***NOTE: THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2014. DUE TO LOTS OF REQUESTS, I HAVE ADDED NEW LE DRESSES TO THE END OF THE POST AS THEY HAVE BEEN RELEASED.
Halloween is approaching and now is THE BEST time to buy costumes, whether new or used. If you prefer new costumes, the stores are stocked and the options are endless. I saw no less than 10 different versions of Elsa's Blue Gown this past weekend at the Michigan Renaissance Festival.
I, personally, prefer to buy costumes used on eBay. The weeks leading up to Halloween are a veritable schmorgasborg of rare and unusual "vintage" Disney Princess costumes. Some of our favorite "rare" costumes are Cinderella's Blue Dress with the White Cameo, and Belle's Wedding Gown which I'll review separately. In addition to seeing these costumes available for the first time since last year, I am seeing Limited Edition costumes pop up.... which brings us to today's post.
I love the Disney Store Limited Edition costumes. And I fully support the resale and used purchase of these dresses. In fact, to date we own SIX! Limited Edition costumes, the rarest of which (Belle and Rapunzel) were purchased used through eBay. The problem is that there's not a lot of online documentation of the LE line for some reason, which makes it difficult to know whether what you're looking at is actually LE and how rare it is when you're dealing with eBay sellers, some of whom are unfortunately straight-up profiteers.
I'm seeing a lot of dresses that aren't Limited Edition costumes being labelled as LE with high, high prices. So which dresses ARE LE and which aren't? Considering the scarcity of LE dresses that have been released so far, it's easier to list which ones ARE, so you can identify them.
LE Costumes is one of my favorite things to discuss, so if you have any questions please feel free to ping me in the comments below. And if you have any addition details that I might be lacking, please let me know! We started collecting in 2013 and so some of my knowledge is incomplete still (even though I think I know a lot about the LE line, I always love the opportunity to learn new tidbits!)
The Snow White LE Costume was the first of the LE line, released in 2009 in a quantity of 2,000. This dress is extremely rare and I only see between 5 - 10 for sale per year (and that's being generous). They usually sell for above $300. There were matching shoes and crown/headband as well.
When buying, beware of holes in the gold netting overskirt which is the most common damage I've heard of with this dress.
This dress originally retailed for $150/$195 for the dress, shoes, and crown.
Belle's costume was released in 2010 in a quantity of 2,000. This dress was sold with matching shoes and a matching crown. These dresses appear fairly regularly, probably in the range of 30-50 per year via eBay, and though they're usually listed for $400+, I've seen them sell for $200 on occasion. (We were able to purchase ours for less than that with crown and shoes, but that was after years of watching for the right sale and also a bit of luck!) This dress has a bon-a-fide hoop skirt underneath! :-)
When buying, beware of frayed ribbon (this actually happened to our dress). The ribbons don't seem to have been heat-treated and will fray or entirely unravel in some cases!
This dress originally retailed for $150/$195 for the dress, shoes, and crown.
Celebrity sighting: Kyle Richards' (from Beverly hills house wives) daughter wore one for Halloween. (I'm not sure who that is as I don't watch the show, but thought it might mean something to you!)
Rapunzel was released in 2011 in a quantity of 2,000. The matching shoes are ADORABLE and people go batshit crazy over the coordinating tiara on eBay. Sorry for the strong language, but seriously.... those plastic tiaras (which retailed for $20 bucks) have sold for upwards of $150 and are barely EVER available online. I've seen maybe 2 in three years of watching. The dresses on the other hand are a bit more common than Belle. They resell for about the same ($200-$300) and if you are patient you should be able to find one in the right size at the right price. I'd say I see between 50-100 for sale per year, and the shoes turn up regularly. Good luck on getting that tiara, though... that's my own personal Holy Grail item.
When buying, beware of missing/torn off flowers from the dress and missing gems from the shoes (very common).
This dress originally retailed for $150.
Rapunzel's wedding dress was released in 2012 in a quantity of 4,000 at the same time as the short movie Tangled Ever After came out, for $125. I see this dress going for "cheapest" of the LE costumes, if you're patient you should be able to pick it up for under $200. I often see them listed in the $125-$150 range, and there's nearly always a few available on eBay at any given time throughout the year. The shoes for the wedding dress are identical to Tiana's shoes, but with a different gem at the toe.
When buying, beware of stains, this is a white satin dress and easily shows dirt!
Cinderella's LE costume was released to coincide with the Diamond edition movie anniversary in fall 2012 in an edition of 3,000. It featured the first singing broach of the LE line, which I thought was a nice touch. We were excited to buy this costume, but when we saw it in the store decided to pass as it wasn't up to the quality of the previous dresses. Though the bodice was lovely, the skirt had the painted-on sparkles (that we all know wear off quickly!) instead of the embroidery and sequins of the other LE costumes. If I were up to me, I'd call this one a Deluxe-level dress.
You'll find them frequently for sale on eBay and like the Rapunzel Wedding dress you should be able to get one between $125-$200 easily if you're patient.
If I recall correctly, the dress originally retailed around $125. But that's from memory.
Minnie Mouse got into the LE costume action in 2012, with a small edition of just 1,500. It turns up occasionally on eBay --- neither super rare nor super common. I'd say you should be able to find one for under $200, but to be completely honest I haven't paid too close of attention to this costume. It was an odd addition to the LE line, IMO.
This dress originally retailed for $99.50.
Arial's LE costume was released in fall 2013 to an edition of 2,500. It also featured a singing broach (in the form of a purple seashell). I remember this dress lingering in the stores for quite a while. It's steadily available from eBay and again you should be able to find one in the $125-$200 range.
This dress originally retailed for around $105 for the dress and shoes.
ELSA & ANNA
The Elsa and Anna limited Edition costumes were made available at the same time in winter 2013, each with a quantity of 1,500. Ironically, the Blue Elsa dress that initially got 2-3 star reviews on the Disney Store's website is now reselling for well over $1,000. YES, OVER ONE-THOUSAND-DOLLARS. I can't explain this phenomenon, so I'm not even going to try. I have to think that in the future they'll come down to a "reasonable" resale price, closer to what Belle/Rapunzel are going for---- don't you think?! Anyway, the Frozen costumes were the first costumes to come packaged in their own garment bags, which was a nice touch. The Anna costume also had a musical broach which sings "For the first time in forever". I've reviewed them extensively elsewhere, so I'll just leave it at that for here.
When buying the ELSA dress, beware of missing buttons. This dress loses buttons like nobody's business and they didn't ship any spares, so be sure to ask if all the buttons are there or not.
The ANNA dress originally retailed for $199, while the ELSA dress was $150, which just goes to show that Disney miscalculated who the popular sister was going to be.
Aurora's LE costume was released in September 2014 with a quantity of 1500. Some folks have been complaining that, though it's a beautiful pink princess dress, there's nothing to make it "Aurora's dress". I understand their point, but if you look above you'll see that Belle's costume isn't exactly like in the movie, neither are Snow White or Rapunzel. I actually appreciate that this dress seems to be returning to the costume quality of the first few dresses. And, the shoes are gorgeous! Too early to say what they will resell for, but as of the writing of this post the Profiteers already have them listed on eBay for $300 while they're still available from the Disney Store for $199!
This dress originally retailed for $199/$224 for the dress, and shoes.
CINDERELLA (Live Action)
The second LE Cinderella costume was released in February 2015 to correspond with the Live Action movie. It had a quantity of 3,500 which is a lot for the LE line. It is very pretty, though like the Aurora dress above it didn't sell out too quickly. It was sold for $199 and was available for several months (as of Aug 2015 there was still size 5 available!) It was designed to share the same shoes with the Deluxe Cinderella Wedding dress. A similar Blue Cinderella dress was sold at the Deluxe price point in both the blue design and wedding dress design, so be sure to look carefully at any resale listing to make sure you're getting the LE dress and not the Deluxe (the LE dress has a floral pattern on the skirt). This dress also came in a garment bag.
The Jasmine LE costume was released in August 2015 with a quantity of 1500 to correspond with the Diamond Edition re-release of Aladdin. It was released for $149 with corresponding shoes at $19.99. The set complimented the standard Jasmine accessories available at the same time ($12.95 for tiara, $12.95 for jewels), and a very luxurious Jasmine wig which sold for $19.95 and had a built-in jewel headband! So pretty!
Some parents complained about the Jasmine costume being a two-piece, but I think it's worth noting that even though it is a two-piece costume, it has a much smaller/modest midriff opening than other Jasmine costumes have had. The dress doesn't seem to have been very popular / collectible and you can find these dresses for resale around $100 fairly frequently.
The second Belle LE costume was released in August 2016 with a quantity of 2500 to correspond with the anniversary of Beauty and the Beast. It was released for $199.
To me, this dress seemed like a knock-off of the original (which I wrote about here), and there were some complaints online about the sequins falling off (they are sewn in long rows so if they start to tear they come off in large chunks. Buyers also mentioned that the dress runs small, requiring sizing up.
Belle (again, again!)
To celebrate the Live Action Beauty and the Beast in 2017, Disney has released yet another LE Belle costume. This one deviates substantially from the previous two (which I previously mentioned I thought were too close in design) but, still... 3 Belle LE dresses? Is that really necessary? V3 features lovely ruffles on the back of the dress but the ruffled bodice leaves me feeling a little ho hum. That said, its sleeveless design makes it the best park option of the three LE versions and the hoop is much more oblong and pliable than previous versions making it easier to wear and sit.
The third LE Belle costume was limited to 4,500 making it one of the largest quantities. It retailed fro $199, with coordinating shoes at $24 and coordinating jewelry at $29. I wasn't a huge fan of the shoes with their leaf pattern, so we pair this dress with a pair of other gold Belle shoes which I think are nicer. In addition to the signature yellow gown, Disney also released a Belle wedding gown (white with peach roses) settling the debate about whether Belle and the Beast were officially married or not.
Disney has flirted with Limited Edition adult costumes. To date, I think there's been Snow White, Glinda, and The Wicked Witch of the West. I'd be all over a Rapunzel or Cinderella or Aurora costume, but so far these haven't materialized and I can't claim to have been watching the adult costumes too closely except to say they exist. So, there you have it: they exist. :-)
Below are the most common costumes that I see listed as Limited Edition which are not (not to say they aren't beautiful, because they are! But they're Deluxe or "regular" costumes and as such lots and lots and lots were made, so I think it's important to know that when you are shopping you're not looking at a limited potential quantity like, say, the 1500 LE Elsa costumes).
Deluxe Cinderella Wedding Dress from Live-action Cinderella movie (not LE) - 2015, $99. The cinderella wedding dress had the prettiest tiara, by the way! :-)
Deluxe Live Action wedding gown released in 2017 (not LE) - $99. Released with corresponding jewelry set but no specific shoes.
This was released as a "Light Up Elsa" dress, it was not listed as LE, though it was at the $199 price point and shared a lot of details with the LE dress (specifically, the cape) as well as was delivered with a garment bag. Released August 2015.