One of the most popular, and certainly the most fashionable, “unofficial” days at Disneyland is Dapper Day. On Dapper Day, guests get dressed up in their Sunday best to pay homage to the attendees when Disneyland first opened in the 1955. There are two Dapper Days each year in the fall and spring, plus in 2015 there was a bonus Dapper Day to celebrate Disneyland’s 60th birthday and Diamond Celebration.
On Dapper Day, many guests wear vintage clothes from the 1950s or other eras. Over 10,000 guests in fancy frocks, white gloves, suits, ties and sharp hats fill the park, magically transporting all guests back to another time when Walt Disney himself was still dreaming of Disneyland’s future. Perhaps Main Street should be called “Yesterdayland” that day.
Everything You Need to Know About Disneyland Dapper Day
The Frog Family is excited to experience our first Disneyland Dapper Day coming up. We had a lot of questions about Dapper Day so our friend, Disney fan and expert on Dapper Day, 16-year-old Hailey dePoto, gave us the inside scoop. Dapper Day is her favorite day at Disneyland. “It’s a blast to see that everyone still has reverence for the style of the 50s,” she says. She shared all the details and some of her photos of Dapper Day with us so we could share them with you before the upcoming September Dapper Day! We offer you our guide to Dapper Day at Disneyland to answer any questions you may have.
When is Disneyland Dapper Day?
The next Dapper Day is Friday September 18, 2015. There will be another May 1, 2016. The Dapper Day website posts all the dates and related events for Dapper Day. For this upcoming Dapper Day, the site offers tickets for the after party, the free Dapper Day Expo, a retro slide show and the first Dapper Day car show.
Are There Any Tips for First-Time Disneyland Dapper Day Guests?
Our expert, Hailey, offers these tips for a successful first Dapper Day:
1. Get there early. That way you can take all of your pictures before you start to get sweaty and tired. September happens to be one of Southern California’s hottest months.
2. Wear sensible shoes. Ladies, don't wear heels! If you do wear heels, make sure they are very comfortable and won't hurt your feet. There is a lot of walking at Disneyland.
3. Parasols are helpful for your own personal shade. This accessory is decorative and functional! (A waterproof umbrella may come in handy if the forecast calls for rain in March.)
4. Buy your ticket in advance. If you arrive at the park on Dapper Day without a ticket, you might not get in. Dapper Day is one of the days that can sell out.
5. Bring a good camera. Be open to taking pictures with other people, but don’t sign autographs or represent Disney in any way.
6. Getting on rides in Dapper wear is challenging. If rides are important to you, choose your outfit with rides in mind.
7. Great places to take pictures in Dapper wear include the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Lilly Belle train car, Disneyland Main Street, the carousal and Snow White's Wishing well. Great spots to take photos in California Adventure include the Hollywood area, the trolley, and Carthay Circle
8. Be appreciative of all the positive attention and compliments that being dapper will bring you.
Can You Wear Costumes?
In addition to Dapper wear, some Dapper Day attendees also “DisneyBound” in their attire. Since guests over nine years of age cannot wear costumes in the park (except during Mickey’s Halloween Party), Disney fans get around that rule by DisneyBounding. Fans dress in outfits put together with regular clothes from their closet that are similar in appearance, theme or color scheme to characters’ classic looks. Someone dressing in the style of Snow White might wear a blue dress with a yellow cardigan and red bow. A purple dress with a shell necklace could be inspired by Ursula. Guests cannot wear face paint or impersonate a Disney character. No weapons, actual costumes, revealing clothes, or wallet chains are allowed.
DisneyBounding is a fun way to play tribute to Disney characters while respecting and following the rules of the park. You might see characters dressed in DisneyBound outfits on Dapper Day and even other days of the year. If you ever spot a girl in a polka-dot vintage dress you just might be catching Hailey with a Pongo the Dalmatian flair! Be sure to say hi for us! Lily is offering to be a frog accessory and sit on the shoulder of any girl with a dress similar to Princess Tiana’s. Any takers?
Are There Other “Unofficial” Days at Disneyland?
You bet there are. The first weekend in October brings us Gay Days. There are also Bat’s Day (goth), Minnie Pin-up Parade Day, Rock Around the Park (rockabilly), Galliday (Dr Who), Star Wars Fan Day, and several more. Disney does not create or advertise events that take place during normal park hours, which is why they are “unofficial,” but these days can affect crowd levels and certainly the appearance of the guests in the park. Knowing about these days can help you navigate the park, jump in on the fun, and help you plan the best time for your family to visit. Each unofficial day has its own Website and often Facebook page that you can use to research and stay up to date on how to participate.
Next time you are in the park and see a lot of people dressed in a unique way or posing for a group photo, you might have landed yourself on one of the unofficial days. If you are not sure, just ask them. Many guests will be happy to share the story behind their outfit and will enjoy getting recognized for the extra effort they put into their appearance, especially if they look particularly dapper. We love hearing about the many ways people enjoy themselves and celebrate Disney in the parks. If you are at all nostalgic — or just love a good reason to get dressed up — Dapper Day at Disneyland can provide some fancy fun for your family. Perhaps we should add Dapper Day to our list of free things to do at Disneyland!
You'll find even more planning tips for Disneyland and beyond inside our Los Angeles Planning Guide.