20 Jan

Disneyland Character Autograph Book

One of my favorite photography projects is the Disneyland autograph book I made after our second trip to Disneyland in March of 2012.

Disneyland character autograph book

The first time we went to Disneyland in 2008, our boys weren’t interested in getting close enough to the characters. If they did get close enough for a photograph, they weren’t interested in sticking around long enough to get autographs. On the second trip, our children were 9, 7, 4, and 2. In addition to the main attractions, they wanted to see how many characters they could meet and collect autographs. We brought a small notebook, which didn’t take up much space in a backpack, and a black Sharpie with us each day into the park. I bought a cheap notebook and decorated it with Disney stickers we already had at home. Sharpies are bigger and easier for the characters to hold.

Disneyland character autograph notebook cover decorated with stickers

The idea to create a digital Disneyland autograph book combining photos with the characters and the autographs was my husband’s idea. The first step was to scan each of the autographs into the computer. Because he thought of the photo book idea after our trip, the only thing we would have done differently is to not use lined paper for the autographs. We had to painstakingly go through and alter the scanned autograph images to erase the blue lines for a cleaner look. It would have saved a lot of time to use plain white paper for the original autographs.

Mickey Mouse signature

We uploaded the photos with the characters and the scanned (edited) autograph images to Shutterfly. There are other companies you could use as well. The book can be as creative as you want. We tried to match backgrounds and embellishments to the photos, but you could just as easily use the same background for each page which would make the process faster.

Disney character autograph book inside pages showing Pluto and Mr. Incredible

The Disneyland autograph book is my favorite souvenir from our visit. We enjoyed trying to spot characters as we moved through the park on our vacation. Each time we found a character, the kids were just as excited as the first encounter. Disneyland puts detail into everything from signs and buildings to character autographs. My favorite autograph was a combined one from Aladdin and Jasmine. Jasmine signed our book first with only her name, and Aladdin added his mark above it.

Disney characters Aladdin and Jasmine autograph

My favorite character encounter was with Rapunzel and Flynn in Rapunzel’s cottage. Each family was ushered into the house separately, so we had time alone with the two characters. We were allowed about 10 minutes with Rapunzel and Flynn. Rapunzel doted on our daughter, and Flynn treated the boys as if they were buddies. I could have given those two characters hugs for putting giant, lasting smiles on my children’s faces.

Rapunzel and Flynn photo and autograph page

We chose not to do any character meals. We never felt rushed with any of the characters we encountered in the park and saw a wide variety — from the Queen of Hearts, to princesses, to Stormtroopers, to Woody and Buzz Lightyear. We’ve been to Disneyland in July and March. Visiting with characters seemed much easier in March compared to July. We have a trip planned for Florida, including a stop at Disney World, during summer 2015. I’m looking forward to making a similar book from Disney World.

Mickey Mouse and princess photos and autographs

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  • I like your idea of scanning in the autographs to make a digital book. Do you think if I bought the printable Disney autograph pages and had the characters sign on those that they would scan in and look ok or would it be better if it was just plain white?

    • I think the easiest way is to use white paper. It was also cheaper to purchase a notebook with heavy white paper at home and bring it to Disneyland than a Disney autograph book. We also made a book in the same way from our trip to Disney World this summer. Our kids love looking through those books! Have fun at Disney!

  • What style photo book did you use? I want to make this and can’t seem to find the blank white squares to add the uploaded photographs?

    • I used Publisher to delete the blue lines from our autographs after I scanned them into our computer which made the background of the scanned autographs white. It was time-consuming. That’s why I recommend in the article using plain white paper instead of lined paper. When we visited Disney World this summer, we took a notebook with heavy white paper and no lines for the autographs. The process was much faster when we made the book.

  • This is a BRILLANT idea!!!! I am going to Disney World in July and I am defiantly making one of these!! Who says characters are just for the kids! Thank you for posting!!

  • This is such a genius idea! I love that your backgrounds go with the character on that page. I know you made this awhile back, but do you recall what theme/”style” of Shutterfly book you used? Each “style” has different backgrounds and I haven’t found one that matches the backgrounds that you used. Thanks so much!

    • I believe it was the “best day” style, but I added a bunch of backgrounds and embellishments to match the theme. I hope you find one that works for you! It really is our favorite Disney parks souvenir.

      • What kind of white paper did you use?? A blank notebook??? About how thick? Love this idea!!!

        • Thanks! We took along an artist’s sketchbook when we went back to Disneyland this past January. I think it was around 5×7 size. This worked well because it was blank, white pages of medium-weight paper.