I’ve told the story many times. A few years ago, I walked past those Vinylmation display shelves and just itched to buy one. But the idea of not knowing what I would get was a foreign idea to me. So I kept passing. But one July day I walked into MouseGears and Disney had set up trade boxes behind the counter. I bought ten boxes that day. Then returned 3 times a week for months just to trade. We have just received word of a rumor of an internal memo sent to various merchandise locations at Walt Disney World stating that as of February 2, 2013 many locations around the resort will no longer offer trading. We have heard that no resorts and only the following locations will continue to offer trading: Emporium (Magic Kingdom), MouseGears and Disney Traders (Epcot), Villains in Vogue (DHS), Island Mercantile (DAK), D-Street and Disney Pin Traders (DTD).
So, we ask, is Trading at the parks dying? Please weigh in with your thoughts. This will be a feature on the next podcast so leave your comments here to be read on the show. Or, better yet, call 209-28-MOUSE and leave a voicemail to be played on the show.
n my opinion, it would be hard to bring back the “hey day” of park trading. With the abundance of sets, outlet discounts and general awareness, finding special or even needed figures at the parks for hard core collectors is next to impossible. There is however still merit for new or occasional traders. A friend of mine from New York had a blast finding figures he liked through park trading. But as fun as vinyl trading with Cast Members is, it never felt as smooth as pin trading.
There are both pros and cons to park trading. A pro would be guest interaction. But that comes at a cost. The boxes are at registers, so unlike pin trading, vinyl trading clogs up the lines. There is also more of a break in the work rhythm when a CM has to carry a box over to you as opposed to showing off a lanyard. I know I’d find it annoying as a worker. Another pro, is you introduce people to the product. Vinylmation has always had that “what is that?” factor. There are also those Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) where fellow collectors will leave behind valuable figures for others to find. Another pro would be Cast Exclusive traders. How fun is it to be on the lookout for a figure you know you can’t buy in the store? One more con would be the cost for Disney. We have seen our fair share of broken trade boxes. Replacing those can not be fun for the number crunchers that work for the mouse.
In conclusion, my thought is limited trading at the parks is not a bad thing. For the average guest, it will still provide an intro to the hobby. For the advanced collector, online trade groups fill that gap with excellence. Sure you can not trade your commons up for a more coveted figure, but those days have largely passed anyway. My worries lie in the lack of the bi-monthly trade events at the parks. Those, in my opinion, are more vital to the hobby than plastic boxes at the register filled with outlet vinyls.
P.S. As I put the finishing touches on this article while walking around Animal Kingdom this morning, I found a Mascot Donald in an open trade box. I excitedly traded for it so I have an extra to display with all my Donald stuff. So what do I know?!