Once upon a time, when Walt first opened the doors to his new Disneyland Park, a day in Disney was a big deal for families that warranted wearing your Sunday best. Women could be seen wearing dresses, heels, and gloves, and men wore their vests and bow ties and polished shoes. Of course today that sounds terribly impractical, and most park guests opt for comfort rather than style. But what if for one day the parks were transformed back to their original dapper glory? That’s the whole idea behind Dapper Day! It’s a day where Disney enthusiasts have an excuse to fill the park with beautiful vintage fashions and celebrate Disney’s history in style. Dapper Day is an unofficial event not sponsored by Disney, but it has developed a huge following over the years, and has spanned the globe from Anaheim, California to Paris, France. It takes place twice a year, once in the Fall and once in the Spring, and as such I’ve never been able to attend because I’m rarely in Florida at those times of the year. So this year I seized the opportunity to take a day off and join thousands of other Disney fans in taking Hollywood Studios by storm in old fashioned glory.
Why Hollywood Studios, you ask? Hollywood studios is a celebration of Hollywood in its prime, when movies were new and exciting and oh so glamorous. The Great Movie Ride celebrates the old classic movies which were the hallmarks of their era, and the Hollywood Tower of Terror has a 1930’s theme to its decor and storyline. Hollywood Studios is also home to the Backlot Tour, which was an opening day attraction that brought guests behind the scenes and demonstrated how special effects are filmed, in addition to displaying a warehouse of old props, a fabulous tour through the “boneyard” of old movie vehicles, and a glimpse into the creative costuming section of the parks. This attraction was set to close the day after Dapper Day, so we had to give it a farewell to remember in dapper style.
But going to the parks all dressed up wasn’t for everyone. There were plenty of guests who had never heard of Dapper Day, nor had they any idea of why so many people were dressed up. Whether it was my outfit, or the fact that I give off a cast member vibe, I certainly got asked lots of questions:
“Why are you all dressed up? Does it get you a discount on tickets?” (Um, what?)
“Did you all just finish filming a movie here or something?” (No ma’am, no one has actually filmed a movie here in decades . . . )
“Are y’all dressed up for the Halloween parties at Magic Kingdom?” (No, there is no Halloween party tonight, that was last night . . . )
But in addition to all the ridiculous questions and strange stares we received, we also saw quite a number of fellow Dapper Day goers, and to me that was the best part. I loved seeing everyone all dressed up, and wishing them a “Happy Dapper Day!” There is a certain thrill in dressing up, especially in a place that celebrates the golden age of glamor and acting. I did truly feel like we were caught up in the filming of a movie, which is exactly what Hollywood Studios was designed to be.