If you want anything from theme park vacations, it’s great memories of the fun that your family had. Whether it’s a family photo in an iconic location or the perfect souvenir, you want to be able to capture the magic you experienced and keep it alive back at home! And with only a little bit of planning on your part, you can capture those memories in a special way and have them ready to access when you return!
Capturing more than just photos
The easiest way to memorialize any trip is through photographs! Whether you print them out for framing or collect them within a professionally printed photobook, you’ll want to have your camera (or camera phone) at the ready for your entire trip. But what about turning those photographs into a story?
Before you leave, ask each family member what they’re most excited about for the upcoming trip. Perhaps it’s seeing Shamu or meeting Bugs Bunny? Or maybe even eating a certain theme park treat, like a churro or turkey leg? Keep that list handy throughout the trip, and capture each of those special moments on film! When you get home, you can create a simple collage of those photos with captions and have a perfect summary of your trip!
Sending home memories
It’s often really hard to remember what happens in a jam-packed theme park visit, so why not capture them each day? Stop at the post office before you leave and pick up some stamps, then end your day picking out some postcards! Have each family member pick out a postcard that fits their memories of the day and then spend some time that night (perhaps while you’re at dinner?) writing or drawing your recaps. Capture the exact description of Butterbeer, or how scared Grandma was to go on the Tower of Terror. Drop them in the mailbox, and you’ll get the dual satisfaction of reliving your vacation when you return and having memories saved from that instant.
Star in your own short film!
If you happen to prefer capturing live video over photographs, then making a short film of your vacation is a great option! Casually capture moments of fun on rides, stage shows, and other special memories. Start the day asking them about what they’re looking forward to for inspiration on what you want to get on film. While you’re waiting in line for attractions, take the time to interview your family members on camera with silly questions about their day. And at dinner, interview them about the day’s highlights. When you get home, you’ll easily be able to edit everything together in daily snippets or one longer film. And if you prefer just grabbing little video memories here and there using your camera phone, use an app like Magisto to combine your snippets into mini memory sessions!
Saving your scraps
If you’re a scrapbooker or paper saver, then be sure to pack a large Freezer sized Ziploc bag and a few paperclips in your luggage. Each night, empty your purse or backpack of paper items such as tickets, park maps or receipts, and clip them together and place them in your bag. Write any memories you’d like to keep on the back of spare receipts or directly on the maps! You’ll get the benefit of saving the memories in an organized way and cleaning out your purse daily! When you get home, you’ll be all ready and organized to scrap!
Leave it to the pros and get everyone in the picture!
All theme parks have professional photographers just ready and waiting to capture your bright smiles, so why not take advantage of getting every member of the family in the picture? Plan for taking a photo early in the day when everyone is looking bright and fresh, and leave it up to them to capture the perfect photo. You’ll get to preview your images before you buy them, and if you’re not happy with it then opt for a different location or theme! You can also plan to buy a ride photo (you know, the one with you screaming like a banshee?) at least once during the trip.
If you’re headed to Walt Disney World, you can pay ahead of time for the privilege of getting access to all of your professional photos with their Memory Maker service. It allows you to leave your bulky camera at home, and just get your photo taken at hundreds of locations throughout the parks and resorts. Your purchase will get your digital copies of every professionally taken picture (including ride photos), so you can eliminate the photographer role from your family duties.
Bringing a piece of the park home
For many theme park visitors, it’s the souvenirs they bring home that help keep the memories alive! Think about what you want before you go, that way you won’t be overwhelmed on that final day in the gift store. As a child, I was always allowed to pick out a stuffed animal to commemorate a trip to Disneyland. You might want to opt for an ornament for your Christmas tree, or a nice ceramic mug for your morning cup of tea! Perhaps a new photo album for your pictures would work or a nice photo frame your favorite family shot? Or maybe a very special wand to practice magic at home? Whatever you choose, you’ll be reminded of all that fun each time you see your souvenir.
What's your favorite way to savor the magic of a theme park vacation long after it's over?