I have always loved Disney merchandise and clothing, but we all know how expensive it can be. Having to live off a small budget lately, as I am a mum of two working part time, I was struggling to feed my Disney addiction! In addition to this though, I have always adored vintage Disney things and stuff that reminds me of my childhood. I do think that it is nice to have something a bit different as well; places like Primark and Asda are bringing out so much nice Disney merchandise, but the problem with that is you end up looking like a bit of a sheep! (I heard on a Disneyland Paris Facebook group that a while ago you could spot the British tourists as everyone was ‘head to toe in Disney Primark’!) So if you want to be a bit different, and also love a nod to the 80s/90s, then second hand or vintage Disney shopping is definitely the way to go!
As a lover of Disney and a lover of all things vintage and nostalgic, I have developed quite a good eye for spotting old Disney pieces to add to my collection. If, like me, you enjoy having different style and not following the crowd, then you will for sure enjoy the list of places below.
One of the first places that everyone thinks of looking, and probably one of the easiest ways to find vintage Disney pieces, is good old Ebay. I can often loose a few hours in the evening scrolling through all the old Disney goodies on Ebay. Some of my favourite searches are ‘vintage Disney clothing’, ‘EuroDisney’, as I love to find pieces from when our closest Disney park opened, as it is so cute and has that charming early 90s feel, and also ‘vintage Disney dolls’, as I just love the look of the old dolls. Honestly there is so much on Ebay and you can play around with the wording of what you are after to find something truly special and unique. I also find Ebay good for vintage Disney gifts for people, if I know they are into a certain Disney character and you cannot get much stuff with them on these days, Ebay can just be the place to find that perfect little something for your loved one.
It is a good idea to set up Ebay email alerts for the certain items or keywords you are really interested in, then if something pops-up that you have to have, you will know about it straight away, and before anybody else does!
Some great Disney pieces I have found on Ebay include, an 80s plush Mickey Mouse hat from Walt Disney World, a collectors edition of Beauty and the Beast on vhs (complete with behind-the-scenes book), an old Disneyland penant, and some old Disney vhs.
Facebook selling groups/marketplace
Facebook is not somewhere you would immediately think of to buy Disney merchandise, but these days social media is such a huge part of everybody’s lives that it makes sense that people would sell the things they no longer want on there. Some of the groups that I am a member of include ‘UK Disney merchandise for sale’, and ‘Disney buy and sell all things UK’. I mostly like to look out for vintage Disney plushes on these groups, as I find their little faces way too cute and hard to resist! I recently bagged myself the trio of duck nephews Huey, Duey and Louie in bean bag form, with their original Disney Store tags on, and they are very adorable!
You can of course also search on the Facebook marketplace tab at the bottom of the screen. I used this recently when I was searching for Sofia the first merchandise for my daughter’s birthday, (they have phased out Sofia merchandise in the Disneystore as they are stopping making the episodes). You can find quite a lot if you are after anything in particular, however most things on marketplace tend to be collection only, so keep this in mind and try to find things that are local to you.
This has to be one of my favourite places to find Disney treasures, as it is a total lucky dip of what you might find and you never know when you will stumble upon something amazing! You have to have a lot of patience and perseverance, but in my experience it is so rewarding when you find that rare Disney gem. Some of my favourite vintage Disney pieces have come from charity shops. It is by far the best place to look for Disney books and records, as they are so much cheaper here than you would find online (I guess this is due to the charity shop staff not knowing the worth of some older items-definitely a win win situation for us shoppers though, as we can bag a real bargain!) I used to find quite a few Disney records in charity shops (I have some gorgeous ‘See, read, hear’ records that come with books that I have come across for as little as 25p!), but unfortunately these are becoming very few and far between. The same can be said for Disney vhs tapes (yes, I still have a vhs player and use it often!), around five years ago you could get vhs tapes quite easily, but now they are very hard to find, I presume this is because the staff believe that nobody will buy them due to vhs players being so rare now. It’s a shame really, as I guess quite a few vhs tapes have ended up going to landfill for this reason. One time we went to a charity store and a huge plastic box of children’s vhs tapes was sitting outside the entrance – I was delighted! There were Disney and non-Disney, but I had watched almost all of them as a child. When I grabbed a handful and took them inside to pay, the man at the till told me they were giving the tapes away for free! Even better! So I went back and grabbed about six more, and took them away with me!
Another thing I like to collect from charity shops is Disney ‘Wonderful world of reading’ books; they have such beautiful illustrations and feature original stories featuring lots of our favourite Disney characters. I must have nearly a hundred of these books now, but I am always on the lookout for ones that I don’t yet own.
I have found so much vintage Disney treasure at charity shops, from old Disney store snow globes, to a Little Mermaid boardgame from the early 90s, to a huge talking Kiara lion, to Hunchback of Notre Dame drinking glasses! There really is so much out there, you just have to have the ‘Disney eye’ to see it! And as I said, when you find a rare bargain, all that searching really pays off.
Bootfairs and village fetes
Much like charity shops, looking around bootfairs is very much a fun lucky dip and you never know what you might find. It can be very exciting, but it can sometimes not bring up any results and you can go away feeling a little deflated (at these times I usually like to swing by some of my favourite charity shops on the way home, just so I don’t feel like the day wasn’t a waste for vintage Disney bits!) I feel like bootfairs aren’t as big as they used to be, and I’m guessing this is because people are more aware of selling websites like Ebay and Depop, etc, but if you get there early enough, and really take the time to have a good look through each stall, then you can come away with an armful of goodies! One thing I always like to look for at bootfairs is vhs tapes, as they can go for really cheap here. The most common Disney things to find at bootfairs tend to be old Disney toys, but I have, on occasion, found some more collectable pieces, like a snow white china tea set (still unopened in it’s box) and once I found a lovely little ceramic sorcerer Mickey figure when I was delving through a tray of brick-a-brack items, for around 20p! The best bootfairs are definitely the larger ones that usually take place during the warmer summer months, on a large field. I feel like you can have a nice relaxed time walking around, whilst also enjoying the sunshine, and a refreshing ice-cream cone!
Village fetes are one of those places where I think people wouldn’t expect to come across any Disney merchandise, but I am such a big Disney fan that I am always on the lookout for Disney wherever I go, and so it can be found in unexpected places! In fact the Disney things may not always be those that are for sale- one time I remember going to a town carnival, and they had a game where you could win a mystery prize, I can’t for the life of me remember what I had to do now, but I ended up winning and could pick ‘anything I liked’ from a large plastic box; to my delight there was an old Winnie the Pooh tv series VHS tape in the box, and I of course chose that as my prize, and was very happy with it indeed! There is one particular village fete that happens in my local area on the August bank holiday weekend, and I always seem to find some sort of vintage Disney treasure there. I don’t know if this is because the village has lots of older residents who may have older Disney merchandise in their houses (maybe the grandchildren have grown too old to play with it, or they are having a clear out of their things), but I always seem to find bits from the 80s/90s there. On the white elephant stall this past year, there were two or three large boxes of, mostly Disney, McDonalds Happy Meal toys! I was very happy about this, as I used to love collecting the Disney happy meal toys when I was younger (it sucks that they don’t do them anymore, though I understand the health reasons behind it), and older Happy Meal toys have become very hard to come by in recent years (again, I think this is due to Ebay, and people becoming wise to the value of older Disney things, as certain ones seem to fetch quite a high price on there!). Me and my daughter took ages gleefully looking through the boxes and picking out rather a large quantity of ones that we wanted! I think the lady that was running the stall was a bit shocked at how many we wanted! I just think that Disney Happy Meal toys are lovely little nostalgic pieces, and some of them are really nifty little play things, as well as displaying well. Of course, they also have that nostalgic feel for me, as I grew up in the 90s when getting these toys in my Happy Meal was a real treat!
There is another stall at this same village fete that an old couple have, and they have lots of little toys, as well as jewellery, and amongst it all is hidden a collection of metal pins, some of them Disney parks pins. I always end up buying at least a few pins from here, though I cannot be 100% sure they are genuine (they do have the Disney parks pin trading logo on the back of them). Some nice ones I have picked up include a ballerina Minnie one, a Cinderella hidden Mickey one and a Tinkerbell one.
This is a website which I only became aware of recently, but it seems like another good way to find vintage Disney bits. It seems that many of the Oxfam charity stores are taking some of the older and more valuable donations, and putting them onto this online store, which can be frustrating as it means that there is less good stuff in the actual high street stores (I think it is always nicer to be able to hold something that you are interested in, before you commit to buying it), but never the less, at least it still means we get to view it on the online store whenever we want, and keep an eye out for bargains. I haven’t yet purchased any vintage Disney pieces from the online Oxfam store, but I have however seen some of the old World of Wonder talking toys on there, which I think are charming, and would happily purchase if I see them for a decent price.
This one is a completely new find to me, and in fact the one that inspired me to write this article, as after years of hunting for, and buying, lots of lovely vintage Disney trinkets, I had never heard of this ‘Asos marketplace’. We are all familiar with the super popular online website Asos by now, and know how great it can be for everyday fashions, and they them selves are releasing new Disney clothing collections from time to time, but I never knew that they had a whole other part of their website, similar to Ebay, but wholly dedicated to pre-loved fashion pieces. It was actually via a Google search of the words ‘vintage Disney clothing’ that I happened upon this website, and then found that they had, not just one or two lovely vintage Disney clothing pieces, but pages and pages of it! They even had some old Disney pins on there! It really was an online treasure trove of vintage Disney bits which I wasn’t expecting at all! As I have mentioned, I only came across this website last week, so I am yet to purchase anything from there yet, but there was some real gems, including some very colourful MGM Studios t-shirts (the previous name for Disney Hollywood Studios park in Walt Disney World), plenty of Disney parks hats, and some fantastic Disney denim dungarees from the glory days of The Disney Store (AKA when they used to sell brilliant and classy Disney clothing for adults, that was expertly embroidered with some of our favourite Disney characters). I am sure if I have enough money left over next month, that I will be making at least one purchase on here as the pickings were really great!
This is another one of those places where I think you wouldn’t expect to find many vintage Disney bits, but you would be surprised! Usually Etsy is where you would go to find brand new home-made crafts and clothes, but I have actually found that there are lots of older ‘pre-loved’ items hiding on the Etsy website as well. During a recent search of their website I found over thirty pages of vintage Disney goods, from mugs, to books and ornaments to lovely partyware, I would defineitely recommend giving this site a look, particularly if you after something specific as there is more of a range of things on here than you would expect. Again, I haven’t yet purchased any vintage Disney items from Etsy, but no doubt I will in the future!
Now this is an interesting one. There is one in particular shop which I found few years ago now (I remember the shop was mentioned in a Youtube video by Disney vlogger Ellie Steadman a long while back now, and I thought the sound of a ‘Disney mystery box’ sounded wonderful – who doesn’t love Disney treats, and even better when it is a surprise what you will get!), so I went and checked out the store and to be honest, it was a dream come true! The Instagram shop I speak of is called ‘Queen Kewpiex.com’, and just the sight of the front cover of the website brings me so much joy! Lauren has really created an absolute treasure trove of new-but-old Disney things and it is all inspired by nostalgia and our childhood Disney favourites, particularly merchandise from the 90s. What’s really special about this store is that, by some magic, they are able to get their hands on vintage Disney treasures but they are brand new (still in their packaging and never used!) To me this is amazing and so special; I pretty much love everything available on her website and own lots of the lovely items. One of my favourite things that I have purchased from QueenKewpiex is one of the 90s McDonalds Disney boxes – and yes, they really are packaged in original Happy Meal boxes! There are usually tons of designs to choose from and each one is as charming as the next. Being a total Disney Parks lover, my favourite boxes are the Disney parks one (they all have beautiful designs of the famous rides and parade characters, and bits you can pop-out and assemble like a real playset! I remember doing this as a child in the nineties, but don’t have the heart to do it now, so I keep them complete, as lovely pieces to look at), and of course they all come crammed with a mixture of new and vintage Disney merchandise. This can include, jewellery, postcards, stickers, toys, bookmarks, sweets, stationary and much more! Honestly when I receive when of Lauren’s special packages from my lovely post lady, and see the sticker that says ‘delivered by unicorns’, I do a little jump for joy, as I get so excited! I actually have a package on the way that is one of her pin collector starter sets, so I am super excited for that to turn up! I also find QueenKewpiex site brilliant for gifts for my loved ones, as the things she sells are so hard to come by normally. As you can tell, this is one of my favourite online stores ever, and I probably spend way too much money on there, but if it brings me joy, than what is the harm?!
Something else that is good on Instagram is stores that specialise is selling vintage things, and I have found some lovely vintage Disney pieces on these sites too. Some of my favourites include ‘Homeward Found’ who does a lot of clothing sales (some of her childrens vintage Disney clothes are the absolute cutest, you have to be quick when a sale starts though, as they can be snapped up so quickly!), as well as some lovely little vintage Disney toys and games. Her website isn’t all vintage Disney, but it is nice to spot the few hidden Disney gems (though all of her pieces are really nice). I bought my little girl a few vintage Disney pieces from the website and the owner is such a lovely lady who always takes time to message me and has even held items for me for a few days before when I have been waiting for payday to come around!
Another one of my favourite vintage Instagram stores is ‘Wilyfox Vintage’ and I have been a fan of these website since I first joined Instagram years ago. The website is very much a nod to 80s and 90s retro nostalgia and is almost all Disney things. Like ‘QueenKewpiex’, I pretty much love everything she has to offer, and have to refrain myself from going mad and splashing all my cash on her lovely vintage Disney goodies! Everything is so bright and colourful and her prices are really great. This is another website I regularly use to buy gifts for my loved ones (I got my mum an ‘It’s a small world’ vinyl record for Christmas as it is her favourite Disney ride, as well as buying a darling little Polly Pocket-type Little Mermaid toy playset for my little girl, who was delighted when she found it in her Christmas stocking!). Some of my favourite things I have purchased from Wilyfox Vintage have been vintage Disney badges (I just love the old 90s artwork on them), a sweet Valentines Day mystery box (containing Han and Leia ‘I love you’, ‘I know’ necklaces, as well as genuine Disney pins of Wendy kissing Peter Pan, amongst other treasures), and a beautiful vinyl record of The Rescuers soundtrack (it is one of my favourite under-rated Disney movies, and the music is so so lovely).
When you think of finding vintage things on the high street, this is probably the first place that springs to mind. There are not a lot of vintage stores, at least where I live, but we do have one that has opened up a few months ago and I really love it! The store is laid out lovely and the staff are very friendly, plus they are always making big efforts with their window displays to draw people into what is a really nice store. I have only found one piece of Disney treasure here so far, and it was a little book which is full of those little collectible cards that you used to be able to find in packets of teabags, back in the day (I remember my nana having quite a collection of them in one of her drawers, with different themes such as nature, vehicles and celebrities). The book contains a full collection of these cards and has lovely vintage illustrations from 1990. It was a lovely little find and the lady let me have it for 50p! I know there are a lot of great vintage stores in the larger cities, for example in London, however I find that these stores hike the prices up quite a bit (you may be able to find one vintage Mickey jacket on Ebay for £20, whereas the same one, in a vintage store in London may be £40, or even more), though it depends where you look and if you are lucky enough to find a good bargain then I would definitely snap it up, right away!
There are some stores that aren’t wholly vintage, but may have a vintage section, for example I managed to pick up a great lime green vintage Walt Disney World t-shirt in the vintage section of an Urban Outfitters store once, and I still love and wear it now.
Another place which is definitely worth a look, is antique stores. Among the old tables and chairs, you may be lucky enough to find a vintage snow white doll, or even a Walt Disney World back-scratcher (these are things I found last time I looked round one of my local antique centres). Similarly to the vintage stores, these places can increase the prices of some items, so shop wisely and have a budget in mind (or perhaps ask yourself ‘would this cost less on Ebay?’). I recently found an old Mickey Mouse viewmaster in an antique store, for a fiver, which, with a little cleaning-up, made the perfect present for my daughter’s birthday!
Last of all on our list is another one which you may not think of. If you are as Disney-mad as I am, then chances are your friends and family will be aware of your Disney obsession, and with any luck, they will think of you when having their annual Spring clean! One time my fiance’s best friend was downsizing his own Disney collection, and he bought round a huge bag of, mostly vintage, Disney goodies to donate to us! As you can imagine I was pretty pleased about this, especially as we got all the lovely bits for free! In the box were lots of old Toy Story toys, a lovely ‘see hear read’ Dumbo vinyl record, and a lovely huge sorcerer Mickey Mouse cuddly toy, who was originally from Walt Disney World. He had a couple of stains on him, but with a recent spin in the washing machine, has come out beautifully clean and looks good as new!
My own parents’ loft is also a great source of excitement for me, as I cannot easily get up there myself, so every so often, my dad will bring down a few old toy relics from my childhood which bring back so many nostalgic and joyful memories for me. A recent example of this was when he found an old Simba plush that one of my school friends had bought back from a Walt Disney World holiday for me, as it was close to my birthday. These things are always a lovely surprise to me, though I am still awaiting my old autograph Pluto plush (which I had signed by about a dozen Disney characters) from our own family holiday to Walt Disney World in the year 2000.
5 top tips for vintage Disney shopping
- Always keep a bit of spare change in your purse/pocket as you never know when you will come across that special little something!
- Have a budget in mind and try to stick to it- vintage Disney things can be pricey, so make sure you know how much you are willing to spend, and that you don’t spend so much that you have to live on beans on toast for the next month!
- Have a ‘Disney eye’ when searching through piles of things in bootfairs – at first the vintage Disney bits can be overlooked in the chaos but you will soon get used to picking out the Mickey shaped things!
- Realise that you don’t have to purchase every vintage Disney thing you see (unless you have lots of money and storage space), but instead hold back and wait for the things you feel really bring you joy!
- Let your friends and family know you are on the lookout for vintage Disney bits, especially if they live in a different area to you, as they may be able to find different pieces or look in places that you can’t get to.
The key is, to always keep an eye out as you never know what wonderful Disney treasure awaits you!
What vintage Disney treasures have you found? Let us know in the comments below!