Friday, July 26, 2013

Park Starz #2 Carnotaurus Variant Release

Artists: Maria Clapsis and Thomas Scott
Limited Edition Size: 1,000

The third and penultimate Park Starz #2 Variant was released today at D-Streets and the Disney Store Online. This variant is a fossilized version of the Carnotaurus from Animal Kingdom's Dinosaur attraction. This figure retails at $26.95.

What do you think of this variant?

Muppets #3 Release

Muppets #3 has been released today at D-Streets and The Disney Store Online. This is a blind box series with all characters designed by Monty Maldovan. This set retails for $12.95 per blind box.

Are you excited for this release?

Park #12 Contemporary Set Release

The Park #12 Contemporary Set has been released at D-Streets today. The set draws inspiration from the famous Mary Blair mural inside the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. The set features two 3" figures and two 1.5" Jr. figures - a brand new combination in the world of Vinylmation combo sets. This set has a Limited Edition of 1,200 and all figures were designed by Caley Hicks. The set retails at $49.95.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Closer Look at the Park #12 Contemporary Set

I am pretty excited about this set! I love it when seasoned Walt Disney World fans are acknowledged through Vinylmation. Sure we all love the big icons like the Earful Tower, the Tree of Life, Spaceship Earth... but there are only so many of those big icons to transfer into vinyl form before we end up with repeated designs. Not to mention that for someone who's been to Disney World a number of times, sometimes it's the little things we want to see as a Vinylmation, things that others might not immediately recognize. Like the Blizzard Beach Snowman for example.

The Contemporary Resort is probably one of, if not the most well known Walt Disney World resort. Even some of my friends who have never been to Disney World know that there's a triangular shaped resort with a monorail running through it. So this set is a good choice because it sits on the brink of being popular with Disney World veterans and at the same time, still potentially appealing to less frequent Disney visitors. I have never actually stayed at the Contemporary Resort, but I have passed through a number of times for meals, shopping trips, monorail fun and of course to take a look at the beautiful Mary Blair mural, on which this Park 12 set is based.

This set contains 4 figures in a new combination: two 3" figures and two Jr 1.5" figures. Let's break down this upcoming set. First up, let's take a took at the Native American girl figure and the inspiration for her design.

Here's one section of the mural: take a look at the girl in the center with the fruit on her head

And here she is in vinyl form as the first 3" figure in this set:
Native American Girl (LE 1200) by Caley Hicks

Now let's move on to take a look at the second figure in the set - the five legged goat. The story says that Mary Blair gave all the goats in her mural four legs, except one (seen in the picture below). When asked if this was a mistake, Mary replied, "well no one is perfect so I gave one goat five legs".

See the two goats in the top right? The one on the left has 5 legs whilst the one on the right has 4

And if we take a look at the second figure in this set, we can see two hooves on the front of the figure and three on the back, making him the five legged goat from the mural.

Now we'll move on to the third figure in the set and the first of the Jr. figures...

Returning to this picture, we can see the blue rabbit at the bottom

Here's a closer look

And here's the Jr. figure:

And now we move on to the final figure in the set and the second Jr. figure. Here's the section of the mural that the Orange Owl figure was taken from:

The Orange Owl is sat on top of the Native American child's head

And here is the Orange Owl Jr. figure:

And finally, here is a picture of the full Mary Blair mural:

Just beautiful! If you're ever at or near the Contemporary Resort, check it out!

The Park #12 Contemporary Set will be released at D-Streets tomorrow.
What do you think of this set?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vinylmation Review - Mystery Bakery Figment

For today's Vinylmation Review I will be taking a look at the newly released Mystery Bakery series. I will be reviewing each "flavor" of Mystery Bakery separately, but I will also talk about the series overall in this post.

Release Date: July 12, 2013
Blind Open Window

Mystery Bakery
The series overall I like more than I thought I would. I didn't care too much for the first Bakery series, just because I don't understand the whole cupcake thing. Why would you want a Disney character as a cupcake? I also didn't know back then that the frosting actually came off. There was nothing wrong with the figures or the artwork in the original Bakery series, I just didn't get it.

But with the mystery bakery series, I am MUCH more impressed! First off, this is a real hybrid series combining open window (which I think can be expected for Bakery) with blind boxing. Let me explain: the "flavor" or character is the open window part, so you can see that the character you're getting is Figment for example. But in some cases the expression you get (in the cases of Stitch, Mickey, Toy Story Aliens and Figment) is a mystery like blind boxing. You don't know what you'll get until you pick a box, open it and remove the frosting. With Haunted Mansion and the Dwarfs "flavors" there are 3 different characters, so you would know you were picking say, a Dwarf, but you wouldn't know until you open it if it's going to be Grumpy, Doc or Dopey.

I am so impressed with the artwork, subtle hints, thoughtful touches and attention to detail in this series as a whole, and I will explain further when I look at each character set individually. But something I really love is the hybrid aspect of mixing blind boxing and open window. It's genius! I would never have thought of it! And considering some of the crap Disney have churned out recently, I'm honestly surprised. I think it's great for attracting those who aren't typically big fans of open window series and I think it's a gentle way of introducing those who don't necessarily want to blind box into the hobby.

Mystery Bakery: Figment
Let's start with the frosting. Just WOW! There's so much there that I can appreciate! The colors are the colors from the Imagination Pavilion, which is awesome! The colors are bright, fun and completely appropriate for Figment. It's nice to know that they weren't chosen arbitrarily. Then to make the frosting even more awesome, the symbols are the Journey into Imagination logo!

The Imagination Pavilion

As for Figment himself, Ron Cohee has blown me away again! Is there anything he can't draw?! All 3 facial expressions are 100% accurate in looking like Figment. The one on the right and the one in the middle look like the most classic Figment expressions in my opinion, but they all look exactly like him. He's one of my favorite Disney characters so I'm pleased to see him done spectacularly! Anyone who buys a Figment Mystery Bakery figure should be thrilled with whichever expression they end up with.

And now for my very minor dislikes with this series...

I still don't get the cupcake thing at all. I still don't understand why you'd particularly want a character in the form of a cupcake, but it certainly makes the hybrid open window/blind box work in this series. For that reason I probably won't buy any myself, but I can most definitely appreciate that these figures are awesome! My only other dislike is that after choosing colors from the attraction for the frosting, the icing on Figment's head/nose/mouth is blue. Why? Where did that come from? I would have preferred to see yellow, orange, red or pink.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Park #13 Sneak Preview

Disney Merchandise Communications Manager Stephen Miller has posted a sneak preview today of one of the figures from the upcoming Park #13 Vinylmation series. This confirms collectors' suspicion that there will be a Park #13 series.

He declined to announce when Park #13 will be available to purchase, stating only that it's coming to Disney Parks "at a future date".  Not much can be seen from the black and white picture, but Stephen confirmed the figure is another Tower of Terror bellhop. In my opinion, this figure looks very similar to the bellhop from the 1997 movie Tower of Terror starring Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst.

Dropping Into Tower Hotel Gifts in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort
First look at Park #13

A scene from the Tower of Terror movie featuring Dewey the bellhop

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for Park #13?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Peek Inside the Disney Design Group

This video is kinda old, but YouTube suggested that I watch it today. I did and I thought it was interesting. This video gives a good insight into how Vinylmation go from being an idea, to a mass produced figure. In the video, Disney Design Group artist Thomas Scott shows the templates used by Disney artists to create Vinylmation. He then explains what happens next, using the example of his John Carter series.

Take a look! It's only a couple minutes long

Friday, July 19, 2013

Behind The Masks #2 Disney Edition

Behind the Masks has returned for a Disney Edition at San Diego Comic Con.

The characters in the series

Maleficent peering through her box

Mickey unmasked

5 of the 8 characters masked and unmasked

Not much is known about this series right now other than there are 8 characters completing the series and it's currently only available for purchase at Comic Con, with a limit of 1 figure per person.

behind the masks 2 all
All 8 characters front, back and without their masks

Will these figures be released in stores and online at a later date? Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vinylmation Review - Goofy's Candy Co.

I don't typically collect Jr vinyls, mostly because the Jr series have not been park related (with the exception of It's A Small World) which is what I try to exclusively collect. But also, because of their small size, I find them more difficult to display. They're not very noticeable as display pieces in my opinion. Having said all that, Goofy's Candy Co. is the first Jr series that made me reconsider my stance on buying some. Therefore in this post, I want to share my feelings toward the Jr. Series 8: Goofy's Candy Company.

Overall I really love this series, which surprises me because I never really liked a Jr. series before. I really like the It's A Small World series but not enough to buy any. I'm way more impressed with this series! I think it's a great theme that appeals to many different audiences. Who doesn't love candy?! And the fact that it's Goofy's Candy Co. makes it mean  a little something more to Disney World fans.

The first one I'm going to talk about is the candy cane. I like this one, but only because it makes me think of those long tubes you fill up with sherbet. Very appropriate for Goofy's Candy Co. since they have a huge section of those there.

This vinyl is a candy apple which reminds me a lot of the Candy Cauldron at Downtown Disney actually, because that's where I usually get candy apples when I'm at Disney World. But you can also create your own candy apples at Goofy's Candy Co. so this is another very appropriate choice of vinyl for this series. I love the dripping caramel and the clear body.

This vinyl I do not care for all that much. The reason I don't like it is because of the cone on the body. I've only ever seen cotton candy in bags or buckets at Goofy's Candy Co. so the cone makes this vinyl look more like ice cream, which is a little disappointing.

This Dots vinyl is very cute in my opinion. It's not one of my favs in this series but I think it's easily recognizable as Dots and I love the bright colors.

What would a Goofy's Candy Co. series be without the man himself? Again, not one of my favorites but I think this vinyl is typical Goofy and I like it in this series.

Not a big fan of the Gum Drops vinyl. I haven't seen it in person, so that could be the reason, but I don't think it's immediately clear what this vinyl is supposed to be. I don't think much of the variant either, because red and orange are pretty similar colors.

I like this Gummy Bear vinyl because who doesn't like gummy bears?! The Mickey mold shape really works well for this figure.

Not a fan of the Honeycomb vinyl because again, I don't think it's immediately obvious what this is. Now I know what it is, it makes sense but I was unsure before that. I also don't think honeycomb is an iconic candy or a candy that screams Goofy's Candy Co.

Some people have said that 3 Goofy vinyls (plus a chaser) in one Jr. series is overkill, but I disagree. This vinyl definitely screams Goofy's Candy Co. which is why I love it. Goofy experimenting with his candy is what it's all about.

I am a big fan of the Mickey Lollipop vinyl in this series. It holds a lot of memories for me.I would always buy these from Liberty Square before taking a trip on the Riverboat, where I'd get through a couple. This vinyl is iconic Goofy's Candy Co. and iconic Disney World candy.

Not a big fan of the Mints vinyl. To me, it looks more like a futuristic robot with gears or wheels rather than mints.


Another one of my favorites in this series. No trip to Disney is complete with a Mickey Rice Krispie Treat! And at Goofy's Candy Co. you can have your own made. This vinyl is a perfect choice for the series and is spot on in looking like the candy it represents.

Not a favorite of mine, but I do like Sales Goofy. I can instantly recognize that he's from Goofy's Candy Co.

I don't really like the Sprinkles vinyl, but that's mostly because of the colors. Sprinkles are a common feature on candy and this vinyl does look like sprinkles, but the colors look faded and washed out. Maybe they look better in person?

I really like the Sweets vinyl! It reminds me of Goofy's taffy that I used to buy as a kid for my edible take home souvenir. This vinyl looks just like the sweets sold at Goofy's Candy Co. - a perfect choice for this series

Arguable, this is one of, if not the most iconic candy at Disney World. The Swirl Lollipop! Another perfect choice for this series! I love the colors and the clear body.

And now for the chasers...

I really like Sour Goofy I'm a big fan of sour candy. I think this makes a great chaser!

I also LOVE the Gawrsh chaser! It's a great vinyl for this series because the logo and Goofy's catchphrase really summarize and incorporate all of Goofy's Candy Co. that also makes it an awesome and appropriate choice for a chaser.

So which ones did I get? Since there were very few that I actually loved (and that's what it's all about, right?) I decided not to blox, since there are waaaay too many in this series. I bought 2 from the secondary market: Rice Krispie Treat and the Gawrsh chaser. I was very tempted to add the Mickey Lollipop to my collection also, but haven't as yet. Maybe I'll post a picture of where these Candy Co. vinyls live now...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Vinylmation Guessing Game

No I'm not going to talk about blind boxing in this post, I want to talk about the gamble that is the best way and time to buy Park Exclusive and Limited Edition vinyls.

Let me start with Park Exclusives. Some examples of which are the 2013 Poster Art Series and the  Disney Vacation Club exclusives. There are also vinyls that fall into both the Limited Edition and Park Exclusive categories, such as the Animation #3 Dumbo set and the Park #12 Country Bear set. I, like many people, do not live close to Disney World which means I only really one option for Park Exclusives: eBay. But here's where the guessing game comes in: do I wait til my next trip and hope the vinyls I want are available? Or do I bite the bullet and pay a little more for them on eBay, but know that I have them? With Park Exclusives, there's a better chance that those vinyls will still be there on my next trip.

Which brings me on to Limited Edition vinyls. If a vinyl is both Park Exclusive and LE, there's a risk it will be sold out by my next trip. If a vinyl is LE and released online, such as Pixar #1 Crush and Squirt combo and the Park Starz #2 Bellhop Variant, then you have a bigger decision to make. Do you buy online at your convenience? Buy online at 3am when the figure's released? Or wait until your next trip to buy them at D-Street?

Maybe other collectors are better at playing the guessing game, but I suck at it! I thought Squirt and Crush would be an instant sell out, but I noticed that it was still available for a week afterwards. Maybe even longer, I didn't happen to pay attention. But I never thought Carl and Ellie would sell out within an hour and so I missed out and had to pay triple the price on the secondary market.

My next round of the guessing game is the 2013 Poster Series. I have no idea if they still sell the figures after the month has passed. Will they still have the August figures for sale in October? Or will they pull them? Or does it just depend if they sell out? Do I wait and see? Or should I just buy one from the secondary market and pay $10 more for it?

Well with the Park #12 Country Bear set, I took a look at Vinylmation blogs, forums and internet groups to gauge the popularity of the set. It seemed pretty popular and with an LE of 1,500 (so I'd guess 750 per D-Street location) I decided not to wait until October and see if any were left. I tried to look at it this way: for D-Street Orlando to sell out of 750 sets, they'd have to sell 50 sets a week. That might sound steep, but with locals buying a bunch and selling them on the secondary market - it could happen, they could sell out before I get there. They'd only need to sell 7 a day and I've seen eBay sellers listing 3 or 4 at a time. It would be just my luck and I really didn't want to risk it.

Well this time, it looks like I lucked out. I bought a Park #12 "pre-order" for $58 shipped. It was a little more than I was hoping to pay, but then I read on Destination Vinylmation that the price point for the series had increased from Disney's advertised $39.95 to $49.95! Add $3.25 tax to the retail of $49.95 and I only ended up paying $4.80 over retail for my pre-ordered set! And I've guaranteed myself an LE set that I really, really wanted. (Seriously, ask my friends how long I've been asking for a Country Bears set and how Max, Melvin and Buff were my preferences). Plus, I've already seen this set being sold on eBay for upwards of $65 before shipping.

So how do you decide what to do with Park Exclusives and Limited Editions? Do you play the Vinylmation Guessing Game?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Park #12 Country Bears Release

The third release of today was the Park #12 Country Bears release. This is a 3-figure Limited Edition set of 1,500 by artist Monty Maldovan. The set features Max, Melvin and Buff, the three animal heads mounted on the side of the wall at the Country Bear Jamboree. This set retails at $49.95 (not the advertised $39.95) and is only available at D-Streets.

Mystery Bakery Series Release

The second series to release today is the Mystery Bakery Series. I actually find this series pretty interesting so I will be writing separate posts to share my thoughts there. There are 6 "flavors" in this series, each with 3 mystery designs: Toy Story Aliens, Mickey, The Seven Dwarfs (well, three of them), Stitch, Figment and The Ghosts of the Haunted Mansion. This series retails for $12.95 and can be purchased at D-Streets and