Disneyland’s new Star Wars land, Galaxy’s Edge, invites guests to roleplay as members of the Resistance, First Order, or smuggler industry in a galaxy far, far away. But the park requests that guests “14 years of age or older” not wear costumes, particularly those that look too similar to Star Wars characters.
For Star Wars fans, this policy might feel like a cruel Imperial mandate, but there’s some logic behind Disney Park’s longstanding costume policy. Here’s the official rule from Disneyland website:
The current Disneyland Resort costume policy will be in effect in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Costumes may not be worn by guests 14 years of age or older. Appropriate Disney bounding — dressing in outfits inspired by favorite characters — is permitted.
The unspoken reason behind the rule is to keep park-goers safe, and not allow bad-intentioned guests to misrepresent Disney and its characters.
Consider this scenario. Galaxy’s Edge cast members perform as the citizen of Galaxy’s Edge fictional planet, Batuu, along with a handful of iconic characters from the sequel trilogy, like Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, and Rey. They make themselves available to guests to answer questions, take photos, and maintain the illusion of the park.
However, if a costumed guest wanted to cause trouble, they could trick other guests in to believing they’re official members of the cast, giving the other guests bad guidance and being a general nuisance. It’s not hard to imagine a bro dressed as Han Solo making rude gestures to an unsuspecting family’s Polaroid. Nobody wants that Solo.
So, for fear of bad guests causing trouble, the rest of us can’t walk around this meticulous recreation of the Star Wars universe, going about our best Luke Skywalker LARP (even if you spent $199.99 on a lightsaber to complete the look). It’s a frustrating rule, particularly because Disneyland sells official costumes inside the park. Guests over the age of 14 are asked not to wear the costumes until they exit.
As mentioned in the park’s official rules, Disneyland does recommend an alternative that has been elevated by its most hardcore fans: bounding.
Disneybounding, or building an outfit of everyday pieces around the color palette of a Disney character’s most iconic getup, first emerged as a trend in 2012 and has only gained popularity since. Touted as the workaround to Disney’s rule prohibiting full costumes for park-goers over 14, Disneybound began as a Tumblr and thrives as an Instagram account that’s 135K followers strong.
I expect we’ll see more Disney-focused blogs instructing guests on how to bound when visiting the park. Here’s an example from WDW Magazine that converts a Stormtrooper costume into an athletic leisure look.
I’m sad I can’t visit Galaxy’s Edge in my perfect Lobot costume, and yet, I look forward to the rise of the Dark Vader health goths.