Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Memory Keeping Disneyland Style: 7 Tips for Your Visit

Hello there!  I had grand plans to blog from Disneyland this past week, but the excitement and the magic of the whole experience took the front seat this time.  If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. It's been about 30 years for me, so it was all new again. Wow!

I'll share the whole trip with you in a few parts, but I thought I would start with the most important, especially for those that haven't been in a while or don't go often...how to keep up with everything that happens so you don't forget being at the happiest place on earth.  Because it really is. 

You'll remember that I made a mini book out of a 1970 postcard book from Disney that I found at an estate sale.  I can tell you right now that it is not NEAR enough room to house everything I kept, remember, wrote, etc.  It's going to take a full Project Life album to keep it all together.  However, that little book will be very cute on my desk at work with wallet sized prints of our trip! 

Here are some tips from a Disney newbie for keeping up with the all of the experience. I know the photos below are going to look a lot alike, but bare with me.  You won't want to miss this story. 

1.  We used four cameras.  That sounds like a lot, right?  But, we took a point and shoot, our two iPhones, and then Disney has a photo pass service that uses a card they scan and you can look your photos up online and purchase.  They aren't cheap, but they are good.  Having four perspectives was awesome. 

2.  We didn't buy an autograph book for Katie, but we did have the princesses and characters either sign on their postcard page from the 1970 book or on a page from the mini book.  They loved looking at and signing the old postcards as much as we did, and Tiana was especially proud of New Orleans from the 70s.  I bet she wasn't even born then...ha.  If you can find something vintage for them to autograph, it's a pretty neat keepsake.  I'll have vintage Disney ephemera in my shop when it launches next week! Yay!

3.   I wasn't very good at writing down little moments, and I wish I had been better, but I will get them down in the next day or so.  Most are still pretty vivid.  If nothing else, pack a little notepad and a pen or Sharpie in your backpack.  It's super hard to stop and write it all down while you are there, but you might have a few minutes while you wait in lines.

4.  There are all kinds of little things that you will miss at first or miss altogether, like taking a picture of the sign declaring the park "the happiest place on earth."  I waited until it was too dark and missed it.  Keep an eye out and hopefully you will catch a few shots to add to your book.

5.  I went a little overboard in keeping EVERYTHING.  Down to the last receipt and to the point of wanting to cut up the Starbucks cup I had tea in at the new one in the park.  William said that was ridiculous, but, hey, it had Starbucks AND Disney on it.  I was starstruck.  (Side note:  I also took pictures of our hotel and kept their super cool business card with the old photo of the original place on the front. More on that later)

6.  DO keep your park tickets, parking passes, maps, and photo passes.  They fit perfect in PL pages, and they are covered in all things Disney.    We kept two of each map from each of three days.  They changed each time, mainly because we were also there for the Halloween party and parade.

I bet you're wondering when I will tell you about our magical experience, right?  Here we go.  The lines. One thing I will say, is that Disney has organization down to a science.  The lines might be long, but the wait times are pretty true to life, and we were never disappointed for waiting.  That being said, don't pass up a line and pass up an awesome experience in turn.  We were last in line to see Cinderella. And, guess what happened?  Read on.  Magic.

There is usually a cast member at the end of each line to meet a character that helps direct traffic and also ends the line when time is almost up.  Cinderella didn't have one that day, so she asked William to politely let the other families know that we were the last family she would greet at that time.  He did, and it was terrible to turn away little girls waiting to meet her.  So...

We got to her, last in line, and she signed our little book on a "Wishes" page.  She thanked us for helping her and said, "Could I take your little princess for a walk?"  I almost burst into tears.  She took Katie by the hand and walked her through the Town Square, and had a little chat with her.  Other little children would wave and shout hello to her...she would wave back...and turn immediately back to Katie and continue walking with her.  I don't know how many pictures William and I took of them walking together from behind...we stayed back and let Katie have that moment...and didn't hear what they said.  But we sure did recognize the voice.  At the end, two hugs and a farewell...

And we have it captured on our three cameras, plus a photo at the beginning from Disney's photo pass.  So I don't feel one bit bad for using them all.  I may not be able to tell you what Cinderella said to Katie, but I can tell you how magical it was, and I bet Katie will fill in the details for me as I document them in our book. 

7.  The last tip I have for you as far as keeping things is getting them home if you fly.  I used a simple folding shopping bag from our souvenir purchase to house all my paper things.  Keep it folded, slide them in, and you have pretty sturdy protection to keep them from getting torn, folded, etc.  And it fits in your backpack just fine.  All of the little bits are home safe and sound and ready to be put in a book!  

What magic have you come home with from Disneyland?  What did you keep and what did you toss?  Did I leave anything out that you did and were so happy to have a little snippet to share? 

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