When I was little, my parents bought be my first Minnie Mouse plush, which ignited my girl crush for the classiest mouse in the kingdom. Collecting different Minnie Mouse dolls became an obsession, and I would bring a different friend along each time we visited the Parks. Needless to say, when I found out Disney Springs would be hosting a special celebration in honor of my favorite diva, I was already making arrangements to #RockTheDots with my favorite gal pals.
I definitely don’t frequent Disney Springs often because the site is such a constant temptation to treat yourself (have you seen the desserts?), but national polka dot day brought out the best of free deals and limited offers, which totally warranted a trip. Disney Parks Blog released a list of participating shops that would be rocking the dots January 22nd to keep guests updated, which is absolutely the best resource for any annual passholder or Disney enthusiast that wants to keep themselves in the loop for upcoming promotional events like Rock The Dots.
A majority of participating storefronts had in-store discounts or offered a free gift with a lofty purchase, but for those who sought out a more economic way to enjoy the celebration, Disney Springs hadn’t forgotten to provide some wallet-friendly options. My polka dot party of three, including the author of the lovely Dole Whip Press, and I opted to test the experience’s value without having to pay our way through the event. But instead of feeling limited to a small category of things to do, we were able to spend a brief three or four hours feeling absolutely pampered. For those of you who would like to follow our path and learn a few tips for the next Rock The Dots celebration:
1. Get your free button.
For most exclusive promotional celebrations, Disney creates a limited pin that can only be collected the day of the event. Rock The Dots featured a Minnie Mouse button that all participants were welcome to pick up from a participating store, primarily at “World of Disney.” I missed the opportunity to get the Mickey’s 88th birthday celebratory button in 2016, and I still haven’t lived down the regret.
2. Enjoy a makeover.
Walking into Sephora is practically a fairytale experience on its own, but free makeup only makes it even better. You may be unaware that Sephora offers free “mini” makeovers regularly, offering 15 minutes of their time applying makeup to one area of the face. For example, they’ll willingly help you achieve a gorgeous wing or smokey-eye, if that’s all you need. Seeing a free “mini” makeover listed on the Rock The Dots itinerary, I had been expecting to receive just that. Instead, Sephora designed a more creative alternative to their typical services, face-painting pop art Minnie Mouse designs on walk-in guests at no charge. If you want to participate, but don’t have a polka dot closet at the ready, Sephora will certainly help you channel your inner polka dot princess.
Be mindful, even though Disney listed a start time of 1 p.m. for the event, there’s no harm in arriving early! If you plan on attending in the future, give yourself time to get a head start on the crowds so that you can avoid the waiting list that quickly developed at locations like Sephora.
3. Say hello to Minnie herself.
My favorite opportunity at Rock The Dots was the special character appearance that hadn’t been listed on the flyers. Accompanied by a DJ and polka dot flags everywhere, the event centralized by Town Center, where Minnie Mouse hosted her very own dance party. Instead of the typical, controlled meet and greet experiences expected of Disney, Minnie played alongside friends of all ages and welcomed those just arriving with hugs and kisses. Specific to the Rock The Dots event, Minnie changed polka dot dresses with each appearance, sporting four outfits in total throughout the day. Depending on the time of your arrival, you could visit Minnie Mouse in her classic red, pink, yellow, or multi-colored polka dot outfit. I was pleased to see Disney offer the magic experienced in their parks to a location that non-passholders could enjoy for the special occasion.
4. Say “cheese” for PhotoPass.
For passholders, one of the happiest perks of Rock The Dots are the free photo opportunities. Located behind the dance party, guests were invited to pose with a Rock The Dots sign and picture frame to capture the moment.
Usually, I find myself underwhelmed by Disney-hosted events, but Rock The Dots promised a unique, outside the Parks adventure for guests needing a little time for refreshing. The giveaways hosted by the Alex and Ani outlet and other shops were highlights of the shopping complex’s featured event, but the most satisfying part of Rock The Dots was the heavy presence of the Disney community. The same energy that is present on Dapper Day filled the streets of Disney Springs, mutual compliments and strangers asking to take photos with each other were met with kindness and sincerity, a thing that we all need to see a little more of. Don’t just rock your style and smile for Rock The Dots, carry it with you just like our BMF (best mouse friend) would.