The Walt Disney World theme parks are beloved destinations for guests from around the world. Many visit time and time again, eagerly anticipating one more ride on their favorite attraction. But times change, things evolve, and the Disney parks are no exception. Sometimes guests arrive to find that their favorite ride or show no longer exists. Yet this begs the question: What happens when an attraction is removed? Where do the pieces go?
Enter MouseSurplus. This salvage warehouse began with a small collection of memorabilia items and has grown to fill an enormous warehouse space. This is where you can find pieces of discontinued rides, signage from long ago, even some props from Disney (and its subsidiaries) films.
MouseSurplus is truly a tourist attraction all on its own. Upon entering the cavernous grounds, your senses will be overwhelmed by the thousands of Disney collectible items stretching out as far as the eye can see. A true sense of scale can be realized when you note the Snow White ride car or original StarJet perched unassumingly in one small corner of the warehouse.
Where did this amazing and mind boggling warehouse come from? Who is the mastermind and how did he make it to the position he is in? What is the background and the future of this last frontier for Disney souvenirs?
The original idea came from a lifelong Disney fan named Brian Ramsey. Back in 1999, Ramsey was doing promotional work for NASCAR. Disney was selling most of its own surplus at auction, and Ramsey began a side business, buying Disney surplus for resale. Ramsey came to realize that his biggest competitor was Joe West, who was buying up as much merchandise as possible for his Fiasco’s restaurant. In 2002, the pair decided to merge interests, forming Joe’s Auction Surplus.
Although Joe’s Auction Surplus did well, siphoning off most of Disney’s discarded and surplus supplies, West eventually realized that his true love was the restaurant business. He sold his stake back to the company, and Ramsey partnered with Chip Young to form the current MouseSurplus business. Young remained a mostly silent partner and is now in the process of selling off his stake to an as-yet unnamed new partner who wants to take a more active role.
Meanwhile, MouseSurplus has been an unprecedented success. Disney wanted to find a buyer to take less glamorous items such as old nails off its hands. Ramsey took MouseSurplus through the bonding procedure to become a certified salvage operation. This allowed MouseSurplus to offer Disney a deal: MouseSurplus would take whatever Disney didn’t want without prejudice in exchange for access to the truly quality items. This partnership has worked like a dream for both sides.
Originally an online operation, MouseSurplus opened its storefront in 2004. Quickly outgrowing its small headquarters, MouseSurplus moved to an enormous warehouse in 2005. Despite leasing the field next door, MouseSurplus’s rapid growth soon overflowed the new location. In early 2007, MouseSurplus moved into its current home, a nearly 40,000 square foot warehouse on a lot of land.
MouseSurplus has become a major supplier for all sorts of Disney memorabilia. Ride vehicles are frequently offered as rides are rehabbed or redesigned. Furnishings from the Disney resorts are plentiful, from bedding to large furniture items. MouseSurplus actually donated quite a bit of bedding to the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Of course, smaller merchandise is also available to those with a less extravagant budget. Christmas decorations and other seasonal items come in regularly, on a rotating basis. Figurines, artwork and other small items are featured in the storefront.
MouseSurplus’s retail store is located in the Orlando area. Contact MouseSurplus directly at mousesurplus.com for directions and store hours. MouseSurplus also maintains an extensive presence on eBay. Most of the large merchandise and some smaller items are offered through eBay.
Ramsey continues to maintain an active presence in and around the store. If you are looking for something specific be sure to ask. He will do his best to find your request.
MouseSurplus’s inventory is primarily drawn from the Walt Disney World Resort complex including the four gated theme parks, shops and restaurants, and the on-site hotels and resorts. However, MouseSurplus sometimes offers other merchandise as well, drawn from touring Disney shows and the Disney Cruise Line.
MouseSurplus is truly a tourist attraction all on its own. Long time Disney fans will appreciate the opportunity to re-visit such classic attractions as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the original StarJets. Newer fans who do not remember the classic rides will still be in awe at the sheer magnitude of Disney related merchandise.
If you have time during your Orlando vacation, be sure not to miss the incredible experience of MouseSurplus. If you simply cannot fit a trip to the retail warehouse into your plans, be sure to visit mousesurplus.com and the companion eBay store for your trip down memory lane.