Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Cheeseburger

Series: Urban #3
Artist: Dan Howard
Released: January 2010

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Food & Wine Festival Eachez

The Disney Parks Blog has previewed a new Eachez that will be released for the 20th Food and Wine Festival, starting September 25, 2015.

The new Eachez features the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. I would presume that the figure pictured left is the common, and the figure pictured right is the variant, however this has not been announced. The price and any Limited Edition size has also not yet been announced.

The Eachez will be available at the Festival Center which will be between Mission: Space and Ellen's Energy Adventure. It will not be available online. I'm just happy to see more evidence that for now at least, Vinylmation are still continuing to be released.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

30% Off Frozen Vinylmation

From now until Thursday, receive 30% off Frozen Vinylmation at the Disney Store Online when you use the code FROZEN at checkout. The offer will take the price of individual blind boxes down to $9.07 each and the price of a tray down to $145.04. Offer ends 11:50pm PDT on July 30, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

Vinylmation Beginner's Guide - When Is The Time to Buy?

I'm listing this as a Vinylmation Beginner's Guide post because I feel like this is most likely to be a question that new collectors have. However, this can certainly be an important topic for seasoned collectors too.

When is the time to buy Vinylmation? Now I don't mean when should you buy instead of blind box, because that's really up to each individual. You might only want to buy a certain number of boxes and see what you get, or you might not have any issue with how much it costs to get all the figures you want through blind boxing - because it's just that much fun! Or, you might save yourself time and money and go right in with a case. Again, there's no right or wrong, it's a personal decision.

What I want to talk about is when you should buy Vinylmation (after to deciding to buy over blox) on the secondary market. Should you buy when a figure has just been released? Should wait a few weeks? Wait over a year?

The answer to this question isn't simple. It really depends on the figure. But there are some general rules:

The longer you leave a common figure, the cheaper it will be. Villains #4 and Animation #4 were both released in 2013 and now many of the common figures are selling for $10 and under. The lowest I saw was $6. But some figures will hold their secondary market value. I noticed Flynn Rider is still selling for $15-$20 and Three Caballeros Donald from Animation #5 is selling for around $25. That part all depends on the popularity of the figure and what's available.

If a figure it still in demand, it will not get cheaper the longer you leave it. The opposite will happen - it will get more expensive. When Park #14 first came out, the Soarin' figure retailed for $20-$30. I thought that was a little steep and didn't get it right away. Well that figure is one of the most popular from Park #14, and now that the series is no longer being sold, the market isn't flooded with options. You can still grab a figure at $20 if you're lucky, but with only one or two figures listed at any given time on eBay, they're now selling for $30-$50.

The first series of something will usually increase in value. Again this depends on popularity. Animation #1 and Villains #1 are almost all $10 and under still. However Urban #1, Park #1 and Marvel #1 are more pricey than they were when first released. Park #1 being the most expensive because it's the most sought after.

Some prices change throughout the year. That might sound strange, but this is what I mean. Holiday Vinylmation such as Halloween figures. Christmas figures, etc. are typically more expensive during that season. Easter Vinylmation right now in July are selling for $10-$15, but in March and April this year they were selling for $15-$20. Why? Because most people aren't looking to buy a Santa Mickey in July or a Halloween Mickey in March. But they will be when the season hits, so sellers will increase their prices.

Some vinyls will stay popular, others won't. Limited Edition doesn't necessarily mean that something will be popular and sell out. But sometimes it means exactly that. The Star Wars Weekends 9" figures seem to either hold or increase in value, but other sets sell now for much cheaper than the original retail price.

Some vinyls will become popular again later. Like I've touched on already with Soarin', the second the supply decreases, prices will increase. I can foresee this with Star Wars Weekend sets. Right now there's plenty of choice for 2015's sets, but this time next year I reckon they'll be back up.

The best thing to do is gauge popularity. That will tell you when the best time is to buy Vinylmation. But sometimes Vinylmation are highly unpredictable and that's easier said than done. My personal opinion is that it's best to play it safe. Buying a figure for $20 over retail is better than leaving it and paying $50 over retail down the line. But you're taking a risk that $20 over retail might turn in to $5 under retail if you had waited. It's a game that will take a very long time to perfect.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Star Wars #5 Luke Skywalker Combo Topper Released

A combo topper featuring Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing Pilot uniform has been released today at the Disney Store Online. The topper includes one blind box containing one of 8 Star Wars #5 figures and retails for $24.95

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Future World Mickey

Series: Park #8
Artist: Monty Maldovan
Released: February 2012

Monday, July 20, 2015

Vinylmation Review - Park #16 Disneyland 60 Series

The Park #16 Disneyland 60th Anniversary Series was released just last week and I have been pretty impressed by it! I have only visited the Disneyland Resort once, in 2003, so a lot has changed since then. I didn't think this series would appeal to me much for that reason, but surprisingly there are a few figures I'm thinking about adding to my collection!

Reasons to love this series:
  • A great variety of attractions from both Disneyland Resort parks are represented in this series: The Enchanted Tiki Room, Mickey's Fun Wheel, Pirates of the Caribbean, It's A Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours, among others. I'm partial to Ree-Yees since I think he's memorable and hilarious to Disney veterans. A great pick! 
  • Appropriate variants - Mickey's Fun Wheel has a Sun Wheel variant figure, representing the original Ferris wheel attraction that was at California Adventure from 2001-2008. (This is how the ride was during my trip). The It's A Small World Clock has a Christmas variant, depicting how the attraction looks when dressed up for the holidays
  • Fantastic designs - I just love the bright colors of the Tiki bird! Beautifully done! The design of Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin is wonderfully done too, with the car stretching out across the arms and the figure's ears used perfectly for the extension of Roger Rabbit's ears
  • New molds used - This looks to be the first Park series to use the Minnie Vinylmation mold along with the Mickey mold. The Tiki bird and It's A Small World Clock are both on the new Minnie mold, and they look awesome! The Tiki bird even adds an accessory to the new mold
  • Awesome use of accessories - In my opinion, a lack of good accessories can really take away the appeal of the figure. (I'm looking at you Fozzie, no way do I want you without your hat!) The Tiki bird naturally has a hat to finish his look, but the accessories that blew me away were Ree-Yees's camera and the Pirate's bone. So perfect! I was not expecting this, but the accessories could be the difference between these figures being "maybes" and "must-haves".

Things that aren't so great:
This is really just personal to me, since the series, in my mind, is fantastic overall. But there are some figures that don't appeal to me. Like I said, I've only been to Disneyland once, so Oogie Boogie is lost on me, I don't know what he's from. I also don't recall riding Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, so that figure is not on my list either.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mail Day!

I finally have one of my grails!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Park #16 Disneyland 60 Series Release

The Park #16 Disneyland 60 Vinylmation series has been released today at the Disneyland Resort. This set has 7 common figures plus an unknown chaser. The figures in this series were designed by: Thomas Scott, Caley Hicks, Ron Cohee, Casey Jones and Suzanne Herbert. Each blind box retails for $12.95. You can also purchase blind boxes at the Disney Store Online.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Judge Frollo

Series: Villains #3
Artist: Enrique Pita
Released: June 2012

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Thoughtful Spot - Now Is The Time to Join the Hobby

I saw some pictures of older Vinylmation series today, namely Toy Story #1 and Have A Laugh! which were both released in 2010. These were the first two Vinylmation series I ever saw and I did actually buy a Toy Story blind box at my local Disney Store. It got me thinking about how I felt like I joined the hobby pretty late in the game. Vinylmation were released in 2008 and I bought my first vinyl in 2011 - three years later.

3 years might not sound like that much later, especially compared to the 7 years Vinylmation have existed for today. But to put that in perspective, at that time: six Park series had been released, along with six Urban series, two Jr. series, Muppets #1, Toy Story, Have A Laugh!, Star Wars, Animation #1, Villains #1, and probably others that I'm not remembering right now.

It was a strange position to be in. On the one hand, I came in when over 20 series had been released, plus their 9" counterparts. Park #1 was already in to crazy money and more sets were being released on a frequent basis. I wanted so many figures that I didn't know where to start. But at the same time, being only 3 years in, many figures were holding their value and were not as cheap to buy on the secondary market as they are now. (I'm talking $15-$20 a vinyl over $7-$10 now). Many of the figures I own are much cheaper now than they were when I bought them, even though many figures were over a year old a the time I got them back then.

Fast forward to 2015 and now there are more series released than I could possibly list for you in this post. Vinylmation has been in existence for 7 years. So where does that new collectors? It might seem even more overwhelming to join the hobby now then when I joined in four years ago. But here's the good news about that:

So many figures are dirt cheap
I hate to say it that way, but it's true. It's not because figures are bad, it's just because with many more collectors, there's always someone willing to part with their figures. In 2011 there were probably fewer collectors, and people were still trying to build up their collection and trade over selling. Getting the figures you want is pretty easy now, provided that they're commons.

Usually (although there are exceptions) figures decrease in price the longer they've been out. That's basic supply and demand. When new sets come out, the focus of collectors shifts from what was previously new, to what is brand new. Something that's $25 on the secondary market now because it's a new release, will soon drop to $15, then $10, maybe down to $7, $6 or even $5.

Star Wars #1 Chewbacca released in 2011

The figures are getting better and better
I don't want to sound critical, improvement typically happens when something is repeated over time. More recent figures compared to early figures from 2008-2010 look so much better! Now that Vinylmation has found its stride, newer collectors can skip over older figures they might not like as much, and go right in with the newer figures. I've heard of collectors with the older Star Wars sets wanting to get rid of them in favor of the newer Star Wars sets that have more impressive designs.

You can be more picky with your collection and choose the best of the best
Thankfully this didn't happen to me too badly. I started buying a few figures that I liked at the time, but now compared to what else is out there and the improvements in design, I would prefer to get rid of some of my earlier figures to make way for the newer figures I like way better. Joining the hobby later saves you this chore, and sometimes heartache, of falling out of love with and selling/trading off some of your collection.

Star Wars #5 Chewbacca released in 2015

It can be sad not to have the same blind boxing opportunities, not to get the chance to attend Vinylmation events, or be able to trade in the parks, and that's all very sad. I'm glad I got into Vinylmation when I did and got to experience in park trading. But having said that, there are many benefits new collectors today can appreciate that were not the case for earlier collectors. So if you're a relatively new collector, think of this list the next time you're feeling down about joining the hobby late.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Tiny

Series: Pirates of the Caribbean #1
Artist: Casey Jones
Released: July 2011

Monday, July 06, 2015

The Collector's Space - Vinylmation: The Best Disney Collectible

In this post, I want to talk about why I think Vinylmation are the best Disney collectible for a Walt Disney World fan. Let me preface by saying, this is more about what draws me to Vinylmation over other types of Disney collectibles. I'm not trying to convince you to stop buying whatever you're in to and start buying vinyls instead. I'm also not trying to disrespect other Disney collectible items. I also own a few Itty Bittys, a small pin collection, several Disney plush toys, and a Marvel Funko POP! Vinyl. I just want to explain why in my mind, if you're looking for something to collect and you're a huge Walt Disney World parks fan, I would suggest going with Vinylmation.

Vinylmation to me are a unique collectible. When you buy Disney plush toys for example, you see what's available, choose the one you like and go buy it. The end. Vinylmation are not just merchandise to pick up and buy, they're an event, a ritual... a hobby. Yes there are open window boxes where you can do just that: pick one up and buy it. But now there's been a paradigm shift in the Vinylmation world, where almost all of the figures are sold in concealed, "blind" boxes that give the element of surprise.

That's what makes it more of an event. You spend time looking at the boxes, wondering what's inside each one. Which one should you get? You finally decide and buy one. Then there's the anticipation before you open it. What did I get? What's inside the box? When you finally get to open the box, it's an adrenaline rush, almost like the feeling you get on your favorite Disney ride. You just can't take the suspense anymore! Then there's that indescribable feeling when you finally get that special figure. Maybe it's the last one you needed to complete a set, or that one figure that's always eluded you. Now it's finally yours! Perhaps it's the mysterious chaser, or better yet, a variant!

If you end up with a figure you don't want, or a duplicate of a figure you already have, that's okay because now you're hooked! It's an addiction and you have a great reason to buy another box and start all over again! You also get to move on to another fun part of Vinylmation - trading. Trading is another aspect that makes this line of merchandise more than just merchandise. Again, it's a hobby. Something you can take home with you and continue after you leave the parks.

At this point some of you might be thinking that some pins come in mystery packs, and the whole point of pins is to trade too. You'd be right, but let me explain what I think sets Vinylmation apart from pins. In my opinion, Vinylmation are more personal. There are many Vinylmation figures that represent a theme park ride or other attraction, theme park events like Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Food and Wine Festival.

With Vinylmation, you can aim to collect the figures that have significant sentimental value. The year of your first visit, your favorite ride, a tribute to an extinct attraction you loved. They're like little 3" memories. I know that there are plenty of pins that reflect aspects of the World in the same way, but Vinylmation, to me, do it that much better. There's so much more detail on Vinylmation, and sometimes that detail is what causes you to fall in love with the figure in the first place.

The personalized nature of Vinylmation is increased even more by the artists' signatures. Almost every figure is signed by the artist who created them on the bottom of the feet. This signature reflects their individual design by artists who are also huge Disney fans. (Just check out Maria Clapsis and Casey Jones on Instagram). Vinylmation are by the fans for the fans. Even though you know Vinylmation are massed produced, this reminds you of the roots. They're not just some generic product churned out again and again. They've been personally designed by enthusiastic artists.

Finally, I think Vinylmation display much better than pins. And they look so awesome when they're displayed! The uniform shape makes the display look tidy, and easily identifiable as Vinylmation figures. (Excluding Park Starz of course). Yet their different designs are intriguing. So many people stand at stare at my collection, trying to take it all in and figure them out. You can display them proudly, like an award, after all your hard work getting the ones you want.

Overall, I think Vinylmation are the best Disney collectible for the memories and reflection of Walt Disney World, through the personal artwork of other Disney fans who created them. They're more than just a one off purchase, they're a ritual, a hobby you take home after your vacation. They're not just a toy like Tsum Tsum, or a standard item like POP! Vinyls. They have meaning. I think they're more detailed and special than pins, and they make a fantastic display item. After all, it's this personal aspect that got me to buy them in the first place.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Snapshot Sunday - My Star Wars Weekends Vinylmation

Star Wars Weekends are over for 2015, but I realized I didn't share my vinyls with you! I did not have the privilege of attending Star Wars Weekends this year, but my brother in law and his wife did, and they were kind enough to pick these up for me! I am over the moon happy with these fantastic sets!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Independence Day Eagle

Series: Holiday 2013
Artist: Maria Clapsis
Released: June 2013