Since I was teenager, I’ve always wanted to dress up as a Disney character at the parks. However, if you’re familiar with Disney parks’ dress code, you’d know that adult guests cannot wear costumes nor wigs that are similar to any of the characters inside the park. Disney does this in order to not confuse young children into believing you’re the real Ariel, Aladdin or other characters that reside with them.
To me this idea is great, since it helps keep the park more secure. Unfortunately, it also means that I can’t live my dream to dress as my favorite Disney characters… or can I? If you’re a Disney fan, I’m sure you already know what I’m talking about: Disneybound. Although I’m not sure which year this fashion trend started, I can assure you that I’ve known about “Disneybounding” since the year 2013. This consists of wearing certain color palettes and accessories that match whichever Disney character you choose to portray. You can even dress up as a theme park attraction, cast member or a food item (yes, folks, you can arrange your clothes to look like a Mickey Bar) that relates to Disney.
In my twenty one years of life, I’ve only Disneybounded two times, the first one being Kristoff from Frozen when I went to watch said movie and the second one as a Jedi from Star Wars as a last minute Halloween costume. Other than that, I’ve never really done it since I thought I never had the right clothes nor accessories that truly represented Disney. And whenever I went shopping, the whole outfit was either too expensive or I just couldn’t find anything.
Despite all these troubles, this year I decided to challenge myself and use a little bit of imagination to gather a few outfits that could pass as Disney characters. Since I didn’t have anyone in specific in mind, it made the whole process a lot easier and I ended up coming up with 22 ideas! From those 22, I chose only four that I believed were the best and easiest to execute and wear around my university.
To make the challenge even more exciting, I told myself not to buy anything that might be missing, instead to borrow those items from a family member and friends. For two weeks I gathered my outfits and showed them off at uni with the help of my friend Namir Couvertir who was kind enough to organize a photo shoot to demonstrate it to you guys.
So without further ado, here are the Disney characters I disneybounded as for four days:
Day 1: Ursula
“Poor unfortunate souls, in pain, in need…”
On my first day disneybounding, I dressed as the sea witch Ursula from the Little Mermaid. For this outfit I went all black in a ruffled mesh dress, leather jacket, heels and sunglasses. I accessorized it with her iconic seashell necklace and pearl earrings to give it that under the sea vibes. Although I had a full outfit, I felt like there was something missing and as I looked at other Disneybounds online, I realized I didn’t have anything purple. Sadly, I didn’t own purple clothing or accessories, but I did have a purple lipstick that gave the finale look a wicked style.
At my university people couldn’t tell who I was, they said the most random characters like Moana, the Beast and including Evie from Descendants. The closest guess was Maleficent which I totally understood because with different accessories, this could also work as her. I thought that the seashell necklace would be the biggest hint, but I suppose you can’t win them all.
Day 2: Moana
“Moana, make way, make way!”
From the Pacific ocean to the Caribbean sea, Moana sailed her way into my heart and gave me the best and easiest idea to choose an outfit inspired by her. Though I’m not from any of the islands of Polynesia, I do know a thing or two about island style and since the weather is always hot where I live, it’s not a surprise that I found a bright and breezy dress to match this Disney princess. On that day I wore an orange ruffled top and mid length skirt dress that had a small tropical flower pattern, a white cotton scarf and brown sandals. To accessorize it, I added bead necklace and white flower earrings that brought the whole outfit to life.
When my friend Namir and I were preparing to take the pictures, it started raining very heavy and we thought that we might have to cancel the photo shoot. Without hesitating, I told her to quickly take some shots in the rain and even though I got sick afterwards, it was worth it for you guys.
Day 3: Woody
“You just remember what your old pal said, boy, you got a friend in me…”
On day three, Woody turned out to be the most fun outfit choice of the four I’d planned. When I was reviewing my closet, I saw a white blouse with a grid print and somehow my mind connected that with Woody. Although it wasn’t a plaid or a cow print, with my yellow mustard jacket, blue jeans and boots (which luckily didn’t have any snakes in them), I was able to pull this altogether and create my favorite cowboy. Both cowboy hat and bandanna were borrowed, the cowboy hat being from my grandfather and the bandanna from Namir.
This time people were quick to notice who I was portraying. Though some of them thought I was Jessie and not Woody, mainly because I’m a girl. Just to clear things up, when it comes to Disneybounding, you don’t have to be the same gender as the character. You can be anyone who you wanna be as long as you use your imagination to create a magical outfit.
Day 4: Live Action Belle
“How does a moment last forever? How can a story never die?”
I’d be lying if I said that Live Action Belle wasn’t a last minute addition. Despite having planned being Belle from Disney’s animated classic Beauty and the Beast, the dress and accessories I chose were from the live action film. To embrace Emma Watson’s version of this Disney princess, I wore a pastel yellow dress with beige platforms, a Belle’s rose tree necklace, an Enchanted Rose bracelet and a faux leather Beauty and the Beast book bag.
I gotta admit that this was way too fancy to wear at my university and I did suffer the consequences of wearing such a delicate outfit. Somehow, somewhere, I stained the back of my dress with a mud like spot and to top it all off one of my shoe straps broke. Thanks to once again, my friend Namir and the Instituto de Música de Sagrado Corazón, we were able to avoid photographing the stain and glue my shoe strap to my foot with tape.
This Disneybounding experience was both magical and at times a disaster. If I were to Disneybound again, I would choose my outfits more carefully and according to the place and activities I’m going to do. For example, if I’m going to the parks on daytime, I’d probably be more casual and comfortable if I’m planning to go on the attractions and wait insanely long lines under the Florida heat. If I were there to just greet characters or eat at their restaurants, I would go all out like I did for Belle, Ursula and Moana.
To this day, I have to idea how some Disney fans make this elaborate Disneybounds and look incredible in pictures. They don’t even look like they’ve sweat, it’s almost like magic! So if anyone of you guys have Disneybound inside or outside of the park, don’t be shy and comment your advice for all those Disney fans that want to be part of the magic.
Before ending this article, I’d like to thank one of my best friends Namir. You can follow her on Instagram at @namircou to check out her amazing content. Though I’ve said this to her a million times, couldn’t have done this without her! Love you, girly! Thanks for always supporting me on every project I dream.