When my parents surprised us with the news that they were taking us to Disney (What a great surprise!), I immediately started making mental lists. What rides would we hit first? Which characters would be least likely to freak out our one-year-old? How would we handle our three-year-old’s mid-park meltdowns? What kind of clothes could I find for the girls that were cool (for a July trip), adorable (a trip to Disney is special), and budget-friendly (’cause who wants to break the bank on kids’ clothes?).
For the sake of this post, let’s focus on the last of my listing–the outfit portion of my planning. Here are the five options I found for adorable, cool, and budget-friendly Disney duds.
As always, amazon affiliate links included for your convenience.
Start with Etsy.
For unique outfit ideas, I always start with Etsy. The shop owners on Etsy are bursting with creativity and excited to work with you. Iron-on appliques are an extremely affordable way ($3!) to dress your kids for Disney. I purchased white cotton dresses for my girls from Hobby Lobby (from the clearance rack), and Grace from CharmantLittles was sweet enough to provide me with appliques (you can find them HERE) inspired by Tinkerbell, Mickey, and Minnie.
Grace also offered to add two of her hand-painted shirts inspired by Minnie Mousefor my girls. When I got them, I had to write her to be sure they were really done by hand, because they looked so amazing and professional! The shirts definitely meet my cool, affordable, adorable criteria! (We chose to personalize with “Little Sister” and “Big Sister,” but these shirts would also look cute with your child’s name!)
Get creative and make your own.
Given my shock that the shirts from CharmantLittles were really hand-painted, you might assume that I have zero artistic ability. It’s true. I’m a terrible artist. But I managed not to flub up these DIY Disney shoes too badly.
Wanna know how I did it? They were so easy that it’s almost silly to write a tutorial! But here you go…
- White canvas shoes (I picked mine up on clearance at Hobby Lobby)
- Black and red puffy paint
- Bows (optional)
- Do a few test runs of the Minnie Mouse heads on paper before you squeeze the black puffy paint onto the shoes. (Handy hint: All you really need to be able to do is paint on three black circles and two red triangles!), but for visual people it helps to have a picture of the iconic Minnie Mouse ears handy when you’re designing/drawing/painting.
- Let the silhouette dry overnight.
- The next morning, draw on Minnie’s ears using the red puffy paint.
- Optional: add the bows. Ours were hair bows, so they just clipped on to the shoe strap.
Ta-da! DIY Disney shoes!
Borrow from friends.
About a month or so before our trip, I asked my local facebook friends if they had any Disney costumes we could borrow for our trip. That’s how we ended up with a second pirate costume that fit our oldest daughter!
Sidenote: even when the girls were dressed as pirates, the cast members at Disney still called them “Princess.” Our three-year-old daughter (who has no clue what a Disney princess is) finally got so frustrated that she said, “I’m not PRINCESS!” Disney believes that every girl wants to be a Disney princess. Do you think calling all of the girls “Princess” is a good marketing move or should they move on to include less stereotypical nicknames?
Pick up a Disney outfit when Halloween costumes are on clearance.
If you think there’s a chance of a Disney trip in your future, pick up super cheap costumes at the end of fall. This is how we ended up with our Minnie Mouse costume. Even if we hadn’t gone to Disney (we had no foreseeable Disney plans last October), this would have been a nice addition to our dress-up bin.
Similarly, pick up costumes at yard sales and consignment events!
You can find Disney outfits in most big box stores.
I found red and white striped Minnie outfits at the discount chain everyone loves to hate (you know, the one that rhymes with “hall-art”). And guess what? The outfits were adorable, cool, and budget-friendly. Surprisingly, I didn’t even see other kids wearing the exact same outfits in the park. Score!
Okay, Disney experts! Now that you’ve heard my tips, can you add any other tricks for finding adorable and affordable clothes for Disney?