Papillons Entertainment: The Blog

Los Angeles children's princess & superhero parties, magicians, musicians, puppet shows, balloon twisting, face-painting and more.

Snow Queen 'Elsa' and Norwegian Princess 'Anna' look-alike characters.


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Chill-Out with “Frozen” Inspired Princess Party Characters

Let me guess: your daughter is completely obsessed with Disney’s “Frozen”. She puts on her own little one-girl show in the living room, belting out “Let It Go” and walking that Queen Elsa turned-snow-queen-diva walk, as she pretends to magically shoot snowflakes from the palms of her hands. Sound about right?

Or is she more of a Princess Anna, stuffing chocolate in her face every chance she gets, skipping around the house singing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman”, before finally falling asleep embraced in a warm hug with her talking Olaf doll?

No matter which “Frozen” princess she adores the most, she’s not alone. Here at Papillons Entertainment, we’ve fallen in love with the new queen and princess, too. Which is why we are excited to let you know that our small cast of performers, who boast impressive resume credits as Disney park face-character alumni, as well as various commercial, film, stage, TV and music projects, are ready to bring our exceptional brand of children’s entertainment to your child’s next birthday party as the stunning “Snow Queen” and her charming sister the “Norwegian Princess”.

Be cool this birthday party season and let our Elsa and Anna inspired princess characters take care of the entertainment.

Be cool this birthday party season and let our Elsa and Anna inspired princess characters take care of the entertainment.

As we do with every princess and storybook character, we strive to bring you a truly authentic performance. We put a lot of attention-to-detail into our costumes because your little girl and her friends will notice. We have professionally styled, properly fitting wigs (yes, “Anna” has the white streak in her braid!), custom crafted silver-glittered heels with giant snowflakes on them for “Elsa”, and even hand painted boots for “Anna”.

From head-to-toe, we've added lots of snowy details to our "Frozen" queen costume character.

From head-to-toe, we’ve added lots of snowy details to our “Frozen” queen Elsa costume character.

Our "Princess Anna" inspired character is detailed from her white hair streak to her hand-painted boots.

Our “Princess Anna” inspired character is detailed from her white hair streak to her hand-painted boots.

Authentic, believable character impersonations also depend on specific casting within our team of performers: we have just two cast members who share the character of the ‘Snow Queen’, and two cast members who share the character of the ‘Norwegian Princess’, plus two cast members who serve as swings for both characters. And we only have one costume for each character, so what you see here is guaranteed what you will get when you book a “Frozen” princess party with us.

How'd you like "Princess Anna" to lead a "Frozen" sing-along at your daughter's birthday party?!

How’d you like “Princess Anna” to lead a “Frozen” sing-along at your daughter’s birthday party?!

And wait ’till you hear about all of the fun surprises we have in our performance repertoire for your “Frozen” themed party. Our clients return to us time and again because they know they get the whole package with us: for the excellent customer service they receive… the time and attention that goes into each event… the elite, professional, believable performance they and their guests experience… and most of all, the magic and wonder in their daughter’s eyes as they dance, sing and play along with their favorite fairytale character.

Truly authentic, our small cast of performers have worked as face-characters at popular theme parks.

Truly authentic, our small cast of performers have worked as face-characters at popular theme parks.

We’re passionate about what we do, and our calendar fills-up quickly, so if you’re looking for a cheap princess character, I’m afraid we can’t help you there.

But if you’re looking for an exceptional princess character performance, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’d like to see more photos of our “Frozen” themed characters, click here. And if you’d like to get in touch, please use the form below to tell us about your upcoming party or special event.

Thanks for reading, and we look forward to bringing some coolice-spiration to your “Frozen” celebration!

Our "Tinker Bell" is the real deal.


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Have a Very Fairy Party with “Tinker Bell”!

The quality and authenticity of our party character costumes is a top priority here at Papillons Entertainment, so when one of our costumes isn’t living up to the standards I’ve set, I’m quick to replace it.

I’m also picky about who I cast to play each character (in fact, we have just three performers in our cast who play the green fairy character, “Tinker Bell”, and two of them have the played the character for Disney) and I’m picky about how they look in the costume. In order to insure our clients an exceptional performance, I know that if a performer feels fabulous in the costume (they know that they look amazing, which in turn helps them to become the character), then they’re prepared to provide the very best entertainment possible.

So, a few months ago, when I decided that I didn’t love our “Tinker Bell” costume, I didn’t hesitate to have a new one made. It was tailored specifically to the measurements of our cast members who play the part for a proper fit.

I also completely re-styled the wig and made a new pair of sparkling pixie shoes to go with it. Voila! Combined with the incredibly detailed, shimmering, white flowing wings we already had (because they aren’t made of plastic, they move with the wind, which gives our wings a realistic look), it’s truly a top-notch “Tinker Bell” costume. But when you put one of our look-alike performers in the costume, it’s the complete package: you’ve found the perfect “Tinker Bell” character for your kid’s fairy party!

Take a peek here at a few photos featuring our performer, Casey (who’s played the character at Disneyland, The El Capitan, and for various special Disney events across the U.S.) and remember to get in touch with us if you’re planning a birthday fairy party in the Los Angeles area; we’d love to be of service!

~ Jenna B.

(“queen butterfly” and lead expert performer at Papillons Entertainment)

tink - new costume

Los Angeles “Tinker Bell” character for kids fairy parties.

"Tinker Bell" loves to play.

“Tinker Bell” loves to play.

Let our "Tinker Bell" take charge of your kid's party!

Let our “Tinker Bell” take charge of your kid’s party!

I performed as a princess for my Broadway idol, Susan Egan (a real Disney princess)!


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My Top 11 Kids’ Parties Of 2013

Ah, the new  year… so fresh and clean, like a blank canvas upon which we can paint whatever we like… full of hope, and ripe for the fulfillment of our most daring dreams and desires.

As I think about 2014 and all of its endless possibilities, I can’t help but look back lovingly at 2013 and remember how wonderful it was.  I was fortunate enough to be part of so many memorable events from the past year, but I wanted to share some of my top moments. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here is a list of 11 of my favorite kids’ parties and special events from 2013.

Our "Little Mermaid" makes fishy faces with the birthday girl and her friends.

Our “Little Mermaid” makes fishy faces with the birthday girl and her friends.

1. Little Mermaid at Seascape in Anaheim Hills, CA: Over the summer, one of our regular clients invited the “Little Mermaid” to entertain at her daughter’s 3rd birthday party. I’m proud to say that we have a handful of performers in our cast who have played the character at the various theme parks and, luckily, it worked out that I could take photos and video of our cast member in-action during her performance at the party. The kids were so great and our “princess” did a mertastic job; I was so happy to have captured this footage (click the picture below to watch the video).

The "Little Mermaid" in action at a princess party in Orange County, CA.

The “Little Mermaid” in action at a princess party in Orange County, CA.

2. Toddler Guitar Sing-Along for Lisa Loeb: In addition to being a children’s entertainer, I’m also a songwriter; I’ve had my music featured in shows like “Hellcats” on the CW, various reality TV programs, a couple indie films, and lots of wedding videos. But as cool as it is to hear a song you wrote playing in a movie theater, I have to say, when one of your songwriting idols calls you up to ask if you can perform at her child’s birthday party, it’s a pretty surreal experience! If you want to see what my live music performance for toddler and preschoolers is like, click here. Lisa Loeb can be found on TwitterInstagram, and her official website.

What a cool day: I got to perform a toddler/preschool guitar sing-along for one of my songwriting idols, Lisa Loeb!

What a cool day: I got to perform a toddler/preschool guitar sing-along for one of my songwriting idols, Lisa Loeb!

3. Caroline’s 9th Birthday Party at Nine Zero One Salon, West Hollywood, CA: A lot of people wonder if we only do princess parties. While I would say that princess parties account for many of our performances, we have an incredibly versatile roster of talent at our fingertips and have provided everything from dessert catering to carnival rides. Personally, I thrive when I get to be creative and try new things, so when one of our regular clients whose daughter, having had plenty of princess parties from us in the past, was ready for a fancy “grown-up” soiree, I was excited to plan and execute her chic celebration. The party was complete with custom made “mock-tails” & drink menus which I designed, a bartender, a make-up artist, glitter tattoos, and a caricature artist all supplied by my company Papillons Entertainment. I’ll toast to that!

Mocktails are served! Complete with tasty fruit garnishes, these kid-friendly drinks were a huge hit at Caroline's 901 Salon party.

Mocktails are served! Complete with tasty fruit garnishes, these kid-friendly drinks were a huge hit at Caroline’s 9th birthday at Nine Zero One Salon.

4. The Sea Princess for Susan Egan at Olivia’s Dollhouse Tearoom: This performance was such a full-circle moment for me, I’m not sure the utter amazingness of it will translate in writing, but I’ll do my best. You see, when I was a girl, I became obsessed with the Broadway soundtrack of “Beauty and the Beast”. I would listen to it every night as I fell asleep, singing along, trying to match my voice to the young actress on the recording. I got so good at impersonating her sound, my friends at school would ask me to “sing like Belle!” and I would.

I performed as a princess for my Broadway idol, Susan Egan (a real Disney princess)!

I performed as a princess for my Broadway idol, Susan Egan (a real Disney princess)!

Flash forward to Burbank, California, a little karaoke bar called Sardo’s. It was 2006, I think, and I was sitting at the bar with my friends when I heard a familiar voice singing. I said to my friends, kind of half-heartedly, “Sounds like Susan Egan.” Just then, I turned to look at the karaoke stage, and there she was: Susan Egan! It was her! I completely freaked because I just couldn’t believe that the “Belle of Broadway”, the woman who I would often credit as having “taught me how to sing,” was there, at my little karaoke bar! I began crying, like a total fangirl. The bar’s owner came up to me and asked what was wrong. I told him as much as I could muster until he just stopped me and said, “C’mon, let’s go meet her”. Seriously?!

So, the owner fetched Susan and I met her, tears and all, and I told her how listening to her recordings taught me how to sing, and she said the funniest thing: “Well, I hope you didn’t learn all of my bad habits.” And as if that wasn’t enough, to meet and hug and hysterically cry in front of your musical idol, she asked if I’d like to sing a song with her. And I did. And it was “The Rainbow Connection” because that was my favorite song from childhood and it was one of the most special moments of my life so far. I’ll always remember it.

I was able to keep in touch with Susan, because that’s the kind of person she is, and years later she even left a review on my iTunes music page (open it in iTunes to see Susan’s review). I told her I played princesses for kids and that if she ever needed a princess for one of her darling daughter’s parties, she should hit me up. And she said she would. And one day, she did. And it was wonderful. And we all lived happily ever after.

P.S. Ms. Egan maintains a humorous blog called Glamour & Goop and can also be found on Twitter. You might also check out the music video for her song “Nina Doesn’t Care”, in which she sings, ironically, “As she puts me through the paces, I try not to yell, but it’s hard when she prefers the Mermaid over Belle“.

"The Sea Princess" with the birthday girl and her big sister.

The Sea Princess” with the birthday girl and her big sister.

"The Sea Princess" with the birthday queen and her royal court.

“The Sea Princess” with the birthday queen and her royal court at Olivia’s Dollhouse Tearoom.

5. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Sea Princess at Giggles n’ Hugs in Century City: One of the most fun things for us as children’s entertainers is when we get to work with each other. A new client contacted us in Autumn hoping to get three princesses together for her daughter’s dream 4th birthday party and happily we were able to make that wish come true. The party venue, Giggles n’ Hugs, was located at the Century City mall, and as we strolled through the shopping center, a friendly passerby snapped this sweet photo of us. Follow us on Instagram and search #papillonsentertainment for more fun pictures on the job.

A triple princess party with "Cinderella", "The Sea Princess", and "Sleeping Beauty".

A triple princess party with “Cinderella”, “The Sea Princess”, and “Sleeping Beauty”.

6. “Rapunzel” for Kelly Oxford: “Rapunzel” is one of my favorite characters to cosplay, especially when a client books my upgraded acoustic guitar and singing performance. To be honest, although I knew of Kelly Oxford from Twitter (with over 500K followers, Kelly is best known for her refreshingly funny and snarky look at life and motherhood; she is also a New York Times best selling author), when she called me looking to book my musical “Rapunzel” performance, I thought nothing of it. It was only when I arrived at the party and was met outside by Kelly herself that it dawned on me who I was working for. For those of you who follow Ms. Oxford on Twitter or Instagram, you might recognize little Bea (pictured with “Rapunzel” below) who is often the subject of her photo posts, and upon whom my friend “Rapunzel” painted one of her favorite flower princess face-paintings of the year.

"Rapunzel" and sweet Bea.

“Rapunzel” and sweet Bea.

Pumpkin painting, deluxe balloon twisting, and fancy face-painting at The Taste of Southlake in Pasadena.

Pumpkin painting, deluxe balloon twisting, and fancy face-painting at The Taste of Southlake.

7. The Taste of Southlake, Fall 2013, in Pasadena, CA: I love crafts, I love balloon sculptures, and I love when I get to create all different kinds of face-painting designs. Which is to say why the Kid Zone at this event, of which I was in charge of coordinating, prepping, and organizing, and during which we met at least one hundred kids throughout the three hours of entertainment, made my list of favorites for the year. Here are a couple more shots of our work from the event that I found on Flickr.

A rubber duckie balloon sculpted by our balloon twister.

A rubber duckie balloon sculpted by our balloon twister.

A little girl with a catterfly face-painting doing some painting of her own.

A little girl with a catterfly face-painting doing some painting of her own.

8. “Cinderella” at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood, CA: This party was one of my favorites for a couple of reasons, the first being that I got to work with my amazing photographer/budding video-content-marketer partner, Jeff Drongowski of Drongo Photo. Another reason I loved this party has everything to do with the lovely Carolina Cavaliere, a reporter for TWC Deportes, and her husband, Andrea Cavaliere, the talented chef at Cecconi’s restaurant. Both the dining and decor at Cecconi’s is delightful; pay them a visit if you’re in the Los Angeles area.

A royal ball with "Cinderella" at Ciccone's in West Hollywood, CA. (photography by Drongo Photo)

A royal ball with “Cinderella” at Cicconi’s in West Hollywood, CA. (photography by Drongo Photo)

Carolina & Andrea Cavaliere and the birthday girl. (Photography by Drongo Photo)

Carolina & Andrea Cavaliere and the birthday girl. (Photography by Drongo Photo)

9. The Local 600 IATSE Holiday Open House at The Cinematographer’s Guild in Hollywood, CA: Seems like December hit us faster than a reindeer in flight. Good thing the folks at the International Cinematographer’s Guild booked with us very early, way back in August of 2013 for their December 7th event! I had a blast putting this event together: all in all, we provided three pro face-painters, four skilled caricature artists, and one of our classically trained actors to play the part of “Ebenezer Scrooge” (to keep the Santa line moving and all the folks waiting in high spirits). It was a great way to kick off the holidays.

Santa and Mrs Claus hanging out with Ebenezer Scrooge at the Local 600 IATSE holiday open house in Los Angeles.

Santa and Mrs Claus hanging out with Ebenezer Scrooge at the Local 600 IATSE holiday open house in Los Angeles.

Festive face-painting all around at the IATSE Local 600 Holiday Open House in Los Angeles.

Festive face-painting all around at the IATSE Local 600 Holiday Open House in Los Angeles.

10. Jolly Holiday “Mary Poppins” at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in Brea, CA: I absolutely adore everything old timey, so when my client in Orange County told me that she had to change the location of her party from her home to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, I was giddy with excitement. Farrell’s has an authentic turn-of-the-century charm that recalls the days of barbershop quartets and the Model T, but there was one problem: what I had originally planned to do for the birthday girl and her friends was a pop star dance and glamour party. A “pop star” would stick out like a sore thumb in a place like Farrell’s, there wouldn’t be any room to lead any dancing with the girls, and we certainly couldn’t blast One Direction throughout the restaurant. The solution? Let’s have a “jolly holiday with Mary!” With all of its delicate details, this costume is one of my absolute favorites, and it’s not hard to see how perfectly the character fit with the theme at Farrell’s. “Poppins” turned out to be, not only a huge hit with the birthday party and our client (you can read her review here), but with the other restaurant guests and the Farrell’s employees, too!

"Poppins" pops in to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet celebration.

“Poppins” pops in to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet celebration.

11. Christmas Eve in Manhattan Beach, CA: The 2013 holiday season found my immediate family all the way on the other side of the country, back on the East Coast, so spending Christmas with them, unfortunately, wasn’t an option for me. While I do miss my family around special times like these, I feel very lucky to have been able to spend this Christmas Eve with two great families in Manhattan Beach: a regular client of mine (between their parties and their friend’s kids’ parties, I think they’ve seen me as almost every princess in the fairy-tale collection!) wanted help passing out gifts and dinner time entertainment for their group of ten kiddos, and coincidentally enough, their friends just a few blocks away wanted to make the evening extra enchanting for their two young daughters before bedtime. I had been working on a new Santa’s Helper/50′s style “Elf” costume, which I finished just in time to debut at their celebrations. With all the crafts, dancing, singing, face-painting, and storytelling I did at both parties, I’m not sure who had more fun that night, me or the kids. Although I’ve been working as a children’s entertainer for more than twelve years, I still get great joy from creating magical moments for kids and families, and this night was filled with them.

Santa's Helper Elf on Christmas Eve in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Santa’s Helper Elf on Christmas Eve in Manhattan Beach, CA.

In fact, the entire year was filled with magic, and I have all of our wonderful, trusting, generous, awesomely amazing clients to thank.

Here’s to 2014: may it be just as enchanting, ever as exciting, and may all your dreams come true!

~ Jenna B.

(“queen butterfly” and lead expert performer at Papillons Entertainment)

If you’d like to get in touch with us about your upcoming party or special event, please fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to help!


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Amazing Glamor and Spa Party Ideas for Girls

Glamour/spa party for 9-year-old girls a big hit at Nine Zero One salon in West Hollywood, CA.

Glamour/spa party for 9-year-old girls a big hit at Nine Zero One salon in West Hollywood, CA.

There comes a time in every girl’s life when she no longer believes in fairies, discards her once beloved Minnie Mouse doll into the box for Goodwill, and prefers a trip to the mall with her friends over a day at Disneyland with the family. It’s bittersweet, as a parent, to see your baby girl grow up. It’s as if the girl who, just a few short years ago, said she wanted to have a princess at every birthday party, has completely forgotten her favorite fairy-tales. Now, she wants nothing more than to mess about with make-up and listen to One Direction.

So, what do you do? After you’ve shed a tear or two (let’s be honest… after you’ve bawled like a teething toddler), might I suggest you dry your eyes, and embrace the young woman your daughter is about to become. The tween years are a wonderful time of new discovery and excitement. Your little girl now has opinions and thoughts of her own — how fantastic?! This is what you always wanted… to raise a strong, confident daughter who knows what she wants.

And if this daughter of yours likes fancy hair dos, wishes she could tag along with you to the spa, and is begging you for a birthday at the salon, here are a few ways to make her tween party wishes come true.

Mocktails (a fancy word for fruity non-alcoholic mixed drinks) are a great way to make tweens feel special.

Mocktails (a fancy word for fruity non-alcoholic mixed drinks) are a great way to make tweens feel special.

First, you’ll want to choose a venue. There are lots of great places where you can hold your girl’s spa party: you could have it at home, at a retail store specifically meant for kids parties (such as Diva Girlz and Adventure Boyz in Tarzana, CA), or if you’re going all-out, at an actual salon.

We were recently tasked to put together services for a girl’s 9th birthday party at Nine Zero One salon in West Hollywood. If you’ve got a great budget to work with and want to book a classy joint, I highly suggest this location. This salon specializes in super fancy braids with fun names like ‘The Venice Hippie’.

Our client wanted the girls to feel pampered, so one of the main attractions we provided was a mocktail bar featuring three signature drinks. We took inspiration from the season (summer going into fall) for the drink recipes and designed custom menus to match the vibe of the salon.

Custom graphic designs for our mocktail menus in black & gold to match the look of the salon.

Custom graphic designs for our mocktail menus in black & gold to match the look of the salon.

One of the drinks we named after our birthday girl; not surprisingly, this drink was the most popular. Girls loved sipping these sweet beverages out of their (unbreakable) flutes. Plastic is certainly the way to go with kids, no matter how grown up they think they are, but we fancied-em-up by hand decorating each one with a gold bow and endowing each one with its owners name (this way, girls remember which drink belongs to whom and have a bonus souvenir to take home).

Mocktails are served! Complete with tasty fruit garnishes.

Mocktails are served! Complete with tasty fruit garnishes.

One of the highlights of this birthday party, and the specialty of Nine Zero One salon, were the beautiful braids each girl had styled into her hair. To keep girls entertained, we provided several other activities to go along with the theme, such as the make-up station. If you’re going to have your hair done, you’ve got to have your make-up done, too! The girls each received a custom consultation for their colors and then spent one-on-one time in the make-up chair getting primped and fussed over. With so many colors to choose from, the girls just loved this, especially the big reveal when we turned the chair toward the mirror to show them their fancy face for the first time.

Kid-friendly, real make-up for each girl to complete her glamourous look.

Kid-friendly, real make-up application on each girl to complete her glamourous look.

And if braids, and make-up, and posh drinks weren’t enough, we also supplied a glitter tattoo station! We have at least 50 tattoo designs at any one time and 30 different colors of glitter. Many girls were seen sporting two and three tattoos by the end of the night. They were in sparkle heaven!

Glitter tattoos are a great addition to a glamour, spa, or slumber party. They last up to one week!

Glitter tattoos shine at a glamour or slumber party. They last about a week!

And finally, our client wanted a way for girls to commemorate their glamourous looks, so we set-up a professional artist to draw caricatures of each guest. A caricature artist is a fabulous addition to any party with older kids or mixed age groups, whether it be a batmitzvah, or a holiday party. Adults love ‘em, too!

Caricatures are festive and fun for any event and make a great keepsake.

Caricatures are festive and fun for any event and make a great keepsake.

What a fun, glamorous party this was! And believe it or not, we can do even more: we’ve got dance motivators, karaoke, and event DJs, too.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, we’d love to help you with your daughter’s spa/glamour party, too. So, wipe those tears away and give us a call; we’ll put a smile on your face, and that beautiful, not-so-little girl of yours.

Cheers!

~ Jenna

P.S. Visit our main website for more party entertainment options and ideas: www.papillonsentertaiment.com


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How To Find The Perfect Party Princess

Let me show you how to find the perfect princess for your party in Los Angeles.

You have a problem: your little girl wants a princess to come to her birthday party, but you have no idea where to start. You live in Southern California, the greater Los Angeles area to be exact, and there are just too many princesses to choose from. Every entertainment company says they have “the best” princesses, but how do you which ones employ the true professionals? How can you tell which one will deliver on their promises? You want a princess with a top-notch look, but you also want her to be able to entertain your entire group of twenty rambunctious four-year-old girls (and boys, too)! How do you know who will give you the ultimate princess party experience?

It’s difficult, I know… wading through dozens of sites, videos, and pictures. It’s overwhelming, to say the least! But you’re not the type to settle for second-best; you want is the whole package. You want top-notch-service, a beautiful costume, a realistic, well-groomed wig, a princess who looks like the character has come-to-life, and not only that, you want a princess who can entertain your party guests from beginning to end, for one hour or longer. There are dozens of princess party companies in Los Angeles, it can be seemingly tricky to find the one that will deliver on everything you’re looking for. Fear not! I’m going to help you navigate the crowded waters of Los Angeles party princess entertainers and show you exactly how to find the perfect party princess.

First, let’s start with what we already know: you have excellent taste. You recognize high-quality when you see and hear it. Remember to trust that instinct and allow your preference for the finer things to guide you as you begin your search.

Secondly, now that we know you have great taste, guess what: so do your friends! One of the best places to start looking for a party princess is to ask your friends who they’ve booked for their kids’ parties. If you don’t have many friends with kids the same age as yours, then ask the moms and dads at the daycare — you’re probably inviting the pre-school children to the party anyway, so it’s a great way to find out what other parents have already done in the way of characters and themes.

Once you’ve gotten a few referrals from friends and fellow parents, check out the princess’ website, and other social media sites online. The website should look up-to-date, including the pictures – do the photos look current, or like they were taken in 1983? If a company’s pictures look old, how can you be sure of what you’re actually going to get from them? Be sure the costume you see is the exact costume your princess will wear. Plus, the princess company should be active on social media sites, engaging with relevant information, photos, and videos so that you can be certain of what you’re buying.

Next, read the reviews of the companies you are considering. Ask the company to point you to a place online where you can read their reviews if you are having trouble finding some, or if you aren’t sure about the legitimacy of the reviews you may have read. Hint: If you are looking on Yelp, check the filtered reviews, too. Yelp uses an algorithm that often hides reviews of first time users and users who aren’t very active on the site, and while you should usually take someone else’s opinion as simply that, an opinion, it’s good to get the general consensus of what people are saying about their experiences with the company. When you do read reviews online, look for a mix of people who were first-time customers and people who are repeat customers. This will show you consistency, in that the company is making a great impression; they are trustworthy, setting new customers at ease, and they are also bringing back customers time and again, party after party.

You’ve read the reviews, checked out the pictures, but also remember to look for videos. Promo videos are fine, but do they have videos of actual events, too? They should have both. A promo video features just the princess; this is good to look at so that you can see if the princess knows her character and you can listen to hear if she can sound similar to the character (that’s nearly as important as looking like the character). A video of the princess in action at one of their actual events will show you even more: are the kids engaging with the character, visually, audibly? What kind of activities is the princess leading? Is it a good variety activities? Paying attention to these cues will help you find, not only the best princess for your party, but also one who will give you the most bang for your buck.

As you’re watching princess performer videos, pay attention to how they move, listen to how they talk. For ultimate believability, your party princess should be a keen impersonator.

  • She should have her own realistic impression of the character’s voice and say things that the princess would probably say in real life (for example, maybe she refers to kids as “friends” or simply “children” rather than “you guys” — your princess is a royal, after all, and should speak accordingly).
  • If the character is supposed to have a foreign accent, she should be able to imitate that accent.
  • The princess should move like the character she is playing, too. For example, a “Brave” princess should have a free-spirited gait and maybe even slightly slouched posture, which works perfectly for the character‘s tom-boyish nature, while a “Rapunzel” princess should sit up straight, have a lot of energy and pure excitement in every move she makes, while maintaining gracefulness, too.
  • If the princess is to sing at your child’s party, remember not all singers are created equal. You want to make sure you’ve heard her singing samples, that you think she realistically sounds like the singing voice the children will expect to hear (some performers may be fine singers, but sound completely different than the original character), and most importantly, that the same princess you’ve heard sing will be the one performing at your party. Also, how is the singing incorporated? A singing performance that includes aspects of the story, perhaps even adding a live instrument to the mix, will make the princess’ singing an interactive, magical experience.

Now that you’ve done all the preliminary research, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty details. Remember, you’re looking for the perfect party princess, so there are a lot of things to consider:

  1. How long has the princess or company of princesses been performing?
  2. Were they trained by someone, an expert in the children’s entertainment field, or did they just decide to be a princess one day?
  3. What is their background in working with kids?

These are all important questions. You want your princess to be very experienced as an actor (look for classically trained, theme park performers, improv performers, comediennes, and film/TV actors), but you also want her to know what kids like to do at parties. You want your princess to be an expert on her character; she should know the fairy-tale backwards and forwards and all the little details in between (the kids do, so should your princess).

As far as time-spent-on-the job goes, you’re looking for one of two things:

  • An expert party princess, in which an expert is defined as someone who has logged at least 10,000 hours as a children’s entertainer (that’s a minimum of 1,000 parties performed!) or…
  • A princess who has been trained and is currently coached by an expert children‘s entertainer.

These are important distinctions to make as you are looking for a party princess. While it may seem simple and easy to throw on a costume and play a character, and that anyone can do it, it’s not. Do you want to keep your group of 20 kids engaged for a full hour or longer? Do you want the princess to sound like the character? Do you want her to move and behave like the character? Do you want your party princess to know how to handle disruptive children with grace? Do you want your princess to have charm, wits, and poise? Do you want her to know what activities will be inline with the age-group of the kids at the party as well as what activities will tie the party theme and performance together?

If your answer is yes, then you want either an expert princess or a princess trained by an expert. Certainly, anyone can grab a Halloween costume from eBay and come to your party, but if you want more than “good-enough”, and if you want to elevate your party theme and truly bring the fairy-tale to life, if you want to take your princess party from good to amazing, and if you want kids to actually be engaged from start to finish, then you want either an expert princess or a princess trained by an expert.

Take a close look at the costume. For a princess character, it’s important to make sure the costume is not a bag-o-costume, but a custom made, theatrical-grade garment. A costume made for stage or film is going to look incredible, of course, not only in person but in photos, too. But hand-made costumes are not all equal: be sure to look at the textures on the fabric, and the details. Does it look high-quality to you? If the costume is impressive looking in a photo, it’s sure to be even more divine in person, and of course you know it will look fabulous in all of your treasured princess birthday party pictures.

Let’s have a look next at the wig. Yes, a princess should wear a wig. A fantastic wig completes the larger-than-life look of the princess costume. Even if the princess has hair similar to the character, you simply cannot get an authentic, consistent look without one. Plus, you live in the Los Angeles area; your child and her guests are used to seeing characters at the theme parks, who all wear wigs, so it would look odd to kids otherwise. As for the quality of the wig, your princess should have a wig of the same heightened quality of the costume she wears.

Personally, my heart weeps when I see a beautiful princess in a gorgeous gown with a cheap wig. What good is spending hundreds of dollars on an incredible costume if the performer or company isn’t going to invest in the perfect wig to finish the look? As a customer, you want to observe how well the wig is made: does the wig have life to it? It should be professionally styled, with a theatrical look, like something from a Broadway show, while maintaining a sense of realism, but it should not look too cartoonish or over-the-top. Also look at the quality and fit: does it look like it’s been a long time since the princess has had the wig re-styled? If you’re not sure, ask to see a recent picture of the costume and wig, even just on the shelf or rack, to make sure it’s still well kept. Also look to see how the wig fits her head: if it comes down too far on the forehead, it’s going to be an obvious giveaway to your party guests that the hair is a wig. If it’s up too high on the forehead, you’re going to see the real hair underneath. The perfect wig will elevate the costume and add believability to the overall performance.

You’ll also want to take a close look at the princess performers in the pictures themselves. Do they actually look like the character you want? I think details are important: if the character is typically visualized with light eyes, then kids will probably notice if the princess shows up with brown eyes. It’s OK if the eye color, or shape of the nose, or cheek bones are somewhat different, but they should be close enough to suspend disbelief, making kids perceive that the princess has truly come to life at the party. The princess’ make-up should be heightened, too, as if she has just stepped-off stage. An impressive princess will have eyes that pop with properly fitted false lashes and gradient shadows, bright blush, matching lip color, and a powdered, finished look.

At this point, if you like what you’ve seen, you’re probably ready to talk to someone from the princess company. You want the office personnel to be friendly, of course, but they should be knowledgeable and explain in detail what the princess party experience will be like, too. You want the booking process to be easy, fair (remember to ask about retainer or deposit policies), professional (you should get a booking confirmation or contract outlining all of the terms you and the company have agreed to regarding the princess’ performance), and fun! After all, you’re planning your little princess’ special birthday party. The booking process should be one that puts you at ease, gets you excited for the big day, and gives you the confidence that you’ve chosen the best princess for your child’s party. You’re about to make your darling’s dream of meeting her favorite fairy-tale princess come true!

And finally, the activities your princess will lead are vital to the party experience. Activities should be easy for small children to understand, but not so simple that you could have done it yourself. For example, sure, kids like coloring, but you can easily put out your own coloring sheets & crayons on a table for the kids. If you’re hiring a princess to entertain the kids at your party, she should take over your party and wow your guests with a fully engaging experience, with everything from non-competitive games, comedy, mesmerizing magic spells, music, pretty face-painting and more, and all of it perfectly coordinated to the princess’ story and your party theme. Her equipment should also look like it belongs to her character. How does she present her things? Does she walk in carrying a bulky, black boom box? Is she rolling in with a suitcase? Your party princess should be a completely interactive one-woman-show for kids; props and equipment should add to the magical experience, not distract from it. Overall, your princess needs to be quite multi-talented; she should be part comedienne, part artist, and part enthusiastic pre-school teacher in order to combine the best elements to keep your whole group engaged and enjoying themselves.

Whew! I know that was a lot to digest, but if you’ve taken all of this information into consideration, and you’ve chosen your party princess wisely, you will hear squeals of joy, not only from your littlest guests, but from your grown-up guests, too. The other parents at the party will come up to you and tell you how fantastic the princess was, how impressed they were with her performance, and even better, will commend you on your fabulous taste, demanding to know where-in-the-world you found her. Pat yourself on the back, mom and dad; you’ve found the perfect party princess.

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“Queen Butterfly” & Lead Expert Performer//Papillons Entertainment

P.S. If you’d like to talk about booking a party princess for your up-coming Los Angeles area birthday celebration or special event, please get in touch! I’m here to help and would love to be of service.

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Pirate parties perfected.

Capn' Hook and his new first mate: the birthday boy!

Capn’ Hook and his new first mate: the birthday boy!

You’ve sent out the message-in-a-bottle invitations, made the seaweed wraps, and organized the treasure hunt. These are all festive ways to create a pirate party theme, but how will you make your child’s party stand out from all the other parties? And how will you entertain the huge group of six-year-olds… coming over to your house?!

The best way to both entertain your wee scallywags and make your son or daughter’s party unique, is by bringing the party theme to life with a children’s character entertainer.

Arrrrrrrrrrgh!

Arrrrrrrrrrgh!

At Papillons Entertainment, we have cast members who are at the top of their field in children’s party entertainment, having performed at hundreds, some of them at thousands of special events and kids parties all across Los Angeles and Southern California.

Pictured here, for example, is one of our actors portraying ‘Captain Hook’. In this video of a recent party performance, you’ll hear his English accent, see the detailed costume in action, experience some of the corny jokes and witness Jr. Swashbucklers (a.k.a. children) having a funtastic time!

 The stow-away tries to escape!

The stow-away tries to escape!

Along with Neverland games and perhaps dancing the jig, your Papillons pirate party performance also includes a mini magic show, background music to enhance the excitement of the activities, and swords made out of balloons (choose a Pirate Lass and she’ll transform little landlubbers with her face-painting “tattoos”).

For more ideas on how to create a pirate theme, check out our Pinterest board.

And, of course, to book a real, live pirate entertainer for your kid’s birthday party, get in touch with us at www.papillonsentertainment.com.

Tasty tarts.


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Food for your Fête: Goat Cheese Tarts with Leeks & Apricot Preserves

Tasty tarts.Where there are little kids, their parents are sure to follow. What does this mean for your pip-squeak’s party? Be sure to have some food options that will appeal to the grown-up palate.

These tarts are the perfect mix of elegance and taste. The sweetness of the apricot preserves, paired with the savory goat cheese and sauteed leeks and the flaky crust, will have your big-kid guests begging for the recipe. Not to mention, you can use just about any round-ish shaped cookie cutter (we used a flower cookie cutter here) to help tie-in your party’s theme.

We found the recipe here: http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Food/Stir-It-Up/2011/0511/Goat-cheese-tarts-with-leeks-and-apricot-preserves

Our tips: You want to serve these hot or warm at the least; have them prepped on your baking pans and stick ‘em in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them, that way you can serve them to guests nice n’ toasty. And make more than you think you need; they will get devoured and fast!

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