Preserving Disney Memories for the Scrapbooking-Illiterate

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By Lindsey Tullier

If “acid-free,” “cardstock,” and “die-cut” are words that you actively use in your vocabulary, then this article is not for you. If you have absolutely no idea what I just said, then welcome to scrapbooking! Prepare to be inspired.

We all know a scrapbooker. These creative individuals spend their time at their local craft or specialty scrapbooking store, shopping for the perfect paper and embellishments for their beautiful photo pages while we look on, the green-eyed monster of jealousy starting to rear its ugly head. While their photos are neatly laid out on decorated pages, ours are “somewhere” on our hard drives. Those pictures that we’ve actually gotten around to printing are stuffed in a box in a closet.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do have a creative gene, albeit for the written word. I thought, “Surely I can do this.” I’ve even gone so far as to buy some supplies to make a “Baby’s First Year” scrapbook for my son David that I have yet to start. He just turned three.

When we took David on his first Walt Disney World vacation in October 2007, I knew I wanted to preserve those special memories. I thought about going to my local craft store to look for Disney-themed scrapbooking supplies. Then I noticed the box of the afore-mentioned baby scrapbooking supplies that I had yet to crack open. Who was I kidding? A “homemade” Disney scrapbook just wasn’t going to happen. As Playhouse Disney’s Imagination Movers would say, I had an “Idea Emergency.”

I decided to take it one step at a time. Quality pictures were a must, so I made sure we had all of our camera supplies (e.g., batteries, memory cards) before we left. It’s a good idea to label your cameras with your name, address, and cell phone number in case they get lost.

Once we were in the World, we sought out Disney’s PhotoPass photographers. They are placed around the parks at typical photo spots, such as Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat in the Studios, and the Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom. They are also located at Character Meet ‘n’ Greet spots and some character meals and dinner shows. When you take your first PhotoPass picture, you will be given a card with an ID number and barcode. Give this card to each PhotoPass photographer you encounter, and he/she will scan the card after taking your photos. Take a picture of the back of your card with your camera or cell phone so you have your ID number in the event you should lose your card.

With PhotoPass, getting great pictures is the easy part. The real work for me happened once we got home. What do I do with all of my photos? My first stop was to Disney’s PhotoPass website. I loaded my PhotoPass ID number and watched all of my PhotoPass pictures “magically” appear. If you end up with multiple PhotoPass IDs, either through multiple cards or by purchasing a photo package through a character meal, dinner show, or portrait session, you can combine all of these pictures into a single account through the website.

Disney offers lots of options for your photos. I was able to personalize my photos with Disney borders, images, and character autographs. Once I finished pixie-dusting my pictures, I searched the product list on the PhotoPass website. You can purchase a CD of your PhotoPass photos, a photo book, prints, mugs, calendars, ornaments, mouse pads, stickers, and other items. After some internet research, I discovered that these types of products can be purchased through just about any website that prints your uploaded pictures. The best deal seemed to be purchasing the PhotoPass CD, then printing my own pictures and purchasing photo products through a less-expensive website.

While reviewing products on the Disney PhotoPass website, I was particularly interested in the Photo Book. Disney offers two Photo Book options: the “personal” (using your own photos from your camera) for $49.95 and the “professional” (using your own photos plus PhotoPass pictures and other Disney-taken photos of the parks) starting at $69.95. The Disney Photo Books seemed a bit expensive to me, so I did some more research. Just Google “photo books,” and you will get thousands of returns. I found a number of websites that offered photo books at a fraction of the cost of a Disney book. True, these books did not have Disney decorations throughout, but that didn’t matter to me. My magical photos had enough Disney theming for me.

Different companies offer different types of albums. If you order photo prints online for digital pictures, the company you use likely also offers photo books. Each company varies somewhat in how the user places photos and/or text. I selected a company that suited my needs (American Greetings PhotoWorks) and got to work.

I was amazed at how easy the process was. I was able to select between photo only, text only, or photo and text pages. I could choose how many pictures I wanted on each page. Once I uploaded my pictures, it was a simple matter of drag and drop. I used my Disney PhotoPass photos as well as personal photos. It did take some time to complete the project, but probably no longer than a traditional scrapbook would take. I probably spent about a week arranging photos and creating/editing text, but I was much happier working in front of a computer than dealing with a myriad of scrapbooking supplies that I know nothing about. I also liked being able to add text to my pages, whether it was just a brief description of the event or a summary of our day — without worrying about my handwriting! Since I didn’t have pictures of every event, it was nice to write about our trip along with inserting pictures.

It only took about two weeks for my finished product to arrive. After flipping through the book to make sure everything was correct, I wrapped it up and left it under our Christmas tree as a gift from Santa and Mickey. I still flip through my photo book, remembering our first family trip to the House of Mouse.

We just returned from our second family trip this October, a first for our youngest Mouseketeer. You can be sure that I am working diligently on creating that special photo book, sans a grueling trip to the craft store.

In conclusion, my fellow scrapbooking-illiterates, do not despair over your inability to be crafty. After all, we can’t all be Martha Stewart protégés. Just rest assured that you can still preserve your Disney memories with beautiful photo books that your family and friends will ooh and aah over. So happy scrapbooking, err, photobooking…uh, whatever you want to call it. Just have fun!

Related Links:
Disney PhotoPass:
PhotoPass locations:
Pre-purchase a PhotoPass CD:
Author’s Photo Book:

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