Can I Get Yo' Autograph?

If you were like me, then as a kid your mom or dad bought you a Disney autograph book so that whenever you went on your family vacations, you could go find your favorite characters and get them to sign your book!

I still have my original autograph book and honestly I am so thankful for my parents for getting me this, but the downside is that I don't remember a single time meeting any of these characters that I have autographs from. Maybe I was too little to remember or something, but I have all of these autographs that don't really mean anything to me because I have no memory of how I got it.

So a couple of months ago, I decided to do something a little different. I wanted to create new memories of getting autographs, but I wanted to make it extra special. Now before I talk about my experience, I want to put a disclaimer that this was not my idea, but at the same time I have no idea who actually gave me the idea. I'm not sure if I heard this idea from a friend of a friend, or if I read about someone else doing this on Pinterest or Instagram. But overall, I am putting this out there now that this wasn't my original idea - but I wish it was because I had an incredible time!

We all know that Disney is for kids and adults {and childless millennials} alike. But more often than not, it is definitely more catered to the younglings running around and that's okay! While people, like me, go to the park to casually ride rides and wear themed outfits to go take cute Instagram pictures, little girls and boys are getting dressed up as their favorite characters and role models and experiencing their own dash of magic. I feel my absolute best when my makeup looks just right, my hair is having a great day, and the lighting is perfectly lit. And those kids are doing the same thing as me - but are they feeling the same things as me?

As adults, we have learned to compliment one another because we know how much it might mean to someone else or how it could possibly brighten their day. Kids on the other hand, tend to be a little more shy when it comes to verbalizing their feelings. But I think we also all know just how much excitement kids get out of a big kid complimenting them or paying attention to them. They are overjoyed by it!

And that was my mission. To make sure that those kids, who spent so much time and effort into making themselves feel so good about how they looked knew that someone other than their family was noticing.

So what did I do?

Well for starters, for the low investment cost of $9.99 (before my AP discount), I bought a Pixar Autograph Book. Autograph books do range in price depending on if you get one that comes with a pen or with slots to put pictures in, but I just got the most basic one for this purpose. They can also be found at most any store or merchandise booth - I for instance bought one in the Mad Hatter boutique that is across from the Tea Cup ride in Fantasyland. If you don't already have a pen, you can definitely buy one with it! But I had already brought a pen in with me.

Pixar Autograph Book for Disneyland

Next step - time to make the magic happen!

The task is simple: find a child dressed in her or his favorite character costume and ask them to sign your autograph book!

There are SO many little girls wandering the parks dressed as all sorts of princesses, and they look incredible! They look absolutely magical! They are glowing with excitement because THEY ARE ARIEL! They are Belle! They are Moana! And they spent so much time getting dressed up, driving anxiously to get to the park, and then waiting in line to walk down Main Street USA. They deserve to be recognized and complimented for just how stunning they look today.

The first princess I happened upon was a beautiful girl dressed as Rapunzel, and to be honest, I was a little nervous. What if going up to kids that I don't know is weird? Are they going to run away from me? Will I get suspicious looks from parents? But regardless I walked over to her.

"Excuse me, princess? Hi, can I get your autograph please?"

The look on her face was priceless. She looked as though she couldn't believe I was asking for her autograph. For HER autograph! And her parents or guardians couldn't believe it either. While she was signing my book and I was complimenting her on her dress, I could tell they were taking pictures of the encounter in the background. After she signed my book, I thanked her and asked if I could get a picture with her and she agreed. Look at her face!

  Donna from Brand By You asking a beautiful girl dressed as Rapunzel for her autograph.     

Now, not every princess I asked was as responsive as the one above. While I was taking pictures by It's A Small World, I noticed another girl dressed as Queen Elsa. Since she was looking at some merchandise with her parents I decided to get on her eye level.

"Queen Elsa? Hi! Wow you look amazing. Can you sign my autograph book?"

Immediately I hear her mom go "Oh my gosh, honey isn't that so sweet?". But poor Queen Elsa froze (pun not intended, but appreciated anyway haha). She was shocked I asked her, no words came out of her mouth, and she quickly hid her face in her dad's legs. Her mom quickly explained to me that she was shy but was just so thrilled that I even asked her that she didn't know what to do. I tried to ease her into it, but it was clear that she was not confident enough to sign my book. I thanked her regardless, gave her another compliment on how great she looked, and stood back up. Her parents both thanked me and decided to take their queen on the next adventure.

Donna from Brand By You asking a somewhat shy girl Queen Elsa for her autograph.

Afterwards, my friend Ashley and I then left to move on with our day to go get some lunch. As we were heading out of the park, low and behold, I see Belle! And no, not Disney Princess Belle, but another stunning girl in a Belle dress. So again I stopped in the middle of the walkway.

"Oh my goodness, you look amazing Princess Belle! Do you mind signing my autograph book for me?"

She looked over at the adults she was with and then back at me, and took the pen from me to write her name down. She was also just so entirely happy that I stopped her on her own day at the park to give her a compliment. And again, the adults in the background were taking our picture. I loved the fact that I wasn't just possibly making this girl's day, but also the adults in the group too.

     

I'm not a mother or an aunt or anything close to such so I can't imagine how difficult it must be to facilitate a successful Disney day with kids who might be cranky or fussy or just like to explore a little more than they should. These parents or guardians also really only have one thing on their mind - to make sure that their little one is having the best time ever. Because when they are having a good time, then everything about that day is flawless. So although initially this was supposed to be about the kids, I could tell that it was also becoming about those parents who spent the time, the money, and most importantly the energy to make sure that day was as magical as possible.

I also know that this encounter specifically sparked a lot of attention on a Facebook group! The guardian of this specific princess actually found Brand By You's business Facebook page and commented on a photo I had posted of myself that day at the park with a picture she had taken of me getting my autograph book signed and asked if it was me! She then proceeded to leave me this incredible comment.

Now she didn't have to go out of her way to leave this comment or to even try to find me, but she did. And that just proves that this simple thing you can do for someone is so much more than what you think you may be doing. Yes you are spending your own money for the sake of someone else, but that's the point. I didn't buy this autograph book for me to get Disney characters to sign it. I bought it to give a smile to a kid who deserved to be called beautiful. I did it so I could make memories with my own autograph book that I would actually remember. And I also did it so that the kids that I did ask would hopefully have a memory to take home with them that day that wasn't produced by a Disney employee.

I honestly hope you all can do this at least once in your lifetime because it was absolutely incredible to be a part of creating the magic at Disney. I left so many more pages empty in the book because I will be doing a day like this again! I want to be able to make some magic and this was one of the sweetest ways to do it!

 

All pictures were taken and used with permission from the kid's parents or guardians.

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