One of the highlights of our Hong Kong Disneyland vacation this past May was our 5-year-old daughter’s makeover into Princess Belle from Disney’s Beauty & the Beast. This magical transformation happened one afternoon at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.
If your family has traveled to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you are probably familiar with the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Here, little girls are treated to makeovers where they can dress as their favorite princess. Our daughter was a bit too young for the experience on our last Disneyland vacation in Anaheim, but we knew she was the perfect age on this trip.
The Hong Kong Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Experience
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience at Hong Kong Disneyland turned out to be a big hit and well worth the cost ($1380 HKD or $178 USD for the full package as of May 2014). The entire session took a little over an hour and started with dress selection. As of May 2014, the characters available included Belle, Tiana, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Minnie Mouse, Rapunzel, and Tinkerbell. Our daughter initially had her heart set on Cinderella but found the trim in the dress too itchy. We tried on a few more and finally settled on Belle as the proper hybrid between beauty and comfort.
After our daughter donned her dress, she hopped into the makeup chair. The makeup colors for each princess were coordinated perfectly to match each dress. Our daughter loved Belle’s sparkly yellow eyeshadow and shimmering lip gloss. Nail polish was part of the makeover as well. The finishing touch was a glamorous hairstyle to match the entire ensemble. The package offered included a hairpiece, but our daughter wasn’t a fan so we left it off and instead opted for a classic bun.
After the makeover, your little one is treated to a photo session that would make any celebrity jealous. Two photographers worked with our daughter for 20-30 minutes doing a variety of sweet and silly poses in multiple locations. They were both great at making her smile and have a good time, despite the length of the session. We were laughing as much as our daughter was the entire time.
About 10 minutes after the photographers were done, we were presented with a huge stack of prints to view for purchase. The photos that we perused were truly gorgeous. I’m not sure if our photographer happened to be a diamond in the rough, but the quality of the photos was the best I’ve ever seen for a child’s photo shoot.
One 8 x 10 photo was included in the package price, but you are also given the option to purchase the entire printed collection along with a photo book. We inquired about the cost of the entire stack and found it was $2300 HKD. We did the math in our heads and then both mentally gasped — that is $297 US! That was obviously not in the budget, no matter how gorgeous the photos. There was no sales pressure, but we were a bit bummed we couldn’t take a few more photo souvenirs home.
My only critique of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is that there were no cheaper photo package options available. As gorgeous as the photos were, we were simply not prepared to pay nearly $300 US for the rights to them. We would, however, have paid $50, $75, or maybe even $99 for some additional prints or the rights to a few of the digital images. I think Hong Kong Disneyland is really missing out on an opportunity, but perhaps their regular visitors have a bigger budget than we do.
Tips for Your Hong Kong Disneyland Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Visit
If you are considering booking the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, here are a few tips we picked up along the way:
TIP #1: Make a reservation in advance.
About a week before our trip, we called to make a reservation and that proved to be a good decision. During busy times of year, the boutique can definitely fill up quickly. We visited during an off-season and noticed that the boutique was able to take some walk-ins during the time we were there. Because we had made a reservation, we had preference over all the walk-ins and didn’t have to wait at all for a makeover specialist or photographer.
Note that you have to call directly to Hong Kong Disneyland to make a reservation at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, so make sure you call from a phone that has reasonable international calling rates. All the representatives who answer speak excellent English, so don’t worry about communicating your request. You can also make dining reservations at the same time, so be ready to book your Enchanted Garden character meal too (review coming soon!).
TIP # 2: Have your daughter try on the dress she thinks she wants for a few minutes before you make a final selection.
Our daughter found a few of the dresses beautiful, but not that comfortable. If your little one wants to walk around in the park all day after her makeover, you really want to make sure you find a dress that doesn’t scratch. Once you cut the tags, the dress is yours, so be certain before you make that final decision.
TIP #3: Don’t fret about the upsell.
Even though you are offered photos to purchase at the end of your session, there is no sales pressure at all. There’s no need to fret about turning down the additional purchasing opportunities, but it is always nice to be prepared so you can budget for them in advance of your vacation if you really want them.
Has your child ever been made over at a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at a Disney park? What was your experience?