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.