A trip to Disney World is a memory-making experience for any family or group, and it is so nice to capture so many of those fond memories in pictures. However, you may find that you have taken hundreds of photos a day on your trip. Once home, you may be faced with spending a small fortune to print your pictures and put them in an album or scrapbook. Luckily, we live in the digital age and have more options open to us than we had in the 35mm era. I wanted to share some ideas for enjoying and displaying your Disney memories without breaking your bank.
The strongest word of advice I can give is that, regardless of how you choose to display your pictures (e.g. photo album, scrapbook, digital frame), you do not have to include all of the pictures you took. Take advantage of the photo editing software that came with your digital camera or use free software, like Picasa or the software available through online print-ordering stores, to edit and organize your pictures. Take out red-eye, crop as needed, and touch up the lighting. Include only the best pictures in your albums. For example, in 2009, my family took over 1100 pictures during our vacation. Only 821 made it into my album. (I realize that is probably still too many, but I love them all.)
If you choose to print your photos for an album or scrapbook, print them in increments. If I would have printed all 821 pictures at once, it would have created an uncomfortable pinch in our monthly budget. Once you have your pictures edited and organized, upload them to your favorite online photo-finishing website and wait. Wait for the sales and take advantage of them. I use Snapfish.com because they often have specials, such as free shipping or 200 prints for $2. Over the course of about 5 months, I ordered all of my prints, and took advantage of a special for each group of prints that I ordered. By watching for sales and ordering accordingly, I saved a significant amount of money.
I chose to store my prints in a scrapbook. I purchased the scrapbook using one of the 40% off coupons that Michael’s or AC Moore advertise weekly. I bought a few stickers and a friend gave me some Disney scrapbooking materials. I also used a lot of free stuff that I picked up on our vacation. Table napkins, cuttings from souvenir bags, paper place mats, stickers given out by CMs, room keys, cuttings from park maps, restaurant receipts, unused fastpasses, and other items that I might otherwise throw in the trash without even thinking about them have become great additions to my scrapbooks. I keep a 7-pocket folder in our hotel room. Each evening I put all of the papers and potential scrapbook items from that day into one of the folders. Later, when I am working on my scrapbook, I can easily sort through the items and choose what I want to put in my book.
I realize that not everyone has the patience, or the inclination, to work on a scrapbook. However, such an individual is not limited in this digital age. Instead of scrapbooking, considering buying a digital photo frame. These may seem pricey, but if you compare their price with the price of printing hundreds of photos and buying a scrapbook, cardstock, and page refills, the digital photo frame may actually be the less expensive option. Once you have your pictures edited and organized, load them onto an SD card or jump drive and plug that into your digital frame. For future vacations, you can simply upload your more recent photos onto your jump drive.
Finally, if a digital frame is not in your budget, use your computer as a digital frame. You can set your screen saver to play a slideshow of your Disney picture file. A friend of mine has her computer desk near her dining room table. Her family (and dinner guests) have enjoyed this version of a digital picture frame for years.
Whether you choose to use a photo album, scrapbook, digital photo frame, or another option, your family will be thankful that you have taken the time to store the trip pictures in a way that they can find and enjoy. And you will all have fun strolling down that particular memory lane together and dreaming about your next Disney vacation.