Playing dress-up was a big part of my childhood. I was always fascinated with theatrics and the idea of being able to be someone else. Growing up, my mom would keep all our halloween costumes, “jeweled” accessories and vintage clothes in a big storage bin so that my sister and I would have access to them and get to use them more than just once a year. While most of the costumes were disney princess dresses, I did have a tendency to make whatever I didn’t have out of colored construction paper and bath towels. Things like Sailor Moon, Ninja Turtles and Batman (I had no problem being a kick ass guy), were never too far out of my reach with a little bit of imagination and a lot of scotch tape.
While I may have hung up my towel cape long ago, I never really grew out of my love for dress-up. In fact I became a dancer, which of course involves costumes and performances. I’m even going to be in an upcoming musical! I guess the bottom line of all this is that it takes a person like me to find a place like Princess Diary Cafe.
Princess Diary Cafe is where all your dreams come true. Where adults can go to play and it’s okay! The moment you enter, it’s like walking into a doll house. The cafe is full of lovely girly trinkets, ornaments and polaroids of previous customers, as well as stuffed animals, a piano and even a rocking horse. There There are about 3 or 4 individual pastel wooden cottages that serve as a seating area with chairs and a table. The seating is incredibly limited because the rest of the cafe serves as a little photo studio, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
First, when you are seated you are given a menu and asked to order one drink per person. The menu was surprisingly extensive, with something for everyone at the basic charge of 6,000 per drink. I’m not sure why, but the Korean menu has more options than the English one, so I recommend reading through that one if you can manage (or have a Korean friend to help you out). My boyfriend and I opted for two refreshing smoothies; an Oreo smoothie and a Strawberry Yogurt smoothie. They were both quite delicious.
After drinks, you get a second menu… the DRESS menu! These options consist of wedding/princess, short/ semi-formal and traditional/ handbook. The prices also range from 10,000~30,000! Of course you can guess that the prettier the dress, the higher the price tag. But for this particular day, money was no option! If I was going to play dress-up, I was going to do it right. Now I’ve worn a hanbok before and I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 8 years now, so I know
someday soon I will be a bride, but unless I make a serious upgrade I will never be a princess lol! So princess was the only logical option.
When we were done with our drinks, the staff member took us back to what I can only describe as the fantasy closet of every 10 year old girl. So my boyfriend and I rummaged through for the dress that would photograph best. On that note, I would like to point out that my boyfriend is going into photography as a profession, so there was lots to keep him busy. For him, this was and interesting and rare kind of project to work on. There are also suits and tuxedos for guys to wear, but he took a pass on that… this time. You can read about this experience from his perspective HERE.
Once I picked out the dress, the staff girl took me to the dressing room to change. My dress was actually pretty complicated to put on and really heavy! Luckily it fit pretty well, but “my girls” were a bit resistant so I couldn’t get it laced up as tight as I wanted and it made me look a bit wide. Once I was done, the girl crowned me and I was ready to go! Oh, once you have the dress on you are not allowed to drink, sit on the floor, fix your make-up or use the bathroom so make sure to do all that beforehand.
For thirty minutes I got to frolic around the cafe and get my picture taken like a princess at disneyland. There were a bunch of props and accessories available like gloves, hats and flowers (at no additional cost). So, for a while I was a bunny princess… like something out of an anime. As I said before, most of the cafe space is set with decorative chests, tables and other sets designed specifically for portraits. They even had some portrait lighting. The time seemed to fly as we roamed from one part of the cafe to the next. Finally at the end we took two Polaroid’s together for 2,000 each, to commemorate this great find. If you don’t have a camera they do rent them for 3,000, but if that’s the case the staff girl recommends just using your cell phone.
All in all, it was a magical day. I got to relax and well… pretty much cosplay and act silly, while my boyfriend got a bunch of shots that were to his satisfaction. It was definitely an experience to be had and I recommend it to anyone, especially if your looking for something random to do with your friends. If you like the photos he took of me, you should check out his photography site HERE. My boyfriend already promised to dress up with me on our next visit, so I’ll be sure to update you all on that! Until next time…