Tucked away on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, CA, sits every little girl's dream wonderland — Once Upon an Island. The children's entertainment venue offers birthday parties, princess makeovers, and daily character events. Favorite princess and mermaid characters are around every corner; even adult women have gotten in on the finned fun, renting out their own flippers.

We wanted to get the behind-the-scenes scoop on what it's like to be a princess every day because, hello, dream job! Once Upon an Island's founder, Briana Baker, gave us the lowdown on all the surprising details she has learned from her experiences. Keep reading to learn more.

— Additional reporting by Tara Block




Image Source: Instagram user once_upon_an_island

How did you guys come up with the Once Upon an Island idea?

I spent most of my early 20s doing various character work, from theme parties to private events and birthday parties, all while studying child development. When I realized the retail space below my home was for lease early this year, the idea just sort of popped in my head! I knew I could create a unique place for little girls to come and feel like they were in a true wonderland. I wanted to create a space where imagination could run wild and girls could be girls that was still small enough to be intimate and personalized.


Image Source: Instagram user once_upon_an_island

Tell me a little bit about your background. Have any of you been Disney princesses at Disneyland?

Every girl has worked as royalty at theme parks from California, San Diego, Tokyo, Paris, and Hong Kong. We like to keep the magic and say a true princess never tells! I will say that we have extensive experience entertaining children at the highest levels of training and standards.

Page 1 of 3