As promised, here is a tutorial and all the images we found to use in our custom Disneyland autograph books! I did all the hard work for you (you're welcome!) and tracked down more than 70 characters, since you never know who you're going to see in the park.
Not in Jersey blog to make custom pages for each Disney character to sign, and then to organize them into a 4x6 photo album. Then when you get home, print a picture of your child meeting that character, and put it into the sleeve next to their signature page. It is such a cute idea and it not only saves you money on an autograph book, but it also makes a great souvenir that you and your kids will cherish as much as any souvenir you buy at the park.
Since it was my first trip to Disneyland, I didn't know which characters would be in the park so I printed out 2 copies of each page to make 2 autograph books, and it ended up costing me a ton in paper and printer ink. So in order to save you some dough, this is how I recommend you make your album...
1. Purchase a cheap photo album.
This will be used as your autograph book, and make sure to buy one that has enough sleeves for at least 20 characters, plus sleeves to add a picture of your child with that character that you will add after you get home. I would recommend getting one that will fit 40-50 pictures. We purchased ours for .98 cents at Walmart, and it worked great. It wasn't too bulky or heavy so it was easy to carry around. Dara's blog recommended a 4x6 album, but we decided to do a 5x7 album because I wanted our pictures and character pages to be bigger. However, keep in mind that if you choose a 5x7 album, it costs more to have them printed than the smaller 4x6 size.
2. Find out which characters will be in the park when you visit.
|I printed out 70 pages of colored cardstock...yikes|
it was expensive...so call ahead and print them
If you have read my Disneyland for Dummies post, you will probably already be calling ahead so you can make a detailed plan for your day. Once you have a list of all the characters that will be available on the day you are visiting, save their corresponding signature cards (at the bottom of this post), and upload them to Walmart Photo, Costco photo, or Walgreen photo. They all offer 1 hour photo processing, and have pretty competitive pricing for prints. Have each character card printed in matte format so that it's fingerprint resistant. UPDATE!!! Disney had created a fabulous new app for your smart phone that will allow you to see which characters will be in the park that day, where you can find them, and at exactly what times they will be available. The only down side of this new system is that you can't look up this info ahead of time. So here's what I suggest...I have noticed that their schedule is pretty consistent from week to week. So if you check the app one week in advance, you can get a pretty good idea of what characters will be in the park. I wouldn't check the app any earlier than a week because depending on the season, a lot can change from one month to the next. For example, early May will be less slow and have less characters, shows. parades, activities, etc than the busy season at the end of May and beginning of June. But checking a few days in advance and up to a week before hand will give you the best guess of who you can find in the park that day.
If you have a color printer at home and want to do them yourself, then print the character pages you want on white card stock and cut them out. But to be honest, I image that the pricing is about the same when you calculate how much ink you use. And when you print them at a photo center, you don't have to do any of the cutting, so you may want to go that route in order to save precious preparation time.
3. Organize each character card into alphabetical order. This will make it easy for you to find a character card while waiting in line to meet them.
4. Make if fun with colored pens or markers.
We purchased some cheap off brand colored permanent markers, stored them in a ziploc bag, and stowed them with the autograph book in the kids' backpacks. This made waiting in line so much more fun for the kids, because as we got close to the character, my kids could help me pick which color marker they should use to sign their page.
5. Print your favorite images, and add them to your album.
After your character has signed their character page, put it back into the sleeve of your album and make sure to snap a picture of your child with the character. Then when you get back home, order a print for each character they met, and add it to your album and it makes the cutest souvenir and memory album for your little ones.
My kids absolutely love their albums! And whenever anyone asks about our Disneyland trip, my daughter runs to grab her autograph book to show them all the characters she got to meet.
I also created this cute cover for each album and added my kid's names to the top in order to keep them organized. If you'd like to have me make a cover for your child, leave a comment below with your child's name, and I will add it to this post so you can have a custom cover too!
I added a few blank signature cards in case you run into a character that you didn't have printed ahead of time. Also, for characters that don't give out signature (such as Sully, Lighting McQueen, Mater) ask the cast member who is working with them if they would mind signing the page instead. They won't always do it, but it never hurts to ask right!?
Thanks for reading, and I hope your albums turn out cute for your little ones!
Here are some additional pages for the recent additions to the Disney character family, thank you for requesting them and keeping my page up to date!