Leslie Kay wanted to dress up as a Disney character every time she went to Disneyland, but security guards almost didn’t let her through the entrance gate.
Kay was not allowed to wear costumes or clothing that could confuse children into thinking she was a park character, according to the Disney Parks Dress Code Policy. So Kay fought back in style, and “Disneybound” was created.
Disneybound refers to Disney fans taking everyday items out of their closets and creating looks that imitate their favorite Disney characters.
“It’s a way for adults and teenagers to show their Disney side,” Kay said.
She used her knowledge and passion for Disney and created a Disney-inspired outfit post for her travel blog. The blog only had a handful of followers, but once she put up the outfit post, thousands of views started rolling in.
Kay receives thousands of outfit requests every day, from Rapunzel (from “Tangled”) to Olaf (from the blockbuster “Frozen”).
Disneybounding isn’t just for playing dress up at the park. Kay creates outfits for girls and boys looking for prom night inspiration, moms looking for stylish exercise clothing ideas and college students looking to add Disney flair to their swimwear.
“Disneybound caters perfectly for anyone who wants to dress up but not spend a lot of money on elaborate costumes,” Kay said. “It makes dress-up easy and fun because you get to be creative.”
Disneybounding has even made its way to BYU campus. The Disney Club on campus is dedicated to Disneybounding every day. But even students who aren’t in the club will Disneybound when they can.
Emilee Draper, a student studying family life, grew up going to Disneyland every year. She discovered disneybound.tumblr.com her freshman year and started going through her closet to create the perfect Disneybound outfit for her annual trip.
“I didn’t even have to spend a lot of money on finding an outfit,” Draper said. “You need to pick your favorite character and find the clothes that match. It’s easy. It’s also personal because you relate to the character because you love the character.”
Disneybounders even have favorite characters they like to dress up as. Kay likes dressing up as Donald Duck because his colors and outfit are simple and easy to put together. Minnie Mouse, Ariel and Peter Pan are crowd favorites among the Disneybound subculture, according to disneybound.tumblr.com.
Morgan Gailey, Draper’s younger sister, discovered her personal style through Disneybounding. She and friends at school dress up like characters every day. Eeyore, from “Winnie the Pooh,” is Gailey’s favorite look because it’s simple and easy. Simplicity and ease contribute to the magic behind Disneybounding.
“When I go to the store, I think about what I’m buying,” Gailey said. “Will these yellow shoes go with Mickey Mouse, Tinkerbell and Jane (from ‘Tarzan’) disneybounds, or how many outfits can I create with what I already have?”
Disneybounding continues to grow in popularity. This year Disneyland announced its theme for the year, “Show Your Disneyside.” Disneybounding played a role in the theme because dressing up as characters has become a regular trend at the park. Disney parks now encourage visitors to Disneybound because it adds to the parks’ essence. For more Disneybound inspiration, visit disneybound.tumblr.com.