Our upcoming trip is going to be 90% princess, 10% rides, if my daughters' current interests hold for the next 70 days. I wanted to make them some sort of fabulous autograph book, which lead down a Pinterest rabbit hole of epic proportions. It challenged my way of thinking about books. I am surrounded by talented crafters, and wanted something as beautiful as the handmade baby books a dear friend crafted for both of my girls.
The first idea I fell in love with was to have the Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters autographed. After reading way too many reviews on this trajectory, I discovered two major flaws: The book is hard to hold open by characters and not all characters are featured.
I started by making a list of characters featured at the park, but not in the books. Obviously any real-life characters (the magical and wonderful Mary Poppins, Darth Vader, stormtroopers) are not in the animated characters. Since publication, new movies (Big Hero 6 and Inside Out) had been released, and for a short time the characters were doing meet-and-greets. The biggest discrepancy was the lack of all Disney Junior characters. I considered buying the separate book for each girl, but our grocery store had this great Poster-A-Page book that had a ton of great full-page photos of characters. I also put a notice on local trading sites and scoured some second-hand book shops for old Disney books. There are a lot out there, and they are pretty cheap!
I made a list of characters that I was fairly sure we'd take pictures with, which I will get to in a minute.
Once I cut apart the dictionaries and all the extra books, I just had to assemble them. Onto the pictures, where this will make more sense.
My original plan was to reuse the front and back of the dictionary, for a solid cover. My Staples couldn't punch through that, so the options were to send it out for binding, costing much more, or to have them put a clear cover on it and bind the whole thing for $6 per book. I saved the covers anyway and stripped them of their cardboard, gluing them into the front. The new covers, pictured above, are cardstock with a Cricut Mickey cut-out and a glitter letter initial for each girl. The whole pack of letters was in the clearance at a chain craft store in town. Score.
In a fit of madness, I, who has never mastered the art of writing cursive or print or neatly, even, learned enough of the Walt Disney font to create cover pages. At one point I stood and observed the nest of practice papers and do-overs around me and promised to never go this far off the deep end again. (I probably will anyway.) But, I like how they came out. I'd like it more if our printer was functional and I was spared this craziness. The Mickey is the first multi-layer Cricut I've ever completed. I don't know why I waited so long. They are tiny little paper puzzles. Maddening and gorgeous. V. will have Elsa or the water fairy she likes so much on hers.
I put a few pages of fun scrapbook paper and endpapers from '80's books at the beginning.
That list of characters we might take photos with? I put a page of card stock next to them. I have a plethora of stickers, Cricut cutouts, and scrapbook goodies to adorn the photo pages. I want this to be something the girls get to work on afterwards.
Sadly, Baymaxx and Hiro have not returned to their Meet-and-Greet spot. I included the page anyway. I also put Bing Bong on the back of the Emotions page.
In the back, I included several blank pages of cardstock, for more photos and autographs. I ultimately decided to not include any non-animated characters, but there is plenty of space for them.
These are a bit hefty, but not too large to carry-on (we will be going to the park while DME takes our checked bags!) and push around in the stroller. I will be getting some large zip-top bags for them, just incase it rains.
I hope this inspires you to make your own fabulous Disney autograph memory book!
Look for the completed version early next year!