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A Disney vacation is a big deal! Dreams of visiting the World are often envisioned years before they ever become a reality. Money is set aside and advice is sought as those dreams start taking root. When the trip is officially booked, the countdown begins. The day before departure, bags are being packed, lists are being checked-off, and sleep is impossible because in less than twenty-four hours, you will be visiting Mickey Mouse and his home!
With so much money, preparation, and anticipation put into a vacation, there is a desire to make its memories last a lifetime. Even families like ours that visit Disney World almost annually want visual reminders of each trip as we reminisce about each unique year.
We have learned many techniques regarding memory preservation since our first trip, when we refused to be burdened by a video camera on our dream vacation and even failed to buy enough film – yes, before the digital days – to cover all of our days at the parks. We did manage to take close to 100 pictures over seven days, and following the trip, I was prompted to journal our daily activities.
Since our first trip to the World, I have recorded in detail each vacation. Because the Disney days start running together from multiple visits and an aging, mom-of-three-boys brain, I now carry a notebook with me and jot down the highlights at the end of each day to jog my memory. On the long drive back, the notebook is pulled out and more details are added with help from the rest of my family.
During the weeks following our trip, I type up the daily account of our vacation, including mundane details and funny happenings. The narrative is concluded with a list of each person’s favorites from that year, including favorite rides, shows, snacks, and restaurants. After shrinking the journal on the computer, printing it out, and hole-punching it, it is added to the back of that year’s Disney photo album with tickets, stickers, unused fast passes, and other reminders of our vacation.
Every trip to Disney World now includes our digital camera, our video camera, and the purchase of one or two photo albums. We take pictures throughout the trip, more on the first few days and less when we make repeat visits to a park. I love looking at other people’s Disney photos to get new ideas for that perfect picture. Our family has never used the photo pass photographers except to ask them to take a picture with our camera. While I have heard wonderful comments regarding the photo pass, we have chosen not to put our money towards that memorabilia.
We have splurged on several photos from our favorite rides. When our youngest was finally tall enough to ride the Tower of Terror, perhaps the most talked about ride in our family, we resolved to buy not only a photo, but also the matching frame. Unhappy with the first picture, I insisted we ride again, despite protests from our youngest, who initially did not like the attraction. Thankfully, the second shot was satisfying to all, and our little boy was free from the burden of another journey on the out-of-control elevator. We managed to get Grandpa and Grandma on the Tower once during a visit, which was just enough to update our photo.
Splash Mountain is another favorite attraction that produces fantastic pictures for our family of five. One such photo sits in its Brer Rabbit frame on our mantle, complementing its Tower of Terror counterpart. A Dinosaur frame holds a snapshot of our party of eleven on Animal Kingdom’s prehistoric thrill ride. No other attraction has a camera that will capture a party that large; therefore, we could not resist purchasing this photo, especially considering there was a “buy one, get one free” special at the time.
Pictures obviously play a major role in preserving Disney memories, but we also like to include some videos. During one visit, my husband recorded many of the rides and shows. Since then, we only record the most significant highlights of the trips, such as being a volunteer in a show, and visits to new locations.
Perhaps our most unique and beloved memorabilia from each vacation is the DVD my husband makes once we return home. He spends hours putting our digital pictures and videos in chronological order on a DVD, adding favorite Disney songs for background music. He makes a decorative cover which includes a montage of our favorite pictures and the date of our vacation. When extended family members have accompanied us on a trip, he is able to quickly and easily make copies for them, too. With much excitement, we happily watch our DVD together, reminiscing about another delightful Disney vacation and eagerly anticipating the next one!