This is Hands Down the BEST Disney Souvenir…and You May Have Never Heard of It!

Wanna know a secret? I’mma let you in on the best Disney souvenir.

Main Street, U.S.A.

But just don’t go telling everybody, or else the secret will be out and everyone will want one! Let’s keep this between just us, ok?

What if I told you the best, most unique, one of a kind, “captures the spirit of your Disney vacation” family memento you’ll cherish forever and ever souvenir costs just ten bucks (plus tax)?

What if I told you it’s a delicate, incredible art that has been practiced since the second day Disneyland opened its doors in 1955 and is STILL going strong today?

I’m talking about the Silhouette Artists in Disney Parks. Ever heard of them? Chances are, you might be like most guests who rush on by past these locations in a hurry for a FastPass or en route to a Mickey Pretzel. If you do know about these incredibly talented folks, congrats — you are awesome. 😉

Silhouette Studio in Disneyland ©Disney

For everyone else, let’s give a little back story. On July 18th, 1955, the Silhouette Studio on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland opened its doors — that’s one day after the park opened! A guest (or guests — they can do a whole family in one silhouette!) sits for a minute or so while a silhouette artist cuts their profile TOTALLY FREEHAND just by sight with a small pair of scissors.

Silhouette Artist at Work ©Disney

I know. Mindblowing! Try it. Right now. Go get some paper and scissors, and try to cut the perfect silhouette of a family member’s face freehand and absolutely nail it the first time. Couldn’t do it? Yeah, neither could I. It’s an incredibly difficult skill to master, and only a select few artists in the world can do it!

Silhouette Artist Cutting a Silhouette ©Disney

The history of this incredible art dates back to the 1700’s in France. Paper cutters would attend parties thrown by the royal class as a form of entertainment for the guests. Think of how weddings nowadays often have photo booths for guests — same idea. Around the same time, the French Finance Minister, Ettienne de Silhouette, was taxing the French people so much that many could barely afford to survive. He was fascinated by cutting paper profiles and practiced it all the time — so much so that it became a source of ridicule by the French people who protested and mocked him for his taxation. They would wear all black and claim to be just shadows, too poor to wear color. They called themselves Silhouettes, after his name. The term stuck!

Silhouettes ©Disney

Centuries later, this artform has all but disappeared — but you can still get yours in the Disney Parks! For instance, in Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom, just after crossing the bridge from the hub and across from Sleepy Hollow, is a tiny and almost indiscernible stand tucked into the corner. Here, Jan is one of the few artists who have mastered this skill. She’s been doing it for over 30 years!

Silhouette Artist at Work in Disney World

There are families that have a tradition of capturing their vacation with a family silhouette, and their silhouettes have grown just like their families have. Often the same artist has literally watched families grow in front of them over the years! Yet, not too surprisingly, in the age of a zillion and one flashier, cooler souvenirs in all of the parks gift shops, the silhouette artists aren’t as known as you’d expect!

Silhouette Cart in Liberty Square

The best part about this incredible souvenir? It seriously costs just $11.99 per person. Due to the nature of how the silhouettes are cut, you actually get two copies — both are unique in that they’re mirrors of themselves. Two unique souvenirs for the price of one! If you want your silhouette framed, it will cost you $19.99.

Anyone could easily drop about 30 bucks on a pair of Minnie Ears, but for the same price, you can get a perfect memory captured of your kids in Disney World (plus an extra copy!) that you’ll cherish forever (at least that’s what I did!). You might regret those Ears when you get home and toss them in a closet, but you’ll always appreciate a unique memory of you, a friend, or a loved one.

Kids’ Silhouettes From Disney World

Where are these talented artists located?

  • In Disneyland, the Silhouette Studio is located on Main Street, U.S.A..
  • In Disney World, at Magic Kingdom you can find a silhouette cart halfway down Main Street, on the right when facing Cinderella Castle.
  • Also in Magic Kingdom, at the entrance to Liberty Square.
  • In Epcot, there’s a small easel in the France Pavilion
  • In Disney Springs there’s a silhouette cart in the Marketplace, just next to Ghirardelli Soda Fountain.

So give the Silhouette artists some love next time you’re in the parks. They’re incredible artisans keeping a dying art alive!

Have you ever had a silhouette captured in a Disney Park? Let us know in the comments!

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9 Replies to “This is Hands Down the BEST Disney Souvenir…and You May Have Never Heard of It!”

  1. Do you know if they do this at every park? I recently visited Disneyland Paris and didn’t find a studio. We had ours done at Tokyo Disneyland just a few years ago. I’m curious to know why some parks have it and some don’t.

  2. Your grasp of the historical origin of the Silhouette name seems a bit loose – I’d love to see the sources.

    From what I can tell, the term “ala Silhouette” was used to mean “in its cheapest form” by the nobility because they didn’t like the new taxes. So a coat “ala Silhouette” would be a coat with no nice lining or pockets. The stories about Etienne de Silhouette actually practicing profile cut outs doesn’t seem to have any basis in fact (or any supporting evidence anyway). Not that it’s easy to track down evidence since his chateau was burned to the ground after the revolution (he’d died previously, but his cousin who inherited the place…and his job…was Guillotined).

    So instead of buying a sculpted bust, or a painted portrait, poorer people would get a portrait “ala Silhouette”….so a poorer, cheaper portrait – in most cases a profile drawing. Since that kind of drawing was a fairly new style, the name fell out of use for everything else (or to mean just “cheap”), but stuck to the style of black, profile outline.

    1. I’m not here for a history lesson. They explained the term loosely because they aren’t here to teach a history lesson either, just give a little background to this fantastic souvenir.

  3. Family friends went to Disneyland back in the mid 60s and had one of each of the children done. The silhouettes truly did look like each of those children. I always admired it, and obviously have remembered it for close to 50 years. Will be in EPCOT this summer with 10 yo grandson. Guess what I am wanting!

  4. My husband and I had our silhouettes done on our honeymoon to Disney World in 1983. We had our three children sit for their silhouettes in 1995 for their first trip. And my son just had his family’s silhouettes done last month to commemorate his sons first trip! I love them all!

  5. On my girls’ trip to Disney World with my mom in January this was my must-have souvenir! I brought a picture of my dog and was able to send it to the artist. She created the most incredible silhouette that really captured my pup’s personality and I’m absolutely obsessed!

  6. My husband and I had our silhouettes done just before we got married. We actually used them on our wedding program. Ever since then our kids’ first visits to the park were commemorated with their silhouette. It takes only a few minutes and it’s a wonderful memory we have hanging in our home.

  7. Yes! We did this on a trip a few years ago and have them hanging proudly in our living room. We even asked them to make a silhouette of our dog via a picture provided on the cell phone. It was the first time that I think they had ever had that request and we are speaking back-and-forth in French about how to go about it. They absolutely turned out fabulous and are such a wonderful keepsake.