Collecting Disney theme park stamps: an expert guide

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16 August 2019
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Bring some fun and colour to your stamp collecting by starting a Disney theme park theme. This thematic has plenty of stamps to look out for and lots of sub themes, as our expert guide reveals.

Collecting Disney theme park stamps: an expert guide

 

Bring some fun and colour to your stamp collecting by starting a Disney theme park theme. This thematic has plenty of stamps to look out for and lots of sub themes, as our expert guide reveals.

 

On 17 July 1955, Disneyland, the world’s first theme park opened in Anaheim, California. Since then, Disney theme parks have appeared in Orlando, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong with another about to commence construction in Shanghai.

 

The first stamp to feature a part of Disneyland in the design is a commemorative to Walt Disney issued by the United States in 1968. The ‘Sleeping Beauty Castle’, said to be based upon sixteenth-century Château d’Ussé in the Loire Valley in France, is depicted in the top right corner of the stamp. The next Disneyland stamp appeared in 1984 when Anguilla issued a set of entitled ‘Christmas Around the World’. The 10¢ value features Donald Duck in a Santa Claus outfit in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

 

The thirtieth anniversary of Disneyland was marked by two sets in 1985. One was from Belize and depicts the dolls from the popular ‘It’s a Small World’ attraction. The nine stamps and souvenir sheet feature dolls from only a small portion of the 100 regions represented in the ride, which features a memorable if slightly overly cheery theme tune familiar to both children and parents around the world.

 

Turks and Caicos Islands issued the second set with scenes from preliminary drawings for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, which opened in 1967. Only the designs on the nine stamps in the set actually appeared in the ride, the scene shown on the souvenir sheet was later dropped from production. 

 

Today, the ride has renewed popularity thanks to the popular film franchise, and a moving model of Captain Jack Sparrow, memorably played in the films by Johnny Depp, has given the ride added appeal.

 

Part of Dominica’s Disneyland set of four stamps and a souvenir sheet concern the first theme park, while the rest depict Orlando’s Walt Disney World and will be dealt with later. The 25¢ shows Goofy as conductor of a horse drawn trolley on Main Street. The 60¢ depicts characters in a runaway mine train on Big Thunder Mountain. The 90¢ shows Mickey in a locomotive, pulling out of the Main Street Railway Station. The $3 depicts Dumbo and the Ringmaster on the Casey Jr. ride in Fantasyland. One of the $5 souvenir sheets illustrates the Seven Dwarfs in the now defunct Rainbow Caverns Mine Train attraction.

 

Disney anniversaries

 

Grenada Grenadines put out a set to mark Mickey Mouse’s sixtieth anniversary in 1988, one of the souvenir sheets contained a Disneyland spectacular, the famous Main Street Electrical Parade with Mickey and his pals on an illuminated train. The Sleeping Beauty Castle again appeared in a souvenir sheet when Antigua acknowledged the American Philatelic Society with a set and souvenir sheet. The $5 sheet shows Minnie Mouse piloting an inverted Jenny past the castle and the Matterhorn Mountain. 

 

Guyana’s Christmas 1991 set featured a $2.55 stamp with Mickey, Donald, Ludwig von Drake and the Disneyland Carolers in a horse drawn streetcar on Main Street. A St. Vincent set of the same time shows Mickey in the entrance to Sleeping Beauty Castle on the $5 stamp. Two of the souvenir sheets are also pertinent showing the Small World dolls in a balloon on one and a stylised map of the It’s a Small World attraction on the other.

 

One of the best souvenir sheets for this topic was issued in 1991 by Sierra Leone and shows a map of Disneyland as it was in the early years. Also in the set Sleeping Beauty Castle is barely visible behind a horde of characters on the Le500 stamp and another souvenir sheet features various Disney characters in the bobsled ride with fireworks and the Skyway ride in the background.

 

Tanzania’s Christmas 1991 set has a 10/- value depicting the word ‘J-O-Y’ in Christmas ornaments with Sleeping Beauty Castle in the J and dolls from It’s a Small World in the Y.

 

Mickey’s seventieth anniversary was commemorated in 1998 by Grenada Grenadines. One of the souvenir sheets contains five stamps forming a continuous design of a train, with Mickey in the locomotive, steaming past Mickey’s Toontown.

 

Bosnia and Hervegovina released a pair of stamps to commemorate Disneyland’s fiftieth anniversary in 2005. The 50 pfennig value shows Sleeping Beauty Castle and the 1 mark has some Toontown buildings. Each stamp has a tab, one with Tinker Bell over the castle and the other with Walt Disney and Toontown buldings.

 

Walt Disney World

 

The second Disney theme park opened in October 1971 in Orlando, Florida, based on the ideas formulated by Walt Disney before he died and brought to fruition by his brother Roy. The ambitious project, which began just a few years after the opening of the first park and was on a much larger scale, was first seen on stamps issued by Dominica to mark Mickey Mouse’s sixtieth anniversary.

 

The 20¢ value features the Three Little Pigs in the People Mover with the Starjets and the People Mover Station in the background. The $1 stamp depicts the monorail which connects some of the resorts to the Magic Kingdom. In the background is Spaceship Earth, a great silver geosphere, often referred to as the golf ball, that has become the symbol of the educational worlds-fair style park EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). The 45¢ shows the locomotive, Roger E. Broggie, (a Disney imaginer who shared Walt’s love of trains) and the $4 depicts Lilly Belle, named for Walt’s wife, Lillian, containing Minnie and Daisy in the cab - the Walter E Disney locomotive shown on the 90¢ stamp is actually in Disney World but the inscription says Disneyland.

 

The tribute from Antigua and Barbuda features fourteen stamps and two souvenir sheets. These designs are actual photographs from inside EPCOT Center with Disney characters added. The 1¢ and 25¢ show Mickey and a diver feeding a porpoise in The Living Seas exhibit. The 2¢ and 30¢ depict World of Motion. Spaceship Earth’s silver geosphere is on the 3¢ and 40¢ stamps. The story of the world’s energy is told on the 4¢ and 60¢ with the Universe of Energy. On the 5¢ and 70¢ is Dreamfinder and the character Figment taking a Journey Into Imagination.

 

The 10¢ and $1.50 stamps feature The Land which tells the story of food. The $3 shows the Communicore West exhibit known as Futurecom. The $4 shows the show Horizons looking into the future. The first souvenir sheet depicts an aerial view of EPCOT showing Mickey with a jetpack flying over World of Motion. The second shows Mickey striding towards the fifteen-storey Contemporary Resort, the sites first hotel.

 

Popular characters

 

Donald Duck’s fiftieth anniversary was commemorated by the Maldives with an Rf15 souvenir sheet that shows Uncle Scrooge, Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie posing before Cinderella Castle and the monorail. Tanzania’s movie cars set features a 350/- souvenir sheet showing Mickey in his car in front of his house in Mickey’s Starland in the Magic Kingdom. Redonda also issued a 40¢ stamp in their Christmas 1990 set of cars depicting Mickey in his gold Cadillac in front of his house.

 

From Sierra Leone’s 1991 Christmas set comes a single stamp (Le100) that shows the skyline of the Magic Kingdom behind a line of characters and a Le500 stamp crammed full of characters with Cinderella Castle barely visible in the right background. 

 

Canada issued a tribute to Winnie the Pooh in 1996. This souvenir sheet and accompanying booklet of the same designs, shows the evolution of Pooh Bear in four stamps from the naming of a teddy bear owned by author AA Milne’s son Christopher as Winnie, in 1914, to Walt Disney World’s 25th anniversary. The last stamp shows Pooh gobbling honey in front of Cinderella Castle and the same castle design appears on the right side selvedge of the sheet.

 

In 1998, Dominica saluted Mickey’s seventieth anniversary with a set of stamps and a souvenir sheet showing scenes from the Mouse’s illustrious career, including the $1 value with Mickey and Minnie at Cinderella Castle at the opening of the park. 

 

Though Royal Mail has not issued any Disney Theme Park stamps they did issue two booklets that feature Walt Disney World. Both contained ten first class definitive stamps and were part of a contest to win trips to Disney World. The first depicted a lad holding a balloon in front of Cinderella Castle and the second the Disney’s Animal Kingdom logo. Animal Kingdom became the fourth park at Disney World in April 1998.

 

The 100th anniversary of the birth of Walt Disney was marked in 2001 by St Thomas and Prince when Walt was included on a mini sheet of nine stamps showing various celebrities. The design is repeated on a souvenir sheet and shows Walt standing before a map of Florida pointing to where his new theme park was being built.

 

Tokyo Disneyland

 

Sierra Leone is the only country to have issued stamps featuring Tokyo Disneyland which opened in 1983. Issued to mark Mickey’s sixtieth anniversary and the fifth of the park’s opening, the 20¢ shows Space Mountain and the skyway. On the 40¢ are Mickey and two of the bruin entertainers from the Country Bear Jamboree.

 

The 80¢ depicts Mickey and the gang from the Mickey Mouse Revue. The Le 1 has Mickey and Goofy with some children in Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes waving at the sternwheeler, Mark Twain. 

 

The Le 2 depicts the locomotive of the Western River Railroad. The Le 3 shows Mickey and Goofy in Pirates of the Caribbean. The Le 10 has a runaway mine train from Big Thunder Mountain. The Japanese section of It’s a Small World is shown on the Le 20, and Mickey and Minnie wait to greet their guests in traditional Japanese costume on the Le30. The souvenir sheet has Mickey and Minnie in front of Cinderella Castle with buildings from Fantasyland and Space Mountain in the background.     

 

The only other Tokyo Disneyland stamp was from Sierra Leone’s 1984 Donald Duck’s fiftieth anniversary set. The Le 4 shows Donald with two Japanese children in front of Cinderella Castle.

 

Disneyland Paris

 

Originally known as EuroDisney, the park outside Paris was opened on 12 April 1992. Ten years later, with the opening of the Walt Disney Studios Park the name was changed to Disneyland Resort Paris.

 

Antigua and Barbuda issued the first EuroDisney set which concentrated on the resort hotels rather than the park attractions. The 10¢ shows Goofy playing golf with the Sleeping Beauty Castle in the background. The 25¢ has Chip ‘n’ Dale in Davy Crockett Campground. The Cheyenne Hotel is on the 30¢, Santa Fe Hotel on the 40¢ and The New York Hotel on the $1. The $2 shows the location of the park on a map of Europe. The $4 and $5 depict attractions, the former having Pirates of the Caribbean and the latter showing l’echoppe d’Aladdin in Adventureland. One of the four souvenir sheets shows a portion of the Disneyland Hotel. A set from the Maldives fits in nicely as it also shows portions of the Disneyland Hotel on the four souvenir sheets. 

 

Hong Kong Disneyland

 

The first Asian Disney park was built in Hong Kong on Lantau Island. The first phase was opened on 12 September, 2005 and would later include two hotels and a second theme park called Tokyo Disney Sea.

 

Two years before opening Hong Kong issued a set of four stamps and a souvenir sheet with artist’s concepts of how four areas in the park would appear. These include the Disneyland Train Station on the $1.40, Sleeping Beauty Castle on the $2.40, Tarzan’s Treehouse on the $3 and Space Mountain on the $5. The souvenir sheet repeats the designs.

 

The opening day saw the release of another set of four stamps and a souvenir sheet. This time the $1.40 depicts Mickey and Minnie driving an antique car down Main Street, the $2.40 shows Dumbo flying over Sleeping Beauty Castle, the $3 has Simba and Nala from The Lion King, walking through Adventureland and the $5 shows Pluto flying over Space Mountain. The first souvenir sheet repeats the designs and places them on a stylised map of the park. Two other souvenir sheets were also issued. The selvedge is identical on both but the stamp on one is denominated $5 and $50 on the other. The $50 sheet has Sorcerer Mickey stamped in gold foil. The rest of the sheet shows a stylized aerial view of Hong Kong Disneyland.

 

Mickey in China

 

Shanghai Disney Resort opened in June 2016 and offers Chinese fun-lovers the familiar mix of rides, characters and plenty of chance to shop. China Post celebrated the opening with a two-stamp miniature sheet, one showing Mickey and Minnie walking together in the park, the second showing the ‘Enchanted Storybook Castle’ which is the centre-piece of the Chinese park.

 

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