For companies specializing in providing rent-a-princess services to children’s birthday parties, business is booming in the Washington, D.C., area.

We’re talking gigs that pay roughly $40,000 per year.

The Rent A Princess Market Is Booming in NOVA/D.C.

“I think I’ve done more than 800 parties now,” Rebecca Russell, owner and “principal Cinderella” of Princess Parties of Virginia, told the Washington Post. “It’s just getting busier and busier.”

“It’s just grown like crazy,” Heidi Martin, who started her own princess-themed company in Stafford, Va., adds.

True, youthful infatuation with Disney-esque princesses is hardly new, but the rising demand in the D.C. area for all things princess-y has caught a few parents by surprise.

“I have parents from D.C. all the time who call and say, ‘We don’t know where this came from, Disney is getting to her somehow,’” Russell told the Post. “They say, ‘We don’t even play with princesses but all she wants to do is put on a dress and dance around the house, and now she really, really wants Cinderella at her birthday party.’ ”

And the high-powered parents of D.C. and Northern Virginia aren’t afraid to shell out some serious cash for the service.

[At] an average of $220 per party, even a proper princess can pull down $40,000 a year,” the Post notes [emphasis added].

However, because Disney is (understandably) protective of its billion-dollar princess empire, Russell learned quickly that she needed to be mindful of copyright laws.

“I can say I’m Cinderella because she was around before Disney,” she explained. “Rapunzel they don’t own, but ‘Tangled’ they do. Our Little Mermaid is not their Ariel. But we do look like them.”

Again, considering the time and money Disney has invested in the princess business, it’s not surprising that the company would protect its brand so carefully.

From the WaPo:

Without doubt, Disney was the big bang that launched the ever-expanding princess universe. For decades, the company promoted princess products only every seven years or so, when “Snow White,” “Cinderella” and its other animated features would be released on a rotating basis.

But in 2000, executives lifted those characters out of their films and began marketing them together, year-round, as the “Disney Princesses.” The result has been annual retail sales of more than $4 billion, according to Disney, some 26,000 princess products and a generation obsessed with gowns and crowns.

A multi-billion dollar empire that has spawned gigs with $40,000 per year? Not bad, Disney, not bad at all.

Read the full report here.

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Featured image screen grab.