Sewing Project: Tremaine Sisters' Costumes

1900 Park Fare is one of our favorite restaurants. On our 2011 trip, we did the "Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner" and on our 2013 trip we tried the "Supercalifragilistic Breakfast". (You can read my comparison of the two character meals here). When I was planning our 2015 trip the Cinderella dinner was at the top of both girls' wish lists to do again. The girls were excited to see Cinderella, of course, but what they really wanted was some time with the Tremaine family. We've always enjoyed our witty and irreverent meetings with the evil steps sisters. 

My girls are girly-girls and they love costumes (in cases you hadn't noticed!) The fancier the better. At some point (probably when we were making the Anastasia / Drizella halloween masks!), the idea came up to make Anastasia and Drusilla costumes and we started keeping an eye out for suitable materials at our favorite thrift store.

I was able to find some pretty good used clothing items (skirts, shirts, etc.) in fuschia and lime green that I thought would work, as well as a costume that looked like a close match in terms of the cut of the dress that the sisters wear in the parks. I wish I could say these costumes were made with up-cycled clothes like our Harry Potter sundresses are but, unfortunately, things didn't work out exactly as I would have liked with the pattern/sizing and we ended up having to shop at JoAnn Fabrics for material about halfway through. 


Making Anastasia Tremaine's Pink Dress: 

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The thrift store fabrics that I originally started with is on the left. Because of the placement of buttons on the outfit and my own ineptitude laying out the pattern, and because my daughter is bigger than I realized!, I had to start over. Pretty much, if I'd just winged it like I did with the Harry Potter sundresses I would have been fine, but because I was trying to follow a pattern fabric got wasted that I couldn't afford and I ended up with not enough to complete the outfit. 

Below is my second attempt with the fabric store materials. (So, so much more expensive than upcycling, btw!)

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She's thinking, "What is it that those mice sang about needing 'Trimmin'?"  That it's good for covering up sloppy seams, my dear! :-)

There was a little gap in the hem of the overskirt and it let the tulle spill out behind like a little train. Evie loved it, so we left it that way. I'd also bought some strands of magenta beads to make a gaudy necklace out of, but we simply ran out of time....

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Making Drizella's Tremaine's Lime Dress: 

Learning from my mistakes with the pink dress, instead of following the pattern for Drizella's dress exactly, I decided to create the bodice from a thrip-store button down I found and attach it to the sleeves from another thrift store button down I found. I also tried to make the bustle out of the same green shirt, but there wasn't enough material and despite my best efforts the bustle never really worked out as nicely as it did on the pink dress and ultimately I had to tear it out and replace it with a new bustle made from teal fabric I found from the fabric store. 

The original skirt was meant to be made from this awesome lime green curtain I found at the thrift store. However, when we went to the fabric store my daughter found this fancier material and convinced me that her skirt should be beaded like her sisters. I'm a sucker for pretty material, I guess, so I gave in. (Have I mentioned how much more expensive buying fabric is compared to upcycling from old clothes?! Even with my 20% off entire purchase and 50% off one-item coupons from JoAnn's the shopping trip really hurt!)

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The final skirt had a tulle underskirt (gathered with a running stitch) and a really pretty lime green detailed top skirt. I tried to find a way to incorporate the green curtain I love so much, but in the final dress the only place it stuck was as a lace accent on the sleeves. As is a common theme with my sewing projects, the area where the skirt meets the bodice got extremely thick and when I was trying to sewing it together I kept breaking needles. Super frustrating! I certainly could have used some little mice and bird friends to do that part!

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These dresses were also my first experience with sewing on a zipper, which was both harder and easier than I expected. I've always used buttons or ties wherever possible because the idea of zippers made me anxious, but in retrospect button holes are no easy feat either!

At this point I apparently stopped taking process photos because I was so frustrated. I tore out the bustle and replaced it with a new one, and I folded up the sleeves and added elastic / trimmings to make it look like the poof sleeve in the cartoon. I would like to say that it was substantially easier to use the sleeve off an up cycled shirt and to just shorten it than it was to make a sleeve from scratch (as I had to do with the pink dress). I added tulle to the poofy sleeves as well as to the bustle on both dresses to help them keep their shape.

The girls were super excited about the bustles and couldn't wait until the dresses were done to start playing evil step sisters. Every time I needed them to try it on in the  middle of the process I lost the dress to 20 minutes of flouncing around and evil stepsister posing! (Note to self: time to get a mannequin!)

To complete the outfit, we made Anastasia/Drizella themed headbands. I bought the big flowers at the same time I bought the fabric (they were really inexpensive, on sale for .50 each!), and was fortunate to still have lots of ribbon leftover from our fancy halloween crayon hats from the year before! 

The dresses were a big hit at the 1900 Park Fare dinner! My only disappointment was that the photos photographer at the Park Fare entrance didn't do a little bit more with that photo. I'm hoping to get some better pictures of the dresses taken sometime soon, because I'm really proud of how they turned out!


 

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Teddy Bear Tuesday: Mermaid Shellie May

Happy Teddy Bear Tuesday! As you might have guessed after our Ariel Birthday Party last month, mermaids are a fan favorite in our house. So, of course, Shellie and May have their own Ariel costumes. And, of course, they packed those Ariel costumes in their teddy bear suitcases for our 2015 trip to Walt Disney World!  

We purchased these beautiful hand-made dresses from Connie (HotTotsCoolKids) on Etsy for Eva's birthday party. They were worth every penny! I had talked to Connie about doing Duffy Bear-themed dresses for our trip, but unfortunately my budget wouldn't allow it .... next time, for sure! The girls received so many compliments on their outfits, and had so much fun doing twirling competitions while we waited in line!

#throwbackthursday: Favorite Character Interactions - Mulan, Terrance (2011)

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We have so many digital photos, but precious few printed ones. Last night Viola asked me to find and print a particular image from our first Disney trip for an art project she is doing in class. While I was hunting through the 2011 Photos folder, I came across these great two interactions from that trip. 

The first is a visit with Terrance that went hilariously awry. Even though Viola had already met both Tinkerbell and Rosetta earlier in the day, she was overcome with shyness during Extra Magic Hours. To earn her confidence he decided to show her that there was a hole in the back of the teacup in the area behind him....

Using my psychic-mommy abilities, I predicted that Viola (age 3) would crawl in and not ever come out... which of course, she did. You can hear us in the background giggled with the photopass photographer and Terrance's handler... who both seemed to find the predicament as funny as I did.  

"Should I go help?" I asked.  

"No," they laughed. 

Check it out below. :-)


Later in the trip we got caught in a down-pour near EPCOT China and ducked into the pavilion to stay dry. Being newbies, we didn't know that you could find Mulan there, so seeing her was a happy accident. She was THE BEST. I've held off on sharing this video because Mulan mentioned that she really wasn't supposed to be in the room with the Terra Cotta soldiers display, and I would guess she REALLY isn't supposed to be sword fighting in there and I would never want to get her in trouble. But, since it's been about 4 years I thought it would be safe to share this now. What an awesome interaction, right? You can see how excited Viola is just watching! She still talks about it, and she was only a spectator.  

I wonder if this is what Kenny the Pirate means when he suggests asking Mulan to show you her Kung Fu moves in his Character Interaction Guide?

My Disney Girl's Perfectly Princess Tea Party

If you have a little one obsessed with Princesses and/or Fancy Tea Parties, the My Disney Girls' Perfectly Princess Tea Party is absolutely a must-do. Little girls will enjoy singing, dancing, live piano music, and lots of quality time with Princess Aurora all in the beautiful Garden View Tea Room at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. And gifts! Did I mention gifts? Each child receives the following: 

  • A special 18-inch My Disney Girl doll dressed in a Princess Aurora gown plus accessories (little ones can opt for a Duffy Bear instead).
  • A plastic tiara 
  • Silver Princess link bracelet 
  • Fresh rose 
  • Special princess scrapbook page "Best Friend" certificate for their new My Disney Girl doll 

Tea Party reservations are often available past the 180-day mark, because the event isn't well known (and also because it's so very expensive). I'd still recommend making reservations at the 180 day mark if you can but, unlike Cinderella's Royal Table or Akershus, you may be able to pick up reservations closer to your trip.

The event begins at 10:30 on select days. This means if you plan carefully and are lucky with your reservations, you could take your daughter to the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique prior to the event. There is also an on-site salon at the Grand Floridian called the Ivy Trellis, which I've read is a great alternative to the BBBoutique (and, bonus, it would be in the same building so no rushing across the parks!)  Most of the girls will be dressed in princess costumes or fancy dresses, so be sure to bring a costume if you can. (If you're new to or overwhelmed by the array of choices, check out my Princess Costume Primer.)

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We didn't do makeovers on the day of our Princess Tea Party reservations, but the girls had been to the BBBoutique earlier in the trip and I did my best Fairy Godmother impersonation before we left for the Grand Floridian. And, of course, we had princess dresses with us! Eva wore an Aurora costume from Babies R Us, and Viola wore her vintage DisneyStore "Pink Cinderella costume that the mice made for her!" which we found in lovely condition at a Mom2Mom sale a few years ago. There is so much pink at this event that I would definitely recommend a pink costume if you have access to one.

Upon arrival, the girls are asked to line up outside the Garden View Tea room, which is located on the ground floor, off the lobby of the Grand Floridian. Each girl is called up by name to receive a crown and have her picture taken with the hostess, Miss Rose Petal.

The girls are led to their tables where their new My Disney Girl dolls (dressed as Aurora) are waiting. One important thing to know: The My Disney Girl dolls have been discontinued. We didn't know this when we signed up. They still give the Aurora dolls away at the tea party, but you are unable to buy additional dolls or accessories or outfits for them anywhere in the parks or online. This was a pretty big disappointment, and I'm surprised that they haven't changed this aspect of the activity now that the dolls are discontinued. 

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That said, the doll isn't the main reason to attend the tea party. My daughter (and, honestly, most of the girls who sat near us) showed minimal interest in the doll.  No, the real draw of the tea party is the tea party itself. 

There is hot tea for the adults and a juice in a pink teapot for the kids. The adults'  tea is delicious, by the way, and I am not generally a tea fan. The finger food is delivered on plates with a lovely princess cinnamon design in the center. The jelly sandwiches are even cut into little heart shapes! Don't expect to fill up on the little sandwiches and fruits, though, they really don't constitute a meal. But there is delicious strawberry cake toward the end, which is reasonably filling if you steal a few extra bites from your preoccupied children... 

If you are bringing a little one, you have the option to not pay for them, in which case they do not get tea or a plate of snacks, or a doll. If you choose to pay for a little one, you have the option of receiving a Duffy Bear instead of an Aurora Doll.

We chose not to pay for Eva; she ate my snacks and my tea and we brought our ShellieMay bear in an Aurora dress (from Build-a-Bear workshop), and frankly I don't think she noticed whatsoever. That said, I wouldn't take a young child empty-handed, as there's a chance they might become upset when all the other girls have dolls and they do not... you'll want to be sure to bring with you some sort of special doll or stuffed animal, which you could certainly pick up from the gift shop for far less than it costs to add an extra child to the Tea Party. The children also get silver charm bracelets, which you could also pick up at any of the resort gift shops ahead of time and slip into your younger child's napkin.

Rose Petal entertains the children with singing accompanied by live piano, and even takes requests. She tells the story of how she came to be (spoiler alert: the fairies turned a rose into a girl). Then, she teaches the kids the special way to greet royalty: Hail to the King! Hail to the Queen! Hail to the Princess Aurora! complete with hand motions. As the children sing this song, Princess Aurora appears. She takes them for a parade around the room, while Rose Petal sings Once Upon A Dream. Afterward, she hands out roses to each girl, as well as a card, and spends a fair amount of time at each table for pictures and autographs and conversation. One down-side to the event is that there is no Photopass photographer to capture a really great picture with Aurora or Rose Petal--- you will have to do your best with the camera you bring with you. 

At the conclusion of the tea party, the kids are led in a parade around the Grand Floridian lobby, then up to the second floor where a photopass photographer waits to take their picture. (Why isn't the photopass photo taken with Aurora or at least Rose Petal? I have no idea!!!) 

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I put together a video (below) with some clips from our visit in 2013, to give you an idea of what the entertainment was like. If I recall correctly the entire experience last about two hours or so.


Is it worth it?

In 2013 (when we attended) the cost for the Perfectly Princess Tea Party was $250 for one adult and one child (minimum); $165 for each additional child (ages 3-11) and $85 for each additional adult. This cost covers the doll, the bracelet, and the other gifts.

If getting a My Disney Girl doll is important to you, this is the only way to get one as they are, as I mentioned, discontinued. I don't know how much they had cost brand new, but let's compare to the cost of an American Girl doll which is $80 new. The "silver" bracelets are $10 in the gift shops. So, the cost of the experience and "meal" for a child is still at least $75 once you take into account the value of the gifts. For younger kids, they swap the Disney Girl Doll for a Duffy Bear which only costs $30 new, so you can see that that is not a good value. 

If Princess Aurora is your daughter's favorite princess, than this is a pretty obvious choice. But what if she's not? My daughters' favorite princesses (prior to Frozen) were Cinderella and Rapunzel, but they still delighted in this experience. It would be awesome if in the future Disney offered similar events with the other princesses, too. The Perfectly Princess Tea party is something my girls still talk about, and was the inspiration for our over-the-top Frozen-themed birthday party: we created a tea room and had Anna/Elsa actors instruct the girls in proper table manners, polite conversation, singing, dancing, et al--- 100% inspired by this experience.

As a unique opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with a princess, I do think that the Perfectly Princess Tea Party is an experience worth doing once if you can afford it. But, it's not something I would do repeatedly--- we will not be doing it on our next trip, though I imagine we will go one more time when Eva is older. If you do choose to do it, I offer the following recommendations: 

  • DO take young children: I'd say 2yrs to 12yrs will enjoy this experience. My girls were 2.5yrs and 4.5yrs when we went in 2013 and both had a blast. 
  • DON'T pay for kids under three. When you make your reservation, you'll be offered the choice to opt-in to pay for your small ones. But, there's no need: they can eat off your plate. I'd add, DON'T pay for extra adults, either. The show is really geared for the littles, and it doesn't seem worth $85 extra if one parent can handle them and take photos, etc.
  • But DO bring a special doll for your littlest one if you opt out of paying for them, so they're not sad when all the older kids get new dollies. The last thing you want is a melt down over a $30 bear when you're paying hundreds of dollars for tea.
  • DO go fancy: dress up (bring a costume from home if you have one), and if you are thinking of booking a Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique appointment, try to get it for first thing on the morning of your Perfectly Princess Tea party reservation, ideally at Magic Kingdom so you can ride the monorail over to the Grand Floridian.
  • DO bring a good camera: the photopass photographer comes at the end of the event after Princess Aurora has left, so if you want a pic of your child with the princess it's up to you.
  • DON'T skip breakfast or lunch for the Tea Party. Though it's tempting to consider the 10:30 event like a brunch, the finger food will not fill you up and you will need a meal either before or after.

Last, but not least: the Garden View Tea Room offers a formal afternoon tea every day during the week between 2:00 and 5:00. If the Perfectly Princess Tea Party is outside of your budget, you might consider getting dressed up and having your own fancy tea party anyway. There wouldn't be characters present, but I'm certain it would be a memorable experience for you and your little one nonetheless! (You can view a copy of the menu for the general tea service here.... If you are using the Disney Dining Plan, the Garden View Tea Room counts as a Table Service. You can not use the Dining Plan for the My Disney Girl's Perfectly Princess Tea Party however.)

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