Vinylmation 360

About the Column

The biggest new Disney collectible craze is Vinylmation. These little vinyl figures resemble Disney characters and they're eagerly sought by thousands of folks some of whom know in their sleep the terminology, release dates, and arcane facts necessary to become a Vinylmation master. For the many who aren't so vinyl savvy, Kelly Firth is here to help. Her new column, Vinylmation 360, will indeed provide a full 360 degree experience from the bare basics of blind boxes to the tippy top of cutting-edge tips and teasingly true trivia. Ready? Get your Vinyl on!

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FROM: Vinylmation 360 Published Mondays

Vinylmation Trading at Disney World, Part 2

Kelly spent much of a recent trip to Disney World trading Vinylmation figures. If you know what you're doing, you can acquire some choice vinyls. And if you don't, well, why take the chance: follow Kelly's adventures and become a master trader.

In my July 24th column, I started sharing with readers the luck (and lack thereof!) I had in May while trading Vinylmation throughout Disney World. This week, it's time for more trading stories!

Day 5: Resort and DTD Day

Every WDW trip, I like to spend one day at my home resort, other resorts, and Downtown Disney. This year's trip was no different. Along the way, I got some trading in and my luck finally started to turn around!

Wilderness Lodge Mercantile: After a nice lunch at Wilderness Lodge's Whispering Canyon Cafe, I headed over to Mercantile in time for mystery trading. I did not like the first vinyl I picked (Hello, Animation's Phil! Goodbye, Animation's Phil!), and the Cast Member was nice enough to let me pick a second time. I ended up with the Pluto's Sweater vinyl from Have a Laugh (HAL for short). After avoiding him the first few days of my trip, I decided to keep him. I don't particularly like the vinyl, but 1. I didn't have it and 2. Pluto is one of the Fab Five. At this point I was still concerned I would not be able to trade away all of the vinyls I brought, so I needed to be less picky. The clear trading box was deja vu: Park 3's Big Al, HAL's Turtle, and Animation's Phil (Hello and goodbye, yet again!).

Grand Floridian: Later in the day, we had a dinner reservation at the Floridian. That gave me a chance to scope out the trading situation there. I found a mystery trading box in the main Disney merchandise store, located on the second floor of the main building. This store sells vinyls, pins, toys, and other merchandise for the younger set. I chose one number and decided to keep what I got: Urban 5's Green Argyle Sweater vinyl. Or at least, that's what I call it! Also not a favorite, but again, not a vinyl I already had. If a clear trading box was located here, I did not see it.

Beach Club Marketplace : This is where my luck finally started to turn around. I had never been to the Beach Club before, and I decided to look around after visiting Beaches 'n Cream (an ice cream parlor that leaves you with a sugar rush of epic proportions; Google search 'The Kitchen Sink' or the 'No Way Jose' sundae, and you'll see what I mean).

What did I spy in the clear trading box? Park 6's 'Magic Kingdom, Epcot: Next Right' sign vinyl! (Now there's a mouthful!) This was actually my third most wanted vinyl from Park 6, so I was very excited to find it. There are two variants of this vinyl as well (an 'Animal Kingdom' version, and an 'All Other Guest Areas' version), but I was happy just to have the common one.

I did not spot a mystery trading box at the Marketplace. I assumed that it was there but only brought out at certain times, like the mystery box at WL's Mercantile.

Beach Club Marketplace

Disney Outfitters, your best bet for trading in Animal Kingdom. Located in Discovery Island.

The scene at one of the clear trading boxes at Disney Outfitters: Alice looks on in shock as Big Al faints from being unwanted and abandoned, yet again. Tiger Suit Kid is just happy to be in Animal Kingdom!

Mystery trading box at Disney Outfitters

The second trading box at Disney Outfitters. L to R: HAL's Turtle, Park 6's Tiki Statue, and Cutesters Too's Winter/Snow Kid.

Another mystery trading spot in DAK, Island Mercantile. Located in Discovery Island.

Mystery trading box at Island Mercantile

Fantasia, the best (and possibly only) spot for Vinylmation trading in the Contemporary Resort. Located on the 4th floor concourse.

After my successful trade at Beach Club, I headed over to Downtown Disney to shop. I managed a couple of trades, as well.

Once Upon A Toy: A mystery vinyl trading box (and possibly a clear box as well) is located behind the registers in the middle of the store. This is in the same large room that contained Star Wars and Toy Story merchandise, along with theme park toys such as monorail play sets. I told the Cast Member about my overall trading luck thus far, and she was nice enough to ask me what series of vinyls I was looking for. With a little "help", I wound up with Toy Story's Hamm, one of the last vinyls I was missing from that series.

Pin Traders: Somehow I doubt most casual collectors realize that the pin store in DTD also sells and trades vinyls, so this is a good spot to check for decent traders in the clear boxes. I got quite lucky and spotted Park 6's Monstro the Whale, which I quickly traded for. My Park 6 collection was finally starting to grow! Besides the three that I had traded for, by that point I had also blind boxed a Hollywood Studios clapboard vinyl, a Donald Duck Green Wet Paint vinyl, an Orange Monorail vinyl, and a non-damaged Norway Troll vinyl. Things were finally looking up, and I had high hopes for the next day.

Day 6: Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios

Animal Kingdom's trading opportunities are fairly contained. There is supposed to be a clear trading box in the main store outside of the entrance (it was not available when I was there); several boxes in the stores in Discovery Island; two trading locations in DinoLand, USA; and one location in Asia. I didn't stop by the stores in Asia, and I saved DinoLand for another day. My trading on Day 6 at DAK was limited to locations in Discovery Island.

Disney Outfitters : Here I found a clear trading box and a mystery trading box in the collectibles area of the store, and another clear trading box at the register at the far end of the store. The first clear trading box near collectibles was ho hum: Park 3's Big Al, Animation's Alice, and the infamous Tiger Suit Kid. I tried my hand at mystery trading instead, and wonder of wonders, I received Park's 6 Disneyland Paris Space Mountain vinyl.

I browsed through the rest of the store and discovered the other trading box. My lucky streak continued: Park 6's Tiki Statue joined yet another HAL's Turtle and a Winter/Snow Kid. Adding two more Park 6 vinyls to my collection made my trading day at DAK a big success, but I still had a little more good luck ahead of me there.

Island Mercantile: This store in Discovery Island had a mystery box of 24 available. On my first try, I received a pink checkerboard vinyl from Urban 5. Generally speaking, I do not like the Urban Series vinyls, but this design was one of the few that I actually wanted to get.

On my way out of the park later in the day, I checked back at Outfitters to see what was in the clear boxes, but little to nothing had changed.

Now, if you're a Disney World theme park fan like I am, Animal Kingdom alone in one day does not cut it. They close too early for me to feel like I got in a full park day. So, I used my park hopper to head to Hollywood Studios for the rest of the night.

Animation Gallery: The Cast Member here gave me some hints on the series that the mystery box contained, and "guided" me in the direction of another vinyl I was missing: Toy Story's Buttercup.

The clear box had the same assortment of usual suspects, as did the clear boxes at Mickey's of Hollywood: more vinyls of Big Baby, Big Al, Cutesters Too Kids, Phil, and HAL's Pluto's Sweaters and Turtles. I can certainly see why many people do not care for most of these vinyls; either the characters or designs themselves are, shall we say, acquired tastes. The lone exception is Big Al from Country Bear Jamboree. How can a Disney fan not love Big Al? So sad!

Day 7: Contemporary Resort, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios

Fantasia: One of my favorite Disney World traditions is to eat breakfast at Chef Mickey's, and then do some quick shopping in the Contemporary before heading to a park. The only place I spotted vinyls at the Contemporary was Fantasia, the open-air store located on the 4th floor concourse. Of all of the resort gift shops I visited this trip, this one definitely had the best vinyl selection.

The Cast Members here were extra friendly. I received the Villains vinyl Madame Mim (from Sword in the Stone) on my first mystery trading try. I wasn't really looking for her, but she was one of the few villains I needed to complete that set. There may have been a clear trading box here as well, but I'm not sure.

From the Contemporary, I headed back to Wilderness Lodge to drop off my purchases and catch the boat launch to Magic Kingdom. I checked the clear box at the Art of Disney Store on my way in and out of the park, but there was nothing out of the ordinary there.

Frontierland Trading Post: Since I had such great luck here the first time, I decided to try my luck at mystery trading again after I paid a visit to Tom Sawyer's Island. This was, without question, my worst trading experience all trip.

The Cast Member was friendly and explained that I could trade one time, but if I didn't like the vinyl I received, I didn't have to trade. That was actually important to me this time because all I had left were trader vinyls that I didn't have extras of back home. Most of these I didn't care to keep, but I was iffy about trading a couple of them. In particular, this trader was a dark green clear vinyl. Nothing special, but one I really liked and didn't want to trade unless I got something I was actually looking for in return.

Even now, I still don't understand what happened. The Cast Member took my vinyl before he would give me my new vinyl (common practice at many trading spots). That new vinyl was a vinyl I had already traded away multiple times. Naturally, I didn't want this one either. Here's the thing, though - the CM, who was still perfectly polite, would not give me back my vinyl. Even though he had said before that I did not have to trade, suddenly I had to trade and could not "undo" my trade. At this point, I was in a hurry to get to Hollywood Studios, so I let it go. But I was not happy about it!

Parents, spend some time with your children before they start trading and make sure they want to trade the vinyls they take with them to the parks. It should help prevent some unhappy little ones losing a vinyl they actually like.

Over at Hollywood Studios, the usual unwanted vinyl assortments were in the clear trading boxes found in Mickey's of Hollywood and Villains in Vogue.

Stage One Company Store: I had better luck with mystery trading the second time than I did on my first park day. On my first pick, I got Toy Story's Lotso. I loathe Lotso, but that finished my Toy Story collection except for the chaser. In the end, I was very pleased.

Check back on August 14th for the final installment of my Disney World trading adventures. I'll share with you my finds from the last two days of my vacation, advice on carrying vinyls around in the parks, overall thoughts, and a picture of all of the vinyls I traded for.

Until then, happy trading and collecting!

Mark Your Calendars

Friday, August 12: Park 6 Series Matterhorn Bobsleds and China Pavilion 9" vinyls scheduled for release at D-Street WDW and on DisneyStore.com. Matterhorn Bobsleds: LE 800. China Pavilion: LE 800. Retail price: $44.95 each. NOTE: I am assuming that these are also being released on the 12th at DLR. However, they are missing from the DLR Release Schedule section of the official Vinylmation site. Check the blog and events page on that site later this week for clarification.

Friday, August 12: Park 6 Series 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 9"/3" combo set scheduled for release on DisneyStore.com. Online Exclusive. LE 1,000. Retail price: $74.95.

Friday, August 12: Vinylmation Black and White scheduled for release at D-Street WDW and D-Street DLR, and on DisneyStore.com. LE: 2,000. Retail price: $99.95.

On the last Sunday of every month, I'll devote this column to your questions and my answers. You can leave questions here as comments or else send them directly to me.


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