Note: If some of the photos from this article look familiar, it's probably because I'm a writer for VinylmationWorld.com. My series of articles reviewing the 13 Reflections of Evil Trading Event in a more straightforward manner can be viewed on that site. This is a more personal view of a unique spectacle.
Nothing will make you appreciate villainy more than the Florida interstate. After the third driver tailgates my vehicle or cuts me off, swear words begin to flow from under my breath without thought. I begin to curse those poor unfortunate souls, wish for friends on the other side, and feel a little bit of Cruella de Vil in my heart. I know the unrighteous fury that comes with being a Disney villain, and so I am now ready for the day's events.
On this particular Sunday morning, I'm on my way to the 13 Reflections of Evil Trading Event. This is Disney's annual showcase event for pins and Vinylmations, their two main collectibles that generate a steady income from a devoted fan base. The annual events are not some tribute to dedicated fans, however, but big business in themselves, with admission prices starting at $65 per person and lots of expensive merchandise for sale as well. Every year features a different theme, and Reflections of Evil is devoted to Disney's animated villains, a popular and lucrative part of the empire.
Savvy collectors are willing to pay the price because the events are a unique opportunity. The items given to all attendees sell online for as much as the price of admission or more, and some items for sale will only rise in value over the years. Not everyone comes for profit, of course, with many taking the chance to expand their collections with items only available once or year, or by expert trading with other dedicated fans.