One way to keep the Disney dream alive is to collect memorabilia; to bring something home from the parks to add to the collection and to dust it occasionally, thinking, gee, I'd rather be at a park than dusting. But seriously, I'm a collector. When I was a kid it was patches and buttons. Gotta love the 70s! I'd pick up pretty rocks and shells, shiny pennies (then I narrowed down the pennies to only Wheat Pennies). When I got older I started collecting painted and glass eggs. After a few moves, I learned just how durable those painted eggs really are. I've only broken one. But now it's Vinylmations that I collect.
For those who don't know what a Vinylmation is, it's a small Mickey Mouse shaped vinyl painted to look like various characters, most of which are Disney related, but not all. They come in two sizes, 3 inch and 9 inch. I only collect the 3 inch vinyls. I also try to narrow my collection to those that are mystery vinyls, meaning you choose a random box from a collection and you don't know what you get until you open it. I love the anticipation and for me, it keeps me buying when I have a goal to get a certain character.
There are plenty of already opened vinyls selling on eBay and I've resorted to bidding on a character at least a few times. I'm not exactly close to a Disney park or a Disney Store, so to carry me over, I've trolled eBay and I've purchased vinyls online through Disneystore.com.
On a recent trip to the nearest Disney Store, I was lucky to go during the Twice Upon a Sale sale and with every 3 inch from some collections, I got a 3 inch free from another collection. I came home with 4 new vinyls. Yay! For now I keep my vinyls in a cabinet in my bedroom, but we are soon to be house hunting and one criteria will be a house with a family room. I'd like to move my vinyls to a place where the whole family can enjoy them.
My daughter collects pressed pennies. Every time we go to the parks, she brings pennies and plenty of quarters so she can grow her collection. Disney has great pressed penny machines. You can find them in nooks, in arcades, in stores, outside of attractions. My favorite are the attraction penny presses, but my daughter likes the character ones. She's even grown her collection outside the parks. We've found penny presses in zoos, museums, other amusement parks, even on the Interstate in rest areas. Collecting pressed pennies might be the cheapest way to get a memento from the Disney parks.
One way to keep your pressed pennies neat and orderly is to splurge on a pressed penny folder. You can find them in all the shops at the Disney parks where you'd find autograph books. If your collection gets really large, I can imagine putting them in a coin collector's binder. My daughter's collection hasn't gotten that big yet, but she's soon to grow out of the folder I got her a few years ago.
There are websites that dedicate pages to pressed penny machine locations and the image the machine will press. Before I go to a Disney park, I print out the machine location list, compare the image list to what my daughter already has and she circles the ones she'd really like that she's missing. This project can take some time, so it's a good way to get her excited for an upcoming trip and keep her Living Disneyfied.
The one bad thing about penny collecting is the weight of the change in your pocket or bag. Because we use a list of the pressings we want to do in a given day, we only bring enough change for those pressings, plus one or two extra just in case. By the end of the day, my pocket is lighter with only the pennies left. And the first thing my daughter will do when we return to the resort is pull out those pennies and put them into her folder. She will look at those pennies for a long time reminiscing over the day and past days. It's pretty cool.
Another thing that we've just started collecting is Disney pins. My daughter is borderline shy, so approaching a stranger asking to pin trade has not appealed to her in the past, but she's now totally into it and can't wait for our December trip.
Again, I've found lots of 25 pins on eBay, won a couple of bidding wars and have amassed a stash of 75 pins. Plus I've found some good sales on Disneystore.com and visited the Disney Personal Shopper website during one of their "live shopping" events. My daughter gives me her rejects, the ones she doesn't want to keep. Those I don't want to keep, she puts in her trade pile. She's now got a good pile to start trading with and we still have 5 months till our trip. No doubt I'll try bidding on eBay once more before December.
So far my daughter displays her favorite pins on a bulletin board. I keep mine in a drawer until I get around to making a board for myself; busy working mom.
Lastly, my daughter recently got a Duffy Bear from the Disney Store. She got a free outfit with purchase and I knew this December she was looking forward to buying Duffy and outfits around World Showcase in Epcot. I can't pass up a sale, so I relented and got Duffy now. As a fluke, the Disney Personal Shopper folks were doing a live shopping event at the outlet in Orlando and posted a picture of a Mad Hatter outfit for Duffy. I jumped on it because I'm a fan of the Mad Hatter and it is so cute! Now Duffy has two outfits and we haven't even been to a park yet. What can I say? I love Disney!
With Duffy's outfits being kind of expensive, this collection might be out of most parent's price range. I will continue to look for sales, especially around Holiday time when Disney Store has a decent sale with Duffy merchandise. We might have to take a trip to the outlet store when we get to Orlando in December. Until then, we'll be Living Disneyfied with our current collections.