Disneyland cracks down on souvenir flippers

December 7, 2018, 5:16 PM · Think you can make a few easy bucks on eBay by flipping newly released souvenirs from Disneyland?

Think again. Reselling items you buy in the park might cost you your annual pass.

The Orange County Register reports that Disneyland is quietly revoking annual passes of guests who buy and resell souvenirs. The articles quotes two Disneyland annual passholders who had their passes revoked after selling Disneyland souvenirs online.

Interesting note: One of the passholders in the piece said that Disney continued to charge her monthly payments for the duration of the pass's term, even though Disney no longer would admit her to the parks using the pass. That makes sense. When someone kicks you out of a ticketed event, they typically don't issue you a partial refund for the rest of the event you missed. An annual passholder who opts for monthly payments enters into an obligation to make all those payments. It's not a month-by-month subscription service.

Disneyland is cracking down under its authority in the fine print of its annual pass terms and conditions, which states that "such benefits and discounts are for personal use only and may not be used for any commercial purpose including, without limitation, to obtain or purchase items or services with the intent to resell such items or services."

Therefore, annual passholders who use their AP discount to buy souvenirs that they then resell have broken Disneyland's terms, so Disney has the right to terminate their pass without refund.

Santa LGM popcorn buckets
Santa LGM popcorn buckets were the latest new release to send Disney fans scurrying to eBay.

But did you spot the loophole? If not, here it is: Disney is booting APers who used their discount to buy items to flip. What happens if you buy your future eBay inventory without using an AP discount? Disney might have no authority to toss you and definitely has no way of knowing who you are, especially if you use a credit card not connected to any Disney account or... heaven forbid, pay with old-fashioned, untraceable cash. Those annual passholders and Disneyland visitors will be able to keep flipping without fear of losing their park access.

That's why Disneyland's crackdown, while welcome (at least by me), won't be enough to stop dedicated flippers from draining Disney's inventory on newly-released, limited-edition souvenirs. One way that Disney could stop that would be to start scanning tickets to buy such merchandise, limiting each visitor to one item. Disney also could reduce the online aftermarket for its souvenirs by putting its full inventory up for sale on its Shop Disney Parks website and app, so that people not on site at Disneyland and Walt Disney World could have an equal crack at the goods, too. But Disney still should limit those purchases to one per registered customer, address, or credit card number to ensure that the maximum number of fans can get their hands of its limited-edition merchandise.

Of course, Disney also could just stop making limited edition souvenirs and flood the market to its saturation point with each item it sells. But Disney enjoys having a collector community — and the money it makes from that community — so the company is not about to undercut that by doing away with the rare and unusual items that collectors find so engaging to chase.

Replies (4)

December 9, 2018 at 1:29 AM

Just like Fastpasses in China, Disney should use the demand to their advantage, and squeeze the middle people. Raise the prices so people don’t resell them online. Have three prices, online which is the highest,the regular park price park in the middle, and of course the lowest price with a pass discount. Have the new pass discount be the old regular price. A collectors item should be that, for collectors. Price them so they collectors and people who really want them have the chance to buy them, without it selling out and many of them ending up for sale online.

December 9, 2018 at 8:46 PM

Maybe they should try releasing a limited edition for AP holders that has only a tiny difference to the version they then release to everyone else?

A slight colour variation? one that is 5% bigger.... A small difference that will make a difference to a hardcore collector, but not to a more casual fan.

Then the only people who will need to buy them from online sources are hardcore collectors, as opposed to people who just can't get in for the limited event but like the look, or the film etc that the product is from.

December 10, 2018 at 10:59 AM

Only the flippers with no brains will get caught. This doesn't really affect the secondary market at all. Limited Edition items will still sell out within minutes of them going on sale, which is exactly how Disney likes it. I really think they like the prestige of a 10-cent item made in China being worth thousands of dollars on eBay. There's absolutely no reason for them to change anything. The only way this will stop is if the Drones grow some brains.

December 11, 2018 at 12:16 PM

Russel, I wish you were wrong about Disney being fine selling out. Getting limited edition merchandise should not sell out almost as fast as a $100 TV on Black Friday, My view is if you want the item and and can get to the park within a week of the release date, it should be there. Maybe spreading out how many can be sold per day or even per hour is the solution, but whatever the solution is, Disney coulld find it and implement it if it really wanted to.

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