For Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line guests, one of the best, most fun things about meeting Disney characters is getting their autographs! A great, inexpensive souvenir to treasure forever – what could be better than obtaining the actual signature of your favorite Disney superstar? Whether you wait in line to meet your favorite character or run into them on the spur of the moment, having that special, face-to-face meeting is one of the most magical experiences of a Disney vacation.
What you need to bring: Large, easy to hold markers or pens (several colors) and a stable surface for characters to sign.
A basic, easy to carry and use means of autograph collecting is the autograph book. Advantages: Autographs are all in one place, great for showing friends and family the different characters’ signatures, children can easily carry these small books and present a blank page for signing, characters can easily sign (or in some cases, stamp) their names. Downside is that the signatures are inside a book – viewers have to take the time to see them.
Another alternative, is having characters sign a tee shirt or pillowcase. This takes a little bit more effort than a book because the fabric must be positioned strategically for each signature and something solid must be placed under the area to be signed to make it as easy as possible for those superstars to make their marks (an empty DVD case works well and is light and easy to carry along). The pros of obtaining autographs on a tee or pillowcase – you (or your pillow) can wear the final product! A great way to show off all those unique signatures at one time. Cons are, your autograph collection wears out over time (or is outgrown).
Photo mats are another great place to collect autographs. Photos of character meet-and-greets can be showcased alongside those characters’ signatures! I particularly love this option. Pros: a fantastic option for all ages, lasts many years, displays your pictures and the autographs! Cons: Harder to carry around, may be more difficult for certain characters to sign/fit their names within a somewhat narrow area.
Finally, another great idea I recently read about (and one we will be using on our next WDW vacation) is to bring along some Christmas ornaments (I recommend shatterproof!) for characters to autograph. Now, this probably won’t work with characters who stamp instead of sign their names (like Kermit and Miss Piggy, if I recall correctly), but prince and princess autographs would be beautiful on ornaments. The ornaments I’ve chosen, are medium-sized, clear plastic and they come in two pieces – trinkets/souvenirs can actually be placed inside before the ornaments are assembled. This allows for some fantastic, creative options. (These ornaments were less than $2 each at my favorite craft store.)
A couple of examples: if I manage to get Ariel’s autograph, I could put sand and shells inside the ornament. A Belle ornament could hold little books, a rose, some yellow lace, etc. Any of the Fab Five’s ornaments could contain actual character figures, Elsa’s could have snowflakes, Winnie the Pooh’s could hold toy honey bees – the possibilities are endless! I’m planning to carry two each day, tucked securely in a small backpack – I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m also considering more fancy pen options (rather than our usual colored Sharpie fine-point markers) – like metallic paint pens? If you’ve tried this or have thoughts to share, please comment away!
You should know: On a Disney cruise, items needing autographs may be left at guest services – the Characters will sign the shirt, pillowcase, or photo matte, etc. and the final collection of autographs will be conveniently left in your stateroom when finished. If you’re planning a Disney cruise, take advantage of this wonderful service!
Other tips for character interactions can be found here.
What are your favorite character autograph gathering methods? Do you have any tips I haven’t mentioned?