Walt Disney World
A History in Postcards
How I started Collecting Post Cards

The "lost" collection

I grew up in Orange county, southern California. Even as a kid I think I tended to enjoy Disneyland more than other kids. Whenever my mom had some extra time off from work , or any time she asked what my sister and I would like to do the answer from me was almost invariably "go to Disneyland". My mom and dad divorced when I was young so even though the price back then was much less (even when adjusted for inflation) than it is today, It was still sometimes a bit of a stretch for us, so for most of the years we lived there we went once or twice a year. As we got older we started to go more often.

We moved several times the last few years we lived in Southern California, but the last few places we lived were even closer to Disneyland . For a while we lived directly across the street from Ball Junior High School. When we first moved there you couldn't see any of Disneyland from where we lived or went to school but soon structural steel showed over the trees from the athletic field of the school. We didn't know what it was at first, then someone told us that there was a new roller coaster being built at Disneyland. I though it still didn't look much like something for Disneyland, and I think that I half didn't think that it was in Disneyland until it started to be covered with the rock work that lets it be known today as Big Thunder Mountain (of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad).

One of the things my mom did to make additional money beyond that the U.S.P.S. paid her as a letter carrier, was to sell antique and collectible glass (also Avon) in an antique mall in Garden Grove called Antique Alley. At some point one of the days while we were there passing the time while she worked on her organizing or re-stocking her booth I noticed that one of the other booths had a box full of postcards in it. I don't think I would have even looked through it except that I think there was a divider in the box that grabbed my eye...it said "Disneyland" on it. I don't think I actually purchased any cards there at that time since the amount of money that card cost (I'm pretty sure it was over a dollar even then) would have bought me three or four comic books. Still when I went to Disneyland I paid more attention to the cards there and when I realized how much cheaper cards were there started buying cards from there, eventually I did but some from that antique mall and between that and the increased visits to Disneyland had a box of somewhere between 200-400 cards by the summer of 1981(the year we moved to WV). It filled a shoe box. I probably handled those cards more than I should have carried them around a bit too much and I certainly didn't have any protective sleeves or the like . One other reason we went to Disneyland more those years is that we knew we would be moving away. Once we were moving I probably put even more wear on my cards (and other Disneyland items) looking at them, re-sorting them, etc. I really mourned when we moved away. My mom and sister got tired of seeing me down in the dumps and asking me what was wrong and me telling them I missed Disneyland. It made for a long cross -county trip...that and a thrown rod on our International Harvester Travel-All 99 miles east of Albuquerque, NM (I think it ended up taking almost two weeks). Once we got to WV it was several more days before we moved into a house. Moving into the house I made my first friend, Kent, he was coming home from football practice and as soon as he saw us he started pitching in moving stuff into the house. Some days or weeks later on one of the days when my mom and sister had again tired of me talking about Disneyland. I tried to explain it to him, showed him my postcards, and then made the mistake of asking him what he Really thought of it. Unfortunately the first words he uttered were something to the effect of "isn't that for little kids". In despair I threw the box of postcards in the trash, like I said the condition on the cards probably wasn't the best but there are still things I wish I had out of that box.

Daring to Dream again

By 1996 my mom was the treasurer for the letter carriers in Huntington WV, and as such went to their national conventions held every other year. In 1996 my moms union held their annual convention in Orlando FL. So, my mother, my sister Michelle, and her husband George asked if my first wife, Carmella, and I wanted to go down too. Actually first they told me they were going I didn't react much so they pointed out that maybe we could come along too. This had not occurred to me right away. for several reasons, a visit to WDW had never seemed a realistic possibility to me. When we first moved to WV (My mom, sister, and I) we had a couple really tough years getting settled in until my mom managed to get back on with the post office (for which she had always worked in Ca.) Then I got married kind of young (nineteen) and my first wife and I struggled for a few years trying to make a living in WV (and getting into debt due to that effort) before we moved to Charlotte. Although things had gotten much better for us, that very fact, meant we had just moved into a house, so spending a lot on vacation didn't seem feasible. Well, my sister and her husband George had a good rate on a room they were going to pay for, and my mom said she would pay for our tickets . All we had to pay for way our air fare and our food. I looked at Carmella it was apparent that she already knew about it before I did. It was then I realized " I'm goin' to Disney World !! " We said yes. During that trip I picked up a few postcards, not many. I think I was still leery of getting attached to a place.

Holding on to the dream

After getting back from Disney World I was watching cable one day checking out some new stations our system had recently added. One of them was MSNBC. I already had two good friends who have computers so I decided to keep an eye on this channel some to see what was so great about computers. One day I was checking this channel out and on the show called the site they mentioned Yesterland, a web site devoted to former Disneyland attractions. So, when I found out about the virtual library we have here (through the regular library, it's great) I went down and started checking out Disney web pages. Eventually about a year after that I got my own computer, I also began collecting Disneyland and Walt Disney World postcards through Ebay, and later Playle's on-line postcard auction. I also got a copy of David Mumford and Bruce Gordons great History book of Disneyland and it's postcards; Disneyland:The Nickel Tour. Through eBay dealers I corresponded with, I found out about the IDPCC, The International Disney Postcard Collectors Club. The computer has given me a way to not feel too "homesick" for Disney theme parks between trips. Between working on my WDW web pages, participating in Disney theme park related email groups, looking for postcards on-line, and talking with other fans, I feel like I get to spend a little bit of time "at" Disney World every day. In the meantime my collection of Disneyland cards alone now far exceeds the Disneyland cards I had as a kid, and compared to Walt Disney World that is the small part of my collection!

The care and feeding of a post card collection

Through The International Disney Postcard Collectors Club or some of the others I emailed and chatted with on-line, (perhaps JD Stearns who had one of the first Disney Theme park postcard web sites) I found out about postcard shows, including the one that is held each September in Charlotte. My first time attending that event in Charlotte (1998 or 1999) I found a dealer who was "wanting to get out of" handling Disney cards. I had already picked out quite a few cards I wanted out of his boxes and when I saw what he was asking for all his Disney cards it quickly became obvious that I would come out better buying him out especially since he kept coming down on his price as I was considering the offer! It was a large enough group of cards that, if I remember correctly he gave me a postcard storage box too. I later learned that he found a bunch of Disneyland Hallmark PDL cards in another box that he sold to another dealer there for something like a dollar a piece, I learned about it after I saw that dealer selling them on eBay, I knew he had not had them at the show so I asked them where he got them. Oh how I wish the dealer I bought from had found those cards while I was still there!

Since the stock of cards I bought was heavy on WDW this was one of the first things to push me towards becoming a major collector of WDW, previous to this "the Nickel Tour" and the feelings of nostalgia for cards that I recognized as being the same views I had of Disneyland in my first collection tended to draw me towards Disneyland cards. As I looked through my new finds I quickly realized I had a great start of a new collection. I began to pay more attention to those auctions of WDW cards on eBay and quickly realized that auction lots of multiple WDW cards often ended up being amazing values especially as compared to how expensive Disneyland cards were at that time. As my collection developed these large lots often gave me cards that on the surface appeared to be duplicates of cards I already owned, so, I began to pay more attention to the back sides of the cards too, Soon I was collecting many variants too.

While I know not every collector wants to collect all these variants it was easy for me to start doing that since it cut down on the number of cards in my collection that I considered duplicates. I also feel that having so many duplicate affected the way I stored and sorted my collection for a long time, which in turn affected the way I wrote the Appendices of post card lists for this site. One of the most frequently asked questions I've had over the years is "how do you store your cards?". For a long time I used to keep them in the postcard dealer style boxes if you don't know what I am speaking of think of it like a really long shoe box or like a shorter narrower version of a comic book storage box. Keeping them this way it made a certain amount of sense to keep standard size cards in one size of box and Continental size in my slightly larger boxes. Things larger than continental size were a special case though and for a long time I had a hard time getting a handle on them, mostly I just stood them up sideways (in other words not facing front) in a postcard box sticking way up over the top at various heights. This was a less than pleasing way to handle it but I made due with it for some time. Since different sizes of cards were in different boxes when I started writing the appendices I tended to break the appendices up by card sizes first.

I was aware that many postcard collectors keep their cards in albums or 3-ring binders of one type or another, but with all the duplication in my collection this seemed like it would be a very inefficient way to store my cards. In 2003 or early In 2004 I started to reconsider, at least for those larger than continental sized cards, since I was not satisfied with their storage. We had a store of old 3-ring binders in the attic and by buying a few packets of postcard pages a week I soon had my larger than continental size cards stored more satisfactorily. Pages to store cards are not all that expensive and can be bought from many sources two I have used are http://www.bagsunlimited.com, and The2Buds.com http://www.the2buds.com I have also bought pages from other sources such as Office Depot and Michaels (a Craft supplies chain store). I used a variety of sizes for the oversize cards, 5 x 7 (two to a page), full page protectors for very large cards, and a size I have only found on one web site for storing postcard booklets and long cards two to a page http://www.the2buds.com/supgcf42.htm there are photo pages out there that are sold for those APS (Advanced Photo System) wide photos, but, the ones I found, only fit one post card booklet or double wide postcard per page, with the postcard booklets this makes a binder get thick very quickly indeed!

My duplicates are still stored in the old style, but it is much easier to look at the cards I consider part of my "core collection" it's also easier to sort out cards for sale or trade...less risk of sending one that belongs in the collection! The one thing I still do not like about the way these oversized cards were stored is the way the three ring binders bunch up, slide over, slide out of shelves and generally behave in ways I do not like. I have recently reduced that problem greatly by custom cutting a few pieces of wood to serve as dividers on the shelf where those binders are kept. I kept them narrow enough so that you do not see them from the front of the bookshelf, they only take up space where the 3-ring binders are most narrow anyway.

I was happy enough with how much easier the cards were to look up that I wanted to consider putting my standard size and continental cards, but I did not like the three ring binders, I started looking at other storage options including some that can be found at the aforementioned http://www.bagsunlimited.com, and http://www.the2buds.com but the options available hit me with a bit of sticker shock, I thought "if this is what good shelf-able storage costs, then I'll have to hold up on that for a while". In late summer of 2004 I saw something new in a "back to school" aisle display at an Eckard drugstore, it was called a Uni-keep. It's a plastic box that stands up nicely on a bookshelf has a plastic latch to close it and has three plastic pegs inside that let it function like a three ring binder, and much cheaper than those albums I had found online still at the price I first saw it at (I think it was $7.99) buying several could add up fast, so I just bought one, to try it out. I liked it and when, later after school started they went on clearance, I picked up some more. These were the double thickness 2.0 variety, I did not like them quite as well as the first 1.0 type I bought but ended up using them for my Disneyland cards. I kept checking back in at my local office supply stores to see if they would start carrying them at first they did not know what I was talking about, but eventually they started carrying them too, and cheaper too. By the end of 2004 all of my "core collection" of WDW cards were stored in these binders. I still have some odd cards, cards sold off site, cards from area (non Disney) hotels not in the binders also my Disneyland Paris, and Disneyland Tokyo cards have not made it to these type of binders either, and some of my Disneyland (CA) cards are in three ring binders for the time being as well. Although I have used a variety of sources for protective pages for the various larger sized cards for continental and standard size I haven't found anything that beats the price value of the Beautone hole punched photo pages at Wal-mart a ten page pack, three slots per page (designed for 4 x 6 photos), for $1.44. At three to a page that's storage for 300 standard size or continental sized cards for less than $15.00. Also these fit uni-keeps without modification, I found some other pages that I had to trim and re hole punch before I could put them in the Uni Keeps due to an unnecessary border they use tacked on to put the hole punches in that end up making the sheet larger than 8½ inches wide.Later I bought more of these pages only to find that they were slightly too small for continental sized cards, I kept them and used them for standard sized cards but had to start buying ultra pro pages which I found at a decent price in the scrap booking section of a craft chain called Michaels. Some of my larger than continental sized cards will probably stay in three ring binders for that same reason the pages may just be a little too big for the uni keeps. Of course if they are only to big at the top or just have an unnecessary border for the hole punches I can fix that. I did by one UniKeeps in a legal pad size binder directly from the Unikeeps web site I'm still undecided if I want to buy more of these as it seems a bit of overkill to have something that tall (and therefore hard to fit in a typical shelf space) for something where just another half inch over regular page size would have done the trick.

Having the cards in this new type of storage brings up another possibility. I have noticed that, for the few collectors whose lists of cards I have seen, rather than sorting into large groups of card by size, people tend to sort WDW postcards by park, a category for each of the four main parks, then a category for resorts, one for Art cards, then perhaps a category for everything else. If I had not had so many duplicates in my initial collection perhaps mine would be sorted that way too, as I may have sorted them into binders sooner. I may yet make an alternate version of the appendices sorted that way. But, that will have to wait until I take on another project for the appendices, making a simpler version of the list for folks who don't collect copyright and logo variants, and making the variant version (that I use) have a line for each proven variant. This will include ink colors, which I finally decided I am collecting when I went to put my "core collection" into those Uni-Keeps binders.

E-mail Me martsolf@mindspring.com

Back to the Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1 Walt Disney World : The Pre-opening cards

Back to bigBrians Disney page

Last modified by Brian K Martsolf at 11-Jan-2005 12:25 PM