Having grown up with Disney movies, a local Disney Store and visited Disneyland Paris on quite a few occasions, I’ve always had the odd ornament/trinket/plushies sitting around my home. But it wasn’t until I turned 18 I decided I wanted to fully commit to collecting Disney. Over the past few years, I’ve built up quite the Ariel’s Grotto of whosits, whatsits, thingamabobs galore!
I thought I’d share my Top 10 tips for collecting so I can give some helpful advice to anyone else who’s like to start this fun hobby. Bear in mind I’ve used Disney as the topic of discussion, but these tips can be applicable to any franchise of your choice.
1. WHAT TO COLLECT?
Okay, so you know you want to start a Disney collection… But what Disney collectables to start with? There’s so many to choose from! Ornaments, figurines, Tsum Tsums, dolls, Pop Vinyls, plushes, snow globes… The choices are endless. A good starting point is to decide on WHAT exactly you want to collect. This makes budgeting, displaying, and obviously collecting the products themselves a whole lot easier.
2. KNOW YOUR BUDGET
I’m not gonna lie: even when done efficiently, collecting can be an expensive hobby. Know what your budget is from day 1 so you won’t find yourself yearning for items you can’t afford. There’s some great ways to limit your spending! Subscription boxes (such as Pop! In A Box) are a great way to consistently collect products while being limited to a fixed monthly cost. Another way is to start with collecting small products such as mini plush Tsum-Tsums, which are only £3 each from Disney Store. Remember that you might find the same item you’re after cheaper in a different store, so check everywhere before committing to a purchase in one place. Most importantly, be on the lookout for Sales and Offers throughout the year in stores and online; most of my collection I’ve scored through finding bargains! I’ve also received some lovely items as gifts from family and friends; if you let them know about your love of Disney, it actually makes gift-buying a lot easier for them!
3. STEADY YOUR PACE
In my opinion, the worst thing you can do when collecting is buy a whole collection line at once. Don’t worry, I am indeed guilty of this myself, and most collectors will be at some point! It’s especially hard when you know you’ll want to own the whole line but you’re positive it’ll sell out fast, and the last thing you want is a half-completed collection, so I completely understand how it feels. But do try to steady your pace so you don’t end up with more items than you can actually display or more importantly, spending too much money in one go! The main part of the fun of collecting is watching your collection grow over time and always being on the chase, and if you buy everything at once, it can take away the fun a little.
4. WHAT’S THE MOST SPECIAL TO YOU?
What’s your favourite Disney movie? What’s your favourite Disney character? Can you not pick just one? I know I can’t, I love them all too much! My Disney collection is made up of lots of different Disney movies and characters, but I’ve seen lots of amazing collections where people have stuck to one theme i.e. Stitch, The Lion King, Cheshire Cat, The Little Mermaid, Snow White etc. Although I have my favourites (Alice In Wonderland, Beauty & The Beast) I mainly like to collect a little bit of every Disney movie because I know I would personally get bored of collecting just one theme, and there’s always the chance a new movie will come along that I like even more. But if you want to stick to one movie or character that’s special to you, then go for it!
5. MAKE ROOM… LOTS OF ROOM!
With collecting the Disney items themselves also comes the hours spent with a tape measure in hand measuring up your room and browsing homewares stores such as Argos and IKEA for new cabinets and display units to house your collection. Try to keep your methods of displaying simple so they’re easy to dust and keep clean, don’t display items in the sun too much as some can fade over time. Try to be size-efficient as well: if you’re items are small in stature, then you won’t need a unit with lots of height space, or if your items are quite big then make sure they’ll fit inside a cabinet shelf by measuring them beforehand! Be aware that your collection may grow so big you’ll need to commit it to more than one space, so plan in advance what items you want to keep where, and if you don’t live alone, I’d advise you get permission from the other people you live with first before plonking not-so-hidden Mickey’s left, right and centre!
6. LIMITED EDITION ITEMS
Some Disney items are Limited Edition (LE for short). This means that the product has been limited to a certain number of items produced either nationally or (most commonly) internationally. Because of the rare-ness of these items, they can be expensive and if you’re looking to buy them on the secondary market, expect some crazy high prices! Unfortunately, some online stores don’t always have the most organised system for their LE items, and most are available on a first come/first served basis. I have numerous stories of waking up at 8am, constantly refreshing the site for the item to show up, the item selling out before I can grab it in my virtual basket so I try in-store to see if they have any left… It can actually be quite stressful! Patience is key with LE collecting, and if you really do have to resort to the secondary market (i.e eBay or Amazon) please be aware of the many scammers online, DO NOT pay for anything extraordinarily cheap or expensive, don’t buy from a seller who only uses company stock photos, and if you are paying through PayPal make sure the payment is under “Goods and Services”, not “Family and Friends” so you’re covered just in case you’re being scammed.
7. FIND INSPIRATION ONLINE
Sometimes you can get a bit of a collector’s block, which is exactly like writer’s block. You’ve collected so much, you’ve run out of ideas on what to collect next, or you’ve run short of ideas on how to display etc. Have a Google online, take to reading blogs to find some buzz on what’s new and be introduced to new products that are hitting store shelves soon. Join social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest so you can see other people’s collections and get some inspiration. These are great ways to liven up the hobby and take it to a new level.
8. JOIN THE COMMUNITY
Collecting is much more fun when you join in with other collectors online! There’s lots of ways you can get involved and become part of the collector community; Facebook groups, Twitter/Instagram hashtags, Tumblr/Wordpress blogs, maybe even start your own blog devoted to showing off your collection! These are all great methods to meet like-minded people who enjoy the hobby. Search terms and keywords such as “Disney“, “Collections” “Fans” and you’ll come across some brilliant Facebook groups/fan-sites you can get involved with and become an active part of the Disney collecting community.
9. IGNORE THE NON-MAGICAL FOLK
Although I luckily haven’t had anyone say anything negative to me personally, do bear in mind that some people are just not very magical and not everyone is going to “get” what you do and why you collect Disney as a full-grown adult. PLEASE IGNORE THEM, they are not worth your time explaining why you enjoy collecting as whatever you say, no matter how valid the points you make are, just won’t convince these sort of people, and why should you have to? I understand this may be harder if the negativity is coming from family, your partner, or close friends, but always remember: you’re an adult, you’re free to do what you choose, so do what makes YOU happy, not other people.
10. HAVE FUN!
Like any hobby, collecting is meant to be fun, so enjoy it! Don’t feel pressured that you have to collect certain items or display your collection a certain way because there really is no right or wrong, your collection is completely unique to you.
I hope you find these tips helpful, and may even inspire you to start a collection if you haven’t already! Al photos featured are from my personal collection. Do you have a Disney Collection? Let me know what you collect in the comments!