Big Dis­ney auc­tion pulls in $1.8 mil­lion

Orlando Sentinel - - OBITUARIES - By De­wayne Bevil [email protected]­lan­dosen­ [email protected]­lan­dosen­ @call me back

The re­cent auc­tion of Dis­ney theme-park items — rang­ing from an­i­ma­tron­ics to ash­trays — ex­ceeded the ex­pec­ta­tions of the Cal­i­for­nia-based auc­tion house. The two-day sale of 1,500 items brought in more than $1.8 mil­lion in winning bids dur­ing the “A His­tory of Dis­ney­land & Walt Dis­ney World” event, the co­founder of Van Ea­ton Gal­leries said.

“With an auc­tion, you never know what’s go­ing to hap­pen,” Mike Van Ea­ton said Mon­day.

Of the Walt Dis­ney World-ori­ented items, two an­i­ma­tronic tiki birds that were part of Magic King­dom’s En­chanted Tiki Room at­trac­tion, went for $121,000, which was about 50 per­cent more than the gallery had an­tic­i­pated.

“All these parks have an enor­mous fan base, and they’ve been around long enough where stuff from the parks — es­pe­cially early stuff — has be­come quite col­lectible, and that mar­ket has just sort of start­ing to move up,” Van Ea­ton said.

In 2015, a guide­book, signed by Walt Dis­ney him­self, sold at a Van Ea­ton auc­tion for $15,000. That item resold for $56,000 at auc­tion. Also sold was a tele­phone from Walt Dis­ney’s per­sonal apart­ment at Dis­ney­land. It was ex­pected to go for $2,000 to $3,000. The winning bid was $36,000.

The auc­tioned items were from col­lec­tors, not di­rectly from Walt Dis­ney Co., Van Ea­ton said.

“I mean ev­ery­thing ob­vi­ously comes from Dis­ney at one point of time,” he said. “These are things that are ei­ther thrown away or

County staffers had sug­gested some­thing that dis­pleased the theme park gi­ant. So Univer­sal lob­by­ist John McReynolds fired off an email to sev­eral top county of­fi­cials, say­ing: “If I show this to my Chair­man we will be an­nex­ing to­mor­row.”

Quite the com­mu­nity part­ner. (As a side note: The Sen­tinel filed a pub­lic-records re­quest for those emails back in Septem­ber. But the county didn’t re­lease them un­til two weeks be­fore the vote. Re­porter Ja­son Garcia scoured thou­sands of emails to find that one. He also found emails where county staff asked Univer­sal to help spon­sor a char­ity event and eco­nomic sum­mit in­volv­ing Dem­ings. In both cases, the theme park was happy to ac­com­mo­date the mayor with checks of $2,500 and $3,000 apiece.)

Also re­lated to char­ity: Univer­sal per­suaded Sec­ond Har­vest Food Bank to at­tend Tues­day’s hear­ing to talk about all the good things the com­pany does to sup­port the re­gion’s largest food bank. were col­lected by em­ploy­ees. A lot of stuff, es­pe­cially when it comes to sig­nage, they ac­tu­ally let the em­ploy­ees buy it a lot of times.”

A Peo­pleMover ve­hi­cle sold for $129,000 (the es­ti­mate was $25,000).

“Dis­ney ac­tu­ally sold that on eBay back when Ebay first started — ei­ther there or at one of their fan con­ven­tions — they sold for a few thou­sand dol­lars,” Van Ea­ton said. And a head­board from a Dis­ney

The com­ments from a Sec­ond Har­vest exec ob­vi­ously had noth­ing to do with road-build­ing. In­stead, they seemed de­signed to soften the im­age of a com­pany that was play­ing hard­ball to get tax­payer dol­lars.

Univer­sal, how­ever, was less will­ing to talk about how many of its new em­ploy­ees would make enough money to not need food­bank ser­vices.

While the theme park has talked of 14,000 jobs and start­ing wages of $15 an hour, the park hasn’t pro­vided an­swers about how many of those jobs will be full-time with ben­e­fits.

When Dem­ings asked McReynolds for a spe­cific num­ber Tues­day night, the lob­by­ist re­sponded: “I don’t have the break­down.”

Hmmm. McReynolds also noted the num­ber of full-time jobs might “fluc­tu­ate a lit­tle bit with sea­son­al­ity.”

That seems im­por­tant. Sta­ble jobs — the kind upon which fam­i­lies can rely for health in­sur­ance and to make mort­gage

ho­tel room sold for $7,000.

“It’s just a head­board,” he said. “You never know, you know? It’s funny.”

He said all but two of the 1,500 items sold (an un­sold one was a Jun­gle Cruise cast mem­ber cos­tume, he said).

“Ev­ery­body has a lot a great mem­o­ries of Dis­ney World or Dis­ney­land. And, so, when this stuff is seen out­side of the park, it just has tons of nos­tal­gia. Peo­ple just say ‘I’ve got to have that’,” Van Ea­ton said.

Bid­ders were heard from around the world, in­clud­ing Ja­pan, China and the United King­dom.

Van Ea­ton Gal­leries has mul­ti­ple Dis­ney and pop-cul­ture-driven auc­tions per year. For this auc­tion, items were on dis­play in its Sher­man Oaks, Calif., of­fices. The com­pany con­sid­ered bring­ing the mer­chan­dise to Florida for dis­play, Van Ea­ton said.

“The prob­lem be­came get­ting the stuff there was very ex­pen­sive,” he said. “The truth is the ma­jor­ity of bid­ders are on­line. We could be in Wis­con­sin and it wouldn’t mat­ter.” pay­ments — don’t “fluc­tu­ate.” But hey, Univer­sal won. The ques­tion is: At what cost? One of the most pow­er­ful speak­ers Tues­day night was an Epis­co­pal priest who was dis­turbed by the park’s threats to county of­fi­cials and its naked at­tempts to pro­mote its char­i­ta­ble en­deav­ors.

Fa­ther Jose Ro­driguez ad­mit­ted he wasn’t a po­lit­i­cal ex­pert, but said: “I’m not out of my el­e­ment when I turn to the Or­lando Sen­tinel and see an email that ba­si­cally says: Give us what we want or we’re walk­ing.

“I know scrip­ture. And scrip­ture says if some­one’s with you and they leave, they weren’t re­ally with you. A Univer­sal threat to leave the county shows they’ve never been with us … They’ve only been for their bot­tom line. They only care about them. And their will­ing­ness to walk away says they are not a true com­mu­nity part­ner.”

But yeah, Univer­sal got its road money.

play the “Please call me back” game when I get a phone mes­sage. I’m ticked off at a par­tic­u­lar per­son who re­fuses to sim­ply say what the call is about, re­peat­edly, even though it’s just as easy to ac­tu­ally con­vey in­for­ma­tion. Don’t be pas­sive-ag­gres­sive and pre­tend you’ve done your part and now it’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity. It isn’t. You haven’t com­mu­ni­cated a thing, you’ve sim­ply wasted both my time and your own. Try do­ing what you’d like done if some­one is try­ing to reach you, and leave a real mes­sage in­stead.

at the ad agen­cies that make the an­noy­ing com­mer­cials. Es­pe­cially the ones that use voiceover peo­ple to im­i­tate de­ceased stars. Come on peo­ple, let the Colonel and Jimmy Dean rest in peace! And while you’re at it, quit us­ing the older mu­sic to pro­mote your junk.

for a pizza, a woman went to the counter and started snap­ping her fin­gers at the staff to get their at­ten­tion, say­ing hello, hello, hello. The staff were do­ing their jobs, tak­ing care of an is­sue on the other side of the equip­ment. All that cus­tomer wanted was some­thing added to her or­der. What a spoiled-rot­ten, self-cen­tered brat she is!

ticked about cars be­ing lower in the front, the rea­son cars have lower front ends these days is aero­dy­nam­ics. They are pay­ing much more at­ten­tion to this to help im­prove miles per gal­lon.

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