Creative Costuming at Walt Disney World

On the Disney’s Hollywood Studios Backstage Tour, you pass through the Creative Costuming Workroom. Most are fascinated by the costumes themselves, so they rarely listen to the details of what makes that happen. Here are just some of them:

There are over 2,500 costume designs that make up the near 2 million piece wardrobe.

At any given time there are 300 open orders.

Smaller mock-ups of the costumes are often made prior to making the finished product.

One costume can have scores of individual cut pieces that create the ultimate costume. For instance, Snow White’s dress in the Main Street Electrical Parade has 233 cut pieces. Ariel’s dress in the Share a Dream Come True Parade has 271 individual cut pieces. And the “Moto” bird in Festival of the Lion King has 170 cut pieces. Imagine keeping all of them together! They are cut by robotics but still must be kept track of.

The “Moto” bird in Festival of the Lion King.

The green, shiny fabric found for the Green Army Men from Toy Story came from a base fabric that was an industrial material used to lie under roads.

Most of the costumes created at the Creative Costuming Workroom are show costumes. The bulk of the costumes worn by regular cast members are outsourced.

In price, costumes can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. While I don’t remember the final price, I remember that the Belle costume in Fantasmic is one of the most expensive costumes ever created.

About 75 full-time Cast Members work at the Creative Costuming Workroom. They can be found working between 3 am to midnight. Some work at other satellite locations. For years I had a friend, Lois, that took care of tailoring needs and much, much more at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Speaking of Lois, not all that is created becomes a costume. She originally worked on the first snake that was to be used in Fantasmic! That was a animatronic/puppet piece that failed and was eventually tossed out in favor of the current snake used today. But she spent weeks on that piece alone. Imagine her disappointment when the final serpent was thrown out of the show.

It’s really incredible the amount of detail that goes into most of the costumes you see in the various shows at Walt Disney World. Hats off to those who put on the show!

J. Jeff Kober