The first few times we went, I made our autograph book out of pieces of construction paper. I cut various colors to the size of 4X6, punched holes in the top, and put them together by two metal rings—you know the rings that open and close. Each time we met a character, they signed on a new piece using a large felt tip permanent marker. When we returned home, I took the book apart and slide the 4X6 piece of construction paper with the autograph into the photo album next to the photo of the character. Worked like a charm!
Then we moved on to digital photo albums. No need for the 4X6 pieces of construction paper anymore. So, I made our first digital autograph book. I use Picaboo.com—a free download—to create our digital books. There are many other online scrapbooking programs. I just prefer Picaboo. (One reason is that after you create a page or pages for a book, you can print them using your at home printer and this makes for wonderful collage opportunities!) Since the books is saved using the Picaboo application, when I return home, I just upload our new character photos for an on-going product. I then order that book and it is mailed to me for our next trip. And, I don’t have to start from scratch each time!
The characters love to see themselves in our book. We have gotten lots of interaction time with the characters as they look at their photos or the photos of their “friends.” Photopass photographers often comment or ask questions. One thing they want to know is if the books is one of “theirs”—meaning Disney Photopass. My reply is that “they” don’t make that size. I usually get nods and knowing looks at this point. (Click here to read about Disney's Photopass Service.) Other guests comment too, and now even the boy can explain where to go to make your own autograph book.
• When you see a character, pay attention to any line or queue that may have formed. If you aren’t sure, ask a Cast Member handling the character. Those Cast Members wear light blue shirts, tan bottoms, and navy coats if it is cold. They can tell you where the line is and if you will have enough time to meet the character.
• Be prepared to wait in line to meet characters. This is great time to visit with your family or other guests around you. We have visited with very interesting people from all over the world while waiting in character lines. On our last trip, there was a mom and kids from Britain in front of us. The smallest child was in a stroller and had a bit of sunburn on her nose. The boy entertained the baby for quite some time—it kept them both entertained!
- If you or someone you are traveling with has their heart set on meeting a certain character, check at Guest Services to find out if that character will be “visiting” the park that day, when, and where. This will help you plan and potentially avoid disappointment.
• Keep your autograph book in a large, closable, plastic bag. There are sudden rains and water rides at Disney and books can get wet fast.
• Use large felt tip permanent markers. Disney doesn’t sell these with their autograph books that you can buy on property—so bring your own. The larger markers can be easier to handle for those hands inside that large costume! Store the markers in the same plastic bag as the autograph book.
• Take the lid off the marker before handing it to the character and give the marker to them so they are ready to write. It can be difficult to see in the costumes and they definitely cannot trade hands or adjust the writing utensil. Try to make it easier for them.
• Have your autograph books, pens, and cameras ready! This will save time. You will appreciate it when the people in front of you do the same and the people behind you in line will appreciate you for doing the same.
• Interact with the characters as their character. We ask Pooh if he has had any honey. He will nod excitedly. We ask Belle if she has read any good books lately and she will talk about visiting the library. It’s Disney! Have fun!
• Know that the characters will only sign something you hand to them—it has to be no brand or Disney brand and sturdy. Don’t expect them to sign your shirt—unless you are carrying around a spare Disney shirt and have something sturdy in it so that they can sign. The most interesting autographed object we have seen was pillowcases. The family used embroidery hoops and cardboard to give the characters a firm place to write. Clever!
We have our autograph book made for our next trip.
Click here to see our new autograph book.