Disney had been advertising their "princess makeovers" all year and it was pretty much a given that we were going to do this for Ashleigh with her love for all the princesses, Cinderella in particular. So, today was the day for it. We walked down to Downtown Disney (yeah, once we realised how close we were, it was a no-brainer to walk) and over to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in the back of the Disney Store.
For the next hour, Ashleigh got pampered. Hair styling, including a hair piece, makeup, nails, full Cinderella costume and jewellery, the works. She loved every minute of it. Part of the package was a photo shoot, so we headed over to the studio to get that done as well.
After we got the professional photos done, we headed over to Magic Kingdom for Ashleigh to show off her new look and do some meet-and-greets with some of the Disney Princesses up in Toon Town. She got photos with Snow White, Aurora and Cinderella herself so she was pretty pumped (so much so that she ended up skipping rope on Main Street).
We then headed over to the Contemporary Resort via monorail and Chef Mickey’s buffet for dinner. Another bout of characters – Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald and Goofy – and another great meal down, we headed home.
One thing I forgot to talk about back on Day 8 was the Disney PhotoPass. This is yet another thing Disney puts on that allows you to enjoy your holiday even more, and once you know about it, it makes getting photos so much easier.
Scattered around the various theme parks, water parks, Downtown Disney and some resorts are dozens of professional Disney photographers. They have a kind of uniform (besides the big cameras) so are easy to spot. All you need to do is go up to one and ask them to take your photo. They’ll do so and then hand you a credit card sized pass with a unique code on it. You can then keep this card with you and present it to any other photographer anywhere else within Disney World. And yeah, you can grab another one if you want. We ended up with two so that Glenda and I could both have one regardless of whether we were together or not.
It doesn’t cost you anything to do this, and all the photos are stored in a central server, tagged with their location and special features – important for the next step.
You then head over to www.disneyphotopass.com and create an account with any valid email address (you can do this before you head over to Disney World if you want – in our case, we set this up last time we were here, so all we needed to do was log in).
On the website you enter the PhotoPass code on the card and instantly have access to all of the photos that have been taken. You can then browse through them and select only the ones you want – or you can click a link and share them with friends and family; a nice way of showing them how much fun you’re having (they don’t have to wait until you get home).
Of course, you have to pay for any prints you might want of them, but what’s great about this approach is you can save them up until you get home and then figure out which ones you want, rather than having to decide each time you have photos done whether you want them or not.
You can choose which part of a photo you want, and add a variety of borders and stamps to it as well. Because the photos are tagged, these stamps can be contextualised. So, for every photo we had taken for this trip, the stamps included the special 2007 logo they’ve got going. In addition, there were locale based stamps – a Typhoon Lagoon logo for the water park photos for instance – and character based ones – so photos that included Pluto have the option to include his signature on them.
THEN once you’re done with all that, you can choose from a variety of photo products. In addition to normal prints, and ordering a bunch on a CD, you can also get a "PhotoMovie" which is like a slideshow on a DVD or a "PhotoBook".
This latter one is what we’re planning – a perfect bound book of (minimum) 20 pages. Each page can have its own theme, number of photos – between 0 (if you want a page with a bit of text on it for instance) and 4 – and a variety of layouts based on the number of photos. For instance, select 3 and you’ll be presented with three layouts – 3 x landscape, 2 x landscape + 1 x portrait, and 1 x landscape + 2 x portrait. You can also upload your own photos to include in it as well as select from a variety of stock photos of locations and characters. We’re planning on doing a couple of pages for our Las Vegas trip and a couple of pages for the cruise (which we’re told is not linked to PhotoPass yet).
One addition since the last time we were here (which I think I mentioned the other day) is that they’ve added special water proof PhotoPass dog tags for the water parks, allowing you to get photos you probably wouldn’t have been able to get any other way.