We are Ben and Brendt. And like the rest of you, we are obsessed with the 3” collectible known as Vinylmation. However, unlike many of you, we have the extreme disadvantage of living thousands of miles away from a Disney park. While those in Orlando and Anaheim get to enter Fantasyland or Futureworld to make their purchases and trades, we have to drive 30 minutes to the closest shopping mall. Not only is it a less glamorous setting, but also there are limitations to what is available for purchase. While we understand there is a market for the Disney Store exclusive sets, we are more interested in the Vinylmation that represent the Disney attractions and characters we have grown to love. There have been several sets sold in Disney Stores that meet these criteria, but there is not much room for our collection to grow when all that can be found in a trading box are Cutesters, Robots, and Under the Big Top.
Another option to getting our hands on limited edition sets and park exclusives is through DisneyStore.com. However, not everything that is available in the parks even goes up on the site. Even when we do get lucky, there is the added stress of hot items selling out very quickly. Not to mention that you don’t even know if your order went through. There have even been occasions where, after waiting a week for items to arrive, we open our package to find the items damaged. Being all the way in New Jersey, the only way to attempt to get items that are not in Disney Stores or online, is to get on the phone and call guest services. The disadvantage to this tactic is the products aren’t even available for us to order until two weeks after they are on sale in the parks. They even play Disney songs while on hold to torture and remind you how far from the parks you actually are. Now, all of this may sound a little cynical, but the truth of the matter is, we love collecting. We enjoy the chase of trying to finish sets, and anticipating what is in that blind box.
Recently we have discovered a whole community through Facebook and Instagram, to help further our trades. The fact of the matter is, it is still extremely possible to have a thriving collection, even in our conditions. Our goal with this column is to comment on our experiences of collecting in this environment. We look forward to hearing from others in the same boat as us.