Maybe you’ve seen pictures on Instagram or heard a rumor from a friend that’s in the know. However you found out, you’re stoked about Dapper Day events at Disney.
It looks like so much fun right? Big beautiful hats, pastel dresses, and don’t even get me started on those handsome gents sporting suits in the parks. Dapper Day is an un-official Disney holiday that takes place twice a year at each resort.
The big idea is to dress up in style, guests arrive in everything from pony skirts, to steampunk fashion, and every era in between. Dapper Day events are all about showing off your style and having a grand time in the process.
7. When is Dapper Day
The event takes place at Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Disneyland Paris each on separate days. Here are the dates for the 2019 Dapper Day events.
- April 14
- Dapper Day Expo: April 13 + 14
- April 27 + 28
- Magic Kingdom: April 27
- Epcot: April 28
- April 28
Of course, you’re dying to go, now that you’ve seen the glitz and glam of it all. But there are a few things you’ll need to know before you step foot in the parks.
6. It Gets Crowded
Like Christmas time crowded. The first time I experienced Dapper Day was completely on accident. I didn’t check my dates in a crowd calendar and oh boy! was I surprised.
Dapper Day is an extremely popular event. Everyone wants a good excuse to dress up and a good excuse to go to Disney, so it should be no surprise that the parks will fill up.
If you’re adverse to crowds you may want to rethink visiting on Dapper Day. It can be fun, yes, but if you’re not comfortable with high crowd levels it may not be fun for you.
And that’s okay! Everyone experiences things differently! If you were planning Dapper Day at Magic Kingdom you can just pop over to any other park instead and crowds should be significantly thinner. The only exception here would be Epcot, as many folks will also be doing a “drink around the world.”
Unfortunately, though, California Adventures will still be busy. The parks are too close together to avoid the crossover. The good news is that most other weekends surrounding Dapper Day have relatively low crowds and may be a better bet if you’re not up for dealing with loads of folks.
5. Expect Long Lines
Yes, it is that crowded.
On my accidental Dapper Day, the wait time for Pirates of the Caribbean was 3 hours. I wouldn’t wait for that for Splash Mountain! Let alone Pirates!
Especially on a day that I expected the place to be empty.
I’m not saying that you should avoid rides, but if that’s a priority you will definitely need an itinerary. If you’re headed to Magic Kingdom or Epcot book those FastPasses ASAP, for Disneyland you will absolutely want the MaxPass add-on.
Get our top tips on how to use Disneyland’s MaxPass.
4. Bring flats
Spending the day, any day, at Disney involves a lot of walking. There are things you can do to minimize it, but you can’t avoid it all.
Thank the great Disney gods for new apps like MyDisney and the Disneyland Experience that let you check ride times and book FastPasses directly from your phone. Back in my day, we had to walk 15 miles, through the snow, to see if a ride had FastPasses available.
J/K – sort of, there wasn’t snow.
You’re going to spend a lot of time on your feet. I track 15,000-30,000 steps a day when I’m at Disney – easy. I don’t care how strong your calves are or how good your balance is.
Walking 10+ miles in high heels over 6-8 hours is a big ask.
Don’t kill yourself trying. Wear the heels! They’ll be adorable in photos, you’ll get tons of compliments, and you’ll gain an instant strut. BUT…
Bring some flats for when you can’t feel your toes and the back of your ankles are raw.
3. Pack your day bag accordingly
Speaking of things you should bring….
I always, always, suggest taking a park bag with you to Disney. A backpack is best IMO, but a fanny pack or shoulder bag work in a pinch. Bringing a park bag lets you be prepared for anything.
Halfway through a line and your stomach is growling, beef jerky.
Headache from those Minnie Mouse Ears being too tight, Asprin. (Here’s a handy little tip from my friend Meg about how to avoid that problem altogether)
Phone is dying and you can’t book more FastPasses? (gasp*), portable battery pack. Bam.
But, Dapper Day is different. Having the bag is still going to be a lifesaver, maybe even more so, but be sure to consider (and include) other non-traditional essentials that you’ll need throughout the day.
Hairbrush, oil blotting sheets, band-aids – you get the jest.
2. Navigating the parks will take an extra bit of patience
I’m serious about these crowds.
A walk from the gate to Space Mountain may usually take 10 minutes, it will take double if not triple that on Dapper Day.
Plan accordingly. Pack flats and your patience. Everyone is there to have fun, just like you! The sheer flood of guests can be utterly frustrating, and intimidating, especially if you’re not expecting it.
The good news is there are some tricks to avoid the worst of it. My number 1 trick is to simply avoid areas that are normally congested in the first place. In Disneyland, this means the entrance to Tomorrowland from Main Street (it’s always a bit dodgy there between Buzz and Star Wars).
Instead, head to Fasntasyland and cut across near the Matterhorn. The second area of congestion is New Orleans Square, specifically the section near Pirates of the Caribbean and the Star Ship Columbia. If you’re trying to get to Haunted Mansion and Critter County, go through Adventureland and cut across near Tarzan’s Tree House.
1. Slow down, enjoy the occasion
Now that you’re completely convinced you shouldn’t go at all, thanks to crowds, lines, and chaos – let me just say that you should.
You need to go to Disney on Dapper Day at least once in your life.
It’s amazing, I promise. It’s not a normal day in the parks. I’m a go-go-go girl at Disney, I book FastPasses while I’m in lines halfway across the park. But that’s just not what Dapper Day is about.
Take a page from the opening day book and just enjoy the ambiance of it all. Grab a Dole Whip and people watch. Try to guess who everyone is bounding as.
Grab a FastPass if you can and hop on a few rides or two. But the thing you really, 100%, have to do to enjoy Dapper Day at Disney is to dismiss your expectations.