A few people directed me to eBay, but then an unnamed friend told me that CMs can buy out-of-use items from a place called Property Control. And not only that: He offered to take me there!
Property Control is located behind the Magic Kingdom, west of the monorail garage in a pair of trailers. One of the trailers—the one I visited—is open to Cast Members and their guests, while the second is only open to CMs (because there are damaged Park items for sale, and non-CMs aren’t able to purchase those).
When I walked in, I was struck by how much the shop looked like a bodega. There were groceries for sale—mostly food-service products sold with no markup as well as fresh fruits and veggies. Seeing those brands sent me on a quick trip down memory lane to my old restaurant employment days.
There were also discounted and older products from the Disney outlet as well as items from Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line. All of these things were offered at a discount. A painful, painful discount. Remember those #EPCOT30 pins you had to buy on the spot because they were Limited Edition? Yeah…
As we walked toward the back of the trailer, I saw the promised land: Property Control—that’s where things from the Parks and Resorts are for sale. I passed through this gateway between the sacred and profane and was amazed at what I saw.
In addition to a variety of CM costumes and items from WDW resort hotels, there was also a listing of auction items that are available only to CMs from computers within the WDW network. Called Disney Depot, it seemed like an insider version of Disney eBay—some lucky CM now owns Animal Kingdom benches from Disney Depot.
During my visit, I saw costume pieces as well as couches, linens, lamp shades and dishes from a variety of resorts as well as disused Kona Café coffee cups and framed art from resort rooms. Surprisingly, a lot of dishware and service pieces are from IKEA. A lot of these items were in pretty bad disrepair, but some of the finds were really cool and in decent shape!
One thing to note: it seems that these items are marked at a price and then regularly reduced until they’re all sold. (An item I purchased started at $150, but I got it for $75.) Since I am not a Cast Member, and I didn’t have cart blanche to return whenever I wanted to, I purchased what I wanted at its then-price, but there’s definitely room for some bargain gambling if you have a friendly CM who’s willing to take you back once a week.
The lamps I bought were definitely being stalked by dozens of people–everyone kept asking how low the price had gone down as I exited property with them. The stalking left some people out in the cold, however, as there weren’t enough lamps left for each of the people who asked about them to get one.
I ended up taking two Polynesian Resort lamps, two Grand Floridian pillows, a tissue cover from the Grand Floridian, several CM costume pieces and a CM-only Disney Cruise Line book. I know Melissa loves the Grand Flo items, but I was over the moon about the lamps. They have great details, and they’re a lovely memento of the resort where Melissa and I met.
I posted my Disney finds to Facebook, mainly because I found fitting two full-sized torch lamps in my VW coupe hilarious. The next morning, one of my coworkers stopped by my office and excitedly told me that she’d been shopping for furniture recently and had seen several items from Disney hotels at a local furniture store: Hotel Liquidation Warehouse. Don’t worry if you don’t live in Pinellas County, they have a few locations throughout Florida.
After work, I headed to the shop to see what I could find. And that’s when the Polynesian Project was really born. When I walked into the store I was like:
I found dressers, nightstands, desks, chairs, sleeper sofas, linens, mirrors and wall art from the Grand Floridian, the Boardwalk and the Polynesian. The store also carried a nice variety of unique items from South Beach-area hotels.
Even if we didn’t have an emotional connection to Disney, the furniture they have for sale here is extremely high quality. It’s solid wood. The drawers are deep and in good shape. And the price is very affordable. In the end, it’s real, expensive furniture at cheaper-than-IKEA prices. No tiny wrenches and strange illustrations required.
Here’s how it works: I paid right then and there and agreed to pick up my purchases within 14 days. I couldn’t pick out which items I’d get until I picked them up. I went back the next day to pick up my items because some were more beat up than others, and I wanted to make sure I got the best items possible.
When I came back to pick out my pieces, the warehouse guys were beyond helpful – they moved dresser after dresser as I searched out the one with the least scuffing and dirt. They also happily loaded it in my truck for me. This is NOT a paid endorsement, this is just an honest reflection of a great retail experience.
I ended up taking home two Polynesian nightstands ($29 each), two Polynesian dressers ($99 each), a tall Polynesian mirror ($59 and available in two different styles!), two pieces of art from the Poly ($10 a pop) and a beautiful desk from the resort (both pieces, wired for power and network – $69). I opted out on the Polynesian chair and ottoman ($59), the Polynesian sleeper sofa ($99! seriously!), and the Poly desk/dining chair ($25).
The plan is to have a Poly-themed bedroom, although the desk will live in the living room or in our office. In the end, Melissa and I will have a bedroom that captures the essence of the resort where we met. And it all cost less than one night at the resort!
If you end up buying anything from these guys, make sure you tweet Melissa (@MouseontheMind) or me (@AtDisneyAgain) with your treasures hashtagged #PolynesianProject. Also, tell them “those Disney bloggers” sent you. (You won’t get a discount, but so what?)
Would you ever create a Disney-inspired room at your house? Do you already have one? Tell us about it!