More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

How to Trade Vinylmation

Steven Miller

by , Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Walt Disney World Resort

Since its official introduction in April 2010, Vinylmation trading excitement has spread like crazy. We first tested Vinylmation Trading at the D23 Expo in September 2009 to get a feel of how it would work. From what I’ve seen in the past few months, I would say that folks are loving it (even my son has traded Vinylmation). There are currently more than 90 locations that offer Vinylmation Trading at locations in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line and Disneyland Resort Paris.

So how does it work? I had an article last May on the Disney Parks Blog about the trading experience but I thought it would be cool to see a trade in action. I recently visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and shot this “How To” video. The most important thing to remember about trading (either Disney pins or Vinylmation) – have fun!


  • Steven! Please just say NO to the price increase!!! We love Disney and these little guys are pieces of “home” in OUR home!!!

  • As I write this post I am so disappointed after reading about the reported price increases due to occur this Friday with the Park 5 release and Holiday 2 9″. My son and I have been collecting since Vinylmations premiered and have nearly every series and figure that’s been released to date. We anxiously countdown to each release & attend most at WDW! I remember when Disney first introduced Vinylmations to us – they promoted they as great new items and a fantastic piece of “Disney Memorabilia under $10!” What happen to this philosophy?
    I guess I can understand incremental increases, but 30% is a bit EXTREME and this is just on the 3″ figures!
    Disney, you have worked hard to built this new trade-item and it seems to be doing well. Why mess with it? Why risk loosing your true collector base and forcing us to stop and/or limit the amount of purchasing because of the high increase in cost all at once? I for one, can not and will not continue to purchase every new vinylmation that’s released. This is so frustrating and disappointing for me – I’ve loved collecting these figures! My only hope is that this is a terrible rumor that will be proven wrong this Friday or that maybe Steven can correct here this blog -PLEASE!

  • I’ve been a Vinylmation collector since Park 2 came out. I absolutely love collecting these figures. I was a saddened and shocked to hear that there may be an increase in pricing upon the release of Park 5. As being an avid collector this dampens my hope in being able to purchase many more. If the price increase is indeed true, I will have to second guess purchasing these figures in the future.

  • Hello. I’ve been a vinylnation fan since Urban 1 first came out, I didn’t really pay attention when it first came out but lucky for me, I caught up just in the nick of time. Anyways, I’m also a huge Disney enthusiast and I’ve been enjoying Disney since I first came to this country and my first ever visit to Disney back in ’81. I’ve been collecting lots of Disney memoriabilia and the lastest one that has me hooked is Vinylmation. I wasn’t much into collecting vinyls from other companies but when my brother mentioned to me that Disney has jumped into the pool of vinyls, I jumped on it as soon as I can. I was at the Trade City Event and when I saw the up and coming vinyls I was really excited but yet scared. Well, when the open window box NBC came out, I noticed that the price was a little higher than blind box. Hmmmm, I thought maybe because the box might be a little bigger and the plastic window(I thought we were going green), might cost a little more and maybe that’s why the price was slight higher. But then I heard and read a rumor about the price, starting with Park 5, will raise. Please tell me that this isn’t true. I can’t understand why the huge increase. I really do hope that this is just a rumor because I will seriously think twice if I wanna continue collecting or not. Now, I’m sure, being a business major myself, one guest that will stop collecting won’t really affect Disney since there’s thousands upon thousands of guests buying them, but I sure hope that Disney is continueing it’s roots from Walt himself by listening to people.
    So please, shed some light to us “fans” and “collectors” and let us know if this rumor is true and if it is, why? I hope we’ll here from you before Friday. Be “Disney” and make your guest happy and welcome by letting us know. Thank you.

  • I’m fairly new to Vinylmation and have found it to be a very fun hobby. I love being able to purchase Vinyls and if I don’t like them, I can trade them. I particularly enjoy blindboxing because of the surprise aspect of it. I’d been looking forward to Park 5 for the last couple months until I heard the rumors that the pricing will be jumping to $13. I sincerely hope that this is not true. If it is, I will have no choice but to discontinue what has been an extremely fun (albeit short) adventure. Hopefully these rumors are untrue and the price on blindboxes will remain what made the hobby affordable to begin with.

  • Hi (waves from South Florida),

    Like all of the above Disney fans I have a concern about the new price of vinylmation. Part of what got me hooked on this collectible was the affordability and the great designs from all of the talented Disney artists. Blind boxing a collectible is 10 times the fun of anything else that people collect out there.

    Our vinyl budget has not changed but what will change is how many vinyls we get for our dollar. The price difference also changes the trading game. Why trade a $13 vinyl for one that is only $10 and may not be one that we desire.

    Please say the price hike was just a rumor so that all of us collectors can continue to be as motivated and happy about opening that blind box =)

    Looking forward to a response.

  • I agree with the last few comments posted and I sincerely hope that Steven will address the issue related to a 30% price increase in the cost of the new Park 5 Vinylmation release occurring this friday.

    The $9.95 price point while already high to many in terms of what other vinyl collectibles go for in the current market, was alright considering we have become accustomed to paying a slightly higher price for Disney collectible items. While I can understand that there will eventually be price increases for products a jump of 30% is much to large to go unnoticed and has irritated us loyal Vinylmation fans who helped to get the collectible to where it is today.

    over $300 for a case and $50 for a 9″ is just much to high and high and though I planned to purchase a case for my family this October when we’re at the parks that plan has been canceled due to the abrupt increase in price. I sincerely hope that this is a typo or some kind of mistake by Disney and these will be releasing at the $9.95 price point, but that is looking less and less likely. I can’t in good conscience spend that kind of money on these vinyls.

    Please let us collectors know whats going on Steven and hopefully this can be resolved quickly.

  • I was disheartened to hear that Disney has decided to raise prices on 3″ and 9″ vinylmation. Anyone would be foolish to think that prices on these figures would not eventually go up, but you would also think that it would be a gradual increase. A 30% increase less than 2 years into the products life would fall into the ridiculous side of the fence. As a business owner, I would fully expect to see a large portion of my customer base vanish if I were to do something similar, and I think Disney is no different.

    Late last week, I made reservations for the trading event scheduled for next Sept. Now, with the increase in the prices of these figures, and my future in collecting them in doubt, I must be honest in the fact that we are considering cancelling these reservations and just staying home. I’m not saying we won’t visit the parks again, because we will. But this special trip, solely for meeting other traders and folks in the community, won’t happen. And that means no hotel, no food, and no other merchandise purchased in the park for those 5 days.

    I certainly hope this is all just a misunderstanding. That, or I hope Disney LISTENS to it’s customers and does the right thing. There are far too many good, LOYAL customers that Disney is forgetting in this latest snafu.

  • Hello! HUGE Vinylmation fan here with two young children who also love them. We have only been collecting since April 2010, but have been to every single release, which is a two hour drive for us, almost have each of the collections that have come out besides park 1, and am looking forward to getting the new collections started.

    With starting the new collections, we hear there is a price increase of $12.95 for a 3″ vinylmation and then the 9″ are going up to $48.95. This saddens me because not only is the cost going up, but now I have to tell my children we can’t afford to buy these anymore. My sons are 2 and 5 and have their own set in their room, we buy a case at each release so they have their own set. When the cost for a case was $238, that was a lot of money to use, but now the cost is going over $310! We have passes to Disneyland and go at least once a month, most of the time just to shop and trade our vinylmation, but with the cost going up, I don’t think this will happen much anymore.

    I feel that Disney is going to ruin a good thing they had going. These have only been out for 2 years and the collector base is there, but with cost going up, I will be one good collector that has to stop. I talk to many of my friends who are also into vinylmation because of myself getting them into it, and they already have sold their sets and or just said they will not be buying any. We get a hotel when we go up there for the release, but I just canceled that b/c I can’t afford to pay $50 per 9″ and $300 for a case.

    I really hope this is just a misprint and Disney would not do this to their loyal collectors. I understand upping the cost, but the way I see it, Disney is doing an amazing job keeping them at $9.95! If you are an AP, you have to spend over $10 to use your pass, that forces us AP to buy 2. If you up the cost to $12.95, people will only buy 1. Or if you are going to keep the cost so much, why not offer every AP a higher %? I know I only get 10% and that is nothing really.

  • I was recently disturbed to hear that CMs at D-street are telling guests that the upcoming Park 5 3″
    figures will be $12.95 each. I sincerely hope this is not true. An arbitrary 30% price increase is uncalled for. To many of us, $10 was already pushing the limits for value on vinyls. At $13 a blindbox purchase for us becomes no purchase at all. Steven could you comment on the price point of Park 5?

  • Hello,

    I heard something about a price increase for the blind boxes- that they are being increased from the $9.95 to $12.95. Is this true?

    I would have to say, as someone who has been collecting vinylmations well over a year now; I would be very disappointed if this turns out to be true.

    I love collecting vinylmations, and one of my favorite things about vinylmation are buying “blind boxes” and trading. Both of these aspects of collecting will be negatively affected with a 30% price increase:

    (1) I will no longer enjoy blind boxing; since if I get an undesired figure I will now view it as a very expensive mistake (I might as well look for them online and be guaranteed the design)

    (2) When trading at the parks, I didn’t mind getting the occasional figure I didn’t want through the mystery trading. But if I trade a 12.95 vinyl and in return receive a vinyl that had been attainable at 9.95, I would feel like I lost even more out on the trade. Why risk that?

    I am expressing my concerns because I know I am not the only one who feels this way. My entire family and I have enjoyed collecting vinylmations- particularly buying “blind boxes”- but the price increase has made us wonder if we should even bother planning a “vinylmation budget” for our next trip. Many others I know are even making the decision to stop collecting all together.

    If this price increase is all a big rumor, I will be very happy and relieved. If not, I truly hope Disney will reconsider this move, as no doubt many collectors will be leaving this once fun and creative little hobby behind.

    Thank you for hearing me out and your response on this matter will be greatly appreciated.

  • At the Florida D-Street Location, since we are the premiere location we tend to stick to the rules that we are given by our leaders, as for One trade/person from the mystery box and once from each clear box/day. We have times where the mystery box comes out at D-street as well as the Disney Quest Emporium @ DTD. 12:00pm, 3:00pm and 6:00pm at D-Street and 1:00, 4:00, and 7:00pm at Disney Quest. We only know information we are given so, if we are not given a specific piece of information (such as a release date) we can not pass it along to you because we don’t know. As soon as we know, we pass it along to the guests.

  • Toy Story 9 inch figures were supposed to be released at Disneystore by now. Why aren’t they?

  • @Lynda – I have provided a good mixture of things since we started trading in April 2010. I don’t specifically recall providing figures from Urban #1 or Park #1 for daily trading. I did add some of those at the recent Vinylmation Showcase event on August 29. I thought it would be a surprise for some fans. Sadly, we don’t have many of those older figures remaining in the Vault. As Alex mentioned, you may still find some older figures that other Guests may have traded.

    @Stacey – The Mystery Boxes were designed to be a spontaneous trading moment. In other words, they would be introduced randomly throughout the day based on traffic in the location, Cast Member support, etc. The open trade boxes, however, were meant to be on-stage all day long. Like all new things, we are finding a happy medium when it comes to open versus spontaneous trading. I’m working with the D-Street leadership on both coasts to clarify things. Ideally, if you want to find trading (or just get started with Vinylmation), D-Street is the place to go.

    @Jimmy – Yes, we will be introducing Cast Chasers in 2011. These will be unique figures that Cast Members will use for trading with Guests. We gave a sneak preview of them at the Vinylmation Showcase event on August 29, 2010. Keep watching the following page as I plan on posting a photo soon:

    Funny you should catch the Polar Bear. I love the Polar Bear (it is the mascot of my university, and I like a certain television show about an island). Had to give a shout out to the bear, but I would never personally trade it 🙂

    @Jennifer – We do not have a figure planned for this year’s festival. But stay tuned…. 🙂

  • Will there be a vinylmation for the Epcot Food & Wine festival? If so, when will it be released?

  • The video was fun, Kelly Ann is adorable. Do you think Disneyland will see some TRADE exclusive figures (i.e. the cast member pins you can only get from trading with cast members)? Btw why would you trade your polar bear? He’s a window box if you didn’t want him you could have bought someone else. Just saying.

  • Steven,

    Thank you for the video. It is nice to have visual instructions to bring light to Vinylmation trading for newbies like myself. I do have a question. In your video, you state that trading is available at D-Street “all day on both coasts”. However, it has been the experience of myself and others that the CMs at D-Street disagree with when trading out of the 24 blind box is available. Can you clarify that statement?

    Thank you!

  • @Lynda: I have heard of lucky traders who have gotten Park 1 figures from the blind-24 box, however never things like a Balloon chaser. I have also heard of similar things happening with the window boxes, which I would assume is more likely as some fans might not fully grasp how valuable their figure is, and just want the thing they see in the box. But as Steven says in the video…
    Collect what YOU like! 🙂

  • my 7yr old son got into VMs and trading them on our trip to DLRP this past August. he loved trading them in the stores but at one store they asked for the card that went with it…they still traded however but asked if he found it to bring it to them.

  • Steven, thanks for the video. My question is how far back in Vinylmation history do the figures inside the 24 blind trading go? Is there any chance of finding a Park 1 or Park 2 figure or other series no longer produced? Thanks!

  • @Jana – Awe, that’s cute that your daughter got into the bears. They are adorable! There are trading events that Disney offers usually monthly at one of the resorts, although you cannot sell the figures.

    @Steve – My son & I have had excellent trading experiences at numerous locations throughout WDW, but repeatedly have very negative encounters at D-Street. It seems like they have a different set of “Rules” at their store and many of their cast members don’t even know about the trading options – in some cases have no clue what Vinylmations are, the different series, about announced new releases at their own store, etc… It seems like this store (which seems to be promoted as the “Vinylmation Headquarters”)would be staffed with people who know how to handle the trading, know what Vinylmations are and the various series. Many times when I’ve asked questions, may 8-yr old knows more than they do. Unless D-Street is the only place that has an item, such as a new release, I avoid the store and have stopped asking to trade because they always say that they “aren’t doing trades at this time.” It’s really too bad because D-Street is an awesome store!

  • @Alex – Yes, Disneyland Resort Paris does offer Vinylmation Trading.

    @Gregory – Hmmm …. the way I see trading is that it isn’t necessarily what we trade, but that we trade. Yes, we offer unique opportunities and experiences for trading that encourage interaction. I ask every Cast Member to have fun with trading. If it isn’t fun, then we shouldn’t be doing it.

    We encourage a “refresh” of sorts when it comes to Vinylmation Trading. And my team periodically provides “refresh” figures to locations. It is difficult to say if folks are “scoffing.” From what I’ve seen in my years with trading, someone will eventually want a particular item (pin or Vinylmation). Granted, we try keeping it as exciting as possible by offering a variety of figures to trade.

    As for the trading boxes, they are a first generation (very much like the pin lanyards used in 2000 are much different than the ones used today). They will evolve over time (particularly based on Cast and Guest feedback).

    When it comes to the Trading Guidelines, they are just that – guidelines (isn’t that what a pirate once said? 🙂 The most important of them all is having fun. Thank you for the feedback.

    @Dolores – Check the FAQ:

  • I love the vinylmation my husband bought me my first ones in January 2010. I cant wait till we go again in January2011 just 118 days. However a list of where you can trade would be nice to know before i go down to WDW so i dont have to wonder around and take time from doing other things.

  • BUMMER! I thought there were twenty four little doors and you opened the door and VOILA! new Vinylmation inside! I don’t like that it’s open from the back. What if you say a number but the Cast Member grabs some other number by mistake and they show it to you and it’s one you want but then they’re like, “Oops! I grabbed the wrong one!” and then the number you originally said is one you don’t want?? What if the box accidentally gets bumped and all of the Vinylmations fall out?? Are the Cast Members encouraged to switch the Vinylmations from the 24 box to the clear box if people are scoffing at the clear box Vinylmations (when no Guests are around, of course)?

  • America Sings was AMAZING!!!!!! My son was able to be a part of it for two years! I so wish it would come back!

  • @Jana: Try an online auction site, or a Vinylmation-specific fan community. 🙂 You will have NO trouble selling those two 9″ designs, as they are very sought after. Good luck!

    Also, do the two Disney Parks in Paris currently offer trading?

  • I find some of the vinylmation characters to be cute, but I feel like with pins Disney is oversaturating their stores with them. I miss the days when finding certain things you wanted was an adventure because each area had its own unique selection.

  • I thought you could only trade blind boxed and not window boxed.

  • I thought you could only trade blind boxed and not window boxed. I’m confused!

  • America Sings was awesome. Very, very awesome.

    While I appreciate the video telling us how it works, I’m still not quite getting this whole Vinylmation thing. I wandered through D Street recently and saw them for myself, but still I’m just baffled over it.

  • Is there ever a time and place set up to trade AND sell vinylmation? My 11 year old daughter decided to collect Disney bears instead. I have a Park 1 series 9 inch SMALL WORLD and SAFARI.

  • Catherine, you can always join Vinylnation

  • I love Vinylmation, however I think you should come up with an online trading site for people who don’t live close to the parks and only buy when they are down there. For instance I got addicted the last time I went but live in Jersey so now I order them online from the Disney Parks website, but if I get a double I have no way of trading. There should be some sort of webiste or group where people from around the world can trade and exchange them. that would be cool

  • @Mike – Indeed …. guess I got caught up on the name. Probably just should have said “Sam” (LOL). I never saw America Sings (bummer) but I do have the long-playing record. I can only imagine how awesome it was.

    @Craig – That is correct. We like to say one trade, per trading option (either mystery or open), per location, per day. We have lots of locations that offer both experiences.

    If you were at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge on Monday, you could trade from both the open trade and mystery box. You could also trade from a variety of other locations that same day. On Tuesday, you could do it all over again.

  • So can you go back to a location and do another trade on a different day? For example, 1 trade at Animal Kingdom’s mystery box Tuesday, then another on Wednesday (if it is still there…)

  • To clarify, Eagle Sam is from America Sings. Sam (the) Eagle is the Muppet. How confusing!

  • Great video, and I’m glad to see that you can trade Vinylmation. However, Sam Eagle isn’t from America Sings! He’s a Muppet!

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