Here are some tips on how to remember your Disney trip. Remember, these are just tips. First and foremost, you are on vacation, so enjoy!
Purchase a notebook for each child and spend time each evening recording the day’s events. If your children have trouble getting motivated or don’t know what to write about, start a discussion; otherwise, let them write or draw whatever they want to remember from the day. Collect mementos along the way and create a treasure box or even just store them in a zip-top bag. Months or years later, it’s fun to look at postcards, pins, game cards, or ticket stubs to jump-start a memory.
Add inexpensive postcards to your photographs to create an album; then write a few words on each page to accompany the images.
Give each child a disposable camera to record his or her version of the trip. One 5-year-old snapped an entire series of photos that never showed anyone above the waist—his view of the theme park (and the photos were priceless).
Ask the cast member working on buses and boats for trading cards. The cards a are a well-kept secret and kids will love them.
Many families travel with a digital camera or camera phone, though we recommend using one sparingly—parents end up viewing the trip through the lens rather than being in the moment. If you must, take it along, but only record a few moments of major sights (too much is boring anyway). And let the kids record and narrate. On the topic of narration, speak loudly so as to be heard over the not-insignificant background noise of the parks. Make use of lockers at all of the parks when the equipment becomes a burden or when you’re going to experience an attraction that might damage it or get it wet. Unless you have a camera designed for underwater shots or a waterproof carrying case, leave it behind when any ride involves water. Don’t forget extra batteries or external battery chargers.
At the Animal Kingdom, make sure to play Wilderness Explorer. The game is free and you can always use the stickers in your scrapbook instead of the booklet you receive.
Throughout the year, there are all kinds of festivals, each offering special free booklets such as the one offered during the Festival of the Holidays Passport at Epcot, the Flower and Garden booklet and free seed pouches, lots of fun game cards during Food & Wine, and a free fun game to play during the holiday season at Disney Springs.
Consider using Disney’s PhotoPass service for some professional-quality pictures; it’s free to use, and you only pay for the images you want to keep. The Disney photographers also gladly take pictures of you and your family with your own camera.
Keep park maps, stickers that cast members hand out, and other mementos of your trip to join the pictures in your scrapbook.
Disney’s Resorts are also great resources for collecting mementos. Go watch the animals roaming the savannah at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and learn from cast members about the animals and their native countries.
Finally, when it comes to taking photos and collecting mementos, don’t let the tail wag the dog. You are not going on vacation to build the biggest scrapbook in history. The most important memories of your Disney trip will be forever magically living in your heart. Or as this Houston mom put it:
“Tell your readers to get a grip on the photography thing. We were so busy shooting pictures that we kind of lost the thread. We had to look at our pictures when we got home to see what all we did [while on vacation].”
If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here. For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids by Bob Sehlinger and Liliane Opsomer, with Len Testa.