Toy Story Mania

The merchandise for the first Toy Story film in 1995 was severely under produced. So much so that it was referenced in Toy Story 2. Tour Guide Barbie notes the blunder of short-sighted retailers failing to stock enough Buzz Lightyear toys for the holiday season. No such mistake was made this time. Toy Story 3 paraphernalia has dominated Toys R Us, Target, Walmart and grocery stores (editor’s note: grocery stores are like the food side of Walmart. Sorry for any confusion.) for several weeks now.

Almost every character in the film is represented in either plastic or plush, depending on their composition on screen. Perennial favorites Buzz and Woody are well represented, but even newcomers such as Buttercup and Lots-o-Huggin’ Bear can be found on store shelves. Some characters, like Dolly or Mr. Pricklepants, will require a bit of leg work to track down, but rest assured, they do exist, and more are likely on the way.

In addition to the stuff you have to straight up pay for, there is a great array of Toy Story collectibles that are only available through participating promotions. Sara Lee “Soft and Smooth” brand bread has a UPC redemption program that allows you to send in 5 UPC codes to receive a Buzz Lightyear soft lunchbox (a $14 value, according to the form). I’m much too old to tote my lunch around in a character lunchbox, but I guess I could use it to store my Pokemon cards or Hot Wheel cars.

Kellogg’s brand cereals also have a great Toy Story promotion that lets you choose your swag. Each of their participating cereals includes a code printed inside the box that represents one “Toy Story 3” point. With four points, you can score yourself an actual Hamm piggybank. For eight codes (the highest point value), you can send away for a USB powered Alien Desk Light (that’s much easier than trying to grab one from a claw machine). There are also options for a movie ticket, concession cash and a Mr. Potato Head t-shirt.

If you happen to have a box of Rice Krispies or Frosted Flakes sitting in your pantry and you don’t intend on sending away for any of the Toy Story 3 merchandise, I will happily accept the donation of any codes you may have to offer.

It’s been a while since I’ve mailed away for anything, so I was impressed to learn that neither Toy Story promotion requires a fee for shipping and/or handling. For the Kellogg’s deal, you don’t even have to buy a stamp. The entire transaction is done through their website. The only downside is that, according to the fine print on the website, I could find myself waiting 60-90 days to receive my loot. That seems like an unusually long delivery time, so I’m hoping a more accurate estimate is closer to 8-12 weeks. Stay tuned!

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