Classic Disney Souvenir: The Cut Paper Silhouette

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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:

Having a silhouette portrait cut on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.

Having a silhouette portrait cut on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.

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.

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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.

Cart in Liberty Square.

Cart in Liberty Square.

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.

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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.

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Posted on October 27, 2013

16 Responses to “Classic Disney Souvenir: The Cut Paper Silhouette”

  • I had this done in 1976! I still have the silhouette and it is a wonderful souvenir of a childhood trip to Walt Disney World. Thanks for the great post.

  • I get one of these done every time we go for each of my kids…I have sort of a silhouette wall now. I love them! Best souvenir at Disney!

  • I think this is by far one of the best deals on property! The artists are amazingly talented, and the price can’t be beat! When I had my daughter’s silhouette done last year, we had one of those almost-eerie experiences of kismet/coincidence/only-at-Disney magic in an exchange with the artist. Amazing. I will remember it always. And the finished product is gorgeous!

  • I had never heard of this before and I read your tour books religiously before each vacation! =( My kids are grown now, but we’ll have to check this out next time. Thanks for sharing!

  • Because they cut two profiles–mirror images– at the same time, you leave with one for you and one for a grandparent or other family member. What a deal! I can’t recommend getting the frames enough. We didn’t our first time and I couldn’t find what I wanted in the stores at home at the correct size. Our second time, I bought the frames and had them sent back to our resort. One of the most affordable and cherished Christmas gifts we’ve ever given the grandparents!

  • Thank you for this! I had never heard of this and never paid attention to the carts, I guess too much of a hurry… This will be a must do next trip.

  • I love this souvenir! I get my girls done at the same time frame (2nd birthday, 6th, 10th…) and my mom and I both have them hanging in our houses. I’m always surprised how much they really resemble my girls! Best and one of the cheapest souvenirs!

  • by Tamra Carambelas on October 27, 2013, at 11:15 pm EST

    Hands down my favorite Disney souvenir! It freezes your family in time and is fun to look back on when everybody starts growing up. The reasonable price makes it the most affordable and best-value-for-your-dollar souvenir in the parks! A definite must-do.

  • Just had my daughter do this last year for both of her grandmothers. Great souvenir. The man that did it has been doing them since the 80′s. He mentioned that he doesn’t do nearly as many as he used to back then. Made me sad. :(
    We did these when we were young and I am so glad I got to share with tradition with my daughter. Hope it is still appreciated when my daughter takes her kids someday….

  • I had this done at Disneyland when I was a child… I just recently had my own children’s done and it was done by the same lady! Amazing! Definitely a wonderful keepsake and I love that you get 2 of them! I have mine hanging with my childrens now (just missing my husbands, trying to find an old photo of his profile to have it done as well… they will cut from a picture if the person isn’t there and you have a profile picture of them) and my mom has the other one hanging in her house with all my siblings!

  • We had our two boys done in 2010 and plan to do it again the December when we are visiting. This is my absolute favorite souvenir in the park, and i can’t wait to see the difference 3 years will make.

  • Absolutely love these ! I have them done each time we visit and they are always so beautiful! Always give the second set to their grandparents and they adore them as well. This is the one souvenir I can’t pass up.

  • We had these silhouettes done of our three children back in 1986 when they were little. Now we are going to have them done of their children when we go back next week. Two generations of these. If they are only $8.00 each, then the prices have only gone up about a dollar since then!! Great deal!

  • Our silhouettes from the 1990s were knocked off the wall and the frames were broken. Is there any way I could buy four frames? Please let me know by email. Thank you. Sally Kain