Capture Your Orlando Vacation Memories With Our Suggestions
Your Orlando vacation is likely going to take a chunk of time and money. It would be a shame not to capture some memories of your trip.
Thank you for listening to The Orlando Local Show. In this episode, we discuss some of the tips and strategies you can use to capture your Orlando vacation memories.
There's more than one way to skin this cat. Some people like very personal mementos while others like to show off traditional sites.
Some people like digital memories, such as photos and videos. Others prefer something a bit more tangible, like t-shirts, hats, or even little reminders about their experiences.
Lee talks about her vacation memory cork boards with items like the lei she got from breakfast at Ohana, a cocktail napkin or other items that really remind her of fond memories, but may not mean as much to others.
Photos are a big part of a vacation for many people. I tend to go with a digital route and share my photos and stories on a web site (link below) dedicated to storytelling travel photos.
Whatever you have planned for your Orlando vacation, we have some tips to help you capture and savor those moments for years to come, both with your close family and your online friends.
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Show notes are available at: orlandolocal.com/18
Welcome to the Orlando Local Show, episode eighteen.
William: Thank you very much for joining us on the Orlando Local Show. Today we are going to talk about how you can plan ahead to capture your memories.
Hi, my name is William Beem.
Lee: Hi, my name is Lee Beem.
William: And this is one that we’ve been giving a little bit of thought to. It’s wonderful to plan for a trip; it’s wonderful to get here and do a lot of things, but once you get home, how are you going to remember it?
Lee: It’s very important.
William: It is important. You are going to put a lot of money into coming to Orlando and taking a vacation. You want to make sure that you capture things and have some memories, but we realized that there are different ways that people like to remember their trips. So that’s what we are going to talk about today.
But before I get to that, let me tell you that show notes are going to be available at orlandolocal.com/18. You can find a transcript of the show there for free and of course there are links to subscribe at orlandolocal.com or the Orlando Local Show. We would really urge you to subscribe, because that way you get a wonderful brand of goodness coming to you every week.
Lee: And lots of smiles.
William: Absolutely! And of course you can keep up with us on social media. Links are at the top of the page.
Why are you thinking about all these things you want to remember? You want to think about these things in advance before you take your trip because really, you want to prepare to allow yourself time to capture those memories. You want to think about what those memories are going to be in some cases. You may not know exactly what it’s going to be.
You can come here and have a wonderful trip planned and then it’s just raining every day. Or you run into a hurricane, which happened not too long ago!
But you know what? That’s part of your memory. How do you allow yourself to remember that as well as all the other things that you have in Orlando?
Lee: Yes, and memories to me have always been very important. It is just that I’ve always enjoyed preserving memories. I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a sentimental person, but I like to have something where I can look back and very importantly I like to have something for our daughter, where we can pass it to her and say “This is what happened when you might have been a little bit young to remember or to understand everything that was going on.”
William: Let me give you some examples of some of my trips. Obviously outside of Orlando. I once flew from Orlando to Salt Lake City in Utah to rent a motorcycle to ride down to Las Vegas and I’m into photography so I took my camera with me. This was a solo trip; just me and I had planned it in April. Now keep in mind, I’m an Orlando guy. I’ve been in Florida all my life. The idea that there could be snow in April just never ever occurred to me.
Yet as I got off the plane in Utah and made it over to the Harley Davidson dealership to rent my bike a blizzard rolled in and the snow just started coming down. I rode out of there in a full on blizzard.
Lee: Oh, fun!
William: Oh, yeah! And I wanted to remember that so I took some photos. I had other people riding their motorcycles in the snow inside of Salt Lake City and I had to pull off in Hurricane (I think that was the name of the town) and it just got so white that I could not see the road. It was just a miserable trip. I was really planning on a great trip from Salt Lake City down to Las Vegas and it didn’t work out that way. I still wanted to remember that.
Lee: It’s cold and you get wet!
William: It was miserable, but I took photos, I picked up some fridge magnets here and there and I remembered all that stuff. I have the side of the refrigerator filled with fridge magnets from all of my travels.
When I got to Las Vegas everything was nice and warm and sunny and my ride back to Salt Lake City to turn in the bike was absolutely beautiful so I got some shots of that as well.
Very extreme aspects of my trip, but I wanted to capture it all. I couldn’t have predicted the blizzard was going to roll in. I couldn’t have predicted a lot of things, but it was part of it and it was part of my memories.
Now what that brings you back to is what kind of memories do you want and one of the first things people talk about is do you want digital or physical, or maybe a combination of both?
Lee: I think there’s a place for both. There is so much beauty in digital. It’s instant, it’s easy, it’s convenient and it’s neat and tidy. It doesn’t really take up space the way that other stuff does, but I was just saying to William earlier on, my preference is always going to go back to something physical. I just like to hold something. I like a pair of scissors and some glue and nice papers and things in my hands. I like making things.
And as much as I love doing it online, that is my personal preference. I do like to have something physically tangible.
But you can do both.
William: Absolutely. I think a lot of people are going to think about digital first because in this age of social media a lot of people are going to take photos and share online. This is what I’m doing right now. And those are your memories and you’ll be on Facebook and it will bring up a memory from what you were doing a year or five years ago. And then you see that again.
But I don’t know if those memories are quite as in your face as something that you can hold or you can mount and share or have available to you all the time. Those are kind of like, “Oh I remember that because it just popped up.”
But otherwise it’s almost disposable memory.
William: It’s something you’re sharing right now, but then maybe it will come back in a year or five years from now. It’s almost disposable. The physical stuff, hopefully, is not.
Lee: No, it’s really not. I mean unless you’ve got a scrapbook … I think I’ve said before that I’ve always loved my scrapbooking. If you have it somewhere out where it’s accessible, whether it’s family or friends coming over or you need to take it somewhere to show grandma or aunts and uncles, you can do that.
Obviously if it’s stashed away in a bookcase and nobody knows it’s there that’s a little bit different. But I do like something that can be put up and shared with people who are close to me. I guess I look at the digital stuff as I can share that with a wider range of friends, but when it comes to my personal people – close friends and family – they are welcome inside my home. They come into the home and I want them to be able to get something extra.
William: We are kind of recommending that this is one of the first things you want to think about: who are you going to share this with and how are you going to share it? Are these memories for you? Maybe your close friends or family or people who come into your home, or are they memories that you want to share with people online? Maybe even strangers that you don’t even know, but you want them to know what your experience was.
I’ve got a website. It is wbeem.com I’ve only got two stories up right now but they are kind of like photo essay stories. So my trip to Havana and I’ve got another one up there from my trip to St Lucia. I had a wonderful time at both of them. I took some photos at both places, I put a little bit of a story along with it and between the photos and the words it kind of tells the story of what I experienced.
The people who see that are going to be complete strangers to me. A few friends might see it, but mostly it’s up there for strangers. It’s my way of publishing something. I don’t know who’s going to see it.
I can always go back and look when I want to, but it’s not the same as having photos up on your wall or a photo book or something else.
But we wanted to talk about a few other types as well. Some of them are collectables. For me – I don’t know how I got into this – fridge magnets are a big collectable for me. I got into the habit of it and I don’t remember what the first trip was, but I’ve got more than half of the side of my refrigerator covered with magnets from every trip that I’ve taken.
As a matter of fact I get disappointed if I go someplace and they don’t have a decent fridge magnet. And by decent, I mean ceramic!
William: Maybe stone because some of the places in Utah they have got rocks all over the place so they decorate their rocks and slap it on there, but there is kind of an art form to fridge magnets. Some places you’ll see that the same fridge magnet is going for different cities. If it’s not showing something specifically within that city or state, you can almost find out that a fridge magnet is the same for this city and this city and this city, that are nowhere near each other! I don’t like generic fridge magnets. I am very picky about my fridge magnets.
Lee: Yes. They need to be personalized to their location.
William: Absolutely! And I don’t mind getting more than one from places. I’ve been to Las Vegas multiple times so I’ve got multiple Las Vegas fridge magnets; I’ve got Washington DC and New York and if I go to St Lucia … Cuba didn’t really have fridge magnets. I mean I got like some of the flag and stuff like that, but they didn’t really have a choice there. It’s really hard to get a decent fridge magnet in Cuba!
Lee: Oh, is it?
William: I guess that’s not what most of their visitor are expecting.
Lee: I didn’t actually realize that you were happy with duplicates. I remember calling you from Chicago and saying, “Do you have Chicago magnet?”
And you said, “Yeah, don’t get one. I’ve already got one.”
I thought, OK.
William: But you were going to bring one because you were there. I wasn’t there. Those fridge magnets are kind of my journey.
William: Now we’re married. If one of us goes there and the other doesn’t, that’s OK. Bring back a fridge magnet. But this was just a stopover for you; it wasn’t a visit. So that’s part of the rule too. You actually have to spend the night there.
Lee: We did!
William: Well, I didn’t. We weren’t married then. See? That’s the rule.
Lee: Oh, it’s really complicated with fridge magnets. Guys, at your own risk!
William: I don’t ask anybody to send me fridge magnets because I don’t want them to be disappointed if I’m not happy with them.
Lee: Well, that’s very thoughtful of you.
William: There are other collectables. I mean a lot of people love their T shirts. When I was younger and especially when I was a teenager I would pick up T shirts from every place I went.
Lee: Yeah, see I’m not really a T shirt person. Mine was coffee mugs and tote bags.
William: Oh sure you are, because you’re wearing my Bike Week 2003 T shirt!
Lee: It’s not a T shirt.
William: It’s a long sleeved T shirt.
Lee: Yes. It’s got to have long sleeves are no sleeves.
William: See? She’s got rules too!
William: Obviously photos are going to be part of your memories. A lot of people love to take videos these days. We’ve been going on YouTube and looking at videos from Sanibel Island down in South West Florida. We took our vacation down there this year and it was a nice, quiet, peaceful little place and once we got there – you had never visited there before; I’d been there many times – you and Tové both loved it!
Lee: Oh, we did. It was beautiful!
William: We were kind of just looking at memories and oh, yeah, that was nice!
It was quiet, it was a good getaway; I wish they had better breakfast restaurants.
Lee: Yeah, we had one really good breakfast and the rest of them were kind of hmmm….
William: Yeah, but we had some great meals down there too. But mostly those were some of our memories and we were looking at other people’s video memories on YouTube.
One of the things, Lee, that you brought up was kind of like a display or collection of memories. Now I’ve always thought of this as a photo book, but you have something that’s not photos necessarily. Let’s get into this first. You talked about when you’ve built memory cork boards.
William: So what is that and what do you put on it and what does it mean to you?
Lee: A memory cork board to me is very personal. It’s something that I almost get a kick out of the fact that some people or anyone who doesn’t know me or know the story of where I’ve been or what has helped to build this story on the cork board is going to look at it and maybe think that some of the things are just trash that I’ve put up there. I don’t know why I kind of like that; they only think it’s trash because they don’t get it.
William: OK, so we talked about things like maybe a napkin from a restaurant or maybe a little cocktail umbrella.
Lee: Yes, and I’m not talking about messy crumpled up stuff. I’m saying for example you go to the Best House of Coffee (I’m just making something up) and you love the coffee there when you go on vacation. So I would maybe get one of their napkins where it’s got their little logo on it and try and keep it preserved and nice so I could take it home. Swizzle sticks ….
William: Do they have to have the logo of the place or something on there that identifies it or how do you know?
Lee: Not necessarily. It could be very plain and you might actually choose to make a personal little tag or a bow or put something on there. This is really completely something that’s got t reflect you and how you express yourself or put your little markers out there.
William: So this is definitely a very personal memory of something that maybe only you or your family really understands?
Lee: It is and I used to like going and getting some special, really pretty tacks – like thumb tacks or something – to pin the things onto the board. Sometimes I would need some hooks as well; some c-cup hooks that you screw in because some things need to hang.
For example, one of the breakfasts we did at Ohana at the Polynesian resort at Disney World, they give you the little leys to put around your neck and usually it’s the kind of thing that you don’t really feel like bringing it home. But I thought yeah, let’s bring them home and I hung those, one of either side, of the cork board.
So that was just something that got added in. But that’s not to say it’s void of pictures. I actually did print pictures; I always printed some pictures and put them up and they were not necessarily the typical tourist shots that people would do. You know you’d have a photo taken in front of an icon or landmark. These usually weren’t; the photos that went on there were capturing the moment, like the two of us taking a selfie when we were trying to race each other to the end with two straws in a soda or something.
William: And I think those really are the very personal memories. Anybody can stand in front of Cinderella’s castle or Spaceship Earth and take a photo and Disney has got photographers out there that will do it for you. But that time when you are getting brain freeze because you and your daughter both have a straw in your mouth.
Lee: Yes, we were just snapping away with the camera and we did do this with a digital camera. This was before the smart phones were able to take quick photos in succession so yes, just to clarify, photos do have a part on there if you want them to be there.
William: But they are very personal memories. This is my vacation!
Lee: Yes, they are.
William: And you may not understand it, but this is my vacation and I look at this and I can smile because I remember that moment.
Lee: The nice thing is that if you have little children you can get them involved because although they might pick the weirdest stuff that is a memory to them, it’s really precious when you go back all the years and think this was in that moment and that three year old found this really important. This is part of the vacation and I like that. Those things mean something to me.
William: I remember you told this story before, but you gave Tové a camera. She was very young and you said, “Go take some photos.”
And you look at it and think, what is this? And she told you what they all meant.
Lee: She did. And she actually got some really interesting photos. A six year old is a lot shorter and they tend to look up a lot, but they also tend to look down. Anyone who has tried to childproof a house or a room, you’ve probably been advised to get on your hands and knees and crawl around because that’s what the kids are going to see.
It’s really from almost that – not quite so short – but that viewpoint.
William: What were some of the things that she found when she was taking photos?
Lee: She had a picture of a bird. I think it was a little robin drinking from water and she must have zoomed into this and I was thinking where is that? We had been at one of the theme parks and I had handed her the camera when we arrived and she had given it to me to put back in the bag towards the end of the day. I just couldn’t imagine where we had seen birds drinking water.
While we were waiting at the turnstiles at the front gate she had seen a bird drinking out of a puddle of water because it rained during the night. And she zoomed in, snuck underneath, zoomed in and took a picture of it. I thought it’s just the things that they see!
One that made me giggle was when she took a photo of the Happy Hour sign outside the House of Blues and she really zoomed in on some of the cocktails and things. She didn’t really understand what Happy Hour was all about, but she liked the word “Happy” and she was on vacation.
There is beauty in the simplicity of their approach.
William: Especially with a six year old. The idea of happy hour says, “Oh good. I can go there and we are going to have fun at this time!”
Lee: Yeah. Mommy likes this restaurant because it’s happy!
William: Those things are going to be very personal and you are going to understand it, she’s going to understand and you can look back years later. But there are things that you also want to maybe collect and share.
Lee: Yes there are.
William: Do you think about it like this is something I want to take because I want to share it with somebody? Or is this something just for me?
Lee: I don’t. I think I just collect things that are going to mean something either to me or something that I can share with somebody as I go through each moment. If I see something, it’s there, it resonates with me and I get it.
Afterwards you kind of put things aside and they might be specific things that you are looking for, whether personal or for sharing, but I think the sorting takes place a little bit later.
William: Sometimes I think of it at the moment, like you said. Oh. I know someone who might like this. And that’s when I might take a photograph and put it on social media and share it with them. There are some things like when I was in Las Vegas I was into photography – well I still am into photography – I took photos when I was staying at Hard Rock Hotel and I went into restaurants at a couple of places down there and I wanted to get nice shots of the place because I’d been there a number of times. This means something to me; I always look forward to coming to this restaurant.
Then I went to another place, Frankie’s Tiki Room, and it’s just very eclectic. It’s kind of like a 50’s Tiki Room and you can just imagine there are little illuminated fish … but I knew someone who was really into tiki stuff and I thought, I need to go do this for somebody. It’s all part of the same trip and some of it is going to be for me, some of it is going to be for someone I’m thinking about, but I don’t always plan that in advance. Like oh, I know so and so is going to want to see this.
Maybe you do think about that in advance. Like if you’ve got family or friends who say, “Oh, while you’re there, could you do this or do that?” It’s not so much about buying something for them as it is capturing something for them. Give them a little memory too.
Lee: Yes. I remember Tové had a friend when she was much younger and we didn’t live here at the time. This kid was just in awe of the fact that Tové was getting to go to Disney time after time. She was a sweet little girl. I also knew that the odds of her coming over any time soon if she is ever going to come over, were pretty close to zero. It was just because they were from a very large family and that kind of trip is a very difficult thing to do and very expensive as well.
There were certain characters that the kid liked and we actually went and bought post cards of those characters and got them autographed when Tové met them, with her name on. That is something that you can do with the princesses especially – the face characters – you are able to speak with them and they will write the name if you want it. Or you can write the name and they will sign it.
So that was just something nice to do for somebody else for sharing.
William: That’s pretty cool. See I didn’t even realize that because I’ve never had to raise a child from that age that wanted something so I’ve never gone to visit the Disney Princesses. Oh, I take that back. I met Ariel.
Lee: And then you married a villain!
William: Well Ariel kept calling me Sailor! I got a photo of Ariel. She was very nice!
William: I’m not sure why she thought I was a sailor, but OK.
Lee: She was talking to you, sweetheart.
William: Yes she was.
Another one is video, and especially with YouTube in the past few years this has really grown. A lot of people … when I was growing up it was very rare to see someone that had that little 8mm camera and they were out there taking movies and then they would bring them home. Most people didn’t do that.
These days everyone has an iPhone or Android or some kind of small digital camera. People are taking videos all over the place.
Lee: And you can live stream them now. People can watch them in real time.
William: We have talked about doing this. We wanted to go through and take some videos and share them with other folks and I thought that’s a nice idea! I want to do it, it’s just that I haven’t really got into it yet. I’m a picky person and if I’m going to do videos, I don’t just want to do a video and throw it up there. I want to have some kind of story behind it. I want to have a nice introduction or whatever.
Lee: You tend to plan things and put them together very carefully rather than just throwing them out there.
William: Yeah, I over think everything.
Lee: I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think we actually work quite well as a team. I’m the opposite. I go and see something and I seize the moment and grab it and then decide afterwards, now is this useful?
William: What I’ve realized is it is good to just go out there and grab stuff. You can assemble it and put all that stuff together later on. Like our last trip out there the trolley was out and I got a short little video of the trolley and horse in front of the castle. It’s just a small clip – maybe ten seconds or so – but I liked it. That is just a moment in the park. We put enough of those moments together and then we’ve got something that we can kind of assemble. It takes a bit of work though.
Lee: That is true. It’s just that what I’m saying is we have got our different approaches. The only thing with me going out and being so spur of the moment, I bring home a lot more delete worthy trash!
William: Maybe so, but you also get some gems that I maybe wouldn’t get if I am planning ahead and saying I’m ignoring everything except for what’s on my plan.
Lee: Well, as I say, we work well together as a team.
William: So that’s kind of what we are recommending. It’s good to plan, but don’t forget the moment that you’re in. If there is something there, capture it. You don’t know how you are going to use it. You may use it later on, but if you don’t capture it, you’ll never have the choice or the option to use it.
Lee: Here is one more suggestion and this is again going back to younger children. Bring some photographs, make some little postcard sized cards or do whatever you want; get the kids to decorate and personalize them in planning for it, buy some postcards. And every day let each of the children write the best parts of that day or the things that stood out to them.
William: Get your memories while they are happening.
Lee: If they are too young, let them draw a little picture and mom or dad can put the caption there just so that you are aware. But you can actually put those together. You get the double sided flip albums – usually the inexpensive ones – if you pull the paper insert out, you’ve got the double side so you can see both sides of the card. And you can make a story by the kids of the whole thing and it’s a really cool way to do it.
William: See that is a nice memory, especially later on when your kids grow up and you want to embarrass him or her in front of their new spouse!
Lee: Yes it is and sadly for Tové we have got tens of thousands of photos. Although I try never to take photos that would ever be embarrassing or make her feel bad. That’s just a rule that I have for anybody.
William: No, you don’t want to embarrass your children when they are grown up.
Lee: Or any time, really.
William: Yeah. Here’s a thought. You collect your souvenirs or your memories based upon a theme and the reason I’m bringing that up is we have got friends who have a tiki bar – Kenny and Elaine.
Lee: Oh, yes. Beautiful!
William: Yeah. Here’s a thought. You collect your souvenirs or your memories based upon a theme and the reason I’m bringing that up is we have got friends who have a tiki bar – Kenny and Elaine.
Lee: Oh, yes. Beautiful bar!
William: When they come to Orlando and Florida, they are looking for things that they can add to their bar. Does it make sense to work on a theme? Are you going to come to Orlando and say, “I really want a theme”?
So for example, you are into Tigger. You want a Tigger coffee mug. Do you want a Tigger print? Do you want to build on it or do you want to just collect a “this is my whole vacation experience”?
Lee: I think if you already have a theme or you have something that is always very important to you or at the forefront of your mind, whether it’s all the time at home or just on vacation in that location, I think go for it. If that is something you want to do it’s probably not going to be to the exclusion of everything else in any event.
I do not think there is really any merit in creating or busting yourself to try and create a theme if you don’t have one. There might be a theme that emerges during your trip. So maybe it’s particularly rainy or hot or you just have lots of music; something happens that you weren’t anticipating that is positive or different. You can go with that theme. But I would say don’t ignore everything else unless you are just particularly passionate about something. You can overlook little details that are later important.
William: Well there are other types of themes. There is a Russian businessman and his girlfriend and I’m probably going to mispronounce his name. Murad Osmann. This is the guy who got very popular because he took a photograph of him holding his girlfriend’s hand as she walked away. It was like “follow me.” All over the world they are traveling and what you see is him holding her hand and taking a picture as she leads him down the path or down the way.
It’s a theme taken from different places.
I’ve also seen people who will come to Orlando and then they will go to different sites and then strike the same pose and take their shots that way. So it’s like, here I am as Abraham Lincoln in front of Cinderella’s castle, here is Abraham Lincoln in front of the Tree of Life over at Animal Kingdom and so on.
So it’s a little crazy, it’s a little fun, it’s a little quirky, but these are your memories. You can capture them any way you want.
Lee: Another thing Tové used to do is every year we started taking a photo in front of that Winnie the Pooh and Tigger statue at Disney Springs. There were two years running where we got there and the statue wasn’t there. I think one year was during the construction and we just didn’t bother to go back. It was chaotic that year.
But I’m sorry that we didn’t keep up with it, because you look at her from really young and each year she gets taller and taller and eventually the two of us are almost the same height.
William: You guys have another tendency though. When you are doing your ride photos ….
Lee: We make faces.
William: You make faces. I never know where the cameras are. I’m the one that screws up the photos now that we are a family, but I will make a face and turn back and then it flashes! I’m usually just a little too late for it.
Lee: I remember getting off of Space Mountain and they had to clear and authorize release of our photo once because the cast member said the pose I struck looked like I was strangling myself because my eyes were popping out! It was done on purpose, but it wasn’t meant to look like that.
So she wanted to clear that there was nothing inappropriate about it. It was really amusing in itself. The manager came in and started laughing. He said it was a great photograph.
William: I thought it was actually cool that you guys had a theme of these kinds of ride photos. If you go back and look at your Space Mountain photos from over the past six or seven years you can see her grow up, you can see the expressions change, you can see your costumes from when you are at Halloween party nights. You’ve got quite a collection of memories just from Space Mountain alone.
Lee: We do.
And it’s kind of sad that they only brought the digital purchase loaded onto your pre-purchased photo package in recent years because there were all those years before where you had to buy them. And I think it was about $20-22 a pop so we would choose maybe two or three rides from the trip. By the time you’re done, you’ve bought the frames, you’ve spent over $100 just on those as well as your photo package. So it’s good stuff.
William: At any rate, we hope you enjoyed this. We want to let you know there are a lot of things you can remember about your Orlando vacation and there are a lot of ways to do it. We hope that this gives you some ideas and please leave us a comment. Let us know what some of your favorite memories are and how you capture them.
Once again, thank you very much for listening to the Orlando Local Show, episode number eighteen. I was wondering if I was going to get that out of my mouth this time!
Lee: It worked.
William: I kind of tripped over Local!
And a reminder, show notes are going to be available at orlandolocal.com/18 and you get a free transcript of the show there.
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