Disneyland is a classic American staple and has been since it opened in 1955. Just saying the name, Disneyland, evokes the images of Mickey Mouse and the famous Matterhorn Bobsleds and… POGs.
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OK so maybe POGs don’t jump to the forefront of your mind, but they did in-fact find their way to Disneyland in the spring of 1994. You see, Disney at the time was constantly interested in finding new ways to make the parks more appealing for older kids. So the 90’s were a period of frequent attempts to convince kids and teenagers otherwise. In some cases it worked and brought us classic attractions like The Tower of Terror and in other cases… we got Goosebumps and Barbie.
When the spring of 1994 rolled around, Disney introduced Spring Break ‘94. It was a limited event that ran at Disneyland from March 25th through April 10th in order to capitalize on the spring break vacations that kids in the region were on. And what better way to win over kids in 1994 than with rollerblades and POGs?
POG Wild and Rollerblade Crazy, as it was also referred, offered three daily skate stunt shows performed by “Team Rollerblade” over in Tomorrowland. The shows featured ramps, jumps, and a 10-foot-tall half pipe. Southern California, already home to surfing and skateboarding, had seen rollerblading grow in popularity over the previous few years. The other offering during the event were POGs, which was still on the rise at that point.
So as the craze grew, Disney decided to capitalize on it for their Spring Break event. Every child under 13 who visited Disneyland during those 17 days received a free set of collectible POGs along with a kini. The park also featured an area advertised as a “slammin’ scoopin’ POG Play Zone” where kids could play POGs with other kids.
And oddly, this was more or less the height of Disney’s involvement with POGs. The craze would continue to grow the rest of the year and into 1995. You’d think with the wealth of characters they owned that Disney would get into the business of making and selling their own POGs, or at least licensing them out. However they’d end up only licensing one Lion King set in 1995 for retail use in Canada. There were plenty of counterfeit Disney POGs that were manufactured without Disney’s permission though, and in the fall of 1995 they’d reach out to over 300 retailers and distributors to put a stop to it.
Perhaps they knew it wasn’t a long lasting opportunity, or maybe because POGs themselves were so cheap that it wasn’t worth the effort. Either way, it didn’t matter much. The fads of the 90s, like most fads, would eventually fizzle out, and POGs were no exception. As for Spring Break ‘94 in Disneyland, it would prove to be unnecessary the following year as they had something better than rollerblades and POGs to win kids over. They had Indiana Jones.
Between Disney’s general lack of involvement in POGs during most of its craze, and the short length of their Spring Break ‘94 event, it makes the few legitimate Disney POGs out there pretty rare. So make sure you’re not playing for keeps when you use them.