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Fridays with Jim Korkis: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on


In the Disney animated feature Cinderella (1950), the Fairy Godmother appears to help the young girl go to the Royal Ball and with a wave of her magic wand and the magic word “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo.” The Fairy Godmother transforms the rags Cinderella is wearing into a magnificent ball gown. In addition, she also helps with makeup, hairstyle and accessories.

It was a scene that always made Walt Disney cry because he told people it reaffirmed that if you work hard and have a good heart that you would eventually be rewarded. It was also a scene that resonated with many young girls over the decades who watched it and who wanted to be a princess with a magnificent magical ball gown.

The Disney Princess brand was created in 2000 by then Chairman of Disney Consumer Products Andy Mooney. That first year the brand brought in three hundred million dollars in global retail sales and just three years later, it was generating close to two billion dollars in yearly sales.

So the idea emerged to design a specific location at a Disney theme park to sell princess themed merchandise, and perhaps re-create that magical moment in Cinderella when an ordinary girl becomes a princess.

Senior Concept Designer Jason Grandt designed Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. He said his specific goal was to design a location where guests might imagine that Cinderella would show up at any minute.

(c) Disney

He added storytelling details like a scroll announcing the Duke’s Ball that evening, the very same event to be attended by Cinderella and Prince Charming. The colors of the curtains in the location were selected to match the colors of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.

The first Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique opened at Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs) on April 5, 2006, followed by ones in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland on September 10, 2007, the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel on July 8, 2008, in the former Once Upon a Time – The Disney Princess Shoppe at Disneyland on April 17, 2009, and, with the name My Little Princess, at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel on May 23, 2009.

For the first time outside the Disney Parks and Resorts, a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique opened November 25, 2013 at the world-famous Harrods department store in London but closed in 2017.

A version of the boutique premiered inside Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland on June 16, 2016. A Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique opened July 1, 2019, in the Storybook Shoppe in Fantasyland at Hong Kong Disneyland, followed by a location at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World, which opened on August 6, 2019, replacing the Ivy Trellis Salon.

The Disney Cruise Line offers some different options, such as the Star Wars makeovers that tie in with Star Wars Day at Sea sailings, in addition to the traditional princess transformations. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique started with the Disney Fantasy in 2012 and followed by the Disney Magic and the Disney Dream in 2015 and the Disney Wonder in 2016.

Guests (usually girls) ages 3-12 that must be accompanied by an adult receive the royal treatment, getting transformed into a favorite Disney princess with the help of their own Fairy Godmother-in-Training, and take a royal oath.

Several different options are offered, and the price can soar to several hundred dollars especially with the addition of a princess dress. Of course, additional accessories are also available for purchase.

Boys are welcome, and can choose to be transformed into a knight or a prince. The transformation takes roughly about a half hour or more and includes photos and a gift bag of items in a tiny salon decorated with items to suggest an interior room of a castle.

Despite the deluxe price, the experience has proven to be so popular that Walt Disney World is home to three different Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques.

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Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his new books Kungaloosh! The Mythic Jungles of Walt Disney World and Hidden Treasures of Walt Disney World Resorts: Histories, Mysteries, and Theming, much of which was first published on this site.


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