Dapper Day is an unofficial biannual celebration that takes place at Disney parks in Anaheim, Orlando, and Paris, where park patrons step out in style. I have attended this event since 2013, and have cultivated a few tricks along the way. Below are my top five lessons that new Dappers can learn from:

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Lesson One

Consider the season and weather when choosing the apparel.

I attended my first Dapper Day in 2013. I found out that the event landed on a Sunday, which at the time was my only day off. I was ecstatic! I told my boyfriend (now fiancé) that we MUST go. The next few weeks was a whirlwind of coming up with what to wear. I immediately thought "theme" or "era" in order to participate in the celebration. After some research on the Dapper Day website, I learned that you simply need to dress in your best.

When it came time to choosing the outfit, I think I put more thought into the shoes than the dress; because let's face it ladies, the shoes complete the look. Once the shoes were conquered, I had purchased this polka dot dress online at Forever 21. Unfortunately it was much shorter than I had anticipated (go figure for F21). When the day of the soiree arrived, I remember it being quite windy, so this dress wasn't the best choice. Still, once the sun set, the thrill of preparing my attire for next year followed.

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Lesson Two

Skip the heels if you don't have the stamina or they aren't broken in.

The next year, 2014, I considered the wind while shopping and came across this beauty (someone said it reminded them of Sleeping Beauty's look). I loved that, although it looked like a two piece, it was actually all one dress! My friend Tee, who works now as a professional hair stylist, prepared my hair and makeup. Unlike the previous year, the shoes aren't in the photo. That's because I wore flats that didn't match, but it was the only pair I felt most comfortable in. I definitely learned from my last experience. No matter how cute the shoes are, you have to remember you're walking around all day in them. Some may want to carry nicer looking shoes for photo opts, but remember that you're carrying those suckers throughout your stay.

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Lesson Three

Splurge on the experience, not the outfit.

When 2015 rolled around, the shindig had grown. My boyfriend and I splurged on the hotel discounts that the Dapper Day group offers at the Grand Californian Hotel. We got there quite early to check in, so they gave us a free park view upgrade (#winning). We enjoyed the view of the Goofy Sky School ride and parts of The World of Color show at night. This was the year it rained during Dapper Day and it was fun to see the guests looking suave with their rainy day accessories. 

Again, I wore a longer dress to count for possible wind, and the shoes, I believe this time around I opted for my Converses. I bought my dress at H&M off the sales rack for $15, and reused my red cardigan and necklace from my first Dapper. My boyfriend and I decided to end our outing early, due to the chilly weather and packed park. We relaxed at the hotel, watching the fireworks the rest of the night.

Lesson Four

Make it magical with DisneyBounding.
Bonus Lesson: Use Amazon Prime.

For 2016, we decided (more like I decided) to go DisneyBound style with our friends and their daughter. I chose classic Snow White and Prince Charming; and cue the music, "someday my prince will come!" (spoiler alert, mine arrived to put a ring on it in 2017). Although Snow's color-blocking is easy, this ensemble was last minute! I found my yellow tutu and blue cardigan off of Amazon, with their Prime two-day shipping saving the day.

When we arrived at the park we learned that this Dapper landed on a long weekend in November, during Veteran's day weekend. Disney was also hosting RunDisney Super Heroes Half Marathon. Imagine the park on a holiday weekend, hosting a half-marathon, and Dapper Day participants and you have the very definition of EXTREMELY CROWDED. To make up for the busy day, the Cast Member kindly gave us FastPasses of our choice. It helped that we were also renewing our annual Disney passes. Although the crowds turned us away from waiting in line for rides, or photo ops, we continued to be awed by the work other guests put in their glamorous garb. 

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Lesson Five

Always come early!

This year, 2017, I definitely took it easy, with a recycled dress I wore previously. I also didn't spend as much time on my hair or makeup either. Instead I focused more on my nephew, as it was his first Dapper Day and his second visit to the park. Checking the weather, I knew it was going to be a warmer day, so I put him in shorts, a short sleeved shirt, bow tie, and hat. He's dashing and still stinking cute. 

From all my years of experience, my best advice for future Dapper guests is to go early, especially if you want those magical shots! By 11 in the morning, lines begin to form in prime locations, like the front of Cinderella's Castle. I know the hardest part is getting ready extremely early, but if you're like me and want to avoid the crowds go early. Either way it's always fun to see other visitors dressed up, particularly when it's a family affair. It always melts my heart seeing a baby dressed to the nines.