Interview with Marc Pianko, CEO Theme Park Connection

Theme Park Connection

How would you like to own something from the Disney parks that was actually on display? A limited edition item that had only been given to cast members? Or maybe a unique Disney object that’s hard to find? Look no further than Theme Park Connection… a great place to Buy, Sell, and Trade Disney Items.

Lucky for me, my wife found this site before my last Birthday and purchased some amazing presents. In her experience Theme Park Connection had the most extensive Disney collection out there. Not only were the items great, but packaging was done with a lot of care, and items arrived in a very timely manner. With their exceptional customer service and variety of objects for sale, Theme Park Connection is the place to go! Just be ware…your collecting may turn into an obsession. If we see on you hoarder’s, Disney version, don’t blame us!

After such a great experience we had to get to know who was behind this company. Below is our interview with Marc, owner of TPC. After reading Marc’s interview, be sure to enter the giveaway for a $40 gift card for their new online store!  Entry form is available at the end of the interview.  

Question: What year was the Theme Park Connection started and why did you decide to open this type of store?

Marc: TPC kind of evolved in the late 1990’s when we sold Disney items at Flea Markets. When eBay was developed it opened a worldwide market for us. In 1999 we started listing Disney pins on eBay. It was an exciting time because we could literally help people around the world purchase Disney items when in the past they would have had to come to Florida or California. So basically it started with Flea Markets, then evolved into eBay selling, and a couple years ago we had the “aha” moment and opened the retail store. Over 500 people waited to get into our store and the local media showed up to cover the store opening. It was awesome. After the retail opening we grew from 3,000 square feet to over 10,000 today. It’s been 15 years in the making!

Question: What are your top selling items?Theme Park Connection 1

Marc: Props and Signs are always the best items to find, and some attractions bring more attention than others. Haunted Mansion is probably one of the most sought after attraction items. We also find that the more original park items from Magic Kingdom or Disneyland are more popular than say Animal Kingdom. But what is unique about our company is we try to connect people no matter what items or park they collect. We offer a huge variety of collectables, and we try to make sure we can find items for just about any Disney fan or collector. We even started offering items from Disney Movies. Our store though is known for our “$3.00 pin wall,” and just the endless different items we sell, from Park Maps, buttons, figurines and more. We appeal to someone who is just looking to spend $1.00 or to those who are more serious collectors and want a prop or even an entire ride vehicle.

Question: You’ve procured some amazing items. I’m sure objects have come your way that you would rather keep, than sell. What object stands out as one you would have rather kept (or did keep) for yourself?

Marc: Always, it’s tough for all of us who work at Theme Park Connection because all of us have that passion for Disney. So if you asked any of our employees, they would each have many items they would like to keep. It’s so much fun to be around so many items but I look at it like this: I have had all these in my collection at one point, I just haven’t kept them as long as I’d like. All of us who work here though have our different areas that we get excited about. We have one employee who loves vinylmations, another who loves the Disney movie items we get. And I’m like some of the others who love props that really show the history of the park…like a sign that brings you back. The one I really still to this day would love to put in my house is the Main Street Bicycle sign we have. It’s just too large for me but someone will have a way to display it and enjoy. Growing up I rode and raced bicycles so it just reminds me of Disney and my childhood together in one sign, and even better is the fact that it actually hung in the park. There is always a connection somehow to our objects, whether it’s a memory or a story from childhood.

Theme Park Connection 2Question: What is the strangest item you have sold in the store?

Marc: Well, probably pieces and parts to character costumes because when you’re looking at Tigger’s hands but nothing else, or even pieces of an animatronic leg or arm…that can be a little strange. And seeing the Small World doll heads with no costume (just the head with no eyes) is different.

Question: Any interesting future plans for the store?

Marc: We are always thinking to the future and most importantly how we can connect more people, faster to Disney. We want to make it easy for people to find us, to sell items, and connect them with the magic. This past month we just opened an online store at http://www.themeparkconnection.com/ and our retail store is always developing and growing. We have plans to build more unique sets at our store, and maybe grow to more locations. We love the fast response to our customers we can get through facebook and twitter as well at www.facebook.com/themeparkconnection and www.twitter.com/tpcdisney . Maybe have a mobile AP someday to offer to our fans. We also take into consideration what our fans want for future purchases. It’s always important to change and grow in order to meet the needs of our customers. It is our main goal to be your connection to your Disney collection. It’s really something we take seriously, by developing ideas and opportunities… like opening our retail store 2 years ago.

Question: What one item at the parks today would you love to get into your store?

Marc: It’s hard to come up with one because there are so many I’d love to get in our store! We have had some amazing items, like the Timothy Mouse that was on top of Dumbo, a Carousel Horse from Disneyland, and certain ride cars. But if I truly had to bring one item to have at our store I would probably go with something from the Haunted Mansion, like the Hitchhiking Ghosts. Or maybe an entire fully dressed Doll from It’s a Small World. Here I go, not being able to just say one. We get a lot of WOW items, so it would have top those. If I think of something that would top what we have already had in our shop…I’d have to go with the Hitchhiking Ghosts.

Question: What theme park character are you most like and why?

Marc: I love Figment as a character because when I see him it brings me back to my first visit to Disney with my family. I love to get items into our shop from the original Figment attractions, Dreamfinder stuff, as it all has to do with imagination. It has taken imagination to make everything you see in the world today. I imagined this business to be the number one place to find unique Disney items in the world. So it’s having that imagination to see it through, and then actually doing things to make it happen that have made our store what it is today. Being creative and all is what Figment is about.

Question: What is your favorite theme park?Theme Park Connection 3

Marc: Love Disneyland. I like the feeling it gives you when you realize that you’re walking in the same place Walt walked, and had a hand in designing. It’s just an amazing feeling.

Question: What is your favorite theme park ride?

Marc: I was most impressed when I first rode “Countdown to Extinction” (now Dinosaur) when it first opened in 1998 because it was the first of its kind I had ridden. Now-a-days it’s the classics: Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and of course Space Mountain. Interesting enough, Space Mountain is a wild ride with the lights off but I had opportunity to ride with lights on and you would not believe the difference. It’s not as thrilling because with the lights on you can anticipate where you are going. But with the lights off it’s awesome.

Question: What is your favorite theme park food?

Marc: I always have to have a Dole Whip, and what is great is they are actually starting to pop up in more parks around the US, and even the Polynesian offers them now. I always head right to the Dole Whip in Adventureland when at the Magic Kingdom though.
Huge thanks to Marc for answering our questions and offering up such a great giveaway for our readers!

You can find the Theme Park Connection at the following locations:

Website: http://www.themeparkconnection.com/ – Visit our online store and eBay auctions through this website
Facebook: www.facebook.com/themeparkconnection
Twitter: www.twitter.com/tpcdisney

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Uncategorized.
  • Heather Hedy F

    Figment pin!

  • Pixie Dust Savings

    Any of the Disney pins. – Especially the Brave set.

  • Guest

    When we stayed at AKL I fell in love with the sheers. I would love to be able to buy them.

  • Sheila Leach

    The Cruise Line Mickey ears.

  • Thanks for letting us know about this wonderful store/site and for the giveaway! Omgosh, there’s so much to look and ad drool over 😉 I think, though, I would have to have the Disney Cruise Line Dream Inaugural Voyages LE 1250 Captain Mickey Ear, because I was on the DREAM Christening Cruise! Hope no one buys that before I win this giveaway 🙂

  • Thanks so much for sharing this great store with us! No wonder Disney fans lined up to get in opening day! I would love the Disney Monorial Tin Park sign by Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily. That’s been on my wish list for awhile!

  • Taralyn @ Keep Moving Forward

    I would love to get pins!!!

  • Relive the Magic

    I would love to get disney parks props.

  • Jennifer Kruse Stidham

    Disney Star Tours Ride Prop Wall Section

  • Amy Reed

    I would so love the It’s a Small World sign! 🙂

  • Jessica

    I would love to own the Walt Disney World New Fantasyland Dumbo Park Used Sign

  • yoyoflamingo

    Train Conductor Hat. 🙂

  • Ana

    i’d like a doombuggy!

  • carol bondell

    I love so many items, but my daughter really decorates her house for Halloween and would love the
    Disney Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion Holiday Spiderweb Candelabra

  • Liz Garrett Green

    I love everything on the site! I am actually going to do my best to make it by the store on our next visit to Florida. I would really love to have something that was touched by Walt Disney or Roy Disney. Just so I could say I have a real piece of the magic.

  • I love everything on the site, but my favorites are the Vision Walt laser cel, the carrousel horse, and Chip’s bowtie from SpectroMagic!

  • jillallisonbarnes

    I would probably select a couple trading pins! Lots of cute items, such a tough decision!!!

  • Pingback: Hidden Mickey Monday in Mulan II | Disney Day By Day()

  • Pingback: $40 Theme Park Connection Gift Card | Product Sweepstakes()

  • Suzanne Rudge (MapleMouseMama)

    This is a great site and what a wonderful interview Sean! I think my favorite piece from the TPC site is the WDCC figurine Dumbo in a Tub. Too cute!!

    Suz

  • Jocelyn McGaffic

    I would love to own the Goofy Animated Window Display! I’ve loved Goofy since I was little and this would be awesome to have!

  • Jessica Sininger

    By far one of the best places to buy hard to find Disney products!!! I’ve been in their store north of Orlando and it was amazing! Found things I would’ve never imagined had been made! I’ll be going back one day!

  • Christine Watson Huff

    So many choices!! Could just search for hours!!

  • Lisa Cameron

    Great interview and great site! If money was no object I would love the Carousel horse, but I know my kids would really want the coin operated Mickey car!

  • Justin Norris

    I love the Store! I head there everytime I am in the area

  • Pingback: Disney Gift Card Giveaway | Disney Day By Day()

  • Angela C

    The Imagineering Hard Hat for my 8 year old, whose dream is to become an Imagineer.

  • Andrea Mason

    I would love to have the Mrs Potts watch

  • Jill Cogburn

    I would Love the Dumbo sign that used to hang in the Magic Kingdom!

  • Alfred Menna

    pins for trading

  • Pingback: $40 Theme Park Connection Gift Card Giveaway - Giveaway Promote()

  • Judith Smith

    These collectables always bring back fond memories of happy times.

  • Judith Smith

    I would love to have a
    Disney Cruise Line Limited Release Watch

  • Nicole C

    I would like the Walt Disney World Cinderella’s Castle Family Crest Park Used Plaque

  • flyergal82

    i want something from Disney 2012 Vinylmation

  • Pingback: Wordless Wednesday | Disney Day By Day()

  • Cindy S.

    I would love to own the ….. Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion Changing Portrait Framed Negatives From Attraction !!

  • Melissa B.

    I would love to own the Disney Parks Mickey Mouse Deluxe Starter Pin Set.

  • Sarah Walker

    I would love to own the Disney Mickey Mouse Coin Operated Animated Musical Kiddie Ride Car.

  • Stephanie Larison

    Disney WDCC The Lion King -Timon- “Luau!”

  • Pingback: $40 “Theme Park Connection” Gift Card Giveaway at DisneyDayByDay – Ends 07/21/2013 | Contest Corner: The Best Giveaways on The Net! | Oregon Coast Blogger()

  • Pingback: Fastpass to History: 1987 5 Day Worldpassport | Disney Day By Day()

  • Pingback: Favorite Food Friday: Macaroni & Cheese Hot Dog | Disney Day By Day()

  • Kelly Benson

    The Nightmare before Christmas Candelabra

  • Allyson Becker

    I would love to get the Disney WDCC Dumbo In Tub Simply Adorable 1995 Membership Sculpture Figure Statue. Dumbo is my favorite!

  • Brittney House

    Imagineering Hard Hat

    Brittney House BBrittBrat1398@yahoo.com

  • Timothy Jay

    I would get more of the vinyl figures for my collection.
    timothyj228@gmail.com

  • liz l

    I like Cinderella and the Lion King videos

  • Disney Parks Star Wars 4 Pins Set

  • diesel51p

    DisneDisney Parks Dis Wars 4 Pins Sety Parks Star Wars 4 Pins Set

  • dwiegand

    the carousel horse…that is, if I had an extra $22,000 sitting around 😉

  • Mimi

    Interesting article! I’d love to own just about anything from the parks ~ it would be like my own little piece of Disney at my own house! Plus I love the Imagineering items 🙂

  • Angela Nelson

    I’m so happy to hear about Theme park connection! I’m gonna go shop now!

  • Mary Beth Dwyer Dudley

    I would love the Haunted Mansion luggage. Looks cool!!

  • Mihaela D.

    i want the
    Walt Disney Imagineering Leather Pink IPad Case

  • Elizabeth Ray

    I love the Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion Changing Portrait Framed Negatives From Attraction! Cool! (Not in my budget, of course, but I still love it!)

  • ktgonyea

    The Haunted Mansion luggage looks awesome 🙂

    ktgonyea at gmail dot com

  • Raine Dawson

    I’d love to get the ‘Disney MONORAIL Contemporary LE Kevin Kidney Jody Daily WDW 40th Tin Park Sign’ for my mom! Great site! buzzyngabe(at)yahoo.com