Anyone who knows me and my love of all things Disney knows I love my souvenirs. I can’t help it. Walking into Mouse Gear in EPCOT is one of the highlights of my trip. Whether it is a new magnet or T-Shirt with some WDW exclusive content on it, I am always down with purchasing some merchandise that brings a little bit of the magic to my everyday life.
But really my family knows there is only one souvenir that I have to have. Yep, only one. Oh and some participation.
The Disneyworld photo album.
We’re all photographers in Disney. I can’t seem to take enough pictures. Or use Photopass enough. It’s just part of the fun and excitement. My kids know it too. I tell them before every trip that Daddy just wants them to look at the camera and smile. Everyone wins, because they love looking at the pictures after we are home. Now I don’t tell them that when I was a kid, probably more of a teenager, I just abandoned picture participation on family events or that I regret it now. But for now I have a nine year old and an almost six year old who love having their pictures taken, especially if there is a character involved.
But it is not the joy of photography that drives my picture taking. It’s a couple months after the trip, on a snowy New Jersey February day, when I can go to my bookcase and see almost 20 Disney photo albums all broken down by year for my choosing. Getting to see your entire vacation told through those photos is something I do often. There are times I will go through all the albums. Now I take tons of pictures in my normal life anyway but watching my children grow up through these Disney albums is something very special to me.
People probably think I am crazy because I have the pictures in every album chronologically ordered (or to the best of my ability), but it is a way to see what we did on that trip we took, let’s say seven years ago. I’ll just pull out the 2007 album and there it is. My kids swear they remember stuff from their earliest trips, but I am pretty sure it is because they have relived it through photos and film.
Does any of this mean that on my next trip I am going to roll into my resort store, pick up a beautiful 300 picture album with 2014 emblazoned in it, happily purchase it and then retire my wallet for the rest of the trip? Of course not, or I hope not anyway. I am pretty sure Tattoine Traders will have something I like. But none of those other souvenirs are nearly as important as recording the joy visually and forever being able to see those little hands and feet and smiles get bigger in the place we all love.