As most of you are aware, we finally took the plunge and went to Disney World last fall. In preparation for the trip, I did NOTHING until a few days beforehand. Suddenly, someone casually mentioned autograph books and I gave out a big sigh. I was thinking to myself…would we really need them? Were we really going to stand in line to meet the characters? And how many would we actually see? So I did some research and realized one thing very quickly. We needed autograph books.
There were lots of complaints online about the books you could actually purchase at Disney. They weren’t long enough and the pictures didn’t fit that great and they were pricey. So then I realized something else quickly. I had to make the books. Ok, I wanted to make the books. Because if we were going to do this, I wanted to do it right.
I came across a blog post from Not In Jersey and decided to duplicate her approach. I went to some of the websites she recommended and found some others as well in order to create autograph pages on my own. I used images from here and here. There are also some great images here, here, and here. The awesome thing is that the images are there. However, you still have to chose the ones you want and save them to your computer if you want to take them and have them printed somewhere. There is an entire discussion thread about this here on Disboards. If you have a Shutterfly account, someone is sharing their album and you can automatically put it into your account by going here. So basically, there are tons of image choices.
Step One is to pick the images you like and decide where to save them. I picked the “typical” characters and also printed off some of the decorative blank options for characters we were surprised to see. Like Rafiki! And although I picked “normal” images, I also printed off some of the images I found that were related to the breakfast we had scheduled with the princesses at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
Step Two is to actually get the images printed. I saved the ones I wanted to my computer and then uploaded them to Costco and had them printed there. As normal 4×6 lustre photos.
Step Three is to find some cheap photo albums somewhere that will hold enough photos. This wasn’t as easy as I expected. Photo albums are harder to find now. I found some plain black ones at Walmart for $3 and they held 80 photos. It is better if you can find one that has a harder cover so that the person signing the “photo” can use the album to write on as well.
Step Four is to go all out and purchase retractable Sharpie markers. You’ll be glad you did. This way there are NO marker caps to lose. And the markers are the perfect size for characters to hold…because remember, some have LARGE hands. I secured mine with some clips and ribbon.
Step Five is to assemble your book(s). Since I named the files the same as the characters, they uploaded and printed in alphabetical order. This again was helpful. I put each autograph “card” in the photo album in alphabetical order in order to find the right one quickly once needed on our trip. And when you have three kids with books, this saves a TON of time. So once we were in line for a character, I pulled out the correct card, attached it to the front of the photo album with the clip and had the marker ready. Once signed, the autograph “card” went right back into the book in the same spot. Here are some action shots of the kids getting a couple of autographs.
They loved this WAY MORE than I ever imagined. We stood in a lot of short lines, but we also stood in a couple of longer lines at their choice. They were mesmerized by getting to meet so many of their Disney pals. Overall we got a little over twenty autographs with little effort. Remember, we were there in a slower season and the Disney app is a huge help in locating characters and the times they are available.
Then once we got home, all I had to do (the FINAL STEP) was print off some photos of the kids with the characters.
That way, this:
Turned into THIS:
Since we visited family as well during the trip and went to the beach, I also added some of those photos to the books. I was glad I went through the effort to do this. I LOVE photos. And I think my kids do as well. I catch them flipping back through their own books reliving the moments from our trip.
And, yes, Charlotte hugged EVERY SINGLE character she met.
I just found this autograph printable online while making sure I had all the right links for anyone that wants them. Hmmm…maybe we will need this one next!
Did you use an autograph book at Disney?