Back in October, I discovered an event happening January 12 here in Boise: A Royal Ball, put on by the company Capes and Crowns. There would be actresses there portraying various Disney princesses. Ever since their aunt’s wedding over a year ago, Eleanor’s favorite thing to play is “wedding” or “royal ball” where she and Zoey get all dressed up in their fancy dresses and shoes and pretend to go to a formal event. It’s the reason Zoey gave Ellie a sparkly tiara for her birthday. I should also add that Zoey certainly enjoys this game as well. So when I stumbled upon this event, I just knew it would be perfect for the girls. I talked it over with Zach and we were both in agreement.
We opted for the add-on package of a personally delivered invitation. It came with a gorgeous tiara and a hand-written, wax-sealed note inviting the girls to the ball. You could choose which princess you wanted to have sign the invitation, and I opted for Elsa, knowing she’s a favorite for both girls. The box was delivered in mid-December and we kept it hidden for the girls to open Christmas morning. They were beyond excited. For the next three weeks there was constant mentioning of “The Royal Ball” and discussing of what they would wear.
Zoey had given Eleanor an Elsa-style dress (complete with attached snowflake cape) for Christmas, and it was immediately agreed that she would wear that. Since Zoey has gotten too tall to wear any of our princess dresses for anything other than at-home dress up, she opted for her navy and gold dress she’d worn to a wedding a couple months ago.
I promised the girls I would curl their hair and do it up all fancy for them. Ellie’s went off without a hitch, but Zoey was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the pre-ball excitement I think. She broke down in tears when it was her turn to have her hair curled, trying and failing to tell me what she wanted done with her hair. I think she wanted a fancy hairdo like Ellie’s, but knew she wouldn’t be able to tolerate the way it would feel. Add in the fact that we were trying to find a hairdo that would keep the tiara on her head throughout the ball. We took a break for a few minutes, had some deep breaths and discussed options. In the end, we settled on her hair being pulled halfway back in a pollyanna, and just the upper part curled. The tiara didn’t stay put very well, but we just kept adjusting it and made do.
I had told Zach’s sister about the ball, and she bought a ticket for the girls’ cousin who is Ellie’s age. The ball was being held at JUMP (Jack’s Urban Meeting Place) in Boise, so we met up there. I have to say, I was quite impressed. Capes and Crowns really gave us our money’s worth. They limited the attendance at the ball to somewhere around 40-50 kids (I’m pretty sure it was all girls that came; I don’t recall seeing any boys) and their parents. Zoey seemed to be the oldest there, with two other girls looking like they might be right about her age.
Checking in was a breeze. We found our reserved table, and then immediately jumped into line to get face-painting done. There was only one girl ahead of them, and it turned out to be a great idea to get that done first because the line got long pretty quickly.
There were snacks, crafts (coloring pages and foam crowns to decorate with stick-on jewels) and a photo booth with plenty of silly props. The highlight, of course, was the princesses. Fifteen minutes after the doors opened to allow us all in, the arrival of the princesses was announced. Elsa, being queen, entered first, followed by Anna, Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Aurora, Tiana, Moana, Sofia and Rapunzel.
The casting for the rolls was impeccable. Each princess was absolutely convincing and played her part perfectly. Elsa performed “Let It Go” and Moana did a hula performance followed by a group lesson on how to dance with her. During those performances, the other princesses were right there alongside all the little girls. They then mingled around for at least half an hour while the guests ran around in excitement, meeting all the different princesses face-to-face.
Following this, the princesses were divided into two group for photo opportunities. Guests names were called when it was their turn to go for a group princess photo. In the meantime, the girls were free to eat, do crafts, use the photo booth, get their faces painted, or just dance and have fun. All of this was clearly communicated by announcement, so everyone knew exactly what to expect. It really was excellently and professionally carried off, from start to finish.
I should add that a special “security team” was present at the ball as well: Spiderman, Iron Man, and Captain America. I told the girls it was probably because there were so many jewels at the ball, what with all the tiaras, that they needed some superheroes on the lookout for jewel-thieves. Spiderman was particularly delightful, and he did a great job getting the dancing part of the ball going. Soon all the little girls were dancing to Disney songs, holding onto the hands of their favorite Disney characters. With ten princesses (sorry, nine princesses and one queen, as Zoey corrected me), and the limited number of guests there, the girls all got to spend a significant amount of time interacting directly with the characters.
Each of the princesses embodied the true values of her character so perfectly, with kindness being at the forefront of all of them. Eleanor very early on in the ball became completely overwhelmed. I think the reality of meeting these characters she adored and idolized so much was just more than she could handle. She went completely stiff and wide-eyed, barely able to do more than walk and nod her head, and looking like she was going to burst into tears at any moment. After all, in Ellie’s eyes she truly was among royalty! I reminded her that she had been personally invited by a queen to be at this ball and was every bit as important as each of the princesses there. Our brave little introvert kept it together, I think out of sheer determination to not miss out on this opportunity for a second. I’m pretty sure the princesses could tell how nervous she was. Tiana, in particular, was exceptionally kind and patient. She talked with (okay, talked to) Ellie about cooking which is an interest they both share.
For her part, Zoey was eager to go right up to each princess and get a huge hug. She had made a drawing beforehand to give to her favorite princess, Belle. Zoey was so proud as the hand delivered her gift and Belle exclaimed that she loved it and would keep it forever.
At the end of the ball, the princesses all came together on the stage to do a farewell performance of a song. One by one, they waved goodbye and exited the room. Elsa was the last to go and, rather than waving, she suddenly threw out her arms and “ice” (glitter, perhaps? or fake snow?) went flying out into the crowd. The girls were ecstatic. That final touch was so perfect, and clearly a highlight for our girls who couldn’t wait to Zach, Alden, our neighbors, and anyone else who asked about the ball all about how Elsa had “shot out real ice!”