The definition of Dapper is neat and trim in appearance or very spruce and stylish. This definition is put to the test every spring and fall at the Disney Parks. “Spring Dapper Day” was held in Walt Disney World and Disneyland on February 24th, which was just a few weeks ago. It is not a Disney-run event but one that was created by fans and grows every year.
It all started with a mouse. Wait, wrong story. It all started with a drawing. When the concept art originally came out for some attractions in the parks, the people pictured enjoying the attraction were dressed very nicely. Instead of the t-shirts, shorts, and sometimes even less that people wear on Disney Property today, people were wearing outfits that are equivalent to being a guest at a wedding. High heels, a dress, pearls and trench coats were popular on the women and ties, suit jackets, top hats and trousers were common on the men. For just one day, we get to see these illustrations come to life, thanks to Dapper Day.
Since the spring of 2011, large groups of people will wander the parks in vintage looking outfits that are very, well… dapper twice a year. Overall, the event is fairly lax. There usually is a group picture at some point in day and a meet-up at the Fantasyland Carousel. A picture dressed so nicely on the Carousel must be priceless! On this past Dapper Day, at 3PM everybody was invited to ride the Liberty Square Riverboat as a group followed an hour later by a meet-up on Tom Sawyer Island for pictures. I like how they didn’t put a lot of events in the schedule. There is also a 21 and up meet-up for drinks outside of the parks afterwards. The people behind Dapper Day understand that a trip to Disney is a trip to Disney, and that people might want to do their own thing. To some, it might be the only time they get to Walt Disney World. In addition, all of these events are optional.
Merchandise is also available. Jerrod Maruyama, an artist who has created pieces that have been showcased at Downtown Disney, was generous enough to create “Dapper” characters that were featured on many products including pins, tote bags, magnets, key chains and more. There was also a limited amount of complementary buttons available for guests partaking in this event. Disney even made pins inspired by Dapper Day! They feature Mickey and Goofy dressed as Dapper Dans in front of the Barber Shop. It doesn’t say “Dapper Day” directly on it, but that is what it was generated for.
If you were in the parks to celebrate “the tradition of stepping out in style”, group rates apply for both park admission tickets and hotel rooms. I love this idea because it shows the sense of community between the people who go to the parks dressed very fashionably and tasteful. Even though the schedule is very loose and is only a suggestion, you probably run into people all over the park dressed in vintage clothes and you know that they are a part of the same group you are. Odds are, you make a lot of friends from this experience.
On the Dapper Day website, they have an idea wall that features models wearing vintage inspired outfits. Consider these next few sentences as my “idea wall.” If I was going to the parks on Dapper Day, I would put comfort first. What’s the point of going all dressed up if you are going to be uncomfortable the whole time? Plus, in Florida especially, some days it can be REALLY hot. For ladies, I think 1950s swing dresses are great with shorts under them. They look very vintage and are practical too. Depending on the weather, a large hat might be cute also. A purse can be a very important element to complete the overall classic look. For the men, a tux with a tie looks great, but I understand that sometimes they can be uncomfortable. A button down shirt with a bow tie and suspenders is another good outfit choice. Or you can do what Andrew did, which is where a sweater vest over a button down shirt. They all look vintage in their own ways.
Dapper Day has only been going on for three years, but is definitely evolving as time goes on. A simple idea created by Disney fans evolved into an event that people look forward to every year. How many people participated two weeks ago? A combined grand total of 15,000 park guests in Walt Disney World and Disneyland showed up in their stylish retro attire. I unfortunately was not a part of that statistic, but hopefully one of my vacations will overlap a Dapper Day and I will have a chance to experience this event. If you are ever in Disney World, Disneyland or Disneyland Paris during a Dapper Day, I suggest that you take part in it.
This Week’s “Where in the World?” is in Epcot. Do you know what it is?
Have you ever participated in Dapper Day? Would you like to join in the fun someday? Leave a comment below!
See ya REAL soon!
Makena is a 14 year old high school student who spends much of her free time researching Disney. She enjoys sharing Disney facts and even plans Walt Disney World vacations (including searches for secrets and Hidden Mickeys) for friends and family. Makena began blogging for WDW Radio in December 2011.