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Holding on to the magic

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Parenthood is a never ending series of firsts — the first time you snuggle your newborn, your baby’s first steps, the first day of school. Parenthood is also a never ending series of lasts — the moment they stop crawling into bed with you, the last time you rock them to sleep, and the day they graduate from school. Life is full of those bittersweet moments. I still lay with my kids each night because I know there will be a time when they grow up too much to want me there, and I just want to hang on to each and every moment for as long as I can.

There are bittersweet firsts and lasts beyond the moments that signal growing up. These are the shared experiences we have as a family, and experiences we want to have when they are young enough to appreciate them. Experiences that if they happen when older, wouldn’t be as special or magical. So, I make a point of keeping my eyes open for the magical firsts… and lasts.

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During our last visit to Disneyland, in and of itself magical, I decided to surprise my daughter with a trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Our “first” was when she was much younger… young enough that I don’t know if she actually remembers most of that experience. Since she was eight and potentially growing out of the princess stage I wanted to give her the chance dress up as my sweet, little princess one more time. I knew the day would come where she would say, “I am too old for that.” Let’s face it, an experience like this is just as much for the parents as it is for the kids. It’s a magical reminder that your kiddos are small and innocent. That wide-eyed innocence goes away far too quickly once the tween years arrive.

Needless to say, knowing this was likely the last time we’d get to do this, we took many photos and video of our Bibbidi Bobbidi experience.

The makeover experience is for ages three to twelve. We chose the basic package which includes hairstyling, shimmering makeup, a face gem, nail polish, a princess sash, and “cinch” sack. The whole experience takes just about an hour. This time includes the pre-registering process where you choose the right package and hairstyle for the experience you are after. You can buy any number of princess and prince outfits at the boutique, but in order to save a little money we bought our dress ahead of time during one of Shop Disney’s family and friend events… not that we didn’t still have fun looking around.

Once registered you wait until your fairy godmother calls you into the boutique. They escort your princess or prince in training to a dressing room where they change into their dress or costume. After that they hop into the boutique beauty chair and that is where the magic starts to happen. All the fairy godmothers go out of their way to make your child’s time there a magical experience.

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Parents get to sit back and watch their little girl or boy turn into the prince or princess of their dreams. My advice is to book a reservation early in the day. Noon was about perfect for us. It gave my daughter plenty of time to spend the day fluttering around Disneyland before she decided she was ready to change back into her “play clothes.” While my daughter enjoys dressing up from time to time, she is also a bit of a tom boy at heart and loves to kick it casual. One thing to be mindful of when choosing a time is what you’ll be doing after. Water rides or swimming kind of put an end to the princess magic, so choose a time that works for your other plans too.

Worth noting is that after your child gets all done up and sprinkled with pixie dust — have your phone ready for video for that bit — you also get to go through the Royal Hall and meet some Disney Princesses. It is amazing to see your child light up when, say, Cinderella sees your little princess walk in. The way that the Disney Princesses acknowledge that moment, a princess meeting a princess, is unbelievably special and one of those “firsts” or “lasts” that will stay with you forever. It doesn’t end there. As your child makes their way through the park they are treated like royalty… even by other park visitors. It is as if there is some sort of princess code everyone follows!

In a whirlwind of firsts and lasts, this one really stands out, and I can’t recommend it enough when it opens back up.

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