Trading Troubles   6 comments

Tiny Pieces of Metal and Plastic Mickeys is All it Takes…

In 1999, Disney released a new experience for guests visiting the parks: Pin Trading. Guests were invited to take a look at Cast Members’ lanyards, covered with pins big and small. From then on it has become one of the most popular activities guests do on vacation at WDW.  Later on, they released Vinylmation. Though not as popular, the painted 3″ and 9″ Mickey-shaped figures have become quite a staple of the Parks.

But I have some issues with what the trading game has become…

Pin Problems

At one point, I did collect pins. But I have since stopped. Why? Not only are pins very costly, but I can’t collect as I want. In pin trading, either you are a professional, or a “I like how that one looks!” trader. Now, no offense, but the some of the ‘professional’ collectors can be hoards. I’ve attended some pin trading events, and wasn’t able to trade much. Why? Because the ‘professionals’ will only trade an eye for an eye. If it isn’t as rare, or if it isn’t the same LE , no trade.  But then they flip the page to show 10 more of the same exact pin. That is very aggravating. Why should I have to give you something rare that I only have one of when you have 9 more of the same pin? And when the pin is a small edition size, you own a good percentage of those pins. This means that those like me who want to finish our Hidden Mickey series can’t, because the ‘pros’ need 10 copies of it. Why do you need 10 copies of one pin!? They’re all the same!

Because I had to find it. Twice.

They tend to be the only ones who have these less common pins, so it isn’t like I could go to Epcot and stop one of the CMs on a segway (they tend to have the best, from my experience) and trade for it. So say I want to finish my collection of the original Muppet series. I have never ever seen them at the parks.

It took me a year to finish the Princess Eyes series. Then one of them broke. I went to a trade event, and attempted to trade, but no. My pin didn’t meet the requirements. I later found one in the parks, a few months later.

Vinyl Vexation

When Vinylmation launched, no one had any idea what it was. It took forever for Park and Urban 1 to sell out. That’s because no one was aware of it! They just showed up one day. Things stayed the same during series 2. But when 3 came out, Disney was being a little more open with the little Mickeys. Eventually, they began their own blog, much like Pin Trading did. On this Blog, they previewed upcoming figures from soon-to-be-released series. That was fun.

But then things got ugly. As more and more people became familiar with the figures, and more determined to get them, Disney realized they would need a fair way to do that. Rules were soon set so that collectors could not purchase obscene amounts of LE figures in one sitting.  Disney set release dates for figures, and soon opened D-Street in California and Florida’s Downtown Disney. These release dates and specific locations meant that collectors would be able to flock in the night before, form a line, and get theirs first. Disney approves of this. They give door prizes to the first couple. But that’s a common practice everywhere.

But seriously!?  The common LE is around 500 pieces. Divide by two for each coast, that gives you 350 each store. Maximum purchase is 2. So divide by two again, and get 175. How many people are lining up and buying two figures? How many does this leave for anyone unable to get there on release day? You all know how popular the Dreamfinder/Figment pack that just came out was. I wanted it, but can’t have it, unless I fork out $80 on Ebay.


EPCOT Center 9" from Park Series 2. The only 9" I am lucky to have.


In the days before set dates and specific store, one could waltz into a shop, see a 9″, and go “Wow! Cool!” and purchase it. Remember the EPCOT Center Logo 9′” from Park Series 2? I got that. The last one at the store, months after it was released. It’s probably the only 9′ I’ll ever get.  Imagine how popular it would have been had everyone known about it. It would have sold out instantly.  But because we weren’t as well informed, it didn’t. Now, I don’t mean to say that we should be left in the dark about when what’s coming out.

What my problem is is similar to pin trading. The collectors. When these guys hear that a new figure is coming out, they will send out an army to deliver it to their home. With all these collectors picking up the LEs as soon as they come out, how are the ones who just one to pick and choose ones they like supposed to even have a chance? We don’t get a chance.  So is the problem the collectors? The rules? The information? The LE? I’m not sure. But I don’t like it.

And don’t get me started with them making twenty gazillion different themes and series. That irks me. It needs to stay Park and Urban. By them making even more series to collect, it just contaminates the original ideas. There is no reason to make a whole series dedicated to make one specific vinyl when it would work fine with Park or Urban. Then there’s the whole ‘accessorizes on the vinyl figure’ issue…Ugh.

So is trading something to get into? Yea, but only if you wish to compete with countless others. But if that’s your thing, then okay, have fun.



Posted January 10, 2011 by Imagineer2017 in Opinions

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6 responses to “Trading Troubles

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  1. SERIOUSLY. Those professional collectors that go to the parks and just sit around all day to trade irk me. They have too much time and money. However I do like the pro-collectors that sell they’re pins at a pretty good price at this collectible store by my house. $3 for a Hidden Mickey! But I’ve kinda stopped collecting because the pins have really gone down in quality….

    As for Vinyls…I sorta like them, sorta. Maybe if they had less Cutesters and more Urban I’d be more into it.

  2. Hey the idea is to have fun finding and trading pins. Isn’t it?

  3. “There is no reason to make a whole series dedicated to make one specific vinyl when it would work fine with Park or Urban. ”

    This is what has been recently pissing me off about Vinylmation in the recent months. Villains are great, Furry Friends was just the ideal series, and Animation & Star Wars offers quite a bit. Cutesters, Holiday (as cool as they are), Have a Laugh, Toy Story, Alice, Muppets, Park Starz, ALL the released window boxes, ALL the Disney Store exclusive series, and ALL the Jrs. are just unnecessary series, admit it. It’s rather obvious Disney has found their cash cow thanks to Randy Noble (reportedly the one who brought this up to Donald Ferro) and now they’re just profiteering to the max. I mean, the price increase on 9″ from $40 to $55 was insane, and now it’s quasi-confirmed $75 is the new price! I mean, what the hell?

    I have been thinking about my habit in VM as a vinyl collector very recently, and I am >>>*thisclose*<<< to start selling some series just because they have no real meaning for myself except maybe the one or two I like in a series. This includes Alice, Toy Story, U5-U7, Muppets, Park Starz and maybe even some of P3 and P6.

    And I can go in so much detail in the shenanigans of people cherry picking by poking fingers through the boxes (even ripping the foil) to find what they want, stalking trade boxes all day, CMs who are into VM pocketing the nicer vinyls for themselves from trade boxes, people actually opening bloxes and gluing the flap back on, people STEALING unopened foils from bloxes in the blink of an eye, people getting multiple chasers & variants to sell on eBay – it really is amazing the stories I have read, and from the things I have personally witnessed. O_O;

    • It really has become even more ridiculous since I first posted this over a year ago. Not only with the series, but with the collectors.

      I have completely blocked out each new vinyl series to come out. After the very disappointing Park 5, I stopped even looking at Park (which was the only one I still cared about). I hate Park 5. Why? Because half of the figured were variations of one another. When Park One came out, they didn’t throw in 4 monorails. Just one. So why couldn’t they do that with each series?
      The fact that many websites that had previously kept track of what series had what figures quit keeping track is a sign that Disney has over saturated the market. It’s now very hard to find out what series contains what thanks to their overloading.

      I have some faith in the new Park Starz. It caters to us park fans, much like the Park series. But since they plan to go open-box next time, I don’t think the collectors can go as nutty with how they obtain them.
      I have no faith for Monorails, though. It’s too soon to make ANOTHER new special mold.

      The price increase is also crazy. The last 9″ that I purchased was the Alien Encounter pack. I wasn’t planning on it. I just stumbled upon it, and realised how lucky I was to see one. Cost me a little over $70, even after my passholder discount. But as for 3″x I don’t buy them at the parks anymore. I now get them from the outlet store for at least 10% less. Granted, it’s mostly the stupid series (they just can’t sell that ocean critters series!), but I can buy some to trade.
      Who am I kidding? I don’t trade anymore. One because many of the original trading locations are no longer there -the only one I know for certain is Villains in Vogue at Studios- and two because it isn’t worth it. All the ones I want are now on eBay for obscene prices.

      The things people are doing to steal vinyls never (to my knowledge) occurred with pins. Why not, I wonder? Pins still have blind boxing series and chasers. People’s lack of a sense of decency will elude me.

  4. Aw, Parks has continued to be a great series IMO. Still a lot of creative designs on the Mickey mold. I do agree the Monorails should have been an individual series of its own (a la Clears) but P5 was a pretty cool set – loved Anubis and the HM Clock.

    I was thinking about the oversaturation as I was typing that first post before. This Summer, we’re suppose to see like 4-5 series coming out including something called Popcorns – I mean, really? And it’s on a questionably new mold as well. Unless there is a Pluto, yet another series to not care about.

    I’ll admit I was hasty about Park Starz before – I have the Yeti, Figment, Big Al and Mr. Funmeiser sitting on my shelf as I type this. They are really cool, breaking out the mold, but I’m hoping Series 2 lowers the $19 price tag, which was a stupid price to begin with.

    9″… I have finally convinced myself to not buy anymore 9″ because of the price & a lack of space. Which reminds me, I might also sell some 9″ that may find a better home. I’m totally keeping Maleficent & Aurora though, THAT is pretty wicked.

    It’s funny you mention the outlet stores. That is how I have been able to complete the WDW 40th window box series, as well as picking up some DCL vinyls that appparently were SO DIFFICULT TO FIND. LOL.

    Trading at the parks have always been a crapshoot based on CMs, timing, and location. I know for fact Mickey’s of Hollywood, Cargo Bay, Emporium and Disney Traders have the best selections, as well as the resort shops that carry VM. It does take some patience but I found out with some luck, you’d be surprised what people have put in them. For the record BTW, Villains got rid of their box awhile back but still claim it’s being “fixed”. 😦

    I’m sure people have stolen pins, but it’s less obvious. But I agree the stupidity is appalling. Hope this sort of behaviour dies down in the long run…

    • Park 5 was cool. The designs were indeed very clever….but that doesn’t change the repetition in it.
      And yes, monorails would have been an awesome 12-pack set! I can only imagine they could try to make one once they finish putting them all out.

      I haven’t heard about this popcorn thing, but it sounds awful already, especially if it’s a special mold.
      Special molds aren’t always cool. Park Starz is fine, as each is different and fits it’s design. But the Monorail series don’t look like anything more than a stick. The designs on those Cars ones don’t even transfer very well to the mold, and they’re already oddly shaped characters!
      If this popcorn thing is even less of an iconic figure, then why bother? Many companies produce vinyl figure collectible. Vinylmation works because it’s shaped like Mickey (though not as much with the new mold. Yet another one of my issues with it), an identifiable Disney character.You can put a DIsney character on any company’s mold (which many have), but that doesn’t make it worthy to be sold as a park/store exclusive.

      I, too, finished to 40th set via the outlet! Only bought 2 or 3 in the parks. They’ve got some interesting things there. Couple of posters and artwork, lots of obscure series, and that old designer series that came with a hat and vinyl on sale for half price.

      Cargo Bay got rid of theirs awhile back, too. They had a great vinyl display for maybe 3 months. Shame that Villains got rid of theirs, especially considering how it is a vinyl store….

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