If you follow us on social media you know we’ve been spending our weekends at some very special events all across the upper Midwest. We’ve attended over a dozen sessions of the traveling event hosted by Pretty Princess Parties known as the Fairytale Ball, including stops in the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, Fargo, Brainerd, and Bemidji. We are pretty much princess experts by now. And you know what? It is still magical and amazing. Today we thought we’d give you a peek inside this event.
First a disclaimer – while we did not receive any incentive to share this post, we are involved in the events as the on site vendor. We are also huge fans. The more sessions we attend, the more we are convinced that Pretty Princess Parties is run by an actual Fairy Godmother (<3 you Jodi!). We get excited every time we see the first tiny princesses enter a ballroom and catch sight of their idols, and we can’t imagine a better way to spend our weekends than surrounded by all this happiness.
In addition to experiencing the event in our official role, we’ve also been privileged to share it with some special Whimsy kids who attended local sessions. As we were busy with our booth, Miss P got a very special escort to accompany her to her first Fairytale Ball – her Daddy! Per the event suggestions, Dad dressed in his “Sunday’s Best” and coordinated with Miss P’s Sleeping Beauty gown to make the event even more special. They were adorable! (they also coordinated with the candy buffet at this stop!). While it’s no secret we ALWAYS suggest dressing up, at these events it’s definitely the right choice – most children dress as their favorite princess, or in a fun party dress/special outfit, and you can tell that adds to their experience (and makes for great photos!). When you buy tickets, you’ll even get a special offer code from The Whimsy Factory to help you get princess-y for the big day.
There were so many aspects of this event that were mind-blowing. Everywhere you looked, a little princess or prince was immersed in joy as they met, hugged, and danced with the characters of their dreams. The first time we watched all of these magic moments unfold around us, I’ll admit it…Alison and I both teared up. Repeatedly. And not even in regards to our own kids. There is just something pure and happy about seeing kids experience such glee. Many sessions later, these feelings remain.
Miss P was lucky enough to attend the VIP hour prior to the actual event starting – this small group session requires an upgraded ticket and entitles guests to additional activities with select princesses (at this one it was Anna & Elsa), storytime, face painting, and refreshments. I’d recommend splurging for VIP tickets if your child’s favorites are the featured characters of that theme, as they spend most of the actual ball in the photo booth, or if your child gets overwhelmed in large groups and needs to ease into it – which is true for many. Our local VIP hostesses were Anna & Elsa, but these may change depending on your location, check the event details. On the other hand, the VIP session also adds an hour (and some cost) to the day, so it’s not a necessity – the Fairytale Ball session alone is completely awesome, and feels really solid and worthwhile as a 2 hour event.
The main ball began with large group activities. My pro tip for this segment is to NOT BE LATE! When PPP says in their emails to arrive 20 minutes early…just do it. Yes, you will have some waiting in excited anticipation, but you don’t want want to miss all the cuteness that happens right away – and things seem to start on time or even a bit early in our experience. The party begins with kids meeting their first character (at our event it was Tinkerbell, who was PERFECT and a total riot) and introducing all of the other princesses with clever interactive rhymes. After their entrances and and greetings the whole group participated in a freeze dancing game to release some energy, and then calmed down again with Ariel’s undersea yoga – SO SMART! I’m continually impressed with how well thought out PPP events are from a parental perspective – they don’t just wind kids up, they plan for an ebb and flow that keeps everyone safe, comfortable, and happy.
After the large group activities are done, the various other stations open up and you can rotate among them at your leisure. Miss P’s eyes grew to twice their normal size when she spied the pink candy buffet, so filling up her own little goodie bag was super exciting! This kid has a major sweet tooth.
There was also a craft station where guests could decorate their own crown with crayons and stickers! Miss P LOVES arts and crafts, so this was a huge hit. At some balls this has been various other crafts as well – even a Valentine-making station right before the holiday! (Also notice the costume change…yeah, Miss P attended two sessions. The 2nd time she was joined by another familiar face to Whimsy fans, Miss D). They even wore their fancy crowns most of the night!
Belle hosted a story corner (of course), Tink stayed on the dance floor, and the other princesses floated between stations and posed for photos and hugs and deep conversations. I can’t believe how serious kids can get when meeting these princesses! We heard so many questions and all the princesses were right on top of the answers. My pro tip for this segment: DEFINITELY bring your camera! We felt so bad for those who didn’t, or who were out of memory, and they were dying missing all the photo opportunities. I particularly love how each princess has a signature pose and pulls the kids into it – all of my photos look unique and I LOVE them!
The Snow Sisters’ station was the professional photo booth – so even if you DO forget your camera, or take terrible photos, or run out of memory – you’ll get at least one awesome picture from the event (via free digital download a few days later – I was SHOCKED how fast these came!) Anna and Elsa greeted children, give warm hugs, interact, and of course, pose for photos. Misty Pelican Photography has been the pro on site for both of the events I’ve been to so far, and she is AWESOME. Her set up was shiny and fun, and the pics are amazing. These are way better than the photos we got at our uber expensive Disney dining experiences. I’m kicking myself for not getting a daddy-daughter pose though.
Throughout the event, a dj keeps kids moving and shaking on the dance floor with kid-friendly tunes that are really, truly, actually kid friendly – and plenty of princesses dance right along side them. There is a lot of twirling.
The group comes back together once or twice for a sing along (can you guess which song?) and then guests drift away as the party wraps up. In our many sessions so far we have never seen anyone fail to make it through the stations they wanted to or not get to meet a particular princess – the timing is really perfect. The princesses are perfect. The kids are real and very un-perfect, but everyone there is a parent or a princess so there’s no shame if a little one melts down, or needs a break, or just wants to play with the mannequins.
There are several princess companies offering similar sounding activities in similar areas, but we can truly attest to the splendor and quality of the Pretty Princess Parties Fairytale Ball. Spring dates remain with stops in Green Bay, Rochester, St. Cloud, Mankato, Fargo, Madison, Bismarck, and Chicago. Fall events will be announced. Tickets seem to sell out quickly in many locations, and are not generally available at the door, so when the Fairytale Ball comes to your town – book your tickets early!
Big hugs and thanks to all the princesses, big and small, who make this event such a wonderful way to spend our weekends.
Don’t forget to play today! ~Heather
Last year I had Thanksgiving plans all ironed out months before the big day, and planned in time to prep, assemble, and distribute Turkey Oreo Packs in Miss P’s preschool class.
This year I’m still in denial that Thanksgiving is even on this page of the calendar. Where did the time go?!?!? I hadn’t really planned to make a classroom craft (heck, I hadn’t really planned for anything yet) but circumstances came together with an open afternoon and an easy craft with materials on-hand. Meet our Snack Pack Turkey Treats:
These were super cheap and easy to put together, fit our school’s requirements (pre-packaged, nut-free), and Miss P had a great time putting them together and playing pudding-puppets the whole time. I didn’t gain inspiration from any particular website, but they are all over Pinterest and Google Images if you’d like to check out some other versions. Here’s what you need:
First, flip the pudding cups upside down and apply the eyes
Next assemble the faces – I used scissors to snip little imperfect triangle beaks, and a small heart punch for the wattles (you could free hand these too). Use double stick tape to layer the beak on top of the wattle, and an extra piece of double stick tape to apply to the pudding cup.
Next comes the feathers. I used a scalloped oval paper punch to quickly make red, orange, and yellow “feathers,” each with a small piece of double stick tape for Miss P to apply to the back of the pudding cup. You could also free hand cut feather shapes, or use strips of paper, or real feathers. The final step was just a gift tag – my hope was to print these on self-stick labels for the easiest application, but I couldn’t find them quickly so we just made strips of paper and slapped them on the bottom with some more of that double-stick tape. Voila! Miss P is THRILLED to be distributing these to her classmates today, and I’m glad I took the time to make it happen. We’re all feeling much more festive now, and it is always nice to show your appreciation to those who really do enrich your life daily. If not in to a whole classroom project, you can even make these just for teachers/postal carriers/community helpers.
Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you & your family have many things to be thankful for. The Whimsy families certainly do!
Don’t forget to play today! ~Heather
Happy Birthday to The Whimsy Factory! Today is the actual anniversary of our very first sale (A Rapunzel dress), at our very first show (The Blaine High School Swimming & Diving Team Fundraiser).
It was the first time we hauled and assembled our grid wall display (still so heavy…), the first time we explained our concept of comfortable, non-itchy, dress up clothes to others out loud (we’ve perfected it a bit in the million times since!), and the only time we ever brought coloring sheets to a show (someday we’ll tell you that story…)
It has been an amazing year of fun and exciting firsts. We’ve brought the whimsy to vendor shows, expos, malls, festivals, community events, networking meetings, preschool fairs, fundraisers, holiday boutiques, and Fairy Tale Balls. We’ve held two fashion shows, numerous photo shoots, and worn whimsy out into the world on occasions ranging from Sunday brunch to Broadway shows.
Thank you sincerely to everyone who has shopped, supported, promoted, connected, networked, encouraged, and otherwise helped The Whimsy Factory reach a milestone that many small businesses never see. This afternoon we will celebrate our first birthday with a Capes & Crowns party, raising funds for Wishes & More to grant wishes to seriously ill children. We hope that you will join us if you are able. If you are not, please know that we notice and appreciate every single sale, “Like”, “share”, customer photo, and personal recommendation.
And of course, to our families – from our eager and excited kids, who have been our costume testers and most agreeable models, to our husbands who have gotten used to weekends without us, to our parents and siblings/in-laws who have helped us to transport, set up, and run numerous shows, and our cousins/friends/and others who have borrowed us their children – thank you. Truly, we thank you for your involvement.
Wow, what an amazing first year it has been for The Whimsy Factory. We’ve brought our traveling boutique to fairs, festivals, vendor shows, holiday boutiques, fundraisers, Mom’s Night Out, expos, car shows, malls, and fairytale balls. We’ve developed this blog, an online store, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a little bit of Pinterest. We’ve held photoshoots, playdates, and fashion shows.
We’ve added new costumes, retired some others, expanded our accessories, and throughout our first year the criteria by which we measure our offerings has only gotten stricter – we only sell comfortable, non-itchy dress ups. We do not carry ANY items with falling glitter, velcro down the back, or difficult care instructions. Our own kids have worn every single item in our line – and if they don’t love something, we don’t try to sell it to your kids either.
In the next few weeks we will be announcing details on our Princess of the Month Club, two new dress ups and an out-of-this-world accessory that are joining our line, and we sincerely hope that all of our local fans will join us this Sunday, October 18th at our Capes & Crowns birthday bash, 3:30-6pm at the Shoreview Community Center. Proceeds benefit Wishes & More, a Minnesota children’s charity. Tickets can be purchased for just $7 each in advance ($10 at the door, if available) via our shop. We hope you can come and enjoy games, crafts, prizes, treats, face painting, meeting characters from Pretty Princess Parties and complimentary photos from Feather Blue Studios.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you all for sharing in Whimsy’s first year. We look forward to many more!
Don’t forget to play today! ~Heather