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!

Disney Swag: The T-Shirt

Get yours now!

Subscribe to Disney Dispatch Digest

And receive a daily email summary of new stuff on the site.

FROM: Vinylmation 360 Published Mondays

Vinylmation Trading at Disney World, Part 3

Kelly visits Chester and Hester's Dino Treasures and The Breezeway store as she wraps up her trading activities.


In the July 24th and August 7th Vinylmation 360 columns, I shared with readers a lot of my trading stories from my May Walt Disney World vacation. This column marks the third and final installment. Did I trade for any more exciting vinyls? Did I ever find a 40th Anniversary Cast Chaser? Read on to find out!

Day 8: Animal Kingdom and Epcot
My second to last day in WDW was split between Animal Kingdom and Epcot. I hadn’t made it to Dinoland, USA at all on my first day there, so that was my mission for the day.
Disney Outfitters: In one of the clear boxes, I spotted a red and black gears bear vinyl from the Urban 5 Series. I am not a fan of the gears bears, but I that one has such a shiny and bright paint job, that I couldn’t help but love it. I quickly made the trade and headed over to Dinoland.

Chester and Hester’s Dino Treasures: This is one of the more unusual stores in all of WDW, with kitschy, but somehow fitting, theming everywhere you look.

Chester & Hester's

Much like D-Street, some of the neatest things you will find at Chester and Hester’s Dino Treasures are above your head!

It is set up to look like a roadside gift shop, themed to Dinoland, USA’s motif. Basically, think Stuckey’s (a general store type establishment frequently spotted along I-95) meets Jurassic Park. Chester and Hester’s has a clear trading box and a mystery trading box with 24 slots.

Clear Trading Box

The clear and mystery trading boxes at Chester and Hester’s. The store is located in the Dinoland, USA section of Animal Kingdom, across from Primeval Whirl.

For the second time that day, I had good luck with the trading box. Alongside a Park 3 Pirate Auctioneer and a Holiday 1 New Year’s Baby was Park 6’s Primeval Whirl vinyl. I was really excited and quickly traded for it. One reason I was so excited: Primeval Whirl is located right across the walkway from Chester and Hester’s, so I would always remember that I traded for that vinyl there.
The downside to this trading experience was that the Cast Member would not allow me to also trade using the Mystery Box; she claimed that it was against the rules and, even if I had traded, I would have had to keep whatever I got on the first try. The latter “rule” is not generally enforced, and mercifully so. However, the first “rule” that the Cast Member mentioned is not a rule at all. Guests are allowed to trade once per person, per day at each clear trading box and each mystery trading box location. This has been stated on the official Vinylmation site essentially since trading because. Unfortunately though, unless you have the time and desire to ask for a manager, all you can really do is try the next trading location.

After spending time in Dinoland and Asia, I headed over to Epcot for the rest of my day. I did not spend any more time mystery trading, but I did have a little luck with the clear boxes.

Future World/World Showcase Breezeway Store: I have no idea if this store even has a name, but it is a small shop outdoors with some covering overhead. It is located on the breezeway that connects Future World to World Showcase. If you are heading towards the country pavilions, it is on your left. After Illuminations, I spotted a solid orange Text Message vinyl from Urban 5 Series in the clear trading box. Again, I’m not really a fan of Urban vinyls, but I love the color orange. Plus, it is a cute vinyl. For some reason, this box had four vinyls in it and not three. Aside from the clear Light Blue vinyl I traded in, the box also contained HAL’s Pluto’s Sweater, Cutesters Too’s Spring/Raincoat Kid, and the Toy Story’s Big Baby.

Breezeway Shop

The clear trading box found at the outdoor shop on the breezeway connecting Epcot’s Future World and World Showcase.

Mouse Gear: Before catching the monorail back to the Transportation and Ticket Center, I ducked in Mouse Gears to see what was in the clear trading box. To my surprise, I saw the first (and ultimately, only) Cutesters 1 series vinyl of the trip: Nested Doll. I was still missing a few vinyls from Cutesters 1, and that was one of them. I made the trade, even though she has some paint issues. It seemed like the series was sold out at that time, so I figured it was better to have a damaged vinyl than not have it at all.
Wilderness Lodge Mercantile: Before heading upstairs to my room, I checked the clear trading box at Wilderness Lodge just before closing. I spotted Muppets 2’s Pigs in Space Miss Piggy, another vinyl I did not have and really wanted. I traded for her and called it a night. All in all, a very good day for clear box trading! 

Day 9: Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Magic Kingdom
The last full day of my vacation also marked my last day of trading. As discussed in a prior column, I started the day off at D-Street to wait in line for the release of the Disney Afternoon Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers Vinylmation set. Then I headed over to Hollywood Studios until leaving for Epcot in the early afternoon. I finished my trip, as always, at Magic Kingdom.

Tower of Terror Hotel Gift Shop:  This location had a mystery trading box with 24 slots and I believe a clear trading box. Assuming the clear box was there, it must have been full of the usual suspects. I did do a mystery trade though, and received a Yellow Bubbles vinyl from Cutesters Too. Not a favorite of mine, but I ended up keeping it. The Cast Member said they had been told to not allow guests to choose a second time, and that the guests had to trade. That is a shame, and I don’t like to see any store enforce the rules that strictly. Considering all of the unwanted vinyls that many people trade in seem to be mostly the same bunch over and over again (Cutesters Too Kids, Big Baby, Phil, HAL’s Turtle and Pluto’s Sweater, etc.), there is a very high probability that the trader will get one of those from the mystery box. Guests shouldn’t have to trade if they already have the vinyl or do not want it.

Animation Gallery: Nothing of interest was in the clear box, so I tried mystery trading here yet again. I was very fortunate and received a Cutesters Too Campfire and Smores vinyl, one of my favorite Maria Clapsis-designed vinyls, ever. It is the definition of cute!

Villains in Vogue: On my way out of the Studios for the last time this year, I ducked in Villains in Vogue to check the clear trading box again. I still saw the same usual suspects, but I tried mystery trading instead. Again, lady luck was shining down on me and I received a Peter Pan vinyl from Animation. Now, why is that lucky? What’s so special about Peter? If you have been reading Vinylmation 360 for a while, you may remember my column that focused on defective vinyls. My main example was my Peter Pan vinyl that had no eyebrows and no mouth. I still have him, but now I finally have a correct one as well!

Mouse Gear: My last trade of my vacation! I decided to give the mystery box here one last try and only check the clear boxes, if I passed by them, later that night at Magic Kingdom. I never found anything that night at MK, but I did have a great experience at Mouse Gear. I picked a number, but the vinyl was one I already had. The Cast Member apparently saw my disappointment, and told me to pick again. She was so nice, that she let me keep choosing until I found one I didn’t have. The odd thing about it was that the vinyls weren’t even vinyls I disliked, just repeats for me. Finally, she said there was one vinyl she would bet that I didn’t have. Lo and behold, there was Park 6’s Sonny Eclipse. Aside from the Wet Paint Donald vinyls, the Sonny Eclipse vinyl is my absolute favorite vinyl from Park 6. I had been looking for it in particular all week. I may not have succeeded in trading for any chasers, early vinyls, or the special 40th Anniversary Cast Chasers, but Sonny Eclipse was just as special to me. I have eaten many meals throughout my lifetime at Cosmic Ray’s in the Magic Kingdom on WDW trips taken with my wonderful parents. I would not trade those memories or that vinyl for anything in the world!

How to Carry Your Traders in the Parks
One situation I had with trading was trying to find a way to carry my traders, and the vinyls I traded for, in the parks. If you already take a backpack or large tote to the parks, you don’t have to worry about where to put them. I don’t carry anything like that with me, so I had a dilemma. I started off putting them in my medium-sized purse, but I already had a video camera, my wallet, and my glasses case in there. The purse became way too heavy, and by day three my arm was in pain. What I ended up doing was taking one of the small Disney gift shop bags and putting my traders for the day in that and carrying it around.  The handles do start to thin out and threaten to tear after about two days, so I would switch to a new bag accordingly.
One thing that is very important to keep in mind is the fact that the paint from vinyls easily rubs off when one vinyl hits against another. You do not want to store them loosely in a bag, no matter what type of bag you end up using. This is how black scuff marks and paint issues happen, and it is not fair to turn around and trade in vinyls you damaged for another guest to receive. I addressed this problem before I left, wrapping each individual vinyl in two clear fold-over sandwich baggies. Not only did this keep one vinyl from touching another, it also gave them all some extra protection in case I ever dropped the bag. I checked every vinyl I trading in before handing it to the Cast Member, and I did not have any issues with scuff marks or paint defects. I also placed each vinyl I traded for in the baggies used for the vinyl I traded away. Despite a lot of park time, packing, bell services handling the luggage, a long car ride home, and unpacking, everything looks the same as it did the day I traded for it.

Overall Thoughts
Trading in WDW can be a very fun experience, but it can also be frustrating. You have to go into it with an open mind and realize that you probably won’t get most of the vinyls you really want if they are rare. If you look at it as a way to fill in gaps in your collection and have some fun interactions with Cast Members, you (mostly) won’t be disappointed.
Since trading began in the parks, many people have talked about being allowed to look behind the mystery trading box and then call out the number of the one that they wanted. This happened to me twice on my vacation at two different locations, but I deliberately did not discuss this in my descriptions. Both times the Cast Member told me that they could get in trouble for doing this, but that they know how much money guests spend on Vinylmation and they wanted to make a magical moment for me.
The fact that a Cast Member could get in trouble for “helping” someone with Vinylmation trading is beyond absurd. Disney is in the business of making memories, in the hopes that you will be happy and come back for more (with more of your money). Should Cast Members show everyone the contents of the Mystery Box every time? No, because that defeats the point of mystery trading. Plus there would rarely be anything worth having in there by the time the eBay and forum sharks finished trading. However, I see absolutely nothing wrong with any Cast Member doing this a few times a day. I even had one Cast Member tell me their manager told the employees there that they would get in trouble if they allowed guests to trade more than one time. That’s ridiculous, plain and simple. Now, who knows if the supervisors were told this by their supervisor, or they just made up these rules on their own. Whoever came up with the idea to threaten Cast Members for spreading some pixie dust: Shame on you.

All in all, save up some unwanted vinyls for park trading, wrap them carefully before you leave, and have a great time trading in the parks.

All My Vinyls

All of the vinyls that I traded for and kept during my May 2011 WDW vacation.

Don’t expect to make trades for oodles of chasers and retired vinyls. Don’t expect pixie dust to happen, and don’t ask for special help. Just be thankful when a little magic is thrown your way.  And have fun!

Remember that the monthly Q&A is scheduled for next week. Please leave your questions in the comments section below or email them to me NO LATER than Thursday, August 25th. Until then, happy trading and collecting!

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.

Mark Your Calendars

Monday, August 22: Spooky Series 1 two figure Mickey and Minnie 3” set scheduled for release at select Disney Store locations. Limited Release. Retail price: $26.95.
Friday, August 26: Cars two figure Mater and Lightning McQueen 3" vinyl set scheduled for release at D-Street WDW and D-Street DLR. Open Edition. Retail price: $26.95. NOTE: This set is scheduled to be released at select Disney Stores on September 19th.
Friday, August 26: Disneyland 55 Series Monorail 9 vinyl scheduled for release at D-Street DLR. Disneyland Exclusive. LE: 550. Retail price: $44.95.
Friday, August 26: Animation 1 Genie 9” vinyl scheduled for release on DisneyStore.com. Online Exclusive. LE: 1,000. Retail price: $44.95.
Saturday, August 27: Golden Gate 3” vinyl scheduled for release at Disney Store’s Stockston Street, San Francisco, CA location. Unclear if this is a Limited Release or Open Edition. Retail price: Unknown.


Stuff Not to Skip