What is it with my parents and hiding amazing vintage Walt Disney World souvenir banks from me?!
Back in the end of May there was a pretty serious series of rainstorms in my area, which brought flooding with it. My parents, in their place in NC at the time, were concerned about the state of the basement in their Maryland house, so they called me up and asked me to drive over and have a look.
There I am, stomping around the basement looking for puddles, my cell phone flashlight on because the bulb in the hanging light has burned out. I have my dad on speaker so we can discuss any damage I’m witnessing… and I see it on my dad’s model train table.
“There’s a Figment bank down here!” I shrieked.
“Oh, yes,” my dad replied nonchalantly. “You want it?”
Figment is a through-line of my Disney experience. I loved his ride in 1998 – you know, the good version, with Dreamfinder and the dirigible and the extended post-ride ImageWorks and all that jazz. Even in 1990, when I was barely old enough to remember a darn thing about WDW, I have shadowy recollections of riding this ride and being all about it. You could say that Figment is the personification of all my nostalgic love for Walt Disney World itself.
And I guess my parents recognized that – or maybe toddler me picked it out myself? – because they brought home this Figment bank, which I suppose has been waiting for me all this time. The bottom declares a copyright date of 1982 (although I didn’t exist then so this particular bank can’t be that old). The pot of gold my little imaginary friend is clutching features the original EPCOT Center logo. He is, disappointingly, exclusively filled with pennies.
Similar to the Big Al bank, I don’t think this particular bank is valuable in a monetary sense. But I took my dad up on his offer to take him home with me all the same. After all, how can you put a price on imagination?
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So there I am, minding my own business at my parents’ house. Am I there because in the morning my dad is going to drive me to the airport so I can go to Walt Disney World? I don’t remember. Probably. Statistically likely.
Anyway, I come out of the bathroom next to the computer room and: there it is. I’m briefly uncertain. Is it…? It totally is. I grab it and bring it to my dad. “Do you know who this is???” I demand.
“Sure,” he replies immediately. “That’s Big Al from The Country Bear Jamboree. Your grandfather loved him!”
Guys. There is a Big Al piggy bank chilling in my parents’ house. That my grandfather bought in WDW! The Country Bears are my family legacy! Who knew? Well, my dad, obviously, so maybe the question is more why didn’t he tell me???
I get the idea this item was pretty common – a brief internet search yields the same model for $20 to $30. I’m guessing it’s from the ’80s but I’m not sure.
On a related note, this car is always parked at the gas station near my ballet studio:
I guess you could say Al and I frequent the same places.
Ever found any random Disney merch in an unexpected place?
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