The Art of Collecting Disneyana: a Short Guide

The Fall 2003 issue of “The ‘E’ Ticket” featured a profile of Disney collector Richard Kraft, who had a collection of Disneyana (Disney memorabilia) that any Disneyland fan would envy. It included a Frontierland canoe, a Bog Thunder Ranch sign, and an assortment of Ferdinand the Bull items. Overall, he had 10,000 items in his collection, and many of them were big ticket.

Dumbo Attraction Vehicle

However, it was the story of his Dumbo attraction vehicle that received the most attention. Kraft went to an auction where he budgeted $10,000 to for Dumbo. When the bidding reached the end, he was facing off against a phone bidder. The price kept going up as he rationalized the cost. The crowd chanted for him to win Dumbo. He felt exhilarated, and he came up with the winning bid – $35,000, 3.5 times what he had budgeted. He got the accolades from the crowd and the dumbo vehicle.

When he got home, he had to figure out how to display the vehicle. No contractor wanted to mount it to the ceiling and assume the risk of earthquake damage. Dumbo sat in storage for over a year. Finally, Kraft decided to tear out the wall, install a steel girder in his home’s foundation, and Dumbo, once again, appeared to soar through the air. He didn’t say how much the modification cost, but the idea of buying a Dumbo attraction vehicle for more than what many people make in a year, paying for storage, and then paying for what was likely and expensive home modification left me a little depressed. As a collector of less than modest means, I could never hope to own one Dumbo vehicle, much less store it or display it; it would never fit in my apartment.

For Smaller Collectors of Disneyana

How can someone, whose income could never reach that level, build a great Disney collection? Kraft summed up what collections should be. The Dumbo attraction vehicle reminded him of his trips to Disneyland and the joy he experienced there. It also brought a smile to the face of people who saw it in his home. Those are the two things that any collector can get from his or her collection.

Find something you love, and make that the focal point of your Disneyana collection. Then, share it with others to increase your joy and theirs.

This article is part of our Disneycember coverage. Doug Walker, the Nostalgia Critic, and Channel Awesome appear to have coined the word “Disneycember.” Come back every day during December and read a new Disney article.

If you want to read more about Disney and creativity, check out “Disneyland Is Creativity” and “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.” Read more about the Disney Company in “Penguinate! The Disney Company.” Check out other Disney stories at