Know Before You Go: Collecting Character Signatures
It is a well known fact among avid Disney park goers that character signatures are some of the best collectable souvenirs that you can get while in the parks. There is just something special about getting the autographs of you favorite childhood characters! Each character has a unique signature to match his or her personality. For example, Pluto will have a paw mark incorporated into his signature and Jiminy cricket will have an umbrella as part of his.
Each signature is a special part of your Disney memorabilia, and will bring back fond memories of characters and Disney magic when you have to leave the parks.
As a former character performer for Disney, I had hands on experience with creating signatures with our favorite Disney pals. I was able to see the work and time that each Disney star gives while trying to perfect his or her signature. The phrase “you can’t teach an old dog a new trick” was put to shame as I saw Pluto trained to spell his own name for his adoring fans!
The characters that I hung out with also had to learn to write their specific autograph. Just like any good celebrity, PRACTICE is the key word to get a consistent autograph. Chip and Dale told me that at first, they found holding a pen or sharpie in their clumsy hands to be a challenging task. But as time grew on, they became so accustomed to it, that they could autograph in their sleep!
When you go and meet your favorite characters the next time you visit the parks, here are a couple things that our furry friends would like you to know before you go to get a hug and an autograph.
1. Abide by the rules
Because they are Disney characters, and must uphold the Disney image, they have some strict rules that they must abide by. To make your character meet and greet go smoothly, please abide by these rules.
Do not give a character any currency to sign, regardless of the country that it is from. Disney respects all countries and will not deface any legal tender with a signature.
Do not give a character a receipt to sign. Just don’t. They won’t sign it!
It may seem a little absurd to say this, but if you have named your child after your favorite Disney character DO NOT try to get that character to sign their birth certificate. Characters are not allowed to sign any federal or legal document. You might laugh about this one, but I have seen people try to give characters important documents for characters to sign. It never gets signed, I promise.
They will not sign any flags, whether it be a national flag or a simple tour group flag. Yeah, I’m talking to you, tour groups!
Do not try to get a character to sign the clothing or magic band that you are wearing. Those items have to be off your person to be signed. So take off your magic band and hand it to the character. Or if you have a T-shirt that you are trying to collect signatures on, don’t wear it to the park, but rather put it in your bag and have it ready when you see your favorite characters!
Characters cannot sign your business cards, brochures, newspapers, or magazines.
Characters cannot sign your body. So plan ahead and bring an autograph book or notebook!
Characters cannot sign any “Disney money” that is above the $1 value. $1 Disney money is OKAY for signatures, but anything above that, they would rather you enjoy another Mickey pretzel and ice cream than sign it.
That may seem like a long list of don'ts regarding getting a character signature, and it is, but don’t let that discourage you. There are plenty of other options for you to bring with you for your favorite characters to sign. As I hung out with Chip and Dale, or Alice and the White Rabbit, I saw several creative ideas being brought to them to autograph.
2. Create Something
Consider creating something for the characters to sign, that you can use as home décor. You are not limited to a piece of paper when obtaining their autographs. Here are a couple creative things I saw people bring.
Bags. I’ve seen the characters sign simple ones and expensive ones.
They CAN sign your iPhone or iPad, IF you are holding it for them while they sign.
Vinylmation figures, toys, plush animals.
So many inanimate objects, I can not list them all! You can literally have them sign almost anything besides the above listed no-nos. I’ve seen Chip and Dale sign an acorn painted bowl, and I’ve seen Alice and the White Rabbit sign tea cups.
*If you have a question on if a character can sign something, ask their character attendant, the people dressed in the blue shirts with kaki shorts or pants. They can clarify any questions you have!
3. Actually meet them
The characters want to spend more time with you then your autograph book. So make sure to have a couple things ready to make everything go smoothly. If any of you have stood in a character line, you will know that you have PLENTY of time to prepare any and all items you would like to present to the character well before you actually meet them. Here are a couple things you can do to make your interaction special while still trying to get those coveted signatures.
Have your autograph book ready. That means bringing it out of your bag AND turning to the page that you would like them to sign. Chip and Dale don’t like reading books, and they really don’t like having to flip through the pages to find an empty one.
Do not give them a tiny pen or pencil. Most characters that are on the furry side have HUGE hands, and find it a little difficult when given a mini sharpie to use. They will waste a lot of time trying to get a grip on your pen if it is small, meaning that they will have less time to play with you.
Do not give them an open pen or sharpie, facing towards them. By all means prepare your pen by taking off the cap! However, be sensitive to the way that you hand it to the character. I’ve seen the white rabbit get sharpie all over his beautiful white fur so many times it’s not funny.
If you kindly ask the character to sign your item instead of shoving it in their face, they will be much happier. Some of Chip and Dale’s favorite guests were the ADORABLE little children from England that would politely ask, “Chip, will you please sign my autograph book?” in their cute little voices. After that, Chip and Dale would want to spend as much time as they could with those sweet guests!
If you would like a character to personalize their signature, just let them know to make it out to “So and So” and then spell out that name slowly as they write it. They are happy to do so, they just want to be sure that they are writing it correctly!
There are so many ways for you to collect your favorite character’s signatures! We could just go on and on with different experiences we have had while getting signatures, but we would love to hear your stories, and what you’ve done! We hope this little bit of information helps you plan your next vacation, when thinking of getting character signatures!