Making and Keeping a Memory

by Jenna Kahl, contributing writer

I am a sucker for tradition and sentiment. I don't know if it my mother's influence or me becoming a Mom myself, but establishing traditions for my kids and my family is very important Our love for the Disneyland Resort has fallen right into our family DNA and it has been fun finding ways to both remember our time at the Resort and capture the sentiment with our kids in unique ways. I wanted to share how we make our trips to Disneyland a tradition to remember and throw out some other ideas that you might want to adopt and try out as well.

Say Cheese

While this first idea isn't the most unique, it can have quite the effect and takes little time and effort, which is OK by me. Find a great and favorite photo spot and make it a practice to take a family photo in the same spot and same pose each visit. Not only does this make an easy memory, but can track the growth of kids, families, relationships, and the Resort itself over months and years. If you want an easy way to keep track of all your photos, you can set up and save a draft of a photo book through services such as Shutterfly.

Holiday Collectables

I am not a huge fan of collectibles or knick-knacks. I try to avoid clutter at all costs, but I do make some exceptions, which, if done right, doesn't need to be clutter at all. Christmas ornaments are a fun, festive, and easy way to establish a family keepsake and memory tradition. Even if you don't travel to the Disneyland Resort during the holidays, you can easily find ornaments year-round. Along these same lines, you can also find great home décor for all the major holidays to add a touch of Disney to your house all year long. I am quite a fan of the Halloween and Thanksgiving items that I have found at shops around the Resort, and these little things are classics that can be handed down to my girls when they have homes of their own.

Take Turns Planning the Day

Most of creating a memory is the experience itself, but you can make it even more memorable by handing the day over to someone in your group, young or old, and let them take the lead. Handing over the reins and letting a member of your family play "cruise director" by selecting rides, food and special experiences can completely change up your vacation. Document the day with pictures and pick up a unique picture frame to remember it all.

Give everyone a chance to play "Cruise Director" for the day. Photo by Jenna Kahl.

Pin on a Memory

Pins are a great and easy way to collect a little Disney every time you travel to the Disneyland Resort, and allow everyone to personalize the memory that they are creating. While picking up a new pin each trip is pretty straightforward, if you travel to the Resort often enough, you can create a family theme for each year or trip, like attraction pins, Pixar characters, or Mickey and Minnie.

Works of Art

By far my favorite of all ways to build a tradition a souvenir and a memory all in one is artwork. For years I have walked through the various shops at the Disneyland Resort that stock original and print artwork and thought, "Wow! That's cool. I have no idea what I would do with that". It wasn't until we decided to do a vintage Disneyland nursery for my youngest daughter that I found a way to use prints as year-round home décor without looking like a "crazy Disney person."

If you travel to the Disneyland Resort less frequently, or if you tend to stick with the same routine each time you visit, make it a tradition to try one new thing each trip. Whether that might be trying beignets or walking through Sleeping Beauty Castle, take some time to try and enjoy a new experience—who knows, it might become part of your routine by the end of it all.

Create Your Own Memory Maker

Someone asked me the other day how many trips my family and I have taken to the Disneyland Resort and, after attempting math numerous times in my head, I gave up and said "a lot" while hoping they would move on. I wish I would have thought of this idea when my family and I started going, or when we starting taking our kids, but I really love the idea of marking each trip by using a shadow box and creating a unique memory keeper.

Here are two ideas:

The simpler of the two involves a shadow box, decorated or marked in anyway that you would like, and the addition of a small item each time you mark a trip. You could use pieces of Mickey Mouse shaped paper, small bells from the craft store, or a gumball for a fun and bright pop of color.

The second idea is buying a shadow box at the beginning of each year and place a unique object after each trip into the box: a map, ticket, Fastpass, pin or button, and build a 3D treasure chest. I would recommend collecting all the pieces and arranging them at the end of year.

It's as simple as saving buttons! Photo by Jenna Kahl. 

While some of these traditions are simple and might already be part of your family's Disneyland Resort routine, others are ways to remember the specifics and establish traditions that can pass through your family from generation to generation.