The Casual Runner

Casual Adventure: Going Dapper

Casual Runners know that while running is a part of our lives, it is not our entire lives. Better yet, as Casual Running allows us to be healthier and live more active lifestyles, it allows us to experience new and wonderful adventures. In this special series, we will look at fun Casual Adventurers that our Team takes on when we are away from our training, even if its only for a day or two!  Check out other installments in this series by clicking here.


The What: Dapper Day
The Where: Walt Disney World Resort, Florida & Disneyland Resort, California
The When: Periodically throughout the year

When Disneyland first opened in 1955, it was customary to see park guests strolling down Main Street USA in their Sunday finest. It was certainly a most dapper affair. Times have certainly changed as now most Disney park guests opt for comfort and utility over high fashion. I for one never enter a Disney park in anything other than tech fabrics, putting form and function first…though, admittedly, most of the shirts that I wear are runDisney race shirts, so there is that.

But, it is nice to change things up every so often, and one group in particular makes their Disney Days a little more special by dappering up before they hit the parks. On our recent trip to Walt Disney World for the inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend, we were treated to our first Dapper Day experience, and it did not disappoint!


What is Dapper Day?

Yes, this is a real thing, the group has a website and everything, and  they define “dapper” as “neat and trim in appearance; very spruce and stylish.” After that, dapper participants are limited only by their imaginations.


Throughout the year, the group designates specific dates at both Disney World and Disneyland as Dapper Days (please note, these are not officially recognized by Disney Parks and Resorts, so you will not find them on official Disney calendars). They are open to anyone who wants to show up and participate, all you need to do is buy valid park admission and show up. In addition to in-park meetups, they also organize expos, speakers, and vendors offering their best dapper clothing and accessories.

Once in the parks you will notice that, amidst the normal park going crowd, something is, well, different. The women walking under the train station next to you is wearing a dress…and high heels? That gentleman is wearing a sports coat and carrying a fashionable cane? Is that a hat that would look at home at the Kentucky Derby? A collection of hoop skirts? What is going on?


That’s right, Dapper Day just kind of sneaks up on you, partly blending in, but once you pick up on it, you will start noticing Dapper Day participants around every turn. And they are thrilled to be a part of the show.

Say Cheese!

Before you know it, Dapper Day becomes an attraction itself, as everyone starts checking out the attire of their fellow park goers, passing along compliments, inquiring about their inspiration, and even stopping to snap a few photos. Honestly, I have never witnessed a more open, friendly gathering of people in a Disney Parks. Seeing other guests Dapper up soon becomes like joining a club where everyone is welcome.


How do I Dapper up?

Again, your only limitation is your own imagination (Figment would be proud!). Some participants choose to go with classic or vintage looking ensembles; others add a modern flare with trendy patterns; and others (such as our very own Jennifer and Jake) combine Dapper Day with Disney Bounding, finding creative ways to evoke the essence of their favorite Disney characters with their Dapper attire.


Many participants will go all out with hair and makeup, whereas others prefer a simpler approach (they will, after all, be spending the day at a theme park). The key is to Dapper up in a way that will enhance your fun in the parks, not turn into a source of annoyance for you.

We spoke with some Dapper Day Participants who chose to make this day a light one in the parks, after all, walking around in high heels does take its toll. Some wanted to preserve their hair and makeup.

Conversely, on the day we attended, there was no shortage of Dapper folks lined up to ride the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and shoot the rapids of Splash Mountain where, yes, they did indeed did get wet!  This is just proof that, like any day at a Disney park, Dapper Day is your day to make of it what you will.   IMG_5901Check out other installments in our Casual Adventurer Series by clicking here.

Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!