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Autographs or no autographs?

can_ball

New Member
Original Poster
#1
I’ve seen several trip planning posts against getting autograph books, that they are big time wasters. And I’ve seen other posts saying they are a must do for the experience.

Taking my 5 & 7 year old daughters this summer for their first visit. Character meeting is one of the things they are most excited about (and they are also getting a surprise breakfast at CRT so we will see lots of princesses)

Looking for other experiences. Do they actually waste time, since we will be standing in character lines anyway? Do the kids actually care about getting autographs or are they just a hassle?

Thanks in advance!
 
#2
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Our first trip was when my daughter was 3 and like your daughters, was most excited about meeting characters. She loved looking for special characters to get their autograph!
We bought a frame beforehand with a wide matting and brought just the matting in our back pack around the park.
It’s still hanging in her room with a picture of us in front of the castle. I’d say, definitely worth it!
 

Darkseid

Active Member
#4
We've brought an autograph book for my DS on both of our trips. He was all about it on his first trip (age 5.) On our most recent visit, he got maybe 5 autographs.

I think you should definitely bring them, especially since it's a first visit. There is something really magical about looking back at those autographs. That alone makes it worth the little extra time. I really like the books that have room for pictures.

Check out Etsy, some of the cutest books I've seen were on there.
 

s8film40

Well-Known Member
#5
It’s only a waste of time if you’re not getting anything out of it. Personally I’ve noticed that it can cut down on interaction with the characters so to me there’s a bit of a trade off. If it’s something your child gets into and finds enjoyable then it’s certainly not a waste of time. We haven’t done it with our 3 year old and I think it’s been better without it. My only advice would be to let you children see an interaction or two especially others with autographs and then let them decide if they want to do it.
 

kimberlymautz

Well-Known Member
#6
When we went on our last trip I definitely think I worried too much about autographs. Don't get me wrong, my daughter LOVES her autograph book (one with the photo slots so we got some printed right away), but we also had my niece with us and had brought a photo mat to have autographed too. Definitely too much. I'm definitely going to get a photo mat again (so cute and I love it!), but will probably nix the autograph books themselves unless my daughter really wants one (we're going for her birthday!), but I'm not worried about one for my son, he'll only be 7m anyways. Haha.
 

nickys

Well-Known Member
#7
If you're going to be doing the meet and greets anyway, then take an autograph book.

When the boys were little we splurged on the autograph books that had a place for the photo too. Of course, did we actually get around to printing the photos and adding them? :rolleyes: The problem with digital photos ......

Meeting characters will take up time, but at that age it's likely what they'll remember best! Oh for the days of the Power Rangers - SoA crossroads, all 4 corners, rushing from one line to another. Took 3 times to get them all but it's the first thing my now 18 year old says about his first visit :D
 

can_ball

New Member
Original Poster
#8
Thank you all so much! This is exactly what I was looking for! I grew up going to wdw and want to pass my love of the parks onto my girls. Unfortunately, I haven’t been back in 10 years and this is the first opportunity to take the girls, so I’ve been reading a ton about how to do disney now and with kids. You will probably see a lot more of me in the forums in the next few months! 😁
 

DiSnEyF@n

Well-Known Member
#9
My daughter used a “princess” cap and had the characters sign the brim of it. Much easier to carry around and the signatures hold up really well! Just don’t forget a click-click magic marker 🙂
 

Fankle

Active Member
#10
Our kids were happy to share an autograph book since it meant they had more spending money for other things. It meant a lot to them at the time (to the point where they were cross if it was accidentally left behind on a park day). I don't think they looked at them once after we got home though. We did find that one book lasted for more than one trip.
 
#11
I’ve seen several trip planning posts against getting autograph books, that they are big time wasters. And I’ve seen other posts saying they are a must do for the experience.

Taking my 5 & 7 year old daughters this summer for their first visit. Character meeting is one of the things they are most excited about (and they are also getting a surprise breakfast at CRT so we will see lots of princesses)

Looking for other experiences. Do they actually waste time, since we will be standing in character lines anyway? Do the kids actually care about getting autographs or are they just a hassle?

Thanks in advance!
Took my kids when my younger child was about the same age as your older child. She absolutely loved the autographs and was so into it. I don't think at 5 years old she would have been that into it, except perhaps with their favorites. Even that I have my doubts.

My experience is with just a little bit of cooperation the character / handler teams are really good at making everything move along. The autographs don't take much time so no need to worry about that.

We did not purchase the Disney World sanctioned autograph books. Instead I purchased those small pocket-sized notebooks you sometimes see engineers and such carry. The one I bought had a hole meant to hook it to a lanyard. I bought the lanyard with the removable bottom section like a lot of people use for keys and hooked the notebook to it so we could just unhook it quickly for autographs. No fumbling! I carried one of those fat pens for people with difficulty grasping for characters to use to sign. Several of the handlers were very excited by the pens since they made it easy for the characters in full suit costumes like Stitch.
 
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helenabear

Well-Known Member
#12
It will totally depend on the kid. At 3.5 my son had nicely told me that he knew that the characters were people in costumes so if the lines were long we could skip them in favor of rides LOL

If your kids want to do it, then it's not a waste of time.
 
#13
I’ve seen several trip planning posts against getting autograph books, that they are big time wasters. And I’ve seen other posts saying they are a must do for the experience.

Taking my 5 & 7 year old daughters this summer for their first visit. Character meeting is one of the things they are most excited about (and they are also getting a surprise breakfast at CRT so we will see lots of princesses)

Looking for other experiences. Do they actually waste time, since we will be standing in character lines anyway? Do the kids actually care about getting autographs or are they just a hassle?

Thanks in advance!
on our first trip to the World we did all the autograph hunting, My daughters loved it, We think the best place for autographs is Epcot. You can enjoy walking around the different areas and find the princesses that are there
 

RememberWhen

Well-Known Member
#14
We’ve taken DS 3 times now IIRC, and we have gotten autographs each time. He has a canvas bag, a shirt, and a pillowcase. If you bring something soft I recommend a small embroidery loop to hold the fabric steady for the characters. DS was a bit shy at first, so handing the characters something gave him a chance to warm up. He asked what their favorite color was and told them his. We have a trip coming up in December, but he doesn’t know yet. I assume we will bring something for this trip too. Not sure what. Maybe a long-sleeved shirt. I’ve attached a (not great) picture of the bag we made.
 

Attachments

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
#15
The autographs are a nice memento, if your children are into meeting characters. My kids (aged 4 and 6 on their first WDW visit) wanted to meet characters and get autographs as soon as they realized it was a "thing" at Disney World. (We hadn't told them about it, or planned on doing it, but they saw a few pop-up meet-and-greets in the parks and instantly begged for autograph books like the other kids had). We ended up buying autograph books and Sharpies at a stand near the Epcot character spot, although if we'd planned ahead, I'd simply have brought Dollar Tree 4x6 albums and index cards for each child, so they could have the characters sign cards to put in the album, alongside photos of the kids with each character.

Once we realized the kids wanted to see characters, we asked each child to choose the three that they most wanted to meet, and we resolved to make it happen during our trip (either by going to M&Gs when lines were low, or in some cases with a character dining reservation). Since they each picked different characters and we did the M&Gs as a family, that meant they each got to meet a minimum of 6 characters (and typically more, since many characters were part of group M&Gs). We've done the same with every subsequent trip, and the "pick 3" rule seems to strike the perfect balance of letting the kiddos meet who they want, without a huge time investment.
 
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BraveGirl

Active Member
#16
If you are waiting on line anyway, definitely do the autographs. I get the books with the photo slots so then we print out pictures when we get home and the kids have a fun book of photos and memories. We've done this so many times though, that this last trip we decided to forego all things character and didn't do the books. We only met a couple of characters this time, so it wasn't worth it. But my kids are 4 and 7, and for their first 2 and 3 trips respectively, we did all the character meet and greets and all the autographs. I love flipping through those books and looking at pictures to reminisce!
 

Frogglet

Active Member
#17
We enjoyed getting autographs with our 7 and 2 year old. I got a Melissa and Doug sketch book that has perforated pages and decorated the front. I took the pages out when we got home and put them in a album with the pictures from the meetings. It has made the autographs more fun to look at. I didn't think our 2 year old would have been interested but when we went to lunch at Akershus she was having the princesses sign the napkins for her. Was not a waste of time for us.
 
#18
Personally, I don't like making the people in those costumes do that. It's not easy for them and I just don't care for autographs. For me, it's photographs that matter. And even if it's something you keep up with over the years, it's going to be a different person in the costume the next time, resulting in a completely different signature. I just think they shouldn't even do it. It makes people in line have to wait, it's difficult for the character to hold pens, etc. etc. etc. I'm more for the pictures.
 
#19
Personally, I don't like making the people in those costumes do that. It's not easy for them and I just don't care for autographs. For me, it's photographs that matter. And even if it's something you keep up with over the years, it's going to be a different person in the costume the next time, resulting in a completely different signature. I just think they shouldn't even do it. It makes people in line have to wait, it's difficult for the character to hold pens, etc. etc. etc. I'm more for the pictures.
Friends who've worked for Disney have said they make the people who play the characters practice doing the signature so it looks the same. Still a different person, though. My experience of it is usually they have some arrangement for the character doing the signatures, but if it is an impromptu appearance where there isn't really somewhere for that they will just let everyone know they will only be doing greetings and pictures.

I can only say we did autographs when I took my kids. I know this because I surprised them with the notebooks for it. While I was digging them out at our character breakfast the first day they were watching some other kid get Cinderella's autograph and telling me they were sad they hadn't thought to bring something. They were thrilled when I pulled out their books.

Instead of autograph books, I bought those note card books where the note cards are like a spiral notebook. You can write on them, then pull them out by way of perforations. I bought them because the notebooks had a hole in the part that stays with the spiral. It meant I was able to put them on lanyards the kids could wear. I also bought the fat pens office supply stores often have for people with arthritis. Several of the handlers mentioned these worked well for the fully costumed characters.

I printed out the photos of the kids with each character and added them to the page with their signatures. With my kids I just printed them on regular paper and let the kids do whatever they wanted with the notebooks. When I take my grand-kids I am going to get the digital photo download package and get their photos with the characters printed on photo paper. Then I'm going to get a poster frame and arrange the cards with the photos in it to give to them to hang in their rooms. Wish I'd thought of this with my kids all those years ago!
 

Gitson Shiggles

There was me, that is Mickey, and my three droogs
Premium Member
#20
Our DS has gotten an autograph book nearly every time we’ve gone, and he loves collecting signatures.

Recommendations (These are from friends of characters or personal experience):

Retractable Sharpies — easier for the fur characters to write with, and you won’t have to worry about losing a pen cap. Also, the signatures look nicer written with a Sharpie as opposed to a ball point.

When you get close to greeting the characters, have the Sharpie ready along with the autograph book turned to the page you want signed in hand. This will help your children get the most out of their interaction with the characters.
 
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