So, if you have read the basics about meeting the characters, you have probably already figured out that getting character autographs is a big deal! And why not? It is a (nearly) free souvenir!
Autograph seeking also give younger children a purpose when meeting their favorite friend. For the little guys, approaching a character with armed with a pen, book, and the goal of an autograph is equal part distraction and duty. Somehow, if they have a job to do, it all seems a little less overwhelming! Hopefully, once the ice has been broken, your little guy or gal will really enjoy the face time.
The traditional tool for the autograph hound is an official Disney Autograph Book. My family prefers the slightly less traditional unlined index card. I buy a spiral bound pack of ruled index cards and flip them over. (If anyone out there can find a 4x6 pack of spiral bout unruled cards... Let me know!) I use one of the index cards to create a new "cover" on the back, to remind the kids to open the book with the unruled side facing up. Be sure to buy a pack for each child and label them accordingly. We don't need to discuss the forgery that occurred in the bathroom of our resort when I figured one autograph for the family would be good enough.
I like having the characters sign on index cards because I always buy a mini 4x6 photo album for each child to commemorate our trip. I put the index card on one side and a photo of them with the character on the other side. Any extra space gets filled with some of our favorite photos. This is especially nice if you child is not reading yet, they know exactly what the name says because the picture is right beside it. I can hear the wheels turning already for you crafty scrapbookers out there...the possibilities are endless for you! One day I may join your ranks if I ever get the creative juices flowing.
Any good autograph seeker worth their salt should also have a good pen. I am a Sharpie girl myself. I buy the biggest fattest one that I can find for our furry friends. Mickey's big gloved hand and Goofy's paw have a hard time grasping smaller pens. I always remove the cap and hand it to them carefully to avoid getting ink on them. I also carry a nice retractable Sharpie pen as well. It is not as fat, so it is nice for the princesses and anyone else with opposable thumbs. It is also handy not having to keep up with the cap. Now if Sharpie would get on the ball and make a big fat retractable pen, then things would be perfect!
I keep all of my autograph "supplies" (two books and two pens) in a zip top bag tucked safely in my park bag. Not only does it keep everything together nice an neatly, but it insures things will stay nice and dry. Nothing would be more disappointing to my girls to end up with soggy signatures after a surprise rain storm or extra soaking on Splash Mountain.
Finally, you don't need to limit yourself to autograph books or index cards. Have the characters sign a hat, a pillowcase, a poster, a book, or a t-shirt. What could be cooler than enjoying reading Cinderella before bed from a book signed by Cinderella herself! The characters will be happy to sign anything you like (within reason!) as long as it is not an article of clothing that is actually being worn, or an object that contains another company's logo.
I hope getting some autographs from your favorite characters ends up being time well spent. And let's keep that whole forgery thing between us, 'kay?
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