Last month I had the opportunity to compete in the D23 Mousequerade at D23 Expo 2019. This competition occurs every other year and is a highly sought after event by cosplayers who are fans of Disney Studios. I was invited into the “Femme Fatales” group who competed in the Cast of Characters category. In order to compete you must submit designs in the spring and sign a document that prevents you from speaking of your acceptance until the week of the event (essentially a cosplay NDA). This is so D23 has complete control over the amount of media being released on its event. It was so hard waiting to post as we knew about our acceptance in March and the event took place in August so if you are not good with secrets…DON’T COMPETE. You CAN be disqualified for speaking too early about the mousequerade. Warnings aside, let’s chat about the experience of it all.
Green Room – Early Rise, Late Start
The Mousequerade Green Room call time was 7 AM. This is VERY early as far as cosplay competitions go. A majority of masquerades occur at night. The Mousequerade takes place in the morning with the start time of 11 AM. There are various categories who all go in defined orders. Before we go on stage we are given one minute (NO MATTER YOUR GROUP SIZE) to present our creations to the judges. Among the judges this year were Yvette Nicole Brown and Ashley Eckstein. Since judging is so fast these fantastic ladies took the time to wander around each green room (I think there were two or three) and meet with the contestants. Both were very kind, very curious and A LOT of fun to meet. Their presence helped pass the time as judging took place about 30 mins before the competition’s start (yes, we sat around for hours in anticipation). On a positive note, Disney is VERY good about feeding its contestants. There were refreshments and food available the entire time as they knew we would be in the Green Room for 3-4 hours that day.
The great part about waiting around are the people you get to meet. Granted, most of us were tired, but we all had the opportunity to inquire about materials and techniques. There were teacup princesses who lifted their skirts on invisible strings, a Monster’s Inc. Sully who used well over a dozen yards in custom printed fabric, a Haunted Mansion costumer (who won the show) that rolled around on a box cart to help support the weight of her outfit and a cast of jungle characters with incredible prints on their costumes. I was in awe of everything I witnessed in that Green Room.
(Prueductions as Femme Gaston checking her beauty while waiting for the Mousequerade to begin.)
Going ON Stage & The Winner
This part was FAST. Once we were back stage it was a quick turn around. Everyone was given 45 seconds on stage to perform and/or pose. There were transformations, SFX and amazing performances in the short time I was back stage. A screen was projected so we could see our fellow competitors perform. Here are some images from D23.COM that will give you an idea of the number of competitors and the skill of the winner (her haunted mansion dress was AMAZING).
Cosplay at D23
The number of cosplayers at D23 is small compared to other Expos/Conventions. I expect it is due to the COST of attending this event. There were gatherings/meetups held daily with various Disney themes/genres. The costume gallery on the show floor was INCREDIBLE and so much fun to visit. Overall, I would consider competing in 2021 with something grand and spectacular. Even if I don’t place this is an event that appreciates the SKILL of a costumer more than their performance (which for an awkward muffin like me is quite useful to know). Below are some images I captured during my time at D23 Expo 2019. This event takes place Biennially so you have time to prepare for 2021. Be sure to join the D23 club so you can keep abreast of any updates to the expo. Disney on everyone!