Ah, Disneyland. Anyone who’s visited the Magic Kingdom has fond memories of a favorite ride or character. Imagine harnessing the feeling from the Most Magical Place on Earth in your own home, without having to travel and pay admission to the theme park. Your chance of scoring a little slice of Disneyland has never been better, as collector Richard Kraft has put his massive group of authentic items from the park up for auction.
Through August, you can walk through a wondrous display of more than 750 items in a pop-up exhibit that fills a former sporting goods store in Sherman Oaks, CA.
Kraft grew up in Bakersfield, CA, and lived for his family’s annual trip to Disneyland. After his brother died, visiting Disneyland was a way to reconnect with his sibling. Savoring those memories led Kraft to buy his first souvenirs. Later, he graduated to purchasing props from the park itself.
“What began as a way for me to reconnect with my brother quickly developed into a way for me to bond with a different family member, my son,” Kraft says of the evolution of his Disney collection. “[My son] Nicky grew up with artifacts from Disneyland at every turn.”
Now, Nicky is 28 and Kraft has a 4-year-old daughter who was born with a rare genetic disorder known as Coffin-Siris Syndrome. All the Disney props have been put in storage, and his new home is “overrun with stuffed toys and games from her favorite film … ‘Minions.’ The girl is a Disney traitor,” Kraft says with a laugh.
So he’s decided to sell his entire collection through Van Eaton Galleries, a Southern California auction house. He plans to donate part of the proceeds to the Coffin-Siris Foundation and the CHIME Institute.
The pieces aren’t cheap, and some fans are willing to pay upward of $1,000 for a trash can! But there are deals to be had, such as colorful maps of Disneyland for around $60 each. The 328-page catalog for $40 is also a work of art in its own right, and a mod poster of the event is available for a mere $10.
We visited the pop-up exhibit and were bowled over by the remarkable pieces up for auction. The items are also available for view (and can be bid on) at VEGalleries.com.
Here are some of the pieces that we’d bid on, if we had the space and the funds:
Current bid: $20,000
Disney deets: From 1963 to 1999, this large neon “D” was displayed over the Disneyland Hotel—a sure sign to visitors that they’d finally arrived. Still in its original metal frame, the neon letter has been professionally restored and measures 16 feet tall, 9 feet wide, and 4 inches deep. It’s perfect for anyone named Donald or Dewey.
Current bid: $6,000
Disney deets: This would look great in your game room! This particular ticket booth was used for a couple of decades beginning in the ’80s. It’s made of wood and painted white and pale green, and measures 12.5 feet tall, 14.5 feet wide, and 12 feet deep. It would also make a great (Mickey Mouse) clubhouse.
Current bid: $125
Disney deets: Not everything at the auction is out of reach. This lot consists of two colorful maps created for Disneyland’s 40th anniversary. They’re suitable for framing, and measure 27-by-35 inches. There are actually plenty of posters, maps, sketches, and collectibles available in this price range.
Starting bid: $50,000, no bids yet
Disney deets: If you’ve ever visited Frontierland, you remember hearing this parrot singing, “In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki room, all the birds sing words and the flowers croon.” This item would be especially fun over a bar. The 6-foot-tall original animatronic prop of Jose actually sings the entire program, while winking and preening on his custom-built perch.
Starting bid: $40,000 each
Disney deets: If you can stretch your budget, you’ll want to nab these “stretching portraits” hand-painted on canvas. Originally hung in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, the canvases measure 127 by 42.5 inches.
Starting bid: $100,000
Disney deets: This car is sure to make everyone squeal in delight. Dumbo the Flying Elephant is one of the few original rides still in existence at Disneyland, having been around for more than 60 years. This vehicle is approximately 5 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 5.75 feet tall.
Starting bid: $4,000 each
Disney deets: These animated dolls from It’s a Small World ride were reportedly used in a Disneyland parade float during the 1970s. The dolls are still functional and come with their original bases. However, you’ll have to provide your own music.
Starting bid: $15,000
Disney deets: Think how great your backyard will look with this guy guarding your pool! This animatronic sea serpent from the Submarine Voyage ride is massive. Comprising five sections, it is 48 feet long, 6 feet tall, and 3 feet wide. Originally controlled by pneumatic tubing, it’s been wired for electricity and comes with a control switch. The head turns left to right, and the eyes rotate. It’s fantastic!
Current bid: $9,000
Disney deets: This original Skyway bucket soared through the park from the mid-1960s until the attraction’s closure, in 1994. “With its sleek look and shape, this ‘Skyway’ bucket is a perfect lounging area for within the home or in the backyard,” the description states. Hop on in!
Current bid: $500
Disney deets: Back in the day, Disneyland ran on a system of actual tickets. The stubs were what remained after the tickets were redeemed for rides. This collection of punched ticket stubs is begging to be mounted and framed on a wall.