It's almost here - the weekend of Dapper Day at Disney World is only a few days away now and soon, park-goers will put on their best outfits and spend the day taking pictures, meeting other dapper folks, and having a magical day. For many, this is the best weekend at Disney. For newcomers, this can be daunting and for your average tourist who has no idea this is happening, this can be completely shocking.
So I've written this post to serve as your guide to everything you need to know about Dapper Day so you can be the most prepared and have the most fun. If you'll be in the parks, seek me out because I'll be there too!
What is Dapper Day?
If you are a newcomer and this is your first exposure to the event, let's start with a brief explanation of the weekend's event. First of all, this is not an official Disney event. It's all organized by a third party and is really fan-based - meaning there's no official happenings and no one really "in charge" of what's going on this weekend. The website for Dapper Day (dapperday.com) says the following:
"DAPPER DAY is an organization that produces events that let you "step out in style!" We also create lots of fun accessories! Started in February 2011 by LA designer Justin J., DAPPER DAY® Events celebrate fun, refined style from yesterday and today. We organize elegant outings and social events with engaging locations including museums, theme parks, and more."
First things first - what do you wear?
This is the biggest question asked when someone new discovers the Dapper Day event. Once you know what it is, you're probably wondering what exactly fits as "dapper" and if you have anything to wear for it. You can certainly go out and buy new clothes for the event (I did) but you don't have to - you can spruce up a lot of things and whatever your version of dapper is will be just fabulous!
Again, the Dapper Day website defines dapper as "neat and trim in appearance; very spruce and stylish." There's no specific time period given and no rules/limits on Disney-theming/Disney-bounding or not. A lot of people will go for either a vintage/Main Street USA-era look or springtime look - or base their outfits on a Disney bound (modeled after a character's color scheme and outfits). This one being in springtime, you'll see lots of spring colors and what might be worn to church on Easter Sunday as well. You by no means have to stick to that. Some folks like to judge others and try to place more limits on what is and isn't appropriate, but those are the haters and you should ignore them for more than one reason.
Last year for spring Dapper Day, I put together my outfit the morning of the day at Epcot out of things I already owned. I had the shirt and pants from work, the ears I had already bought because they were CUTE, and the shoes were just a pair of my regular (work) shoes as well. If you dress professionally for work, you likely have a lot of options already in your closet that you can change up a bit and make work. Pair it with a set of ears, a Disney pin, etc. and you can make a Dapper Disney Bound easily!
This year, I went a bit more wild and bought new clothes for my outfits. Only the two dress shirts I'm wearing were things I already owned, but I got the rest over time (because I started planning back in November) to make it more affordable and I'm already finding other opportunities to wear the things I bought (either for work or other park outfits). Stay tuned to my Instagram feed to see my outfits debuted - and I'll be posting a full budget/planning report after this weekend's trip to talk about where I got everything and how much it cost.
What do you do at Dapper Day?
Because the event is not sponsored by Disney in any way, there are little official plans. The basic schedule is as follows:
- Friday, April 26th: Disney Springs (Pre-Outing)
- Saturday, April 27th: Magic Kingdom
- Sunday, April 28th: Epcot
That's it! Once you're at those locations, you can hang out with your group and/or meet up with others attending for the event and enjoy the parks' attractions and shows. Other Dapper folks are super easy to spot, of course, because you're either in a t-shirt and shorts or full formal attire! Just stop folks, say hi, compliment them on their outfits, and enjoy the day.
Photos are obviously a big part of the day too. Everyone is looking their best, so you of course want good photos to show it off later (and for that Instagram content, right?). I was very impressed last year at Epcot with the increased PhotoPass support Disney had out. While they don't sponsor the event, they had a special photographer out in just about all of the World Showcase countries in a new/different spot to take photos in scenic areas as well as the Bubblegum and Toothpaste Walls. I'm hoping they do that again in Epcot and Magic Kingdom, but we'll have to wait and see. If they aren't out, you can always ask other Dapper folks to take pictures and most people are super willing to do that.
I don't tend to ride as many rides on Dapper Day, at least not the thrill ones. I just don't want to mess up my outfit, get it dirty, etc. Fortunately, Magic Kingdom has a lot of dark/slow rides and Epcot doesn't have many rides at all (lol) and there's plenty to do in either park without ever riding a roller coaster attraction. If you want to ride though, go for it! Just have a plan for how to secure your outfit, not lose anything, and still be photo-ready after!
Finally, there's meet ups! Because this is such a niche-event and draws out a lot of die-hard fans, there's also a lot of Instagram users/bloggers out in the parks and it's a great opportunity for meeting up with the people you follow online in person!
I've organized a meet up myself, and have seen some others posting schedules as well. I'd love to meet up with any of you throughout the weekend - so mark your calendars!
If you want to join a meet up chat group, send me a message on Instagram. And if you can't join, follow along on my stories all weekend long to still be part of the fun.
What do you like to do on Dapper Day? What other questions do you have about the weekend?