Disney Now & Then: Fashion

Hi there magical ones!
I’m Erika. I practically grew up at Disneyland, then the minute I turned 18, I ended up working there. I worked at Disneyland for about 5 years, and I even got to work at Radio Disney for a little bit before moving to New York to pursue my dreams of theatre. Since I no longer work at Disneyland and I live all the way on the other side of the country from it, I don’t visit Disneyland as often as I’d like to. In fact, my last visit was approximately 4 years ago (what?!! I know, right?) So, let’s just say…a lot has changed since I’ve worked in the parks.

I was lucky enough to work in multiple departments at the Resort and in multiple areas so I had a great understanding of the Disney culture while I was there. Here’s where I worked!


*Character Host


*Character Host-everywhere
*Shows: Toontown Morning Madness (citizen of toontown), Jedi Training Academy (padawan)
*Interactive Host-Innoventions
*Ride Operator: Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Casey Jr.

Now that I’m on the outside looking in, I’ve had a chance to see what’s changed at the parks, and you can learn with me as a part of the DISNEY NOW & THEN series! This week, let’s start with my favorite…fashion!


As a kid, I loved dressing up as Alice in the parks. The older I got, my love of dressing up grew even stronger, but I couldn’t necessarily walk into Disneyland in a full-blown costume. I mean, could you imagine if I was allowed to dress up as Tinkerbell? I already have platinum blonde hair, and if there was a little kid visiting Disneyland for the first time ever, they would assume I was Tinkerbell if I was walking around with blonde hair and a green dress and wings. They might even look past the fact that I don’t remotely look like Tink. Which is a huge reason why costumes aren’t allowed…to avoid confusion. Because let’s face it…if a little kid asked for my autograph, of course I would say yes!

So, as of a couple years ago, here’s where we stood in terms of fashion: The little kids got to dress up in costume daily if they liked. A 5-year-old could dress up like Snow White, and a little boy could be Captain Hook. Meanwhile, all of the devoted AP’s and cast members who hung out at Disneyland after work were stuck wearing jeans and t-shirts and had no way to show our true love of Disney. And then came the magical Leslie Kay. She loved pulling together different Disney inspired ensembles for her trips to the Disney parks, but she was thinking outside the box. She wasn’t just wearing an Ariel shirt. She was pulling together the colors that remind someone of Ariel and using the colors to generate an entire outfit. And that was the birth of Disney Bounding.


Disney Bounding is not only totally allowed at the Disney Parks, but it has brought together the Disney fans of my generations and connected us with the older and younger generations as we all share in the same passion. Disney Bounding is a way to wear to Disney inspired outfits in everyday life whether you’re at the park or at work. Amazing idea, right? And it doesn’t end with well-known characters such as Belle or Snow White. The more creative you are, the better. Some folks love to challenge themselves to wearing outfits inspired by different lands such as Fantasyland, or different characters of the Disney franchise such as Kermit the frog. If you’ve never Disneybounded, you have to try it out. You’ll feel amazing from the inside out. This is a photo of my first Disneybound. Can you guess who inspired my outfit? This is me on my 30th birthday at Walt Disney World.

You can learn more about Disneybounding and get some inspiration by visiting Leslie Kay’s blog: disneybound.tumblr.com.

While Disneyland has already kicked off their 60th Diamond Celebration, the official 60th birthday for Disneyland is on July 17th. There are going to be quite a few meetup groups in the park that day devoted to dressing in the style of park goers in 1955. The current king of vintage dress at the Disney Parks, is an event known as Dapper Day. The idea of Dapper Day, is to dress stylish for the park. Throw on a pair of heels or a polka dot dress or even a suit. Be fashionable and have fun. ‘Dapper’ can mean many things and while some interpret it as dressing in vintage wear to emulate guests attending the park in the 50’s, it can mean a variety of things such as fashionable, chic contemporary or vintage classics. Dapper Day started off as a meetup at Disneyland park where guests could dress up and take a photo in front of the castle together or meetup to ride certain attractions together. Dapper Day has now expanded due to popularity to include yearly meetups in Paris, California and Florida (California includes a car show and expo). All of the info pertaining to the events is at dapperday.com.

Back when I worked at Disneyland, they didn’t have Dapper Day. The closest thing that existed, was you could throw on your heels and go swing dancing in the evening at Carnation Plaza. There was a wonderful nostalgia to it and only a small group of people seemed to know about it, so it felt exclusive, however I love the idea that there are as many fans of dressing up as myself and events to support this love. I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be back in California for all 3 days of D23 Expo 2015, and I have my Disneybound outfits all picked out (I promise I’ll reveal them soon), and I can’t wait to go back to Disneyland sporting the latest in Disney fashions. Comment your favorite outfit to wear to Disneyland!

Erika Jenko
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About The Modern Mouse Crew

Modern Mouse Radio is a multimedia Disney fan site run by Josh Taylor and put together by a crew of amazing individuals. Check us out. You won't be disappointed.

Posted on July 13, 2015, in Articles, Disney Now and Then and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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