Tuesday, June 5, 2012

116. Theme Park Connection

As most of you know, the primary focus of this blog is highlighting ways to use modern technology to "stay connected" to Walt Disney World. In fact, that is basically my tag line. Today, I'm going to talk about a company that truly helps us stay connected using both the internet as well as a physical location.

Theme Park Connection was started by Marc Pianko. Like so many of us, Marc grew up a huge fan of Disney and loved going on vacation to Walt Disney World. While in college, he decided that he would like to become a cast member. After graduating, he started his career working at the Disney Institute where he was able to go backstage and see how so much of the magic is made. I think most of us theme park enthusiasts would consider that a dream come true.

While working at Disney, Marc started his own eBay store selling Disney pins and other collectibles. After spending seven years working for the mouse, he decided to pursue his own theme park memorabilia business on a full time basis. Due to the relationships that Marc has built and the connections he has made, he has been able to acquire some amazing and unique pieces. In addition to selling merchandise,  he also buys and trades with the public.
Over the years, Theme Park Connection has amassed an incredibly large collection of Disney theme park stuff. It is estimated that they have over 250,000 items for sale.  Due to the company's continued growth, Marc needed warehouse space to house all of the merchandise. This past December, he opened the Theme Park Connection Store in Winter Garden, Florida, and now the general public can see (and touch) the memorabilia in person. I had the pleasure of visiting the store a few weeks ago and to say that I was impressed would be an understatement. I am not much of a shopper, but standing in that warehouse made me finally understand what my wife must feel when walking through an outlet store full of purses. This place is like visiting the "Holy Land" for theme park enthusiasts.

I literally walked around the warehouse for an hour with my mouth agape, similar to the look most of us have when first seeing Cinderella Castle in person. I actually thought I heard a choir singing "Hallelujah" at one point, but I think I was just overwhelmed by what I was seeing. There are cast member uniforms, parking lot signs, actual attraction placards, and even props used in shows. In addition to one-of-a-kind items that were used at Disney World, there is also merchandise that was sold at the parks over the past 40 years. I saw guide books, special event pins, hats, posters, and more snow globes than I've ever seen in one place. If you are a Disney pin collector, you will certainly find a whole bunch at the Theme Park Connection store. There are also toys from the parks and movies. I picked my son up a StarSpeeder 1000 from Star Tours, and he was one happy kid when dad brought that home! You can find items for under a dollar as well as things used in the parks that could cost in the thousands. There is something for everyone at this place.

The Theme Park Connection Store is a place that every Disney fan should visit. If you like memorabilia and collectibles, it is a place that you MUST visit. It is only about a 20 minute drive north of Walt Disney World. If you have a car, I highly recommend checking it out on your next trip to Central Florida. You can visit the Theme Park Connection website for directions. I will caution you, however, that you could spend all day browsing in this place.  You should definitely set aside some time to enjoy the experience. If you aren't going to be in the area in the near future, you can check out their eBay store to see a good sample of the items they have for sale. However, there is much more in the warehouse that you won't find on eBay. I know that I will
be visiting again in the near future!

Have a Disneyriffic day and remember to keep moving forward. See ya real soon!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I am also a huge fan of Disney as I watch every animation of Disney and write about that with the help of writing services.

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