One of favorite Disney souvenirs has absolutely nothing to do with Mickey, Minnie, or any other Disney character. It’s all about my kids and their beautiful faces (just one mom’s opinion :-)) captured in a moment of stillness. Of course I’m talking about the Cut Paper Silhouette. These miniature works of art are created on the spot, right at Walt Disney World. They’re a unique instant heirloom, and as an added bonus they’re sold at a very reasonable price point. Here’s what you need to know:
What exactly is a Cut Paper Silhouette?
Pretty much what it sounds like. You pose for an artist who cuts a portrait of your profile from plain black paper, resulting in a shadow-like image.
Where can I have this done at Walt Disney World?
The silhouette artists are stationed in several locations. The one that most folks see first is a cart on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. It’s on the right as you’re facing the castle, about half way down the street. There’s another cart in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, as well as a cart at Downtown Disney, and an easel in the France area at Epcot.
How much does it cost?
Prices can change, but currently (fall 2013) each silhouette cutting costs $8.00. This is the per person rate. For this fee, you typically get two mirror image silhouette portraits. The silhouette carts also sell frames suitable for displaying the silhouettes. The basic model costs about $8.00. The frames add to the presentation, but they’re by no means required. Pricing at the Downtown Disney cart may be slightly higher than the price in the parks.
Are there specific hours?
The carts have variable hours depending on the day/season. Stop by any guest relations office to inquire about the hours at the time of your visit. Also bear in mind that these are artists stationed outdoors, so they may curtail service during inclement weather.
What is the framing like?
They’re sturdy black plastic, with a painted gold detail on an interior rim. From a moderate distance they look quite substantial. If you’re looking for something more ornate or made of different materials, you’re certainly welcome to take your silhouettes home and have them framed at a local vendor.
How long does it take?
It’s amazingly quick, less than two minutes for each person posing. When I had this done, each of the five members of my family posed, we had the cuttings framed, and had everything paid for in about 15 minutes.
Are there age requirements for this?
No, they’ll cut portraits of anyone, even babies.
What if my child won’t sit still?
With little kids, the squirm factor may be an issue. While the pose time is short, you do have to remain fairly still during that time. If you have a preschooler or toddler, you may want to load up your phone/iPod/tablet/etc. with a favorite movie and hold it at eye level, just in front of the child. That’s usually enough to keep them still and engage their attention for a minute or two.
You can also have children sit on mom or dad’s lap during the portrait cutting, if this makes them feel more secure.
Are all the artists good? Will this really look like my child?
Many of the silhouette artists have been there for years. I first had silhouettes cut of my family in 2007. When I was at Walt Disney World in September 2013, I saw the same artist at the Magic Kingdom, still cutting portraits. She’s wonderful at her job, getting every detail right, even down to the earrings and eyelashes.
If you have concerns, you’re welcome to watch the artists work with other guests to assess their skill, but for the most part they are extremely talented. And worst case scenario, you’re only out eight bucks.
Will there be a long wait to have this done?
There is rarely a line for this service. If several guests are interested at the same time, they’ll often make a “first come, first served” list and give you an estimate of when to come back.
Why do I see some frames holding one portrait and others with several portraits?
You can choose how you want the silhouettes to be presented. You can have each family member framed separately, or if you’re looking to economize (or just like the look better) you can have several silhouettes presented in the same frame. It often works best if these are children youngest/smallest to oldest or a couple together.
I’m nervous about carrying this around an having it ruined. What are my options?
The silhouettes are typically given to you protected by sturdy cardboard, or safely housed in a frame (if you’ve chosen that option). However, if you still don’t want to carry the art, you can arrange to pick it up at the cart later in the day or have it sent to your Disney resort.
Any other tips?
If you’re having your daughter styled at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, you can get a really fun silhouette cut with her presented in princess style.
You can scan the silhouettes at home and use the art in any way that you might use a photograph. Make it your Facebook profile picture (A profile for your profile, ha!). Use the art for your holiday cards. Embellish a tote bag for grandma’s birthday. Craft the perfect scrapbook page. Use the images of couple for an engagement or wedding party invitation. You get the idea – just have fun!
Have you had silhouettes made of your family? Is this something you’d like to do in the future? What have your experiences been? Let us know in the comments below.