Back in January I headed over to Disneyland Paris with my family on a long road trip (over 10 hours in the car with a little break on the Euro Tunnel) and during my time in DLP, I was able to trade Vinyls for the first time and really get my teeth into the experience of Vinylmation at a park as well as being able to have so much choice from so many different series as while I had been collecting for nearly 6 months, my collection almost doubled following this trip.
After spending most of the day driving through France to get to DLP, after check in and a shower we hit the Disney Village (a smaller Downtown Disney) for the evening for some dinner and just to enjoy time outside of the car. One of the first things I noticed was the main Disney Store in the village had tray’s of Vinylmation out with the clear display box in front showing what was inside the blind boxes. Having never seen a Star Wars vinyl nor the Alice in Wonderland sets in person, I was getting very excited and quickly picked up half a dozen Star Wars boxes and took to the register. Other than a few small blind boxes in the Cardiff store, I hadn’t bloxed in over 3 months, so straight after dinner in the Rainforest café, I ripped them open to reveal my new Vinyls.
Once we ate, we continued to walk around the Village where I discovered the Art of Disney Gallery which is very much the Vinylmation heart of the Village (sort of like D-Street) where they had trays of lots of different vinyls including Toy Story, Cutesters, Urban’s, POTC, Have a Laugh, Animation, Park 6, CYO, Alice in Wonderland, Star Wars and many others such as Big Eyes, Bakery, 2012 and a few others. I just wandered around the store looking at the display cases of these vinyls as again it is so different seeing them in person. Around the store they also had a few 9’s (Park 6’s, CYO and Toy Story Bo Beep) but considering the price of them at €45 to €75, I decided I didn’t like them that much. Once again I brought a few more Star Wars and a Cars Twin Pack.
But this is where things got much more interesting since I had brought along my 2 traders from the UK (Animation Dodger and Toy Story Rex) , so I traded them into a Mystery 24 box which was a lot of fun. They also had a selection of vinyls sat on top the box for trading. I can’t remember exactly what I pulled from those boxes as me and my wife hit those boxes hard for the few days we were there. Plus I got other family members to trade while they were standing there. I do remember pulling a Park 3 Animation (which wasn’t for sale in the parks there) plus my wife pulled a Evil Pork Chop from the mystery box where she asked me if it was any good, only for me to let out a bit of a screech and nodding as this was in fact my very first chaser. Also at the time, they had the Tron series on offer in a big pyramid stack where they were priced at €5 each, me and wife then proceeded to tear this pyramid apart to find all 8, but sadly we could only find 7 of the series. So I headed back to the hotel room with a bunch of Star Wars, Tron and Cars vinyls with a big smile on my face.
The following day we hit the main Disneyland park which is a much smaller version of the Magic Kingdom, throughout the day I kept a look out for Vinylmation trading locations but didn’t find any until later in the day at the Harrington’s Fine China & Porcelains shop in Main Street. I did however pick up some more Star Wars at the Star Tours shop (didn’t see the trade box). I also managed to pick up the last Tron I hadn’t couldn’t find the night before.
Throughout the park you could find the usual Star Wars, Toy Story and Alice in Wonderland tray’s in the majority of shops along with the odd CYO. But Harrington’s had the largest selection plus a clear open window trade box (about 15 in the box) where I made a few more trades, also in this store I found a couple new 9’s that couldn’t be found in the Village as well as the Sushi set (not that I brought them at the Euro price. Generally I wasn’t impressed with the lack of trading inside the actual park, this might have been a bit less than normal due to the winter opening hours.
Once again in the evening we went to the Disney village where we ate at the Planet Hollywood and I continued to stock up on more Vinylmation’s as well as running between the Disney Store and Art Gallery to pick up more trades. Also by now some of my other family members had gotten in on the game with my Brother and his fiancée buying the Toy Story series and even my mum picked up a couple of Star Wars blind boxes.
The next day was a bit different as while my family went to the Hollywood Studios park, me and my wife skipped off on the train for a day trip to Paris which was lovely. We stopped by the Disney Store at the Champs de Dlysee but couldn’t find any Vinylmation’s in the store. After a long day sightseeing, we got back to the Village for a cup of tea and a little more trading at the Mystery box and open window box. . Even my wife got in on it and picked up a couple of the Bakery series (she even was nice enough on the last night to spend her last 20 euros on a couple of bloxes where she managed to pick up a Buzz Lightyear to complete our set
Packing up for the long drive home required a bit of squashing as I was leaving DLP with about 40 vinyls, so many of them had to be packed together as I wasn’t really prepared for the amount I was buying. So the following day, we were up early, filled up on Croissants and headed back on the long drive home. Making a short stop at the Cribb’s Causeway in Bristol for a bite to eat, refuel the car and nip into the Disney Store where they had a lovely tray of Animation 2 where I picked up a Tigger and Donald to close the trip off. My mum and future Sister in Law also couldn’t resist and picked up a Kim Possible and Jose.
This was my first real go at proper trading and I certainly made the most of it as I came back with a huge haul and not a single duplicate. Generally trading was a very good experience as the CM’s didn’t seem too bothered to keeping to the rules of making you trade if you didn’t need it or letting you have a few goes. However they did seem to enforce the only one per box rule and didn’t seem to want any open window ones in the main Art Gallery store however I did notice some of the cheap Tron’s in some of the other boxes one day, but the following night they had all been pushed to the side of the box.
I have to say, Vinylmation buying and trading in Disneyland Paris was a fantastic experience and while they might not have had as many new series as that in the American parks, for me as a relatively new collector at the time, it was a massive improvement over anything we had in the United Kingdom and great to fill out some of the older collections. One thing that stands out from reading reports of trading in the US parks is that the Outlet/BOGOF offers really put a dampener on trading, where as in DLP, the boxes are full of the blind box series that are available to buy there which made the experience of trading so lovely.
I certainly would love to return to Disneyland Paris at some point in the future as we had a fantastic time and loved being able to indulge in trading and buying Vinylmation.