Friday, June 28, 2013

Park Starz #2 Bellhop Variant Release

Artist: Casey Jones
Limited Edition Size: 2,000

The first of the Park Starz #2 variants was released today at D-Streets and Disney Store online. It's a variant of the Tower of Terror Bellhop and what's special about this figure is that he glows in the dark. My prediction was that he might be clear, similar to the Haunted Mansion series, so that he looked like the bellhop during the scene in the hallway on the Tower of Terror (at Disney World) when the ghosts all appear and beckon you to join them. Well glow in the dark's not that far off.

This figure retails at $24.95 and by 6am EST this morning when I checked online, he had already sold out. It's not too surprising considering the size of this Limited Edition. 2,000 figures would have been split between 3 locations: two D-Street stores and online, and my guess is Disney Store online probably got a smaller allocation than the two stores.

I think he's a pretty cool figure, but I'm fine to pass on adding this one to my collection. Were you able to pick up one of these figures online? If you're trying to get one from D-Street today, good luck!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Park 12 Haul

I ordered 8 blind boxes from the Disney Store online on the day of release (June 14). After what felt like an eternity for them to arrive (I was super excited, in reality it only took 5 days) I was pretty impressed with what I pulled, so kudos to the guys in the Disney Store warehouse who picked out these for me.

I ended up with 6 different figures and 2 duplicates. Out of those 6 figures, I wanted 3 of them and decided to keep a fourth. So I ended up with two figures plus two duplicates in my trade pile. Duplicates don't bother me too much, but when you didn't want that vinyl in the first place, getting 2 of that same one is a bummer. But I got over that quickly when I remembered what I pulled in the very first box I opened...

The blue monorail variant!!!!!!!!!!

As you can see my pulls (in order) were: Disneyland Blue Monorail, Summer Santa, Pooh's Hunny Hunt, a duplicate of Pooh's Hunny Hunt, the Big Thunder Mountain goat chewing dynamite, a duplicate of Summer Santa, the Tumble Monkey and finally, Teddi Barra.

My keeps: Summer Santa, BTMRR goat, Tumble Monkey and Teddi Barra
My trades: Summer Santa, Pooh's Hunny Hunt (x2)

I'm keeping hold of the monorail for now, they've sold for $200-$380 on eBay in the last couple weeks. Insane.

Have you bought any Park 12s? What did you blox?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Blind Boxing: do you want excitement, or cost-effectiveness?

This post features my ponderings about blind boxing. In particular the financial aspect. I think there are several sides to this story and being asked questions from non-collectors such as, "Why do you buy these boxes when you don't know what you're getting?" has inspired me to talk about these views.

I'm sure many Vinylmation collectors have thought at some time or other about the cost of this hobby. Maybe you've thought about ways to make it cheaper, how to set your budget, what you're currently spending, etc. I will hopefully never add up what I spend on vinyls, because I know it will be a lot and I'll probably think of 1 million other things I could have spent that amount of money on. But at the end of the day, I love my vinyls and I haven't regretted a single purchase so far.

But to give a balanced view of the different options available, I wanted to use this post to compare good ol' fashioned blind boxing (or bloxing) with other, potentially cheaper methods.

Take the recently released Park 12 Series for example. I was so excited about Park 12, that I bought the maximum of 8 blind boxes from the Disney Store online, the very day it was released. If we factor in my state sales tax, that made each box $14.05 and so my order came to a total of $112.40.

Compare this price to eBay, where I could buy half of someone's case (11 figures) plus the Director Mickey combo topper for $143.94. That's 12 figures for $31.54 more than I paid for what turned out to be 6 figures with 2 duplicates. So arguably eBay would have been the more cost effective option. I even found an eBay listing cheaper than blind boxing. A tray of 11 figures (so no chaser) for $105. That's $7 less for 11 figures than I paid for 8 figures. Making eBay not just a cost-effective option, but a cheaper option. I can understand why people would opt for the secondary market.

But, here's the catch if money's your concern:
  • You just don't know what the secondary market will be like. Those listings I found on eBay, were pretty good. But, people might not be selling trays when you want to buy one. You might want the chaser and most of the time trays on eBay do not include the chaser. The price might not be right, trays for sale on eBay might mean you break even on what you would have paid for 11 or 12 blind boxes.
  • If you don't want a whole set, individual vinyls often work out more expensive on eBay. Buy It Now prices often range $15-$30 for recently released vinyls and you could spend days in a bidding war trying to get the price cheaper. Bids may even end up at the same price or more than a Buy It Now price, meaning vinyls would cost you more on the secondary market than blind boxing.
  • You won't pull a chaser if you don't blox. Chasers (depending on the popularity and date of release) sell for upward of $50 on eBay. You could spend $50 bloxing and you might end up with a chaser.

I wanted 6 figures from Park 12 (plus 2 figures I would keep if I bloxed them). 8 out of 12 meant the odds were in my favor to try my hand at bloxing. I didn't get everything that I wanted, but the excitement of buying them, waiting for them to arrive, opening them and the thrill of getting exactly what I wanted, made the extra money worth it. In my opinion, you can't get that Vinylmation excitement unless you blind box. While it might be cheaper and/or more cost effective to buy from the secondary market sometimes, I don't believe you can get that same thrill using that collecting method. Having said that, I don't condemn buying vinyls from eBay, that's just my take on why I still blind box, when other methods could work out cheaper.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Beauty and the Beast Release

The long anticipated Beauty and the Beast blind box series was released today at Disney Stores, D-Streets and at the Disney Store online. This series retails at $12.95 per box.

Are you picking up any of this series?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Blind Boxing Blues

A member of a Vinylmation Facebook group that I'm part of, posted a picture today of his Park 12 blind box haul from D-Street. It seems the cases were mixed and he was not happy, this was his pull:

I feel for the guy - that sucks! I know that trading is part of the hobby and getting 1 or 2 out of 5 that you don't want is bearable. But five multiples, especially if you don't want even one of them, is tough to take. While blind boxing is fun, this incident serves as a reminder of how time consuming, frustrating and expensive it can be to get the vinyls you want and complete a collection if you're blind boxing.

Don't get me wrong, bloxing is fun and if the odds are in my favor I do it, but especially if you're a new collector, it's important to familiarize yourself with how bloxing works and what the outcome could be. That way you can be braced for less than desired situations.

Do you have any great bloxing stories to share? Any disasters? What happened? Share your story in the comments!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vinylmation Review - Park #12

For today's Vinylmation Review, I will be taking a look at the newly released Park #12 series

Vinylmation Park 12 Series
Released: June 14, 2013
Blind Box

As I'm primarily a Park Series collector, I was very excited for the release of this series. And I mean VERY! I found myself counting down the days for this release, which is partly what this hobby should be about. Disney teased me by saying on their official Vinylmation website that Park 12 would be released online on June 7th. As the collecting community noted, an online release of a series before a park release is unheard of, and suspicion was raised that this was a mistake. Indeed it was. I checked multiple times on June 7th, but no Park 12 online. This got me worried that they'd be a no-show on June 14th, but thankfully when I checked at 7am - they were there!

I have only been to Disneyland and California Adventure once and that was in 2003. Much has changed since then. So Walt Disney World Park vinyls are my focus, as I can appreciate them far more than Disneyland Resort vinyls, which don't hold much meaning for me. Having said that, I'm glad Park 12 mixes Disneyland with Disney World, so that there's something for everyone.

I've heard many people in the vinyl collecting community voice the opinion that Park 12 is somewhat of an anti-climax. I don't feel that way. I can see why characters such as Summer Santa and Goofy's Gas wouldn't appeal to the infrequent Disney vacationer, but for a Disney World veteran like me, almost all of these characters appeal but all are recognizable (from the World that is).

Reasons to love this series:
  • As I already said, there's something for everyone here. This isn't a purely Disneyland focused series, nor is it solely centered around Walt Disney World. There are characters from both resorts which makes this series appeal to a much wider audience
  • We're seeing some things we haven't seen before with this series, for example the Spitting Camel. The level of detail is amazing on its back and the metallic gold color isn't used a lot on vinyls
  • In my personal opinion, the inclusion of lesser known characters is a plus. Some people might not recognize the Goat chewing dynamite, or Summer Santa, but I instantly recognized them. I love that Disney is appealing to those who want a wider range of Disney World rides/attractions rather than repeats. After all, the big names are in there too
  • The attention to detail is incredible with some of these figures, in particular I'm thinking of the Dinosaur vinyl. The wheels are so much better on this vinyl than on the Kilimanjaro Safari vinyl (no offense Eric Caszatt) and the CTX-ROVER written on his arm, just wow, Billy Davis covered everything. He also incorporated a ton onto a small canvas
  • This series features the work of some lesser known artists. I haven't seen much from Billy Davis and I haven't seen anything from Sarah Hall or Josh Henselmeier before. It's interesting to see their work alongside the more commonly featured artists

Things that aren't so great:
  • I don't really have any not so great points with this series, only little aspects or features or certain characters that I would have done differently had it been me

My Verdict:
I absolutely love this series and I have ordered myself 8 blind boxes (the max. limit) from and I can't wait to see what I get when it arrives!

Please share your thoughts on Park #12 in the comments :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Vinylmation Vacation Video

I came across a video today made by a Vinylmation fan named David. David made a film about his experiences buying and trading Vinylmation at the Walt Disney World Resort, titled, "Vinylmation Vacation". He saved up a whole bunch of traders in anticipation of the 2013 Vinylmation Trade Night at Disney's Wild World of Sports Complex, which he combined with a vacation for his birthday.

I really enjoyed watching this video, which follows David and his wife Tayelor buying and trading at several Walt Disney World Resort locations. For those of you like me who have yet to experience a Walt Disney World Vinylmation trading event, this video was a great insight into what that's like. It's also a helpful on where you can buy and trade vinyls at Walt Disney World, given the recent changes that took place in February 2013. Finally, it's really interesting to see the types of vinyls that end up in Disney Resort trade boxes.

I invite you also to live vicariously through David for 45 minutes by watching this video.

WARNING: May cause Disney homesickness

Friday, June 14, 2013

Park 12 Release

The Park 12 series released today at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort and online at This is a blind box set retailing at $12.95.

I was actually pretty excited for this series! I love it much more than I thought I would and with Park series being my Vinylmation collecting theme, it added to my excitement. I just so happened to wake up at 2:30am EST today and since I was awake I decided to check online to see if they had been released. Since Disney's Official Vinylmation website said that this series would be available last Friday (June 7th), which they were not, I was worried that they would be a no-show again this week.

I know that usually updates around 3am EST, so when they were not online, I didn't panic, I just went back to sleep. Sure enough at 7am EST when I was awake again, there they were! I was beside myself. It's been a while since a Park series released and it's been even longer since I wanted so many vinyls from one series. I ordered 8 blind boxes this morning and I am so excited for when they arrive!!

I will keep y'all posted with what I blox! Are you picking up any Park 12s?

Monsters University Release

The Monsters University series was released at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort and at the Disney Store online. This is a blind box series retailing at $12.95.

Are you excited for this series?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Independence Day Eagle Release

Disney's Official Vinylmation website announced that the Independence Day Eagle would be released at Walt Disney World and The Disneyland Resort on June 7th, but made no mention of it being released online. Well, on the same date of June 7th, it was also released on the

So you can now purchase this vinyl both at the parks and online. It retails at $14.95.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Happy Graduation Class of 2013!

Today I officially graduated college. To celebrate, my thoughtful fiancé bought me something he knew I would love, to celebrate and commemorate the occasion:

I really love it! (Although, is it just me, or is his mortarboard kinda squiffy? Looks a little too far to the left of his nose? Or maybe I'm seeing things...)

And if any of you reading this have just graduated... congratulations! Isn't it a wonderful, triumphant feeling? :) leave me a comment letting me know if you just graduated!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Vinylmation Review - Park Starz #2

Today's Vinylmation Review will focus on the recently released Park Starz #2 series

Released: May 10, 2013
Blind Box

I'm not a huge fan of the Park Starz mold, just because I'm a little OCD and I like my vinyls to all look similar. I think they look neater that way and more like a collectible. However, I do love Park Starz as a series because the unique molds are creative, different and some of the characters are much better suited to those molds than the Mickey mold. But for my collection personally, people recognize my vinyls as vinyls when they see them, whereas Park Starz kinda look to me like regular Disney themed toys. That's all to say that I appreciate the figures, the artwork and the choice of characters, but I do not currently own or aspire to collect any for myself.

I like the continuation in this series of more It's A Small World themed figures and I am not opposed to the repetition of some characters such as the Tower of Terror Bellhop, Disc Man from the Tapestry of Nations parade, the elephant from The Jungle Cruise and the Carnotaurus. Since the mold is different, I don't really consider them repeats.

Reasons to love this Series:
  • There's a great mix of characters in this series. The Red Head from Pirates of the Caribbean has been demanded from collectors for a while, as has RX-24 from Star Tours. We also see the return of the beloved Orange Bird from Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland.
  • The attention to detail and accuracy is amazing with some of these figures! RX-24, the Troll Tree from Maelstrom and the Orange Bird look 100% like their real life counterparts. As do the Dutch girl and hippo, with the Dutch girl looking particularly like a doll which I find impressive.

Things that aren't so great:
  • I know it's been said before, but it's true, Mark Twain does look like The Colonel from KFC. Poor guy. He's not the best Park Star.
  • Gus from the Haunted Mansion also has some shortcomings in my opinion. He doesn't look like his character for several reasons: his hair is wrong, he's missing a ball and chain, and instead looks like he has a bowling ball for a hand
  • I'm pedantic, so the fact that Rex is light blue and not dark blue kinda bugs me since we've had to wait so long for this character. (Please click here if you're not sure what color blue he is).

My Verdict:
Artistically, this is a great series. For the most part it has been done well and the character selection is pretty good, especially since Park Starz #1 was arguably a tough act to follow. If you love Park Starz then I think there's at least one character here for you. But for me personally, I'm not in a rush to get any at present.

Variants have been announced for this series, so stay tuned! And please share your thoughts on Park Starz #2 in the comments :)