Capturing Magic Without Taking Photos

While on our last trip to Walt Disney World, we were able to take the Keys to the Kingdom tour at the Magic Kingdom. I highly recommend taking the tour, and taking it with Chris from Lake Zurich, IL. He was fantastic and truly knew his stuff. There was so much that I wanted to capture from that tour, but pictures were not allowed because it is a backstage tour. (SPOILER ALERT: We went into the Utilidor!) I was met with the challenge of how I was going to capture all this magic that I was a part of without taking pictures. We weren't even allowed to touch our phones or the tour would end!

For this tour in particular, we were given these really cute name tags and a pin at lunch to commemorate the occasion, which I will be utilizing in my project life layouts for this tour.

I printed out one of the free customized maps from Disney (available here  and marked our path, where we stopped, and made short notes about what we learned at each spot. I decided to highlight the attractions that we rode on the tour. I'm going to use the journaling cards to make notes about what we learned in the Utilidor on my project life layout. Using the map worked well for me, and I wish I had thought of it before I left the park because I could've gotten an official map, though I did order a set of the customized maps. Marking places you had great memories at on a map I think it's a great way to capture and document the magic without using photos.

These are some of the other ideas I had to capture the magic on this tour without photos that didn't work for me, but I think would work great in general:

  • Using foursquare: foursquare is a fun app available on both Android and Apple operating systems where you can check in to the places you're at, similar to checking in on facebook. I liked the idea of using foursquare in this instance because you can look at the list of places you checked in that date and what time you did so, making it easier to know what you did without having the pictures and time stamps to prove it. These are some of the places I checked into on my last trip.
  • Drawing a picture: while I'm not an artist at all, I think it would be a very cute idea to have children draw an event or place from their favorite part of the trip to capture those memories and magic. It would be great for scrapbooking digitally or with paper. If your children are anything like the other children I know, they'll probably draw more than one picture. There are some fantastic apps out there for organizing these masterpieces. ArtKive is set up where you can print a book of these hand drawn pictures and Art My Kid Made is compatible with Evernote, an app Terri of the Capturing Magic team did a fantastic post on recently here.
  • Free souvenirs: I looked for something every where on this tour to take home to document certain points and parts I loved from the trip, but backstage is just as neat and tidy as on stage, so I didn't take anything home besides my name tag and pin. At other times though, I've been able to take home some great mementos. I took home my first Disney Parks Starbucks cup to commemorate my first Starbucks in the Parks. The first time we ate at Sci-Fi Dine-In they gave us paper Sci-Fi Dine-in drivers licenses. Disney Parks napkins have always been a favorite souvenirThese small keepsakes are great ways to document and capture the magic without taking pictures.

What does your family do when you can't take pictures to capture the magic on your Disney vacations?

  • Gabrielle McCann

    Love these ideas! That would have been really hard to not even be able to touch your phone though! While on a cruise on the Disney Magic I used the “notes” app on my phone to take notes of what the tour guide was saying

  • Aubree Larsen

    Try the “Heyay” app. It is an automatic journaling app that records where you go without you having to check in. It gets pretty specific within Disneyland like listing rides and landmarks as your location (and you get fix it if it gets it wrong.)

    • DailyDigiSteph

      That sounds super cool!!

      • Meghan Hayes

        Yes! I cannot wait to try that app next time! I wouldn’t even have to remember to do it.

        • Aubree Larsen

          Sorry there was a typo- it’s Heyday and it’s free for iphone.

      • Aubree Larsen

        I’ve been meaning to leave a comment about Heyday somewhere over at the Digi Show because I think you all would like it. It would be especially helpful for people who do a Project 52 and want to remember where they went each day that week. It automatically puts your phone photos in little collages and lists where they were taken. There is also a little map that shows your locations for the day. I’ve also taken a screen shot to show where I was that day to put in my Project Life album.

        The only thing I don’t like is that if you delete the photo from your camera roll, it gets deleted from the app. It’s not like Collect where the photos stay in the app no matter what.

        And it’s free!

    • Is this for the iphone? I tried searching for it in the app store and couldn’t find anything? Because it sounds really cool!

      • Aubree Larsen

        Sorry! Typo! It’s called Heyday! I forgot the D!

        • Aubree Larsen

          And yes it’s for the iPhone and free!

          • It’s really cool, thanks! When I installed it, it automatically pulled pics from my trip already with the locations (even though most of my pics were straight from the camera, which is a bit confusing, lol!) I’m using this for my next pick with pixie dust (if no one gets it first ;)) and will be sure to thank you!

          • Aubree Larsen

            Yes I didn’t actually learn about it until after my last trip but the automatic input of the photos from Disneyland was neat! I’m glad you like it. I think it would be a great pick! 🙂

        • Awesome thanks! Downloaded, wish I could have tried it this trip!!

  • I took this tour in 2009, so before I had an iphone and before I was as addicted to my phone as I am now lol. It was really hard for me to process not being able to take pics backstage. So after the tour, I went and took pictures of the places where they take you backstage. So it’s onstage, but I could at least remember that and be able to document. I’m really bad at writing trip reports, but I almost made sure to go and write down everything I could remember from the tour (the tour was on our last day, so I started this on the plane), so I could document them later.