If you’ve seen some of the recent print or television advertisements for Walt Disney World, you’ve probably seen images of pretty little girls dressed up in princess gowns running through the Magic Kingdom on their way to give Mickey Mouse or Cinderella a big hug.

The images are heartwarming, and I’m sure many a little princess-to-be has dreamed about living those moments.

What’s the story behind these Disney Princess dresses that many little girls seem to crave? Let’s take a look at the top six questions about these dresses.

1 – Who Can Wear A Princess Dress?

At Disney World and in Disney Stores, dresses are sold in youth sizes 2/3 (for tiny ones about 30 pounds) to 14/16 (for older children up to 110 pounds). So the target market for these dresses is primarily girls between 3 to 8 years old. Some smaller girls, infants and toddlers, do dress up as well. Rarely do you see a girl over the age of 10 in a dress.

The Cinderella Princess dress is especially popular.

The Cinderella Princess dress is especially popular.

While there is no official cut off for the age of girls who can wear a dress in the park, there is a Disney attire policy which forbids adult costumes or clothes which represent Disney characters. This is probably so that Aunt Sally wearing a yellow gown like Bell’s from Beauty and the Beast doesn’t start to get autograph requests from confused park guests. Actually, Disney once asked a man who resembled Santa Claus to change his clothes so as not to confuse guests.  So while older folks can’t don a Cinderella ball gown, they can still wear accessories like hats, jewelry, and magic wands – any many do so.

2 – Where Can I Get A Disney Princess Dress?

There are many places where you can find these dresses. They are sold at many gift shop locations in the Disney parks and at the Disney resort hotels. Shops in Disney Springs carry them, as do the Disney Stores both in malls around the world and online; but beyond all those locations, you can also find princess dresses in retailers like Target, as well as in costume shops and online retailers.

3 – How Much Does A Princess Dress Cost?

Normally the highest quality and highest cost princess dresses are located on Disney World property. These dresses typically cost around $70. However, the bill might not stop there since there are many accessories that you can add a additional cost – tiaras, crowns, jewelry, wands, makeup – and on and on and on. It’s easy to drop $100 on the total outfit.

Be prepared - accessories like these $20 princess shoes are popular.

Be prepared – accessories like these $20 princess shoes are popular.

The price and quality drops a bit at Disney Stores in local malls, allowing you to save a few dollars. However, price and quality drop further at mass retailers.

Online sites like Ebay and costume shops have a huge variety at many different price points, but always remember:  buyer beware for cost and quality at these locations.

4 – How Can I Save Money On A Dress?

Like so many other products, you are likely to get the best quality as well as the highest cost at a store on Disney World property. Plus, you get the high quality Disney experience, from guest service to an amazing shopping environment. However, you can save vacation time and money if you purchase your dress closer to home. You will have more time to shop around and weigh your options.

Disney's quality is high - you get what you pay for.

Disney’s quality is high – you get what you pay for.

5 – How Many Girls Will Be Wearing Dresses?

Overall a relatively small percentage of girls will wear these gowns in the parks. However, you will see a bigger concentration of girls wearing these dresses at Princess character meals or the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique locations in Disney Springs or Cinderella Castle. However, there is  no place where a dress is required or forbidden.

6 – Is Wearing a Dress a Good Idea?

There are many factors to consider:  first is the weather. During the summer, it is very hot and very humid. While some little girls will want to suffer through the heat, many will not.

Next is maneuverability. Not all little ones are very adept at walking or getting on and off moving rides which can be made even more difficult when wearing a poofy ball gown.

Finally is the cost and hassle. Getting dressed up can be fun, but there is a cost of dollars, time, and energy to make it happen especially when you are away from home, on vacation, on a different schedule, and sometimes rushed to see and do things that the rest of the family is interested in.

Dressing up like a princess is a dream come true for some little girls, but others are happy to just enjoy that play experience at home.

If you do decide to allow your little Princess to wear a dress at Disney World, be sure to bring a backup change of clothes just in case the magic wears off earlier than expected.

Do you think little girls should dress up like a princess at Disney World?