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6 New Costume Rules all Walt Disney World Guests Need to be Aware Of

Last month, as part of the sweeping security changes that hit Disney parks in both Orlando and California, costumes were outright banned for adults over 14. Though this isn't much of a change from regular park procedure (adult costumes have always been banned at Walt Disney World during normal park operation), many have been wondering what this new policy could mean for those annual events which historically encourage costuming, like Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party and runDisney races.

While we still don’t have any information on what's happening with the Halloween Party, runDisney is hosting its annual Walt Disney World marathon this weekend, and has gone ahead and clarified what is allowed and what isn’t at runDisney events under these new regulations.  

1. DisneyBounding is still OK

Image: Disney

As mentioned previously, Disney parks have never allowed guests 14 and older to wear costumes at any parks during regular hours. However, many Disney guests have skirted around this issue by “DisneyBounding”, which is essentially wearing regular clothes that look like something a “real life” Disney character would wear. So for instance, a DisneyBounder trying to recall Minnie Mouse’s style might wear a red dress and yellow heels, while a Little Mermaid DisneyBounder might wear a purple shirt and green pants. Both of these outfits recall their respective characters, but could pass as just plain street clothes as well. If you’re curious about what constitutes Disneybounding (and why guests love to do it) we suggest further reading here.

Though some of the verbiage in Disney’s original statement about the banning of costumes gave DisneyBounders cause for worry, it looks like themed clothes are officially OK, at least at runDisney events. Unofficially, several DisneyBounders have reported that they have not been kicked out of Disney Parks for dressing in a manner that recalls (but not copies) their favorite character as well, so it looks like guests planning to DisneyBound at the runDisney marathon happening this weekend can feel confident wearing their Disney-inpired outfits (not costumes) both during and after the race. 

2. Layers are off limits

Image: AngryJulieMonday, Flickr (license) 

Even though wearing street clothes that look like Disney characters is OK, it looks like anything that has multiple parts or is layered in any way is not allowed under the new rules. Disney’s official statement on the matter singles out Jedi Robes as something that would not be allowed under the new policy, but there are plenty of other characters whose costumes wouldn’t work under this new policy including the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella. If your costume seems iffy, it would be best to err on the side of caution, as Disney will be turning away participants with layered clothing that could potentially conceal something. 

3. No full-body costumes

Image: Disney

Additionally, if your costume covers your entire body, it is not OK under the new Disney costume guidelines. Practically, that means no floor-length dresses (sorry princess fans) or giant costumes. Floor length capes are not permitted under the new rules either, although Disney does specify that short capes are fine. 

The guideline update also forbids guests from using props as full body costumes (as seen above). Disney specifically mentions props like a “wearable” Death Star and the house from Up as wearable props that are not allowed, but the implication here is that really anything that covers your whole body and looks like it could conceal something simply isn't allowed. 

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There are 23 comments.

I was in the Magic Kingdom on Saturday doing Disney bounding with my daughter and husband -- as Joy, Sorrow and Anger from Inside Out -- and we had absolutely no issues. Lots of cast members recognised what we were, but I don't think many guests did.

The "No Picture" rule has been in place for a while now. It was in the guidelines even for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in 2014.

So i guess the mickeys not so scary halloween party is cancelled this year.
dressing up is all of the point.

Well we don't know that officially. I'm hoping they don't take the dress up away! That's all part of the fun, although I'm having a tough time trying to decide what/who to dress up as according to these NEW guidelines. I have some ideas in mind, but I'm still not sure about it.

You are so right. We don't know for sure. That is the problem. Making a WDW touring plan strategy must take into account many factors. Dining reservations, fastpass plus reservations, extra magic hours, fireworks schedule, special tours, the halloween party and so much more. If you have planned a WDW vacation before then you know how to read the Disney tea leaves as to what dates and times some happenings will be even though they are not on the calendar yet. Those who have done this before know what I mean. It's all linked so precariously. We are coming up on the 180 day dining reservation window for Sept. and Disney has not communicated specifically that the costume restrictions will apply to MNSSHP. If the current restrictions apply I will not attend. That changes everything. Not only will I not attend but I don't want be anywhere near the front gate of MK when upset people in costumes get turned away. Disney needs to communicate better on this issue. They don't want another fiasco like 24 hour party at Disneyland last May. Also bad communication.
I also want to thank Amanda for providing us with this forum to share great experiences and vent our frustrations. Your articles have so much valuable information.

I hate that costumers are being singled out as a potential threat. As a costumer myself, one who spends thousands of dollars of screen accuracy and details, I find it insulting that by wearing a costume, I am considered a potential threat. Don't get me wrong, I get where they're coming from in regards to safety, even if it's illogical, but let's be honest. If someone is going to bring in a weapon, would they really do so in a very obvious outfit like a costume, that can be picked out in a crown in a manner of seconds? Also as a costumer, I don't know of many other costumers who make their outfits with the soul purpose of causing harm to others.

I can understand why they want adults to not wear costumes during the year - except for at the MNSSHP - but "NO PICTURES"? How can they say that guests cannot interact with each other and take photos - That is a bit too far in scope in my opinion. I would also like to see them do away with the light sabers in the parks.

Stupid,stupid,stupid! This whole mess is stupid and going WAY OVERBOARD!

Wow Disney nice rules I wonder about the Halloween costume I hope we can still wear them for this party

Disappointing. I want to be safe as much as the next person inside the parks, but some of these rules are just sad. My family usually only dresses up for the Not so scary Halloween Party when we are there during that time, but I love going to the parks and seeing kids and adults alike dressed as their favorite characters. Seems to me security could be put in place without banning the costumes (and the no photos with others in the park-that's part of the fun too).

That is my friend Rachel in the BB8 costume!

Half the fun of the runDisney events is dressing up and then going into the parks with your hard earned medals! Why pay $500 to race and not to be able to dress up and take pictures with other runners?!?! Totally insane, but it may keep my spending in check since I won't sign up for too many more races.

Then I would hope that burkas are also not allowed in the parks as they cover as much as a Jedi cloak or princess gown if not more. If not then all this is a bunch of bull and should be recinded. It should be equal to all

I agree on this comment. I see more of the layered middle eastern dress in the parks, with only eyes exposed. If we cant wear layers, everyone has to be bound by these rules. Or not go into the parks.

So, are generic Jedi costumes not allowed?

This is all so very disappointing. I completely understand the need for extra security and appreciate it, but if we're not allowed to dress up for the Halloween party anymore, I'm not sure if I see the point in paying the extra admission to go. It's been a blast every year to come up with inexpensive but very creative costumes. For instance the alien and the claw from Toy Story, Sorcerer Mickey and one of the broomsticks, etc. We've already been planning our costume for next year since right after attending the party this October. As my favorite event in Disney, and the reason I travel for Disney for 9 days every September or October, this is incredibly disappointing.

As far as the marathons go it is unfair to change the rules after you sold the tickets. I would hope people could get their money back if they did not want to participate based on this rule change. Having said that Disney needs to get out in front of this issue and be very specific on upcoming events such as the "Mickey's not so scary Halloween party". It is necessary for a Disney vacation to plan many months in advance. Many people including myself that have attended the Halloween party put many months of preparation and money into their costumes. Costume restrictions at this event should be announced sooner than later and they should be very specific. If new costume restrictions also apply to the Halloween party, which all indications show they will, I will not attend. I suspect the attendance for this event will drop drastically since dressing up was part/most of the fun. I understand some tightening of the restrictions may be necessary but Disney needs to be specific and timely. There should be a happy middle ground. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

I read on another site that costumes for adults weren't allowed, and I started to google to find out about the party, because costume is why I go. It didn't even occur to me that clarification could point to certain costumes but not others. I'm working on my Cinderella gown from the live action version 2015, the big blue dress... and we're talking about getting AP and going more this year, which would mean the party... and I want to wear my dress. I'd be heartbroken if I won't be allowed to be a princess anymore at the park party. The highlight for me in 2013 was wearing my classic Cinderella gown I made and posing with the park Cinderella and standing by the castle. It was a dream come true. I won't go to the party anymore if I can't wear my costumes.

Also, I forgot to say I'm confused by the layering rule. I've never done the runDisney events; I go to the parks for regular admission so maybe I don't understand but I layer my clothes all the time! I usually wear a skirt or sundress (this year I'm going to Disney bound as Anna, wearing a sunflower border skirt) with capris or leggings underneath, and a shirt and cardigan over that, based on temperatures. I add and subtract these layers throughout the day based on my comfort level. Are they saying I can't wear more than a single layer at a time? Or does that just apply to running shorts with capes and tutus for running events?

The layers thing is TOTAL misinterpretation! It just says layers are subject to search.

Please give me an opinion : My BFF and I live far apart, and never get to see each other. We have been planning our Halloween trip for TEN YEARS, and now its coming true! I am a girl, and a big Jack Sparrow fan. I would like to wear : Black knee length cargo pants, a pirate blouse that could pass for street wear, ballet slippers, long red scarf to hold back my hair, and some assorted piratey little jewelry. it will be the day before and day of Halloween. Its a fine line between Disneybounding, and almost a costume, quite reminiscent of Jack. A very toned down version of the makeup ( read that : lots of eye makeup, but otherwise regular, no beard, and no wig. ) I bought it all at real stores, no costume company. Do you think I can do it? And if not in the parks, is it okay around resorts? Thanks so much, I hope the answer is "okay!"

I think you're okay with this. keep the face make-up tone down, not too theatrical looking. But you're right it sounds like it may be right on the edge of Disney bounding. It's all going to come down to the castmember at the gate. With a straight face you're going to have to be able to say to that cast member "I have no idea what you're talking about these are my everyday street clothes". As far as non Park parts of the property I think you're fine with places like Disney Springs and any of the Resort's. You could probably even go with the heavier theatrical face makeup in those areas. I hope you and your bff have a good time. Hope to see you there. We will be there September 16th Thru the 25th 2016.

American Geode goes every year and we usually wear vintage Disney fluroescent shirts and long board shorts from the late 80s and early 90s. They are very ugly outfits but everyone laughs and has a good time. This year we are also wearing Mickey suspenders over the t-shirt.


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