple of days contemplating, our daughter settled on Rapunzel. Ironically, Rapunzel was the princess from her first Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience when she was 5 years old!
Our daughter searched online for outfit options to highlight her inspired character. After a couple of hours of searching, she settled on a watermelon colored Dancina Knee Length Tutu with Layered Tulle Skirt from Amazon and a purple Rapunzel inspired Floating Lanterns T-shirt from Teepublic. The options are endless and with more time to plan, we could have really let our imaginations run wild.
Tips for the day of your transformation
My number one tip for the day of your appointment is to allow for plenty of time to ensure you arrive for your appointment on time. Arriving 15 minutes early, we did not have to wait for our appointment. However, another appointment arrived late and she only had time to have her nails and hair done. The salon did accommodate her by allowing her to come back later in the day when they had an opening in order to finish her transformation. However, in order to avoid any hassle and interruption to your days’ plans, it’s best to plan accordingly and allow ample time.
Another helpful tip is to note that the makeup only includes eye, blush, and lips. Adding foundation or concealer is an extra charge or you can simply bring your own to apply prior to your makeover. Also, make sure to trim and file your nail as they will only be doing a simple topcoat. They do offer nail art for an additional charge to add some extra flair.
And a final tip, make sure your hair is clean (this one is pretty obvious) and completely dry. The stylist will not use the curling iron on wet hair. My daughter normally just allows her hair to air dry but the Florida humidity forced us to use the blow dryer to get her hair completely dry.
Our daughter was excited and thrilled for the opportunity to be pampered. For the nails, they have multiple colors for you to select from to perfectly complement your ensemble. Our daughter selected a deep purple nail polish that matched her shirt. Her stylist sprinkled some “pixie dust” (glitter) on our daughter’s nails before adding a clear topcoat for an extra sparkle to her nails at no additional cost!
The stylist was going to put her hair into a “princess” bun with a princess crown (included in the Timeless Transformation package). Currently, our daughter has shoulder-length hair and her stylist didn’t think that it would stay as well as she’d like. She ended up doing a “basket weave” effect on her hair which turned out gorgeous. I am secretly happy her hair was too short for a classic bun.
The makeup truly pulled everything together for a complete transformation. For the eyes, our daughter again chose to go with a purple palette. We chose to not add mascara as our daughter is not fully comfortable having eye makeup put on quite yet. Even with the absence of mascara, the finished look was stunning.
Enjoy your special day
Once your transformation is complete, you will want to make the most of your day in the park(s). Remember to take LOTS of pictures. One way to ensure getting great photographs is by taking advantage of the Disney photographers throughout the parks and special character meet and greet. This is a great option especially for those who have Disney PhotoPass. Also, having a Character Dining reservation is a wonderful way to make the day extra special. Disney World has a number of options available both in the parks and at various resorts.
There were 2 other guests getting the Character Couture treatment while we were at the salon. One guest was enjoying her transformation into Belle. The other guest was celebrating her 5oth birthday as Tinker Belle. This was actually her second time experiencing Character Couture. Last fall for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, she celebrated as Belle.
Final Thoughts on Character Couture Experience
While the experience is definitely tailored more towards adults, our tween fully enjoyed the more mature aspect. Having moved beyond traditional dress-up with costumes, the more subtle inspired outfit was more up her alley. Personally, I think this came along at the perfect time for her. I’m not sure she would have fully appreciated the adult aspect even a year ago.
We are extremely happy with our experience. We will need to make it a mother/daughter experience next time and do complementary Disney characters! Currently, our daughter thinks Ariel and Ursula is a good option since “The Little Mermaid” is her second favorite Disney movie!
Character Couture is definitely a fun and magical experience that allows more guests to experience Disney on a whole new level. I anticipate Character Couture to become increasingly more popular as the word gets out. In the famous words of Peter Pan “I won’t grow up” and Disney is making sure you don’t have to.
Which Disney character will you be transforming into on your next Walt Disney World vacation? Let us know in the comments below.