It’s called DisneyBounding, a relatively new practice based on the idea of taking a character and representing them in your fashion choices. Not to be confused with imitating the character with an identical costume that might be against the Disney dress code, DisneyBounding can be represented by the smallest of touches or the most elaborate of outfits.
The term “DisneyBounding” was born ten years ago when Leslie Kay, Disney fan and blogger, wrote about her excited return to the parks. Though the phrase has been alive for a decade, it was only in the last few years that we have seen the creativity of Disney fans bring it to life.
As an international visitor, the series of flights from Australia doesn’t particularly lend itself to the excess baggage required to pull off this remarkable experience. However, I have been lucky enough to watch on as some extraordinarily clever people create their character-inspired looks and show them off in the parks.
The first is my girl Michelle Perrin Crawford; some of you might remember her name from all of the beautiful photos she captures in the parks, and kindly lets me share with you all in some of my articles. Her style is romantic and personal. Taking a cue from the characters who connect with her and then adding her unique take on them, Michelle creates outfits and photos conveying their whimsical story. The professional photographer also has this ability to capture a special moment, drawing on the personality and relationship of the individuals themselves to bring each photo to life.
The second is the gorgeous Diane Wagner Bruce, who, together with her mother, the fabulous costume creator, and her daughter Katie, the stunning model you see below, use everything from movies to the attractions themselves to inspire these looks. Katie blows my mind with her talent, personifying each character with confidence and mystique. She even creates attraction-themed outfits based off of fan favorites such as The Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror.
So how do you get started with the adventure of DisneyBounding? It’s simple. Start with a character or theme that you identify, something that speaks to you. It might be as simple as Minnie Mouse or as complex as one of the outfits Katie and her family share with us below.
It all comes down to what inspires you to feel the character you are portraying. I love this beautiful flowing dress Michelle wears below, giving off all the royalty princess vibes with her little one. It reminds me that DisneyBounding is about taking these fashion pieces and using them to invoke a special kind of magic that brings you joy.
Though attention and praise might be a side effect of some of these ensembles, it certainly isn’t the intention behind them. It’s much more personal than that and an extraordinary kind of feeling when you become a part of the park, living and breathing that atmosphere rather than just observing it.
Even teens are getting in on the action. Some with subtle nods to their favorite Disney pals in particular colors or patterns; others enjoy the art of creation, working on their designs before starting their vacations. It doesn’t have to mean anything to those around you; as long as it makes you feel good, it is a success.
The following few photos captivated my attention the first time I saw them. The identity of The Dark Side is embodied in a 50’s style throwback flair skirt and dainty heels juxtaposed against all the force of The Empire. Katie could be a permanent fixture in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, yet she isn’t representing any one character. She brings this personality to life with a confident stance and purposeful movements that made me say, yeah, ya do, the first time I saw them.
Now, you might be wondering where Disney stands on this in terms of the dress code. Well, you probably know that costumes are not to be worn by guests 14 years of age or older, meaning you can’t go in dressed to the nines as Cinderella, greeting children that gather in your wake without getting shown the door. But if you take the direction of that princess and allow it to let your inner queen come to life with softly flowing blues and sparkling accessories, then you are good to go.
When in doubt, start small. You don’t have to nail it on your first try. Just start with a top or accessory that makes you feel special, reminds you of a Disney personality, or shows some of your own stylish flair. The rest will come to you naturally if it is something you enjoy.
The best part is, DisneyBounding is not limited to being in Disney parks. Anything that brings you happiness or confidence in your day-to-day world is perfect. Maybe those Iron Man cufflinks for an important business meeting or a red polka dot skirt to close that deal in the office; it’s seriously anything that speaks to you.
Need some help getting started? Check out the DisneyBound book by Leslie Kay, available on shopDisney.com for $17.99, DisneyBound : Dress Disney and Make It Fashion Book
I want to say a huge thank you to Michelle and her daughter Charlotte who is clearly picking up her creative eye for photography, and Diane with her daughter Katie who has set a new benchmark for creativity and self-expression. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me.
Also, while I am here, a quick shout out to my own clever daughter, Lily, who has recently begun reading my articles regularly and will celebrate her 14th birthday this Sunday; thanks for showing me what love really is, Bunny Rabbit.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did putting it together. Got some DisneyBounding outfits or general Disney photos you’d like to share? Send them my way.