Fun Fast Food Toys featuring Disney Characters

Once upon a time, in a marketing deal long long ago, two big companies decided to team up to give the world some of the greatest little toys in the history of promotional giveaways. Disney and McDonald’s restaurants no longer work together, but what they left behind still brings joy to perusers of yard sale tables and collectible shops alike!

As an example, I bring you seven Character Viewers based on Disneyland attractions and shows:

Blurry because I had a little too much grog before taking the picture

This slide shows a staged scene from a show that had live actors portraying a battle between Captain Hook and his pirates and Peter Pan. You can see a short snippet of it in this YouTube video.

King Louie as a Captain on the Jungle Cruise. Nuff said.

The Lion King Celebration was a parade based on the animated film The Lion King. It was designed to tell the story of Simba as if it were a tale passed down in Africa for generations. Its parade featured six floats designed around different aspects of Africa, dancers dressed in animal costumes and a Pride Rock float featuring Simba. The parade ran at Disneyland from June 1, 1994 to June 1, 1997, after which four of the floats were moved to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the Festival of the Lion King show.

This slide likely shows a staged segment of the parade that wasn’t necessarily in the actual procession. This parade replaced the Aladdin’s Royal Caravan and then was itself replaced by Hercules’ Victory Parade.

Mickey and Space Mountain: Great Combination!

When I first saw Winnie the Pooh riding a train, I was expecting a slide showing the Disneyland Railroad. But instead I was treated to this great shot of The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! So… did Pooh move from the 100-acre wood to the wildest mountain range of the old west?

The ultimate Toontown!

Now that Walt Disney World’s Toontown is gone, will Disneyland’s version soon suffer the same fate? As changes continue to come and expansion space becomes harder to find, it may be a good idea to visit this great area as soon as possible! Here is a link to Disney Dose that covers the attractions and postulates on the future of Toontown.

And now I’ve left my favorite to the last:

Splash Mountain

This slide shows the original configuration for the logs, with side-by-side seating. Interestingly, Br’er Bear seems to have thought ahead and predicted the change to a one-behind-the-other configuration. Here are Karen and I ‘enjoying’ our first plummet down the mountain:

So although we can’t go to our favorite Fast Food place and walk out with a Disney toy anymore, with the tens of thousands of Disney-related toys produced between 1988 and 2007, we can always check out eBay for those must-haves!

Check out the link for everything you didn’t want to know about the McDonald’s Happy Meal and the toys that came with them.

King ‘Mickey’ Kong Climbs New York’s Times Square

I’m always trying to find unusual things to photograph and this fun picture presented itself while I was visiting the Disney Store in Times Square, New York:

I wonder how many litres are in that Corona Light?

I wanted a shot that would show both Times Square and represent the reason for my visit which was, of course, the Disney Store. So this shot of a huge Mickey Mouse seemingly climbing the side of a building like King Kong was ideal.

Fortunately, I’m the only one who shot him!

Top Five Must-Buys at Walt Disney World

We all plan our Disney trips down to last detail. Our travel itinerary is in place, our accommodations are booked and paid for, and our Theme Park tickets are in the luggage bag, and we may even have our dining options all picked out.

Yes, we are all set for another magical visit to one of the happiest places on Earth.

But wait! I think we’ve forgotten something: Our merchandise budget!

Just how much can we afford to spend? And how can we save ourselves from the dreaded impulse buy? Don’t be naive; the Mouse knows how to work the shoppers! Before you can say ‘Jiminy Cricket’ he will have your extra cash and all you may have in return are a few trinkets that you don’t really want.

Well, I’m here to save you and your hard-earned dollars by giving you the Top Five Must-buys when visiting The Magic Merchandiser, er… Kingdom:

Must-buy Number 5

Any Exclusive Theme Park Item. The merchandising world has produced millions of pieces of Disney memorabilia. You can pick up just about anything at your local toy store or Wal-Mart. But it just isn’t the same as an exclusive piece of Theme Park product only available at WDW.

Usually Downtown Disney will have the highest concentration of such merchandise, especially at The World of Disney superstore. But keep your eyes open for those special items. They’re usually linked to a unique ride or attraction that might not be as mainstream as the likeness of Mickey or Jack Sparrow.

Buying Limited Edition items at artist signings are always a good bet for exclusivity.

Must-Buy Number 4

Souvenir Book. Believe it or not, some of your magical memories will fade after a while. But if you purchase one of these beautifully photographed keepsakes, you’ll be able to look back and relive almost every moment again and again. Well, at least the biggest moments!

 

WDW 1974 and DL 1978

Must-buy Number 3

Trading Pins. My wife and I always enjoy firsts at WDW. So when we ride or visit an attraction for the first time, we always buy a Trading Pin to commemorate the occasion.

 

These are relatively inexpensive, and if each member of the family chooses a ‘Memory Pin’ for a different occasion, you’ll have a nice collection in no time!

Must-Buy Number 2

T-shirt. Or Sweatshirt. Or Hoody. But of the three, you can’t beat the ‘been-there-got-the-T-shirt’ classic keepsake! You can buy Disney-themed T’s aftermarket, but they don’t always compare to the styles and selection on WDW property. Be prepared to pay a premium! But when you’re wearing a T that no one else at home has ever seen, it’ll be worth it!

OK, a ‘been-there-got-the-Sweatshirt’ works too!

Must-buy Number 1

Mickey Ears. If you’ve been to WDW, or any Disney Park worldwide, and still haven’t bought your own pair of themed Mickey Ears: Shame on you! Nothing says, “I’m a Disney fan!” like wearing a pair of Mickey Ears. Of course you won’t be able to wear them around your neighborhood at home, but seeing pictures of yourself sporting mouse ears at the Parks is a memory trigger no true Disney fan should miss!

   

So there you have it. My Top Five Must-buys for Theme Park merchandise. But maybe you prefer something different, and if so, leave your must-buy in the comments section below! But be careful, if I like it better than my own ones, I just may beat you back to the Parks and buy it first!

Top 5 Tips for Displaying your Disney Collectibles

OK. You’ve just got back from that visit to The Happiest Place on Earth or perhaps The Vacation Kingdom. And although you promised yourself that you wouldn’t buy everything you saw, you’ve come home with an extra suitcase full of Disney collectibles!

Now what? Well, once you convince your significant other not to leave you, it’s time to find a place for all that new stuff. And it ain’t gonna be easy!

Fortunately for you, I’ve been in this predicament on more than one occasion, so here are my Top 5 tips for displaying your new treasures:

Number 5

Rotation. Let’s be realistic. Do you really have enough room to display every Disney collectible you own? Likely not. So display only a few treasures at a time. Between switches, carefully pack the rest of your collection away. But here’s a tip: Group each type of item or character in a separate box and mark the box clearly. So when it’s time to make the switch, you’ll know exactly where to look!

Come on, I know you’re that anal!

Number 4

Maintenance. Find a dust-free zone! Seriously. Find a dust-free zone! At one time I had over 200 collectibles displayed in a one-bedroom apartment, and the most familiar phrase I heard for two years was ‘When are you going to dust?’

This is where tip number five can help, but more likely you will want to opt for an enclosed display cabinet. This won’t eliminate all dust particles from your treasures, but it may help to extend the periods between dustings. And it allows for some cool lighting options too!

Number 3

Grouping. Eclectic is a nice word, but it doesn’t always make for the best look. It means to select or employ individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles. In other words, you just throw whatever ya got on the shelf without any rhyme or reason! OK. I’ve done this and it doesn’t look that bad. However, if you have a nice room, it might be better to group similar types of items together. Figurines shouldn’t be mixed with Plush, for instance.

The only time this can work is if you’re doing a character theme, such as all Tinkerbell. This approach is usually best in bedrooms or offices, but can be done tastefully elsewhere. But beware: Tacky lurks just around the corner!

Number 2

Moderation. This is closely related to Rotation, but with a twist. Not only do you not want to try to display every collectible you own, but also don’t try to fill every space in every room. This is especially important if not everyone in your household is a Disney Addict! For them, it’s nice to create a Disney-free Zone where they can hide from your well-meaning fanaticism.

And don’t forget the visitors. Now, I know you’re not crazy, but they may be looking for evidence to the contrary. So don’t make it too easy for them to prove their theories about your sanity! Having them open the stove only to find a Disney figurine you didn’t have room for in the fridge won’t help your cause.

Remember: Moderation will make you appear reasonable even when you’re not!

Number 1

Location. Want to break your heart? Here’s what you do: Place your most prized and fragile figurine at precisely the eye-level of a two year old. Then sit back, and in approximately 7.4 seconds, you will own a broken figurine! Want to avoid this? Then follow this simple placement chart:

  • Figurines and other breakables up high
  • Collectibles with small pieces and display dolls at medium height
  • Plush, PVC, and heavy durable items at the bottom

Of course, it goes without saying that any treasure that holds a special place in your heart should either be up high or in a closed display cabinet.

I hope these five tips will help you to enjoy your treasures for years to come!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some dusting to catch up on.

Different Disney Trademarks from Across the Years

We’ve all done this: We’re browsing in an antique shop or at a flea market and come across a Disney treasure. We know we’ve found something special, but how old is it? We pick it up and turn it over, hoping to find a date. But all we find is a Disney trademark.

The man…

  …who started it all

But wait! It’s different from the one we know. We pick up another piece of Disneyana, and it has yet another trademark stamped on it! And now we’re all confused. Well, I’m here to clear up that confusion by sharing with you the Disney trademarks that I’ve found over the years, and what I know about their dates:

Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio October 16, 1923 until 1929

There was some rare merchandise produced before this time, but it wasn’t technically ‘Disney’. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit did a tidy little bit of business in a few lines of toys and books before Walt lost him. But for original Disney merchandise, if you can find a Disney Brothers item, you’ve got a gem! But I don’t think a lot of those earliest items had trademark stamps.

Walt Disney Productions 1929 until 1986

This trademark crosses the most amounts of years. So one piece trademarked ‘WDP’ could be old and valuable while another could be newer and relatively worthless. This trademark can be spelled out in full or shortened to the ‘WDP’ letters, or even to ‘Walt Disney Prod’ with all versions being fairly common. It usually depended on how much room was available on the piece in question as to which one was used.

This is the trademark you’re most likely to come across in the average shop or online.

Walt Disney Company February 6, 1986 to the present.

This trademark is usually spelled out in full and is the second most common trademark found today due to the sheer amount of merchandise produced since 1986. Only items produced with this trademark that had limited production runs or that featured sought-after characters will be of any real monetary value.

Disney Enterprises Inc. (No information)

This trademark is rare but it does crop up from time to time.

Disney (Various time periods)

I started to notice this shortened trademark sometime in the early 1990’s and it is in wide use today. But the short ‘Disney’ trademark may also be found on earlier merchandise.

And it’s interesting to note that Disney is now shortening the movie division trademark from ‘Walt Disney Pictures’ and ‘Walt Disney’ to just ‘Disney’.

Keep in mind that any or all of these trademarks can be accompanied by dates.

Although by no means comprehensive, I hope this brief look at Disney trademarks will help you when you’re trying to determine dates during your next visit to a yard sale!