Inside the Boutique that Transforms Girls into Princesses
Ten years after the opening of Disney's first Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, we take a look inside the salon known for transforming kids ages three to 12 into young royalty.
Photos by Samantha Friend
For many girls who grow up immersed in American culture, becoming a princess is a deeply desired transformation. In the most traditional sense, being showered with riches and attention in exchange for acquiescence doesn't sound so bad. However, the sweetness and docility associated with being a Disney princess are virtues that too often work to the disadvantage of women and girls in the real world. Enlightened parties may ask: can we still enjoy princess-play without the guilt of accepting a socio-cultural tradition rooted in patriarchal norms? That's up to each individual princess to decide for herself.
Now, the days of awaiting true love's first kiss to begin a princess transformation are over, as prospective princesses can take royal destiny into their own hands. Enter Disney's Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique—an enchanted beauty salon that offers magical makeovers for young princesses and knights ages three to 12. The exclusive salon began giving "Royal Transformations" in Orlando, Florida in 2006 and has grown to four international locations since.
Today, the Fairy Godmother "owned" and Fairy Godmothers-in-Training "operated" salon remain open seven days a week, pampering young princes and princesses by appointment only. In the waiting parlor, girls decide between being transformed into a Disney Diva, Pop Princess, or Fairytale Princess as parents teeter between purchasing a coach, court yard, or castle package for their now royal offspring. Offering a detailed menu of varying salon services, each experience still ends with a sprinkle of fairy dust, a magical wish, and of course, a professional photo shoot.
Should any child wish to get extended wear out of their fresh hair, makeup, and nails combo, they may celebrate their makeover commencement in the participation of the daily Princess Parade. Each afternoon, girls are welcomed to march as they show off their new looks and practice their princess waves to their family. As these public processions of femininity continue to lure customers to the door, a great number of boys and girls continue to wait their turn for a moment in the royal spotlight.