This Store Offers a Treasure Trove of Vintage Disney Collectibles
Travel| | By Robin Milling
As brick and mortar stores close brick by brick, making way for more online shopping, it’s a small wonder that Theme Park Connection in Orlando, Florida is booming with business. After a full day of visiting the Magic Kingdom you may want to save some energy to drive the kids another 19 miles to this inconspicuous warehouse that’s jam packed with everything and anything your child, and your childhood heart desires. Theme Park Connection is 17,000-square feet filled with memorabilia and collectibles from Disney park attractions, all here for one-stop magical shopping. Since it began 17 years ago, the store makes sure to uncover every nook and cranny to discover such gems as a full-scale replica of the Haunted Mansion. They scour through pieces of redesigned hotel rooms or extinct attractions like the Robin Williams-helmed Timekeeper which closed in 2006.
General Manager Brian Ramsey tells Racked.com, “We basically have traveled the world to get stuff.” It’s a lot of work sifting through second-hand shops that inherit Disney cast member costumes, or taking country-wide road trips to clear out conventions that hold precious Disney keepsakes. Ramsey takes back his worldly purchases by the truckloads to Theme Park Connection. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure where customers can comb through tubs of buttons and pins, silver Epcot matchbooks, Disney hotel shampoo bottles, and spools of Mickey Mouse stickers, or an over-sized pair of red sunglasses once used at Disney California Adventure. They haven’t completely abandoned the online world. If you can’t make it to Florida, items are posted on their Facebook page and on eBay. They have four to five hundred weekly online auctions featuring their collectibles such as a rare paperback of Waking Walt by Larry Pontius, a fictional take on the Disney king. Why is there so much interest in Disney paraphernalia you may ask? Over the years Ramsey has sold keepsakes that remind people of their loved ones. For instance a temporary dated sign of Michael Jackson’s defunked Captain EO was purchased by a man who had his first date with his now-wife at that very spot. It’s all about nostalgia and holding onto memories. Putting a price on emotions is a tricky thing which may be why people flock to places like Theme Park Connection.
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