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by Character Diva

Well, Halloween is just a couple more days away! Did you go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? But after trick-or-treating, don’t just throw away your costumes! Have you ever wondered what to do with your leftover costumes? Whether it was something you bought for Halloween, or even a recent trip to Disney, you definitely want to get your money’s worth. Sure, it can go in your child’s closet or with their dressup clothes, but why not make something a little more memorable? After all, you just shelled out all that money buying (or making!) that costume, you might as well get some use out of it. And I have the perfect solution for you! Why not have a Disney photoshoot?

Ever since my daughter was little and I discovered this fairy tale photoshoot, I wanted to do something similar. Somehow, it just never made it onto my to do list… but knowing that we had a wide range of costumes already in the closet of my kids’ toyroom, and knowing that my daughter was going to outgrow that at some point, I decided it was now or never, and sat to work on documenting something that would mean a lot to me, and hopefully my daughter as she grows up.

Deciding on the Characters

I really wanted to use more of the traditional fairy tales. Of course the Disney princesses fit this genre pretty well, but I also wanted to include Alice, Wendy, Dorothy, Maid Marian, and Little Red Riding Hood. Once I had decided on the characters, it was time to move onto wardrobe.

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Getting the Dresses

To begin with, I went through the costumes we had. My daughter has a few costumes that came from Target or Walmart, but to me they looked “too costumey”. I wanted something that looked more authentic, so I turned to our Mom Approved Costumes collection.

I like the Mom Approved Costumes because they are lightweight, durable, machine-washable (my favorite feature), but they also “look” like a dress a princess might wear, not just a sparkly dress with the featured princess displayed on the front. We had Cinderella’s day dress, the Jasmine inspired costume, the Anna and Elsa costumes, Aurora’s blue dress, Tiana’s dress, Merida’s dress, and Belle’s day dress. I also bought the red cloak for our Little Red Riding Hood photoshoot.

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Now, I love Mom Approved Costumes, and they have a great selection of princess inspired dresses, but if you are looking for characters from other fairy tales, the selection is currently pretty limited. I looked on Etsy, which has a great selection of dresses that are beautiful and very high quality, but unfortunately, most of them were out of my reach financially. That is, until, I discovered Marilyn Rigaud’s Etsy shop, SoCute2. Her shop sells costumes that portray more unique and rare characters, such as Wendy Darling from Peter Pan, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Lilo from Lilo and Stitch, and Mary Poppins from Mary Poppins. After contacting her to see if she would let me review one of her dresses, she agreed, and sent me the Wendy costume, which was perfect for our Peter Pan photoshoot. Marilyn also agreed to customize and design a Snow White rag dress for me for my daughter to wear around Disneyland to capture Snow White’s wishing well scene. I loved the way it turned out (she did offer to rip it for me to make it truly ragged, but I couldn’t bear to do that to such a beautiful dress) and I love how it truly is unique and not a costume you’d most likely see at the parks.

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I also have a couple of friends who had homemade dresses that they had either made or had one of their family members make, and they graciously allowed me to borrow their Belle’s ballgown, Dorothy and Snow White dresses for my project. Considering I cannot sew to save my life, and free is always in my budget, I really appreciated their generosity.

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The Little Mermaid inspired costume was my big splurge when it came to purchases. I chose one of the Fin Fun Mermaid outfits with the monofin tail…. Definitely expensive, but I loved the concepts, and it really is a beautiful costume (though I did find the top seemed a little small… if I ordered again, I might order a larger size or go with a tankini-style top… not 100% authentic looking, but it’d make me worry less about modesty and my five year old).

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Props

This was the hardest (and most expensive part) of the project. Trying to find props to represent each character while still trying to not completely overspend my budget,  Disney Diva Tip: If you have the time and are doing a photoshoot with multiple characters, I recommend acquiring props over a period of time… it’ll take the pressure off of your budget to accumulate everything all at once, and if you decide to do the photo sessions over a period of time, you can document how your child grows (or at least spread it out a little so they’re not overwhelmed and burned out from taking so many pictures).

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Location

Location, location, location! That always seems to be the key. Depending on where you live, this might be easy, or it might be challenging. Living in the desert where you are surrounded by mountains, it doesn’t exactly make you feel like you’re in one of Grimm’s fairy tales. Fortunately, I knew we had a couple of upcoming vacations to visit my family who live nearby places that are much more fairy tale-esque, including Storybookland in South Dakota and Disneyland. Disney Diva Tip: If you do live in area where there’s a fairytale town, pixie village, storybookland or something of that nature, I highly recommend using it. Many of these places are free or extremely cheap, and they provide a perfect themed setting. If you have a chance to take pictures at Disneyland or Disney World, even better… after all, what better place to get that perfect Disney setting than at Disney itself?

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Photography

Now, I am more of a mediocre photographer myself. And if you have great photography skills, know a great photographer, or don’t mind paying for one, this is probably the best way to get some really high quality photos of your child and really make the whole experience worth it. But whether you are a stellar photographer or not, as long as you are making memories and your child is having fun, that’s all that really matters.

Showing off your hard work

Once you have all of the shots you want, you want some way to keep them all together. Displaying them on a stretched canvas or putting them into a photobook such as the ones you can make on Shutterfly or Artscow are easy ways to showcase your photos. For me, however, I discovered this “Once Upon a Time” photo album and knew it was the perfect way to start and end our story. I even took pictures of both my mom and grandma sitting with my daughter as she “read” it (mainly just saying “Oooh” and “Aaah!” as she flipped through the blank pictures). I love those pictures because not only do they make great pictures to include in the copies I’m sending to my parents and grandma, but they also allowed my mom and grandma to participate in an event that means a lot to me, and hopefully will mean a lot to my little princess as she grows up.

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What about the boys?

Yes, I realize this is all great if you have a daughter. But what if you have sons? I have two boys, and didn’t want to leave them out either. While some themes were easy (such as posing Wendy with John and Michael or having Snow White with Dopey), I wanted to give my boys a chance to focus on Disney characters of their own. So far, we have only tackled Christopher Robin off our list with one of my sons, but my goal is to eventually do Peter Pan, Robin Hood, King Arthur, Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk, and (hopefully) do a Hansel and Gretel one with my daughter and each of my boys as well. Really, the possibilities are endless… The main thing is just to have fun and create memories with your children.

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Looking for specifics?

If you’re looking for some specific characters in mind, check back for tomorrow’s post where I share where I found our costumes, props, and backgrounds for some of your favorite fairy tale classics!

Hi everyone! My name is Becky aka The Character Diva. I love Disney, and as you can tell from my name, I LOVE the characters... I am a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and am constantly hanging out with my husband or chasing after our four kids, aka Princess, Little Man, the Gremlin, and the Gremlin-in-Training (usually to take pictures of those goofballs. Seriously, I’m worse than the paparazzi when it comes to photographing my kids... or Disney Characters). :)