There are so many different options available when it comes to Disney autographs. Most characters will sign just about anything you want them to; a book, a picture, a picture frame, a pillowcase, a shirt, etc. You can easily do a google search or play on pinterest and find many creative ways to display your signatures. Before Littlecjc, we really didn't spend much time meeting characters. In fact, I'm not sure I met any characters other than when I was actually a young kid. Now, I can't imagine a trip where I wouldn't meet at least a few characters. They are so much fun to talk to, and if you have little ones they are great with them. Even if your kids won't talk to the characters, they are great at carrying the conversation without remarks from the little ones. On Littlecjc's first big trip to Disney World, I knew that she would not say a word to any characters, and I had no idea if she would like them or be terrified of them. Since I didn't have experience meeting the characters, I feared that I would have no clue as to what to say so I wanted some little buffer, or something to give me a reason for meeting a character in case my little one became a monkey, attaching herself to me. So, I made the decision to get signature and started my search on pinterest on the best way to go about that.
I found many post linking back to shared albums on Shutterfly. There are so many of these photo cards available if you just take the time to search through them all. I did this for the first several trips, and I am so thankful that I did. Littlecjc clung to these cards. She absolutely loved running up to the characters and handing them their photo and a Sharpie to get their signature. She never said a word, but she was always so excited standing in line, holding each card. A lot of the post on pinterest talked about making a book out of the signed cards and adding the picture of the kid meeting that character, but that seemed like a lot of extra work for me, and I really didn't want to do it ahead of time, because who knows what characters you will or won't meet. So, instead, I just took the photo cards in a ziplock bag and after we got home, I just bought a photo album and filled in each card next to the photo of Littlecjc and that character. To me, this seems just as efficient, and I don't have to worry about her tearing up a book when she decides she wants to look at it by herself.
The first book I got was a cheap book from the dollar store. It's nothing fancy, but it's tough and held up to Littlecjc hands and handling
Since the photo cards are all horizontal, this book worked perfectly.
With Littlecjc being so little during our 2015 trip, we didn't meet an abundance of characters, so we still had plenty of room in the book for our next trip in June 2016.
When we decided to go back in October 2016, we met so many characters, that we needed a new book. This time around, I took Littlecjc to the store and let her pick one out.
This one is still horizontal, but it also has space to write which I haven't done anything with yet.
We were able to use this book again when we went back in November 2016, we didn't meet too many characters again since it was a really short trip, so they got put in this book as well. That worked out nicely as this was the two trips around the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
We're very far behind on our April 2017 trip. I know we have too many characters to fit in this book, so we'll need a new one, but we haven't gotten to that yet since we haven't even printed our pictures yet. Thanks to our upcoming trip, we have finally sorted our photos and I need to print them soon along with our new photo cards. Speaking of which, I have learned since our first time, not to actually print these from Shutterfly. The last few times, I've had a lot of trouble working with the online program to pull the specific photos I needed out of their albums and into something I can print. Also, I personally feel that they have gotten a little expensive over the last few years, especially if you have to pay for shipping. I used to order these from Shutterfly and have them printed at CVS or Walgreens, but they've gotten picker about that as well, and no longer allow you to use their coupons if your order was placed through Shutterfly, which doesn't save anything then except shipping time. So, this time I decided to try something else. After figuring out which photos I needed, I googled that specific character signature card and found everything I needed. I saved it to my computer and now I can print through CVS or Walgreens, whatever happens to have the best price when I actually get around to printing them, skipping the Shutterfly step all together. Plus, the photos will be a lot easier to print again for our next trip.
If you decide to go this route, take a little time when searching for your photos, as their are several varieties and even special ones for many of the character meals and holiday parties.
Another tip, is to separate your characters out by their park location and then to put them in alphabetical order so you can easily find the right one. They also make generic ones with mickey head balloons and such that don't have any specific names on them that you should also include in each bag, because you never know who you might see. I've also learned, to make it easier on the characters, to use a small clipboard that you can clip the photo to so that they have a hard surface to write on.
My Littlecjc now expects these cards, so I have no option but to continue with this method of autograph collections. Whether you choose this one or not, I suggest you come up with something during your trip preparations, because it is so much fun both during your trip and looking back on them once you're home. I suggest planning this ahead of time, too, because if you don't you know your kid(s) will want to do it once they see everyone else collecting signatures and then you will be paying twice as much for something half as cute from a Disney gift shop!