The Complete Guide to Disneyana Collecting: Tips for Beginners and Seasoned Fans

Disneyana refers to the incredibly diverse world of collectibles and memorabilia related to The Walt Disney Company. From animation cels to theme park merchandise, Disneyana encompasses it all. This article will provide an in-depth look at Disneyana for both beginners and seasoned collectors.

A Brief History of Disneyana

While Disney fans had been collecting related items for decades, the term “Disneyana” was first coined in 1974 with the release of the book “Disneyana: Walt Disney Collectibles” by Cecil Munsey. This marked the start of Disneyana as a defined hobby. In 1976, Disneyland opened an official Disneyana shop, selling both new and vintage items. The Disneyana fanbase expanded rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s. Today there are conventions, clubs, and online groups dedicated to Disneyana.

Getting Started with Disneyana Collecting

For beginners interested in starting a Disneyana collection, focus on what you love. Are you a big fan of a certain character? Or do you want a piece of Disneyland/Disney World history? Decide on a direction first. It‘s also wise for beginners to start small with more affordable items. You can always upgrade pieces later. Some beginner Disneyana ideas:

  • Vintage postcards
  • Small character figurines
  • Reproduction movie posters
  • Theme park maps/brochures

Tips for Veteran Collectors

More advanced Disneyana collectors have a few advantages. With knowledge and often bigger budgets, they can target expensive and rare pieces. Some tips for veteran collectors:

  • Research thoroughly before big purchases
  • Attend Disneyana events and auctions
  • Connect with other serious collectors
  • Focus on condition and authenticity

Bringing Home Disneyana from the Parks

One of the most convenient places to purchase Disneyana is right inside the Disney theme parks themselves. Guests have a few options for bringing home souvenirs.

Shopping Disneyana Options

There are dozens of stores inside both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, offering everything from t-shirts to high-end collectibles. ShopDisney online is another option.

  • Package Pickup: Large or fragile items can be shipped home for an additional fee. Allow 5-7 days for delivery.
  • Disney’s Floral & Gifts: Specialty gift baskets and customized products can be delivered on-site or shipped.
  • Amazon Locker Pickup: Select Amazon lockers located inside Walt Disney World allow for easy souvenir retrieval later during your trip.

Getting Free Disneyana Deliveries

Guests staying at select Walt Disney World owned-and-operated hotels can take advantage of free deliveries when spending $25 or more.

  • Deliveries go to hotel bell services, generally arriving in 3-4 hours.
  • Valid at most Disney-owned stores and quick service restaurants in the parks.

Disneyana Collecting for Beginners

Building a Disneyana collection as a beginner can be daunting. Focus on these areas first to start small and affordable.

Starter Disneyana Items

  • Pins – Inexpensive and easy to display
  • Postcards – Vintage Disneyland/Disney World postcards are very affordable
  • Patches – Fun to collect from different parks and decades
  • Small character figures – Look for older McDonald’s Happy Meal toys

Places to Buy Starter Disneyana

  • ShopDisney outlet sales – Often 50-60% off
  • eBay lots – Bulk purchases can lower per-item costs
  • Mercari – Easy mobile app for buying/selling Disney items
  • Facebook groups – Connect with other collectors selling at fair prices

Disneyana Collecting for Veterans

From original animation cels to retired theme park artifacts, rare Disneyana appeals to veteran collectors. But these pieces come at a high cost.

High-End Disneyana Items

  • Original movie animation cels – Hand-painted and one-of-a-kind
  • Ride vehicle prototypes – Usually salvaged after refurbishments
  • Cast member costume pieces – Extremely limited availability
  • First edition books/comics – Includes original Walt-era publications
  • Hand-drawn attraction concept art – Often custom framed

Places to Buy Rare Disneyana

  • Disney art galleries – Display original cels and concept art
  • Auction houses – Specialize in rare Disneyana for serious collectors
  • D23 events – Disney’s official fan club hosts exclusive merchandise sales
  • Estate sales – Can uncover high-end Disneyana from private collections

Guide to Starting Your Disneyana Collection

Once you’ve selected a collecting focus, establishing your Disneyana collection takes some careful planning. Follow this guide to start out on the right foot.

Choose Your Collection Direction

First decide if you want to collect broadly across Disney history or focus specifically on an era, movie, character, or park. This helps guide purchases.

Set a Budget

Rare pieces can cost thousands. Define your budget so you don’t overspend on impulse buys. Set aside a monthly Disneyana allowance.

Research Prices Thoroughly

Use price guides to understand the fair market value of items you want. This prevents grossly overpaying. Know what your must-have pieces are worth.

Organize Early On

Establish systems to catalog and display your Disneyana collection. Keep detailed records of each acquisition including descriptions, purchase dates, and prices paid.

Connect with Other Collectors

Networking offers guidance, buying/selling opportunities, and more. Attend Disneyana events or join online collector groups to connect with similar fans.

Most Popular Disneyana Collectibles

With thousands of unique items spanning nearly a century of Disney history, what pieces tend to be the most coveted by fans? These consistently rank among the most popular for collectors to seek out and acquire for their collections:

  • Vintage Disney toys: Includes everything from tin wind-ups and pull toys from the 1930s-50s to mid-century plush characters.
  • Theme park artifacts: Especially attractions no longer operating like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Skyway buckets.
  • Rare movie cels: One-of-a-kind, hand-painted animation frames given as gifts to employees or sold as part of limited edition gallery runs.
  • Comic art: Includes original sketches, daily strips, and pages from Carl Barks, Floyd Gottfredson, and other renowned Disney artists.
  • Cast lanyards: Extremely limited pins, badges, and custom pieces made exclusively for Disney employees.

The most popular Disneyana is almost always the older and rarer pieces tied directly to Walt-era animation, Disneyland’s early years, or uniquely created for cast members.

The Hardest Disneyana to Find

On the flip side, some Disneyana pieces barely ever surface for collectors to purchase. What are some of the “holy grail” items that almost never appear on the open market?

  • One-of-a-kind prototypes: Includes early Disneyland attraction vehicles and concept miniatures not approved for production.
  • Extremely limited editions: Such as the 500 Mickey Mouse watches given to employees in 1933 or first year debut items like the 1955 Disneyland employee handbook.
  • Original Walt Disney correspondence: Signed letters, internal memos, scripts, or legal documents in Walt’s own hand.
  • Discarded Disneyland artifacts: Especially from attractions or lands no longer standing, like the Skyway, America Sings, or the Old Mill.
  • Artwork gifted by Walt Disney: Including personalized, hand-drawn sketches given to close friends, colleagues, and family members.

For those with the budget and patience, tracking down these ultra-rare Disneyana grails provides the ultimate sense of accomplishment.

Best Ways to Save Money on Disneyana

Assembling a Disneyana collection on a budget is very doable. From smart shopping strategies to points programs, use these tips to keep costs down:

Buy Disneyana in Bulk Lots

Large bulk buys on sites like eBay can drastically lower the per-item price when collecting in volume. Just be prepared to resell duplicates.

Use Disney Rewards Programs

Disney Movie Insiders, Disney Visa card points, and ShopDisney rewards can offset collectible costs with earned discounts.

Seek Out Cast Member Discounts

Disney employees get steep merchandise discounts. Connect with cast members in collector groups who can purchase items on your behalf.

Buy Discount Gift Cards

Sites like Raise, CardCash, and GiftCardGranny sell retailer gift cards at reduced rates – perfect for major Disneyana sellers like ShopDisney.

Negotiate Prices

Don’t be afraid to make offers and negotiate with individual sellers on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Mercari.

Disneyana Pricing

There is a wide range of prices for popular Disneyana collectibles, from affordable items under $100 like pins, postcards, and small figurines, to rare and high-end pieces costing tens of thousands of dollars or more. Some key details on Disneyana prices:

  • Vintage toys from the 1930s-1950s tend to sell for $500-$1,500 at auction, with the most pristine examples going for over $1,000.
  • Rare hand-painted animation cels can fetch $15,000 or more at auction. Recreation cels tend to cost in the lower thousands/upper hundreds.
  • Theme park artifacts like retired attraction vehicles or parts can sell for thousands to tens of thousands based on rarity.
  • First edition Disney books and comics from the 1920s-1950s can go for five digits at auction.
  • Smaller and more common items like pins, postcards, patches, and character figures tend to stay affordable in the under $100 range, making them good starter pieces.

So while the most sought-after Disneyana sells for small fortunes, beginner collectors can build an enjoyable collection without breaking the bank by focusing on smaller vintage items. The sky’s the limit for more advanced Disneyana collectors with bigger budgets.

Celebrities That Collect Disneyana

John Stamos with Mickey Mouse

A number of celebrities love to collect Disneyana or have a passion for all things Disney. Here’s a list of a few of them:

  1. Actor John Stamos has an extensive personal Disneyana collection that includes a large Disneyland entrance sign, vehicles from the Dumbo and Snow White attractions, and other rare pieces. He outbid Michael Jackson on the Disneyland sign.
  2. Singer Mariah Carey is a huge Disney fan – she renewed her wedding vows at Disneyland and has performed at Disney park events. She frequently visits and posts photos from Disney parks.
  3. Model Heidi Klum launched a Disney Villains clothing line and visits Disney parks often with her family. She’s been spotted having fun at the parks.
  4. Actor Chris Evans watches YouTube videos of Disney park trips when he’s sad and has visited the parks frequently. His wife requested Disneybound outfits for their trips.
  5. Pop star Katy Perry has loved Disney since her earliest childhood memory and honored Minnie Mouse at her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony.
  6. Neil Patrick Harris has been a huge fan of Disney since his childhood. He and his family visit the Disney Parks often and hosts a number of events throughout the year.

Popular Disneyana Characters

Amongst all the Disneyana out there to collect, there are a few characters that are highly sought after. Here’s a small list of popular characters:

  1. Mickey Mouse – As Disney’s official mascot and one of the most iconic cartoon characters ever, vintage Mickey Mouse toys, books, artwork, etc. are highly sought after by collectors.
  2. Snow White – As Disney’s first animated feature film, Snow White memorabilia like figurines and cels from the 1930s film are very valuable.
  3. Winnie the Pooh – Beloved character whose early plush toys and illustrations by E.H. Shepard are popular Disneyana.
  4. Princesses – Items related to fan-favorite Disney Princesses like Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, and Elsa are collected frequently.
  5. Villains – Disney Villains like Maleficent, Cruella de Vil and Ursula have dedicated followings who collect artwork, pins, etc.
  6. Donald Duck, Goofy – As Mickey’s classic supporting characters, Donald and Goofy Disneyana from comics, shorts, and films is also very collectible.
  7. Figment – The purple dragon mascot of Epcot’s Imagination pavilion who stars in the Journey Into Imagination ride. As a fan-favorite original Epcot character, Figment merchandise and artwork are popular.
  8. Orange Bird – This cute little orange bird debuted at Walt Disney World’s Tropical Serenade in 1971. Vintage Orange Bird souvenirs from the 1970s heyday are very collectible.

Final Thoughts on Disneyana Collecting

From animation cels to theme park artifacts, few collecting genres offer the sheer diversity and passion as Disneyana. Whether just starting out or hunting high-value rarities, the vibrant world of Disney collecting welcomes fans of all levels with endless discoveries.