When I was eight years old, my grandmother passed away, and the loss is devastating even fourteen years later. She wasn’t one who liked having her photo taken so I don’t have very many pictures of her to look at when I miss her. But I have one – one photo of my grandmother and I together – that means the world to me. She was holding me when I was two or three and we were meeting Donald Duck at Disney World. I wished we would have been able to take more photos together during that trip because we never know how much those moments will mean to us in the future. I hope that everyone reading this will consider these tips the next time they go on vacation. These are the moments we can’t get back, so don’t let them pass by.
9. Print Your Photos. As a photographer, I can’t stress this enough. After your vacation please take the time to print out your favorite images and put them in a photo album. Digital copies are great but what happens in the future when we can’t access them? Hard drives can crash and images can be lost, so if you really want to create lasting memories be sure to get some tangible prints in case anything happens.
8. Bring A Camera with Video. When I was a kid, it was pretty tough to lug around a video camera at Disney but my parents still did it. Now in the 21st Century, technology is amazing and a cell phone can actually get pretty decent video out of it. Even digital cameras have gotten more compact so taking one with you isn’t the hassle it used to be. Take videos throughout your vacation. Your family is always changing and your kids are not going to be three forever. It’s nice to have these vacation videos that you can watch years down the road to reminisce or show your own kids what Mom looked like as a little girl.
7. Spend Time with Everyone. As a young child, it’s hard for you to have a say in where you go and what you do. Families usually stick together unless Mom and Dad have to take turns waiting in Child Swap. As you get older, your family might let you walk around the park with your brother. It’s a safe environment plus the parents can get alone time while the kids ride Splash Mountain for the hundredth time. Be sure to still designate time to spend as a family, though. It’s great to have your independence but meet up as a family for meals or to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. You’ll be glad you did.
6. Don’t Be In a Hurry. Don’t rush yourself because that just causes stress and vacations are supposed to be fun. When travelling with a family, of course it is going to get a little chaotic but try to not rush things. Soak in the sights and get to the ride when you get to the ride. It will still be there even if you decide to take a long scenic stroll down Main Street USA. You’ll miss out on so many things if you get yourself frazzled over getting to a specific place at a specific time. Go at your own pace. Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the Mickey Waffles.
5. Laugh When Things Go Wrong. Sometimes the most memorable experiences are the things that don’t go as planned. We don’t expect it happen but once it does, it’s unforgettable. You just have to laugh about it. You might get stuck on a ride or get caught in the rain without a poncho, but don’t get upset. See the positive and humor in the situation because these unexpected moments are going to be the ones that stick.
4. Take Group Photos. Try to ask a Disney Cast Member or a passing guest if they wouldn’t mind taking a quick photo of your group. Most will be very happy to help you out because they’ll probably ask the same favor to someone else during the day. It’s a great way to get a good group photo that you can print and cherish. Please, don’t try to do the “selfie” approach every time because you lose a lot of the background as well as not being able to fit everyone in the frame. Selfies can be great for one or a couple persons but not for a larger group and we don’t want to accidently crop out your loved ones.
3. Collect a Souvenir. I always enjoyed getting an autograph book every trip to Disney. Some people like to collect the pressed pennies from around the park as well. The great thing about either autographs or pennies is that they are tangible items. Inevitably with age, our minds can make our memories fuzzy. Having that tangible item you can touch will help refresh those fuzzy memories. As I flip through my autograph books, I remember kissing Tigger on the nose from 16 years ago. Sometimes we can completely forget something until we see that item and exclaim with excitement “Oh! I remember that now!”
2. Don’t Refuse To Have Your Picture Taken. My grandmother hated having her picture taken so we obliged, but now that she’s gone we all regret it. You see, the photo is not for you. While you might be the subject, the photo itself is not taken for you. It’s for the people around you. If someone asks to take a group photo and you decide to take it instead of asking someone to take it so you can be included, you’re robbing your loved one of a memory of you. The photo is for them to cherish. There are times that none of us want to be in front of the camera. We all have those moments in the park where our hair is messy because we just got off of the Tea Cups and we don’t want to even think of being in a picture, but if someone in your group wants to take a photo, be a good sport and show off your beautiful smile.
1. Take Candid Photos. This is the most important tip I can stress. Don’t worry about taking a bunch of stage group photos if you don’t like the hassle of it. It’s hard to get genuine smiles when you pose everyone so taking candid photos is the best way to truly capture someone’s emotions. As a newspaper photographer I use candid images of my subjects because they represent the realest versions of the people and they tell a story. Take a picture of your daughter hugging your wife in the Peter Pan queue. Take a photo of your husband and son riding Dumbo. Take a photo of your parents sharing an ice cream. Sure, these might not be the most exciting moments of your vacation but it’s these small memories that will stay with you.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!