Category Archives: Capturing Memories

Disney Footprint Art – Stitch Edition

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Stitch was the highlight of our 2016 Disney trip.  We had breakfast at Ohana with Lilo and Stitch and spent Halloween at the Polynesian with “Elvis” Stitch.  So, our 2016 souvenir footprint art from Walt Disney World had to be Stitch.

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Here is a peek at our previous footprints:

 

Free Aqua and Orange Disney Scrapbook Cards

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This year, we decided to go with an aqua and orange  color scheme for the photo book we made of our last Disney trip.

The idea started with this free set from Simple As That blog.disney-cards-set3

But, we needed MORE aqua and orange journaling cards to keep the book cohesive, so with a little trial and error, we made some coordinating journaling cards using Picmonkey and we are sharing them with all you other Disney memory keepers.

The link below is a .pdf with six 3×4 cards and two 4×6 cards set up to print on 2 sheets, or right click images individually to save them separately.

Aqua and Orange Disney Scrapbook Cards

Meeting Characters 4x64x6 MickeyMinnie kiss

Park Info 3x4 -3Park report 3x4 -1Park report graph 3x4 -2Rides 3x4Taste of Magic 3x43x4 mouse

Now, go get those photos off your phone and put them in a scrapbook or photo book that can be enjoyed by everyone for years to come.

Disney Photography – New Trends

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On our recent trip to Disney World, we discovered a few new photography trends.  First, of course, is that there were no more “selfie” sticks.  The use of them didn’t bother us, but it is nicer to get pictures of say, the castle, without a backdrop of selfie sticks.

Although we never owned or used a selfie stick, we did utilize a couple things to make phone photography better in the parks.

First, is the Shoulderpod S1.  This is a smartphone grip with a handle and strap that we purchased from Amazon.  The grip is adjustable to hold various sizes of phones/cameras and tightens securely.

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The handle was a little short for my husband’s taste, but perfect for our daughter and me.  So nice to not worry about dropping your phone off of Astro Orbiters!

smartphone grip at Disney World

You can see it in use here.

The second smartphone grip we purchased was the Reticam, also purchased at Amazon.

reticam phone grip

You can see the grip fits a larger hand more easily.  Using these grips made taking video much more steady.

The 3rd phone accessory we purchased is the Gostrap.  These are on our phone cases at all times and make it a lot easier to securely grab a photograph or send a message with just one hand on the phone.  It has been particularly great with our larger phones.

smartphone go strap

The second photography trend we noticed was an almost absence of iPads as cameras in the parks!  It was wonderful to watch parades, fireworks, and shows in real life and not through the screen of someones iPad.

Chinese acrobats at Epcot

In fact, as this picture shows, most people were just enjoying the show as it happened and not filming every second of this show with any device.  It is a trend that we saw throughout the week we were there.

The 3rd trend is that again, we took even more photos than the previous trips.  We were in the parks for 6 days again this year and took a total of 1320 images.  Last year, in 6 days, we took 1242.  I was a little surprised to see the number go up, but attribute it to a couple of things.  Isabella only took a rest once or twice during the week, so we were active all day every day.  This year seemed a little less crowded, so she was able to meet many more characters and she was enough taller to be able to ride several new rides.

It sounds like a lot of pictures, doesn’t it?  But, from all those images, we’ve printed a photo book and edited the photographs and video into a movie already.  More images will be used in our Project Life Disney album which will also include the journaling from the trip.  And, because you can see that these memories matter a lot to us, they are all backed up multiple times.

Disney Footprint Art – Roller Coasters and Chewbacca

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We’ve been faithful about gathering a footprint from Isabella after each Disney trip, but got a little behind on finishing them up, so today, we’ve got two to show you.

First, is her footprint from our 2014 trip.  Disney Footprint art - 3

This was the first year that Isabella was tall enough to ride a “big” roller coaster and she loved it.

The next footprint is from our trip last month:

Disney footprint art - 4

This year, besides roller coasters, Isabella was crazy for Chewbacca.  Chewbacca will not sign an autograph, so this is our way of remembering her interaction with him.

It’s hard to believe that Isabella’s first Disney footprint was when she was only 2 months old.  Her feet were so tiny!

Disney Footprint Art

And here’s from the year she turned 2 at Disney World:

goofy footprint art 1

We’re having fun making a little collection for her and trying to guess what her 2016 footprint will be!  Making these is turning out to be one of our favorite (and free!) souvenirs.

 

 

 

A Disney Photographic Timeline

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The other day, our family was talking about how many times each of us had been to Disney parks.  For my husband, whose 1st visit was in 1955, the only record of it is a notation in his baby book saying that he had his first train ride there.  As a southern Californian, he went many times as a child, but there are no photographs of the visits.

Before our daughter was born, I had been to Disney World 2 times previously, but there is only 1 picture that I am in since I am usually the person behind the camera.

Most of our daughter’s Disney experiences have at least SOME record of her having been there, but looking at HOW I recorded her park visits is a little cringe-inducing now.

scrapbook page

Take a look at this page for instance.  Remember cutting photos into shapes and using decorative scissors?  It screams 1995 which is exactly when it was made.  At least I remembered to save the $22 Disneyland paper ticket!  That said, it might be time to make a new album of her Disney visits with just a little more modern look.  Perhaps, say, keeping the photographs square or rectangles?!  And maybe no decorative scissors?!

Fortunately, I still have all of my negatives safely stored in archival sleeves in binders.

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I don’t have a film scanner, but, as an Android user, there is a great free app called the Helmut Film Scanner that works simply and effectively with reasonable photo quality.  Take for instance, this photo of our dog meeting Mickey at a relay race.  This is a 35 mm scan with no sharpening, color correction, etc. done prior to or after the scan.

Border Collie meets Mickey Mouse

As I scanned negatives, I started keeping a tally of how many photographs were taken during each Disney visit.  The increase is staggering.

1992 – 9  (daughter’s first visit to Disneyland.)

1993 – 8

1994 – 22

1995 – 6 (birthday trip to DL with friend)

1996 – 3

1998 – 26 (first trip to WDW)

1999 – 2

2001 – 16

2003 – 59 (film + digital)

2010 – 513 (all digital from here on)

2012 – 76 (half marathon only)

2013 – 769

2014 – 1242

The ease of digital photography now means that everyone in our family has a way to capture memories and the quality of most of the images is really excellent.  The job of sorting through, editing, and laying out pages for scrapbooks and photo books is a lot more daunting though than the years where 4 or 5 pictures per trip was all you came home with.

The Good, Bad, and the Ugly – Photography at Disney

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Not too many years ago, there were only film cameras and a trip to Disney might mean upgrading from a 24 exposure roll of film to a 36 exposure roll that had to last you for the whole day or even trip.  One or two shots were taken per character and you didn’t realize the image would have bad lens flare until you got your prints back from the developer.

The amount of photography taken at Disney parks is insane.  One site states that 100-200,000 photos are taken each day just by Photopass photographers and that is probably a conservative number.  Add in cell phones, iPads, digital cameras, etc. and the numbers must be staggering.

Now, I will go out on a limb and speculate that many of the images/videos/etc. that are taken, will not make it beyond Facebook or Instagram and stand a good chance of being lost when a hard drive crashes or phone gets dropped in the lake.  But, that is each person’s individual problem and their responsibility to prevent.  And to be honest, it’s easy to assume that many of the images are never looked at again, anyway.

ipad blocking view at WDW

That is what makes some of the photography trends at Disney parks kind of interesting to look at.  This was what we saw over and over in 2013.  Huge tablets with full keyboards videoing EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of the Christmas parade.  We even saw one person carrying a 17″ laptop through the park during Christmas week.  Crazy.

ipad as camera at disney world

Luckily, it seems as if the iPad is not a Camera message was getting through, because 2014 was the year of the “selfie stick”.  And in my opinion, it is a HUGE improvement over the iPad craze.  At least you can see through it and don’t have to watch a live event in the screen of the person in front of you.

Disney sketchbook

I didn’t take any pictures of the selfie stick craze, but you can see it in my sketchbook.

A lot of articles are floating around seeking to ban the selfie stick at theme parks, but if that means the return of the iPad as camera, I say keep the selfie sticks around.

No matter what the trend of the day is, it would be fascinating to know if many of the thousands of photos and videos get edited and make their way off of the phone/tablet/etc. and into a easier to view format?

As for me, I will stick to whatever images I can get while carrying the least amount of gear – a Sony RX100 II.  At 2.3 inches by 4 inches and a weight of about 9 ounces, it is a great theme park camera.  Unobtrusive, lightweight, and a battery that lasts 2 days since the flash is almost never used.

ISO 3200, f1.8, 1/250

ISO 3200, f1.8, 1/250

Disney Trip Sketchbook

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This is the second year that I brought along a watercolor sketchbook to WDW.

The reason I bring a sketchbook (even though my artistic abilities are minimal and we don’t stop for a lot of sketching breaks) is that there are things you just can’t capture with a still or video image.

For instance:

Disney sketchbook - Donald in Mexico

While waiting in line to see Donald in Mexico, it was fascinating to watch the family in front of us.  This year, we saw many children (big and small), sitting in strollers glued to iPads.  The boy in line in front of us never looked up until his parents insisted he get out and get a picture with Donald.  A couple of quick snapshots and he was back in the stroller playing a game on the tablet.

It seemed kind of sad that even Disney World was not enough entertainment for so many children, much less the adults who couldn’t pry themselves away from Facebook or Instagram to enjoy the experience.

Last year, I used my beloved Circa punch and discs to make a sketchbook.  This year, I brought a Strathmore 400 Series Hardbound Journal.  This year’s choice was a mistake.  I didn’t like not being able to fold the book back on itself like a disc or wire binding allows.  And a small water bottle leak in my backpack caused the binding to disintegrate, even though none of the pages were damaged.  I’m going back to a Circa disc bound sketchbook as soon as I finish the Strathmore one.  The flexiblity of adding and removing pages at will just works better for me.

Christmas 2013 Trip Report – Day 2 – Epcot

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Today was Isabella’s birthday!  We woke up and got ready to go to Epcot.  After getting dressed and eating breakfast, we headed over to the Contemporary to catch the monorail.

Contemporary monorail

Of course there were a few photo ops along the way.  Even though we were early getting to the park, it was still pretty crowded.  We saw Pluto immediately after the entrance and had to stop.  Isabella warmed up to him even more than Santa Goofy and liked touching his nose.

Pluto

While some of us were using a Fastpass+ for Soarin, the rest went to meet Chip and Dale.  I didn’t know if Isabella would go by herself to a character!  We went to the Character Spot, where she got pictures with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.  Isabella officially became character-obsessed!Mickey Mouse

Minnie Mouse

We headed over to World Showcase next.  After a little shopping in the stores at the entrance to WS, we made our way to Mexico to try our first snack, churros.  We then went into the pyramid and rode the Gran Fiesta boat tour.  Isabella liked looking at all the jewelry in the gift shops inside the pyramid.  Outside, Donald Duck dressed in Mexico attire was meeting, so we hopped in line to see him!  He was great – he acted like he fainted when Isabella blew him a kiss.  I think he was one of the best characters we met the whole trip.

Epcot Mexico

Disney World

We traveled on to Norway, where we looked through the Stave Church with a Frozen exhibit and got our second snack, a sweet almond pretzel.

In China, we played with the animal marionette puppets at an outdoor gift shop.  The snacks at Joy of Tea were not that appealing, and most of the tea was caffeinated, so we skipped it.

We stopped for a while in the African Trading Post.  Isabella liked banging on the drums and sitting in the jeep.

In Germany, we got some caramel corn.  The first batch was pretty stale tasting, so we asked for another, which was unfortunately not much better.  Not one of the most successful snacks ever.

Italy was the first country we stopped at that we saw street entertainers.  There were a group of ladies doing an act all dressed in red, the Ziti Sisters.  We got some gelato as our fourth snack and sat to eat it in the back of the Italy pavilion.  After Italy, we stopped at the American pavilion where Isabella ended up taking a nap.

Epcot Christmas

We moved onto Japan where we got kakigori as our snack.  It is basically like a snowcone, which is one of my favorite foods ever.  We watched the drummers perform, which was really neat.  Then, we saw the Holidays Around the World performance where a Japanese lady told the story of daruma dolls.

By that time, we had to head back to get ready for our dinner reservation at 5:45, so we took the boat across the lake from Morocco, where we saw a belly dancer, to Future World.  We rode the monorail back to Bay Lake Tower, changed clothes, and walked over to the California Grill in the Contemporary (see my full review here).

California Grill

The atmosphere was great, but the food was very underwhelming.  It was neat to see the castle all lit up in sparkly ice lights from the roof top.  We saw a bride and groom, and Isabella made friends with a little boy from France.  After dinner, we went back down to the lobby of the Contemporary and met Chip and Dale dressed as toy soldiers!  They were adorable.  We looked around in the gift shops and then went to our villa so that Isabella could open birthday presents.  We finished off the night with another fireworks display from the BLT Skybridge.  Isabella even stayed awake this time!

Disney fireworks

Christmas 2013 Trip Report – Day 1 – Arrival and Hollywood Studios

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Welcome to the Year of Living Disney Christmas 2013 trip report!  I’m going to be doing the trip report 1 day at a time, so stay tuned for the next part coming soon!

Isabella’s birthday happens to be two days before Christmas, so what better excuse to make a trip to Disney World?  We rented points through David’s Vacation Club Rentals to stay in a 1 bedroom villa at Bay Lake Towers at Disney’s Contemporary Resort from December 21 through December 27.  Although this was our first time renting points, the process was very smooth.  We are actually renting points again for our next trip!

We left home after eating breakfast on December 21st, staying overnight in Lake City, FL.

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We got up the next morning around 6 or 7, ate breakfast, and drove the rest of the way to Disney World, which was about 2 or 3 hours.  We stopped at Target for last minute groceries and lunch, and we arrived at Bay Lake Towers via the back way through WDW around noon.  We checked in and were told our villa wasn’t ready yet, so we let the bellhop store our bags and  went out to the bamboo courtyard to eat lunch.  While we were eating, I got a text saying our villa was ready, so we went to the villa and called for our bags.

Bay Lake Tower

Bay Lake Tower was amazing!  The room was huge and I loved the decor of the whole resort.  Read my review of Bay Lake Tower here.

After our bags arrived, we packed a few snacks and headed over to the Contemporary to catch a bus for Hollywood Studios.  We had to stop at a few other resorts on the way, but we arrived at DHS still with plenty of time to do what we wanted.  We stopped for a few quick pictures by the huge Christmas tree at the entrance.

Hollywood Studios

(Twinkle lights courtesy of Google)

When we got inside, Isabella seemed overwhelmed by the crowds, but she just stayed quiet and took it all in.  She wasn’t fussy at all.  We stopped near Star Tours where the Jedi Academy was going on.  She got a little scared of Darth Vader, but seemed okay when I told her he wasn’t real.

Hollywood Studios

We walked down the Streets of America.  We could tell where the Osborne Lights would be later in the night.  We saw Santa Goofy, and there wasn’t much of a line, so we hopped right in!  I wasn’t sure how Isabella would react to him, but she liked him!  She wanted me to hold her while we saw him though.

Santa Goofy

We then went over to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area, figuring Isabella would want to run around a little bit.  It looked like it would be a lot of fun, but it was so crowded that it was hard to explore.  She had fun poking into corners and going down a slide.  We didn’t stay too long, and wandered over into the courtyard by Toy Story Mania, where a Green Army Man came over to give Isabella a high five!  We used child swap and went to go ride Star Tours with a Fastpass+.  I was the Rebel Spy on our first time riding it!  We all met back up in the gift shop where Isabella wanted to collect all of the stuffed Ewoks.

After Star Tours we had a Fastpass+ for the Disney Junior show.  It was a puppet show with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  We didn’t need a FP+ for it, as everyone seems to get in and the FP+ doesn’t get you any better seating.  Everyone sits on the floor.  Isabella knows about all the shows, but she doesn’t like any of them except Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so it was only mildly entertaining compared to everything else.  She liked the bubbles and “coins” they released from the ceiling.  She kept trying to roll around in the aisle, and a cast member kept telling us to stay in the seating area.  Ha!

As it started getting dark out, we headed over to Rockin Roller Coaster to ride with our last Fastpass+.  It was amazing!  One of my favorite rides.  I had expected Isabella to fall asleep at some point, but she never did, and when we came out she was running in circles around the courtyard of RnR.

Disney World

We then went to see the Osborne Lights.  Wow!  They are amazing!  I especially love the songs that the lights are timed to.  There was fake snow, which was cool (literally).

 

After a lot of pictures, we finally decided Isabella was not going to fall asleep at Hollywood Studios.  We took the bus back to BLT.  We ate dinner and when it was time for Holiday Wishes at 10PM, we headed up to the Skybridge to watch.  It was a great place because there were not many people there plus they pipe in the music.  Isabella finally fell asleep on my shoulder, right in the middle of the fireworks.

Hollywood Studios Osborne Lights

When we got back to the room, the Electrical Water Pageant played outside.  We watched it from the balcony and talked about how happy we were to be back in Disney World!

Disney Footprint Art – Princess Half Marathon Version

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Disney Footprint Art

Here’s another sample of how we took Isabella’s footprint and turned it into a Disney souvenir keepsake.  We ran the Disney Princess half marathon when she had just turned 2 months old and her tiny footprint was taken at that time.  It was her first, of hopefully many, trips to Disney World as she grows up.

We ran as a team called Team Roo and had hats embroidered with a kangaroo and the words “Team Roo” on them, so of course, her first Disney footprint art needed to feature Roo from Winnie the Pooh.

The footprint was made by brushing acrylic paint on her foot and pressing it down on some watercolor paper.  I sketched out the rest of Roo in pencil using the footprint as Roo’s body.

Footprint art - kangaroo

 

When I was satisfied with that, I drew over the lines with a Micron pen, added the medal we got for finishing and our team name and painted it with watercolors.

It will be a challenge to keep turning Isabella’s handprints or footprints into her favorite Disney character for each trip, but it will be a fun way to watch her interests change as she grows.

If you missed her footprint from our last trip that we turned into Goofy, click here.

We are linking to Memory Keeping Monday on Capturing Magical Memories blog.

Memory Keeping Monday