Born and raised in Lakeland, Amy Sharpe had an affinity for performing and acting as she grew up. Every year her family would take a beach vacation, and she would wrangle her sister and cousins into elaborate performances. The same giggles and glee that undoubtedly resulted from those makeshift shows are created now through Sharpe’s company, Dreams Come True Entertainment.
Pursuing her passion for performing, Sharpe majored in Theatre at Florida Southern College, graduating in 2008. She went on to work at Disney World as a character attendant and also as a driver for the Jungle Cruise ride. She struggled to find a space for herself within the industry. Following in her parents’ footsteps – both of whom are educators – she went back to school to obtain her teaching certification. Sharpe took an art teacher position in Winter Haven. While researching Halloween projects for her students, she came across character impersonations and realized there was an entire industry for it, beyond Elvis’s rhinestones and blue suede shoes.
While still teaching, she started her mobile character entertainment business, Dreams Come True Entertainment. She taught art and ran her business simultaneously for several years. That all changed when the movie Frozen came out. The blizzard of excitement around the film launched a certain Snow Queen and her Ice Princess sister into popularity and the hearts of millions of children. Around this time, Sharpe left teaching to focus on Dreams Come True solely.
A surge in princess popularity hit the character entertainment industry. Many people were purchasing cheap costumes and charging to attend a party as a child’s favorite princess. Sharpe said, “Whereas we have professional theme-park level quality costumes, I have an acting background, a background working at Disney World.” With such saturation in character work, Sharpe went back to teaching.
“I taught again for a few years, and I ended up realizing that my passion is truly in this,” she said. Last summer, she left teaching and committed to finding an event space. In November of 2019, she opened her Traders Alley event space, Enchanted Fairytale Hollow. The Hollow is now the base for all the magic-making, though Dreams Come True Entertainment still offers their mobile party service. “We still travel anywhere anyone needs magic,” said the owner.
Keeping magic alive
“We provide authentic character entertainment for people of all ages. We always want to create unforgettable magical memories. That’s what we were doing with our mobile service, and now that we have our event space, we can do that with more community events, we can expand on that,” said the head magic maker.
Dreams Come True presents 60 characters from princes and princesses to fairies, Jedi’s, and superheroes. “Unforgettable Magical Memories” can be made with birthday package appearances from The Ice Princess, The Snow Queen, Tinkerbell, Alice in Wonderland, The Frog Princess, Cinderella, Snow White, Princess Aurora, the Amazing Superhero Team, and many more. Each character is well-researched for authenticity in appearance, personality, and mannerisms. “We want to make sure it’s always the best of the best, and we will go above and beyond to keep the magic alive,” Sharpe said.
Dreams Come True parties are more than an appearance by your favorite character; it’s full-on pixie dust, glass slipper, true love’s first kiss, thingamabob magic. A recent fairy festival event involved all eight Neverland fairies at different stations where children could travel to determine their pixie talent. In the end, there was a talent ceremony. “It made everyone feel special in a way while seeing what made them unique as well.”
As a fairytale business owner, it was only fair to find out her favorite princess. Growing up, it was Ariel. Sharpe’s mother said it was the first movie she saw in theaters and was scared of the shark. “I do love Ariel because she does what she needs to, to get what she wants, and helps out those who she thinks deserves it whether or not her family agrees with her,” she said.
“Always, my business has been focused on doing charitable work because to me, it’s not about making money, it’s all about making the magic for someone,” said Sharpe. Dreams Come True Entertainment sprinkles the community with enchantment and a little bit of pixie dust through hospital visits for those with special or medical needs. To support their charitable efforts, the entertainment company hosts a Royal Ball twice a year.
“Anyone that we’ve come in contact with throughout all of our magic-making that has any sort of special needs – adult or child – or maybe they’ve battled with cancer, or maybe they have something else going on – we give them free tickets to these events every year. Then we also have ticket sales open to the community, so that we can cover the cost of the event and hopefully raise funds to continue doing lots of free stuff for the community.” Due to the ongoing health crisis, their Spring Ball had to be canceled as it involved 19 characters and an entire choreographed show. Wintertime looks to bring the whimsy as Sharpe plans to hold the Christmas Ball.
The event promises to be a spellbinding good time for all. There will be different activity stations, including decorating gingerbread men and making reindeer dust, along with refreshments, a sing-along show with the Snow Queen and Ice Princess, a Christmas story read by Belle and the Beast, and pictures with Santa. There will be a raffle to win experiences like attending their community events and a free birthday party. “We want to make it a big community event that brings magic to the community and also helps make magic for our friends with special needs,” said Sharpe. If you aren’t able to make it to the event, consider purchasing a ticket and giving it to a special needs friend, leaving a donation, or sponsoring a specific character or activity.
Enchanted Fairytale Hollow
Within the whimsically decorated walls of Enchanted Fairytale Hollow, Sharpe, Ichabod the frog, and all of their fairytale friends create memories with their guests. The downtown Lakeland space is available for rent, including private birthdays and character-themed parties.
The dreamy digs are the backdrop for recurring community events like a monthly storytime. For $5, guests can enjoy a story told by a surprise character. “You might see Cinderella; maybe it will be a real live mermaid. That was an opportunity to offer something for all budgets,” said Sharpe. “The storytime is so that some characters who are really neat characters, but people might not be as aware of them or they might not be as popular, they can then get out and then kids can relate to them.” Check out their Facebook pages for a full list of events.
Though they are known mostly for their work with children, Sharpe would like to extend the storybook experience to adults who love princes, princesses, and dressing up. She has plans for an adult tea party and makeover event in which grown-ups can connect with their inner fairytale character by being transformed into their favorite mermaid or princess. “I wanted to bring that magic in more ways than one,” she said of their community events. Be on the lookout for even more community offerings, including art classes and adult events. The Dreams Come True owner hopes to one day offer summer and winter camps at Enchanted Fairytale Hollow.
As for parties, she said, “We offer anything you can imagine or dream, we’ve probably got something for you. […] We are here to make any dream you may have, a reality.”
The experiences Dreams Come True Entertainment provides children is evident in the name itself. Sharpe heard from her friend, the Snow Queen, about a special birthday one little girl had. When the Snow Queen visited her, the birthday girl was over the moon, showing her every toy and item she had related to the film, and kept telling her how much she loved her. “For these kids, it’s their role model, someone they look up to. It’s very special that they are able to talk to her and get warm hugs. [...] It’s inspiring to do that,” she said. “It makes me feel special to be able to make them feel special.”
Dreams Come True Entertainment
Enchanted Fairytale Hollow
214 Traders Alley, Lakeland