Dapper Day Do's and Don'ts

What is Dapper Day? UM, IT’S THE BEST. Do you like dressing up? Do you like Disney Parks? You are going to love it! It’s for Disney fans of all ages, it takes place twice a year at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Paris, and it doesn’t cost anything (other than your standard park admission, or if you want to participate in the VIP events.) 

Let’s do a little recap of outfits and then we’ll go over some Dapper Do’s and Don’ts, shall we? Above is my first ever Dapper Day, with my handsome husband!  

Left is my Disneybound of the tightrope walker stretching portrait in the Haunted Mansion; right with my vintage Pan-Am bag for the first ever outing at Epcot.

Left, a tiki nod to my favorite resort: The Polynesian. Right, a Haunted Mansion look. (Are you sensing a theme? Or a disquieting metamorphosis?) 

So really, what do you DO at Dapper Day? 

DO: Dress to the nines! Take advantage of the opportunity and go all out. Some attendees are vintage mavens and pinup models everyday, some would normally be in jeans and a t-shirt. Whether you want to wear a historically accurate 1920’s flapper dress of your own creation or the same 3 piece suit Justin Timberlake wore to the Grammys is up to you.


DO: Make friends: I’ve been to Dapper Day with a group of people, and I’ve been by myself. I’ve met up with people I only knew from the internet, and I’ve hung out with friends that I made at previous Dapper Days. Making new friends is hard ay any age, but at Dapper Day you have a built-in ice breaker. “You look great!!” People come from all over to participate, plus most people love discussing their outfits and are happy to pose for photos. 

(Left photo by Sean Neumayer

DO: Prepare yourself: As you’ve probably guessed, it is hot and sweaty in central Florida at all times of the year. Combine that with a fancy outfit and dressy shoes…you’re bound to have some struggles. You can always bring a comfortable change of shoes (clock the flip flops above) a vintage fan or parasol, but my personal MO is to always plan on Dapper Day being laid back- it’s not really the time to check off every ride on your bucket list. It’s nice to just meander the parks at a reasonable pace, enjoying the scenery, atmosphere, and meeting other fabulously dressed folks. 

DON’T: Wear a costume! Not only is it against Disney park regulations, it’s not in the spirit of Dapper Day. Per the website "DAPPER DAY events celebrate sophisticated dressing and timeless style from yesterday and today. We want to see your personal style at our events. There’s many other opportunities to wear a costume or cosplay. DAPPER DAY events are meant to feature you being you!" If you really want to be a character, you can opt to Disneybound- choose your color scheme and accessories to reflect the character while still maintaining your own personal fabulousness.  


DON'T: Be a grump! Even though Dapper Day is growing bigger year after year, most guests at the park won’t know what’s going on and will be coming up to you periodically to ask. Share with them! In fact, share with everyone- there’s enough Dapper love to go around. And don’t forget to profusely thank and be kind to every cast member you see. It’s a really crowded weekend (akin to a Holiday) and they’re working hard to make your experience magical. 

…and that’s about it! It really is just that simple: Dress up, go to the parks, make friends, have fun! And yes, my bestie and I dressed as everyone's cult favorite Flower & Garden Festival beverage: Violet Lemonade. And yes I re-wear headpieces. (I made them!) Have you ever been to Dapper Day? Tell me in the comments! Or holler at me on Instagram, I'd love to take a photo with you. 

Note: Some of these photos were taken by the official Dapper Day photographer my lovely and talented friend Stephenie; who is California based but available worldwide. 

My First Disney Cruise

You guys. Do you want to know if you should go on a Disney Cruise? 

…yes. Absolutely yes. I might be biased. But yes. We finally went on our first Disney cruise, in fact my first cruise ever, and it was everything I hoped it would be and more…to the point of being overwhelming. So here are some tips that worked for us!

Use a Certified Disney travel agent. Hear me out. I know a lot of Disney blogs push them, especially because their services are 100% free, but for the cruise I felt like it was necessary. Deb from Mouse World Travel is a personal family friend, and I was so excited to finally book through her- as I usually plan my own WDW trips. Not only did she take away the stress of all the logistics (Which stateroom to pick, meal seatings and reservations) she gave us a bonus onboard credit- AKA bought us a whole bunch of boat drinks! 

Hey, speaking of drinks! (I like cocktails.)

Have a plan of attack for your alcohol. It’s not included with your dining plan, so if you don’t want to go overboard (ha! cruise puns!) spending money on booze, you gotta know what you’re doing. Each guest is allowed to bring 2 bottles of wine or a 6 pack onboard in their carry on. We personally opted to bring a few bottles of champagne - and intended to take advantage of the drink-of-the-day specials (a different drink every day for $5) and the beer mug (buy the souvenir mug and all your 20oz beers are the price of 16oz) It worked out great…plus we could order room service OJ in the morning to make DIY mimosas! Another way to maximize your drink value is to take a Mixology class. For the price of a couple drinks, we had a fun afternoon learning bartending skills and drinking our own creations. 

You Probably Don’t Need to do Excursions

Do you even know how to excurse, anyways? But seriously- for a first time cruiser, there is SO SO SO much to do on board, that we had some serious FOMO when we decided to do things like get off the boat, or lounge. 

(Like, how cute is my husband for real though.) 

If you do decide to excurse (I’m going to continue to use this as a verb) here’s what we did: 

Used a simple map of Nassau so that we could walk to our destinations. We visited the Queen’s Staircase/Fort Fincastle and then walked to John Watling’s Distillery. We bypassed the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas which honestly looked very cool, and I wish we had more time to check it out. (That FOMO again!) John Watling’s was a lovely property, but if you’ve seen one rum distillery you pretty much get the idea. 

Disney Dream Docked in Nassau Bahamas

Fast. Diet. Make Room. Prepare Yourself. 

The food is All You Care to Eat, not just in the buffet restaurants either. You can order multiple meals at the sit down restaurants, and even if you don’t— your server might do it for you!! We loved our server, hand-picked by our travel agent because of his great reviews. When I’d ask questions comparing dishes... he would just bring both! I think one night he may have brought the entire dessert menu to our table. But seriously y’all…you are going to be SO FULL at all times of day. I went back for THIRDS of my favorite meal, the blackened tilapia at Cookie’s Too on Castaway Cay. 

Pictured here, 3 servings of tilapia (in my belly) and the airplane runway I ran down to burn off the calories.

Things I Would Do Differently Next time: 

WTF…ish Extender. Outside your stateroom is a fish-shaped hook where the crew will leave relevant itinerary information. It has become a habit of cruisers to participate in gift exchanges by hanging containers (they look like shoe organizers) on these hooks…hence, Fish Extender. There are Facebook Groups organized by Cruise ship/sailing date (again, if you use our fabulous Disney Certified Travel Agent Deb, she’ll put you in one) and a lovely volunteer manages the gifting groups via a Google Doc. Since we were last minute cruisers I decided not to participate; but after seeing that you could join an adults-only exchange and trade really awesome looking creative gifts, I kind of want to do it next time.

Disney Cruise Door Decor

Fish hook to the left. I was confused at first when I kept reading "Fish Hook" cause I pictured a hook that you catch fish on. Door decor provided by our wonderful travel agent, Deb at Mouse World Travel!

Relaxing? Spa Day. I read some really positive reviews about getting a day pass to use the saunas, Rainforest Room showers, hot tubs and heated lounge chairs in the Senses Day Spa. I was also excited about doing yoga classes. I would take a HARD PASS on both. It was a little too crowded for my taste (hey there, people conversing loudly in the sauna! What’s up, couple giving each other sensual massages in the hot tub!) and the showers were downright terrifying to me. Press a button, hold your breath, and get ATTACKED by different pressures and temperatures of water…not relaxing IMO. The yoga class unfortunately did not have it’s own dedicated space, and it wasn’t the greatest experience to be downward-dogging amidst the treadmills and stationery bikes. Next time I’ll stick with running on the track that circles the ship, and utilizing the in the locker room shower with spa body products available fo’ free. 

DO ALL THE THINGS! Because I had every intention of laying by the pool getting a tan, and exhausted myself by watching all the Broadway style shows and eating a 7 course meal every night at dinner, I missed out on a lot of fun activities! They had classes on towel folding, trivia, gameshow nights…there were a LOT of options, many of them inclusive, and scheduled right through 11pm. One thing I did do (because I'm RunDisney fan) is the Castaway 5K. Am I crazy for working out on vacation? I mean, I get a free souvenir prize necklace just for doing physical activity? SIGN ME UP!

Pin this image to share with other Disney Cruise newbies, and if you're ready to cruise: send a message to my friend Deb and tell her Shauna sent you!

What's In My Bag at Walt Disney World

…nothing! HA HA, just kidding. Or am I? There are so many wonderful comprehensive lists of what to bring to the parks when you visit Walt Disney World. Some people may really need bottles of water, and hand sanitizer, and snacks, and, and, and…Not me, man. One of the perks of Walt Disney World’s impeccable service is that they really try to provide so much! So really all I bring is:

My Magic Band: And when you’re staying on property in a Walt Disney World resort, this eliminates your need for a wallet. Scan it to pay for food/bev/souveniers, it goes on your room bill, and you pay upon check out.

Credit Card and ID: Gotta prove that you’re a big girl when you’re drinkin’ around Epcot! Oh, and pay for drinks obv.

Burt’s Bees: I apply this stuff obsessively, all day long. If we’ve hung out, you’ve probably watched me slather it on, trance-like for 30 seconds while you’re talking. I’m a weirdo.

And das it! No, seriously. Here’s why:

Water: at any counter service restaurant you can ask for complimentary iced tap water.

Snacks: when I’m at Disney World, the food is as much of an experience as the rides and atmosphere! Even if I don’t have ADRs (aka reservations) I will usually have a little plan of attack where I’m going to eat. I usually trust Disney Tourist Blog, Disney Food Blog and Vegan Disney Food for their recommendations. Plus, there’s always popcorn. I LOVE POPCORN.

Kid Stuff and First Aid: Okay, I’m not a mom. I get it. But I am an Aunt, a Na-na, and a MommyShauna, and when I help plan trips for my rental babies or even travel along with them- I remind the parents about the Baby Center. There’s one in each park, and they provide a whole room full of changing tables, a quiet dark area with rocking chairs to breastfeed, and a little shop full of necessities. (Diapers, wipes, cream, baby food- you know.) Just next door is a First Aid Station. Of course they are there for medical emergencies (my lil non-cashew eater Charlie was happy to hear they had extra Epi Pens just in case) but they also have Band Aids, Neosporin, Advil and the like. 


(Kids like Finding Nemo, right? See? I DO get it.) 

Another thing to consider- if you’re packing a Park Bag like you’re gonna be gone for two days…you’re staying in the parks too long. One of my number one Disney Vacation Planning suggestions (for adults or families) is to pace yourself. Ideally I like to visit one park in the morning, and then head back to the hotel after lunch. You can nap, swim in the pool, eat at a Resort restaurant- basically recharge until you feel ready to head for park number two. It avoids the inevitable meltdown that all humans (children and otherwise) have when they are overwhelmed by TOO MUCH MAGIC.*

*Magic…and Florida heat, crowds, and indulgent vacation food. So, what's the craziest thing you've ever seen someone bring into the parks? Comment below, or tell me over on Instagram, I wanna know!