Trading did not exist at Disney Parks when I started my career on the Walt Disney World College Program. As a Merchandise Host at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island during summer 1997, my conversation starter was a bubble blower. The conversation typically began with either a Guest or me yelling, “Bubbles!” Flash forward 13 years and today Cast Members have a phrase that works even better than bubbles – “Would you like to trade?” That “ice breaker to interaction” phrase continues to be the catalyst for trading pins. Now, the phrase has additional meaning with the introduction of Vinylmation figure trading.
Vinylmation trading was recently introduced to select merchandise locations at Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line and soon Disneyland Resort Paris. The whole Vinylmation “spirit of mystery” naturally lends itself to trading. My goal was finding the easiest method for Guests and Cast Members to trade these collectible figures. We landed on using two different types of tools – an open trade box (pictured above) where a Guest can trade for any figure found in the box, and the Mystery Trade box (pictured below), which continues the thrill of the chase. I did try wearing the 3” Vinylmation figures around the office but I looked like Chewbacca (sans hair) with his bandolier.
The original concept for the mystery trading involved three small silver boxes. Realizing we would need more variety and choice, the Mystery Box 12 was introduced at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, in September 2009. Donald Ferro, the developer for Vinylmation, had Guests trading non-stop for two hours each day during the Expo! We learned three things from that experience – Guests loved trading Vinylmation about as much as they enjoy trading Disney pins; Guests loved trading the Monkey from Park #2 (we had a whole troop of monkeys); and we would need a bigger mystery box. Thus, the Mystery Box 24 was born, and now appears as an extra magical and spontaneous trading experience in select locations.
Vinylmation trading is as easy and fun as Disney Pin Trading. Here are a couple of basic guidelines for Vinylmation Trading. Guidelines are one thing but my best advice is to have fun and collect what you like!
- The main criteria to judge whether a Vinylmation Figure is tradable or not is that it must bear a ©Disney mark and either a Vinylmation Logo or Art of Disney Theme Parks logo on the bottom foot stamp.
- Vinylmation Figures should be in good, original, undamaged, tradable condition.
- Create-Your-Own Vinylmation Figures are not accepted for trade.
- Guests may only trade for a Vinylmation Figure that is in the same proportion to the one being offered for trade (e.g. 3” Vinylmation Figure for a 3” Vinylmation Figure).
- Additional items (e.g. packaging, product cards, buttons, etc.) are not required to be offered in trade when trading with Cast Members.
- Guests may trade a maximum of one (1) Vinylmation Figure per activity, per location, per day.
If you have any trading stories either about Vinylmation or Disney Pins, I’d love to hear them! Happy Trading!