Are you a Disney fan with a large, empty wall in your house? Well, why not be crazy like me and turn it into a Disney wall?
There are many ways to bring a bit of the magic home with you, but the #1 souvenir most of us come home with are our photographs. Whether you buy a PhotoPass and let a Disney photographer do all the work or you take your own photos, you probably come home with hundreds of shots. There’s a lot of ways to enjoy them. You can scrapbook them or make photo books at sites like Shutterfly or Snapfish, you can buy a digital photo frame look at them there, you can upload them to photo sharing sites like Flickr, or you can simply store the files on your computer and look at them when you need a fix.
My favorite thing to do, though, is let them take over an entire wall of my house. Oh, it started small at first. After the first trip we made with our daughter in 2009, I put up a few pictures and a collage frame on a large, empty wall in our Colorado house. Then I’d see some great Disney scrapbook paper while browsing at craft stores like Michaels or Jo-Ann, and we’d end up with another frame up there. Then I’d find a great coupon for picture frames, or I’d see some used frames in good shape at a yard sale or the thrift store. Take a few more trips (and then move to Florida) and pretty soon you can hardly see the paint on the wall between the frames.
But seriously, this is such a fun thing to have in the house. We have a little breakfast table right in front of the wall, and when we have a meal there, we end up looking up at the pictures and talking about all the fun times we’ve had that are chronicled up on our wall.
A large number of the photos are of character meet and greets, but I try to include some other things we love about Disney, too. We have photos of some of our favorite places, some fun cast members we’ve met, and some of our on-ride photos, too. I try to mix it up as much as possible.
If this looks like fun to you, I have a few pieces of advice:
- Sign up for coupons at your local craft stores and use them when you buy more frames or scrapbooking supplies for your wall. Michaels and Jo-Ann have some great coupons! Jo-Ann has a mobile app they regularly deliver high-value coupons to, so you don’t even have to clip the coupons or waste paper/ink printing them.
- As I mentioned above, yard sales and thrift stores are great sources for inexpensive frames as well. Even scratched-up frames can usually be salvaged with a little creative use of wood filler and paint.
- For a more uniform look, decide on a color for your frames (white or black would be easiest) and paint any frames you find that aren’t your chosen color. I really like the random pops of color from using different types and colors of frames, though.
- Check the scrapbooking aisles for fun background papers and stickers you can use. (For longevity, make sure the stickers and paper you use are acid-free and of scrapbooking quality.) A lot of my frames are 8×10 or larger and there’s a lot of open space you have to fill in those!
- I like the quality of photo prints from Shutterfly, an online photo and photo gifts service. Find a site or a local photo printer that does good work and then check for coupons or online coupon codes when you get prints made. (The website retailmenot.com is an excellent source of reliable coupon codes.)
- Use shadow boxes to display some of your tangible souvenirs. We were so lucky to have a pair of JAMMitors drumsticks gifted to us after one of their performances, and they sit in a place of honor in a shadow box on our Disney wall. I wouldn’t enjoy them nearly as much if they were just secreted away in a drawer somewhere.
- If you’re getting a lot of character autographs you plan to use on your Disney wall, you may benefit from putting together a simple, custom autograph book to use while you’re in the parks. I usually go to a print store, pick out some acid-free cardstock, have the shop cut it into quarters, and then ask them to spiral bind it. (See the photos in the gallery above of our current simple autograph book, which I had made for around $5 at our local Office Depot print shop.)
If you give it a shot, I’d love to see a photo of your Disney wall!