I have a daughter, and we have a few Princess dresses at our house. I'm not against playing dress up. However, once dressed up, is it all about the shoes? The hair? The bag? At least for me, as a child it was about stories. Imagination. Adventures, not just hair and make up.
When I watched Disney movies, it wasn't only about the princess tales. There were many other stories and characters that I loved. Another component that made the movies amazing, was the animation. It wasn't because Snow White was beautiful, or how wonderful her clothes were. To be honest, the dwarves were more entertaining, and the animation was lovely.
But as park merchandise would suggest, the shining star of Snow White was the dress. At first I thought it was cute, seeing the little girls walking around in their cute dresses, but now, it makes me kind of sad. Little girls with loads of hair spray, make up and a dress.
I'm not suggesting dress up is a bad thing. I'm not saying dressing up makes it impossible to play pretend. However, it's the way it's done, and where so much focus is aimed, that suggests to me that the most important thing is the pretty princess, and how pretty she is, and that is all that is important.
When I really think about it, it is actually quite boring.
I would like to see more focus on who the princesses are. What they like to do. Rather than getting your hair and nails did, what if they had a Belle's Book Store, where you pick a fairy tale and they will fill your name into the story. Some parts if the story will be missing, and you fill those parts in with your own version. Then they have Disney artists that you can take your book up to and they will draw a picture of you to illustrate your story. That is money I'd rather spend, and brings more of the hand drawn art into the park. Also, souvenirs that truly feel like a treasure.
How about a Tinkering station where you build something with Tinkerbell? After we met Merida they had a little archery station that I thought was a nice touch, and more on track with what I'd like to see.
Painting or Astronomy with Rapunzel?
Also, what about boys? I am unaware if there are areas where they can dress up or participate in more interactive pretend play. Boys and girls would probably enjoy dressing up as pirates and then searching for buried treasure. My daughter loved the wilderness trail in DCA, much more than I anticipated. Way more fun than merely slapping on some make up.
What do you guys think? New ways to inspire creativity? For getting dressed up, would it be nice to see more non princess options like Jessie and Wendy? More villains, or male characters? Also, not just dressing up, but more activities and merchandise that expresses who these characters are, not just what they look like. Things that really light up and stimulate children's imaginations.