While at Disney with children under a certain age or grownups like me who totally dig character greetings – the autographs are everything. While most of the books Disney puts out are amazing, their autograph books just did not do it for me and my small children. Some are way too small, some are a little boring and none that I could find have individual pages for each character. So I made our own autograph books that are meant to become scrapbooks when you return home. Someone in every line asked where I had bought these books and where they could get them so I thought I would show you how to make them yourself!
Kids LOVE having a page to show to each character and it got them extra time with most characters, who loved looking at their very own page. Sophia actually got more than a minute with Aladdin and Jasmine!
Chip ‘n’ Dale, the Stepsisters, the Mad Hatter, Marie and so many others made a big deal over these books. Before the trip, the kids (2 and 3) flipped through their books every day getting ready to meet them. It helped them identify all the awesome characters they met and lessened any fear at some of the larger ones like Goofy or Tigger or the Beast! The books are sturdy and totally sharpie proof so you can bring your biggest sharpies for the Plutos of the world and their big hands!
I used Microsoft PowerPoint for this but you could use any program that allows you to format your fonts and insert pictures. It is really simple!
First, decide which characters you would like to have a special page in your book. You can use Disney guidebooks or Intercot has a simple list of which characters are where. My favorite place to check out character greeting information is at the Disney Parks Character Blog, written by a gal named Kim who is expecting a baby! She gives as much information about where to find each character and how likely you are to find them. You can easily search for any character. I listed basically all the characters I thought we had the chance to meet at Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. I am now adding Hollywood Studios pages for our upcoming trip. Altogether I created 55 character pages with Princesses sharing a page with their prince and Duos like Chip ‘n’ Dale or Lilo & Stitch also sharing a page. The kids met almost 60 characters so it was a big success!
Open a new document in portrait mode and set your margins to 8 1/2″ by 9″ . I am making an 8″x8″ scrapbook. If you wanted a different size you could adjust but this size is really perfect for backpacks and the 8×8 size is great for a child’s memory book. You want enough room at the top to bind your book and leaving the width at 8 1/2 will save your page edges and a little money on having the paper cut.
Create your cover page and begin to add just the character names to each page thereafter. You want at least a full inch left at the top of the page. Make sure to add any special event your are celebrating to the front page. Lots of people and characters at the parks do extra nice things for birthday boys and girls! I added “Celebrating Miles’ 2nd Birthday” to his cover and he showed everyone. He loved it!
Once you have added all the characters you want, it’s time to get a little creative. I searched Google for the right fonts for each character to make the pages look unique. All of the fonts I used are free. Here are a couple examples. Mickey is Mickey font, Chip ‘n’ Dale is Gill Sans Ultra Bold, Mulan is Mulan font and Winnie the Pooh is the Pooh font. I was able to find many exact fonts and some that were close. For the princesses, I found fonts that were similar to the actual Disney fonts and looked right on the pages when one was not exact.
Update! Here are 35 Awesome Disney Fonts with links to download each one!
Once you have your character names in fonts and colors that you like, it is time to find pictures. I searched the Internet for images and because this is for personal use, that is perfectly fine. For many of these characters you could also just use stickers but I really liked being able to size the images and have them saved in the document. Some are of better quality than others, but hey…finding a good quality jpeg of Brer Bear is not an easy task. Don’t worry about this…remember, it’s for your kids and you will be decorating the pages anyway.
Finally, you are ready to print your book. Start with just one page and print it out on heavy card stock. You can buy packs at any office supply store. My printer will print on this so I did it at home but you could also send your document to a local Kinko’s or Staples to have it printed. Either way, print a test page and make sure the alignment is right. You need room on the top for binding and want to make sure that your contents fall within the 8″ width of what will be your final pages. Once you have okay-ed your layout, go ahead and print. Because of the heavy paper and the amount of ink, I made sure to individually feed my pages into the rear feed of my printer. I did not want any pages catching or smeared ink.
When you have your pages complete you are ready to take them to your local Staples or Kinkos to have them bound and protected. You could do this at home with a 3 ring binder too and not cut your pages down until you return but this way comes out much neater and easier to carry. You want to ask for your pages to be trimmed to 9″ and then bound with spiral. It only costs a couple of dollars to cut all the pages and about $10 to bind them. I had the cover and back done in heavy plastic, clear on the front and black on the back. It was amazing. The kids looked at these books for more than a month before or trip and nothing ripped or was destroyed. After the trip we had a little water under the front cover but inside the pages were perfect!
When you have your books you are ready for the parks! Throw a bunch of big colorful sharpies in a plastic bag and go! You will have a sturdy book with places for everyone to sign and enough room for special notes if you get in good with a character or two!
Get the cutest pictures possible and head home ready to make an awesome scrapbook with your kids that includes their autographs!
When you get home grab a piece of 8×8 scrapbook paper and take it with you to your local office store to have the paper cut down perfectly. Find some cute scrapbooks and purchase as many pages as you need. The kids picked theirs out at Michael’s. I also purchased some big paper packs of bold colored solid sheets for the scrapbooks.
Then have fun assembling your scrapbooks! The best thing about this is that you can combine the autograph pages with scrapbook pages for your non character memories. Everything can be in one place and the kids can help decorate them.
Here are a couple shots of the inside pages. We got some sticker packs from the craft store and are adding our own little handwritten memories as well. My kids are very young (now 1, 2 and 4) but the older they are the more creative they can get themselves! We love these books and spend lots of time flipping through them and adding decorations or memories as we think of them!
I hope you can find a way to get to Disney with your kids. If you have the chance, it is a magical experience. Kids of all ages (that means you too) will love it! Creating these books was simple and helped to make wonderful memories last. I hope you will let me know if you have any questions and please tell me if you make on of these yourself! I would love to see your work!
Oh, by the way, we make simple pages whenever we will meet characters anywhere and they are always a big hit. Busch Gardens, Six Flags…if there are characters…we want autographs!