Hi Vinylmation fans! This post is a call for your opinions and ideas! I'll admit I'm running out of steam here when writing articles for you all to read. There used to be a lot more happening in the world of Vinylmation. I would share information about trading, Vinylmation events, my reviews on releases (which I still do, these posts are just less frequent given the lower number of releases these days), I'd share my tips and tricks, my strategy for blind boxing, updates on my collection (which again, is happening less as I'm buying less due to fewer releases).
Now I'm not really sure what to talk about. There's not much to report and I don't know what my readers are most interested in reading. So I'd really like your help and input in suggesting topics for me to write about. Please share your thoughts in the comments section or shoot me an email!
A new Vinylmation series, Kingdom of Cute, has been released today at the Walt Disney World Resort, the Disneyland Resort and the Disney Store online. This series moves away once again from the traditional Mickey platform and includes 12 figures: 11 common figures plus one mystery chaser. There have also been a total of threevariants discovered. All figures were designed by Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama and each blind box retails at $18.99. Stay tuned for updates on whether this series will become available on the Shop Disney Parks app.
Today I've decided to reminisce about the holy grail that was D-Street. D-Street opened in Downtown Disney's West Side on April 16, 2010, with the Disney Parks Blog describing it as, "The premiere location for all things Vinylmation – 3” and 9” figures, apparel, accessories, and a brand new Create-Your-Own-Vinylmation Experience, the “Vinylmation Creation Station".
The atmosphere inside D-Street was unique. It had an underground basement type feel, but it was filled with all kinds of eclectic Disney items, largely Vinylmation. Merchandise Communications Manager Steven Miller said in a November 2010 interview with Kissimmee Insight, "Vinylmation is our mothership", just like with Disney Pins, there was now a whole store dedicated to all things Vinylmation.
(Outside of D-Street)
Vinylmation fans were really excited for the store to open. D-Street took really great care of Vinylmation collectors in the beginning. Not only could you buy Vinylmation, Vinylmation apparel and accessories, but you could also pick up stickers, markers and other items for designing your own figures. You could even try your hand at the Vinylmation Creation Station within the store and see several examples of creative Vinylmation works throughout the store.
Furthermore, at D-Street you could trade your Vinylmation with Cast Members and other collectors. There was a preview box (the clear box underneath the black question mark Vinylmation in the foreground of the below picture) where fans could take a look at upcoming figures in person before they were released. This got collectors excited about what was to come, knowing what the series would be, what the figures would look like, and the date they'd be released. A big deal was made about upcoming releases, so much so that people would line up outside ready to get their Limited Editions or to be the first to pick up a long anticipated blind box.
(Vinylmation Conveyor Belt)
The shelves were filled with every type of Vinylmation: Limited Edition sets, 3", 9", Jr. figures, Create Your Own, and of course there was every type of Vinylmation merchandise you could think of: bags, phone cases, USBs, clothing, journals, hats, the list goes on. I'm not sure in what order the following occurred, or what the reasoning was, but slowly the prominence of Vinylmation declined. Disney stopped updating their Vinylmation blog promoting releases ahead of time, leaving the releases a surprise and preventing fans from getting excited about future releases. There was no more queuing outside of D-Street, no more online parties where collectors would stay up all night waiting for the online release.
Disney also slowed down on the number of Vinylmation releases. While they needed to scale back somewhat (in the very beginning a new series was released every Monday and Friday!) there was no consistency to releases. Would there be a release just on Fridays? Just on Mondays? Once a week? Once a month? It was anybody's guess and still is. Trading was removed from the Disney resorts, then the Disney parks and D-Street.
Vinylmation trading nights also became a thing of the past. This separately ticketed event was a weekend extravaganza celebrating all things pin and Vinylmation. There was previews of what would be released over the next year with pictures and even prototypes. There were event exclusive Vinylmation for purchase, Vinylmation trading and even a breakfast for fans to get together.
As the Vinylmation world began to shrink, less Vinylmation were being produced and the stacks of shelves at D-Street couldn't be filled solely with Vinylmation anymore. Other Disney merchandise began to creep in. When I visited D-Street in the fall of 2013, only about half the store was Vinylmation compared to the whole store back in my spring 2011 visit.
The new merchandise was largely Marvel and Star Wars. Initially I was sad to see less and less Vinylmation sold in what once was the "Vinylmation mothership" (to quote Steven Miller) but I was happy that there were still some Vinylmation and I love Marvel and Star Wars so it could share my beloved Vinylmation's space.
Well I guess the Vinylmation section eventually became too small to justify the brand having its own store. I would also imagine that what they were selling the most of was the Star Wars merchandise because in December 2015 D-Street closed and re-opened as the Star Wars Galactic Outpost. All the Marvel merchandise moved to the nearby Superhero Headquarters. D-Street was no more.
(Photo Credit: WDW News Today)
The Star Wars Vinylmation remained at Galactic Outpost, the D-Street artwork moved to the Marketplace Co-Op store in Downtown Disney's Marketplace, and the other Vinylmation figures moved to Disney Pin Traders, also in Downtown Disney's Marketplace.
I don't think any one factor caused D-Street's demise, I think it was a combination of all of the above. However, all the items on that list fall on Disney. I truly think D-Street could have remained just as popular in 2017 as it was in 2010 if Disney continued to put the time and energy into D-Street that they once did. Instead, that focus has shifted to promoting Tsum Tsum like there's no tomorrow. I see a lot of similarities there in the merchandise they're producing and the way in which they're previewing and promoting the new releases. I guess they didn't have the time or didn't think it was worth it to keep promoting Vinylmation in the same way.
(D-Street on the way out)
(Photo Credit: WDW Magic)
It upsets me that while Disney doesn't really market pin trading from what I've seen, there still seems to be a steady flow of pin merchandise released, albeit you don't always know what's in the works or when it will be available. The same could be done with Vinylmation, but that's a whole other story. At the very least, if D-Street was too big to solely house Vinylmation, split the store in two and create two stores. Keep D-Street and only sell Vinylmation and have the other half of the store as the Star Wars Galactic Outpost. That would have been my plan.
And so D-Street is no more, but I will always remember how incredible it was way back when. D-Street is still in existence at Disneyland, but what that looks like I can't say having never been. Feel free to educate me on that in the comments below and share any of your D-Street memories!
The D23 Expo will be taking place July 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center and a preview has been given of exclusive Vinylmation that will be available to purchase at the event:
Pirates of the Caribbean Eachez
This Eachez celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and has a Limited Edition size of 2500 pieces with two potential figures inside the blind box. The Redhead is the common figure (pictured left) with 9 in 10 odds for a total of 2,250 Vinylmation, and the Blue Wench (pictured right) is the variant figure with 1 in 10 odds, for a total of 250 Vinylmation. Each blind box will retail at $16.99.
The Marvel Eachez has a Limited Edition size of 2500 pieces and features a Spider-Man common figure (pictured left) with 9 in 10 odds, for a total of 2,250 pieces, and the Masked Peter Parker variant figure (pictured right) with 1 in 10 odds, for a total of 250 pieces. Each blind box will retail at $16.99.
Star Tours Eachez
The Star Tours Eachez celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Star Tours attraction and has a Limited Edition size of 2500. The common figure in this Eachez is a Space Trooper (pictured left) with 9 in 10 odds of being in the box, for a total of 2,250 figures, and the variant figure is Red Rex (pictured right) with 1 in 10 odds of being in the box for a total of 250 figures. Each blind box will retail at $16.99.
Hipster Minnie 9"
There will also be a 9" Hipster Minnie Vinylmation released to accompany the previously released 9" Hipster Mickey figure, designed by Jerrod Maruyama. This 9" piece will retail at $69.99.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was recently released in anticipation of the film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which opened last Friday. This 8 figure set includes: Gamora, Drax, Star Lord, Mantis, Baby Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and Yondu, with Nebula as the chaser. I think movie sets are pretty popular, and Marvel is for sure, so I think this is an appropriate set with a timely release. Thomas Scott designed the majority of these figures, with Jason Peltz designing Rocket and Star Lord. Things to love about this series:
The characters - I haven't seen Guardians Vol. 2 yet, but I would imagine that every character from this movie you could want in Vinylmation form is in this set. We have seen almost all these characters in various trailers for the film
The wonderful designs - its always hard to design a human character on the Mickey platform and Disney artists have tried with varying levels of success for years. Although they look a little chubby, which is very difficult to avoid, I think Thomas Scott has really nailed Gamora, Nebula and Drax, who look like actors Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, and Dave Bautista respectively. Baby Groot, Rocket and Star Lord look spot on in design also
The variants - if you're big into variants, this series has two: Gamora and Baby Groot
The accessories - Gamora, Star Lord and Rocket all have fantastic weapon accessories, and Yondu would not be complete without his amazing mohawk accessory
The level of detail - it looks like there's metallic paint on Star Lord's mask, which is awesome! The level of detail on Drax is also very impressive, he might be my favorite in the set
Things that aren't so great:
As I previously mentioned, some of the human figures are kinda chubby. I think this is incredibly difficult to prevent, but if you are looking for direct likeness to the actor, Mantis and Yondu are definitely weaker than the other figures
The ears - they weren't left completely blank, each figure has the Guardians logo in their right ear, but it is a pretty plain design. While I don't hate it, that can be disappointing compared to other higher levels of detail in other figures
Personal preference here, but I think Mantis should have accessory antennae
Splash Mountain has been a favorite attraction of mine for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories of Walt Disney World are of riding Splash Mountain, and even meeting Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear in Frontierland. When I saw the release of a Splash Mountain Eachez, I thought it was about time! If I had my way, there would be a whole series of Splash Mountain Vinylmation!
(Photo Credit: WDW for Grownups)
I love the design choice Alex Maher went with. Instead of Br'er Rabbit's usual blue pants and pink collared shirt, he chose to use the design of Br'er Rabbit from the final scene before plummeting down into the Briar Patch. Br'er Rabbit is stuck in a beehive with honey dripping down. I love the perfect scared expression the artist used for his face. This is definitely a memorable scene and that's captured in the design of this figure. I'm happy to add another Splash Mountain figure to my collection, to accompany the Vulture vinyl I have from Park #12.
Today is the anniversary of the day I bought my first Vinylmation back in 2011. I joined the hobby and started collecting Vinylmation 6 years ago exactly. Here's an update on what my collection looks like after 6 years...
I currently own:
3" Vinylmation - 184
9" Vinylmation - 11
Jr. Vinylmation - 15
Park Starz - 9
Making a grand total of 219 Vinylmation!
My collection hasn't increased by all that much over the last year. There are still quite a few more that I want to add to my collection, but now that most vinyls are no longer available at Disney Stores, I haven't bought a blind box since 2015. Prices on the secondary market have therefore increased because vinyls are harder to acquire than they were previously, and so the market isn't nearly as flooded. I don't think much of dropping $10 on a Vinylmation, but $20-$25 on the secondary market means I'm buying one figure for almost the price of what 3 cost just 2 years ago. It's slowed me down, but it hasn't stopped me! We'll see how much has changed a year from now!
If you're interested in seeing how much collection has grown in the past year, check out my 5 Year Anniversay update from 2016.
Today is my blog's 4th birthday. How time flies! To date I've published 865 posts! I still love voicing my thoughts on the world of Vinylmation, sharing my pictures, dreaming of future releases, and keeping track of new Vinylmation offerings.
Sometimes life ramps up and I'm not able to post here as much as I'd like to, or as much as I have done in the past. Thanks to everyone who's been patient and stuck with me during the "lulls" on this blog. I appreciate your understanding. Knowing people read keeps me coming back when I do go through those dry spells here.
I'd like to give a huge thank you to all my readers! Whether you visit once a week or once in a blue moon, I appreciate that you took the time to stop by :) thanks also to everyone who comments, I love hearing your thoughts! Unfortunately due to tons of spam I was getting, I do have to approve every comment before it's published. Don't be upset if it takes a little while for your comment to appear, like I said, life gets busy. I read every comment (because I have to approve it) so if you don't see a reply, that's just an oversight. I read what you said ;)
I hope you'll stick around with me for another year!
It's been a while, but it's time for another Vinylmation Review! Today I'm reviewing Park Starz #5, which was released in January 2017. I know some collectors still aren't sold on Park Starz figures. It took me a while. The most off-putting aspect for me is the higher price tag at $18.99 a blind box. But we now have the 5th series in the line and I think they're still going strong!
Things to love about this series:
The return of some greats - we've already had a Vinylmation of Trader Sam, Waldo, the goat chewing dynamite and the hitchhiking ghosts, but here they are again with a new mold and looking fabulous! I love that Trader Sam actually has an umbrella, Waldo has a butterfly on his back, and Phineas the Hitchhiking ghost has a briefcase.
The theme continues - for those collecting a specific theme, Park Starz #5 continues many of the themes the earlier Park Starz series created. There's another Pirates of the Caribbean figure, Hitchhiking Ghost, another Country Bear, and another It's A Small World pair.
Good mix of parks represented - while this set is still Disneyland/Magic Kingdom heavy with 3/4 of the set being from those two parks jointly, Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Hong Kong Disneyland are all represented.
New characters - this set offers a couple new characters that we've never seen before on any Vinylmation canvas. We have an elephant from the Kilimanjaro Safari, Henry (and Sammy) from the Country Bear Jamboree, and a Computer Engineer from Spaceship Earth.
The added nostalgia - I love the inclusion of Skippy from extinct Magic Kingdom attraction Alien Encounter. It brings some nostalgia to the set and appeals to collectors like me who like to remember past attractions in Vinylmation form, as well as add current park icons to their collection. For Disneyland park goers, Henry from the Country Bear Jamboree may also serve as a nostalgic figure.
Variants really are variants - for the first time in a Park Starz series, the variant figures are actually variants, seeded into sets in an unknown ratio as opposed to being limited edition figures sold separately, as was the former method with Park Starz.
Things that aren't so great:
I honestly think there's something for everyone here. However, the chaser for me is a huge let down. For those who haven't visited Hong Kong Disneyland (which I assume is the majority of Vinylmation collectors here in the U.S.) Albert from Mystic Manor is pretty much unknown and therefore undesirable. I know that Vinylmation are sold overseas, and so Disney wants to add characters that give a more widespread appeal, but I can't help but think that the main market for Vinylmation is here. Having said that, perhaps the chaser is the best way to go in that respect, because collectors like me who don't want that particular figure are less likely to blox it and get stuck with it. Either way I think the chaser is supposed to be one of the more sought after figures (hence the "chase") and this figure does not fit that description.
Overall I think this is a very strong set and I am glad to see Park Starz return for another series!
A 12 figure Mickey Mouse Cartoon series has been released today at the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, and the Disney Store online. These figures are 3" but each have their own unique mold. There are 11 common figures plus a chaser. Each blind box retails at $18.99.
Today a two figure Limited Release Vinylmation set was released at Disney Stores and the Disney Store Online in honor of the Disney Store's 30th Anniversary. Mickey and Minnie are dressed in their anniversary best, with gem accents in Mickey's bowtie and Minnie's hairbow, and each has a Disney Store 30th Anniversary stamp on the back of the head. Both figures were designed by Marvin Lao and the set retails at $29.95.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 series has been released today at the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, and the Disney Store online. This is an 8 figure set including 7 commons and a chaser. Characters include: Gamorra, Drax, Baby Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord, Mantis and Yondu. The figures were designed by Disney artists Thomas Scott and Jason Peltz. Each blind box retails at $12.99. Expect to see this series sold on the Shop Disney Parks App at a later date.
A new Designer Eachez has been released today at WonderGround Gallery and D-Street at the Disneyland Resort. Expect to see this Vinylmation released at the Walt Disney World Resort at a later date, and perhaps even online and the Shop Disney Parks App.
This Eachez contains one of two figures: Interstellar Minnie (pictured right) the common figure with 9 in 10 odds of being in the box, or Robo Mickey (pictured left) the variant figure with 1 in 10 odds of being in the blind box.
This Eachez has a Limited Edition of 2,500 meaning there are 2,250 common figures and 250 variant figures. Both figures were designed by artist Whitney Pollett and the retail price has yet to be announced.
A new 9" Haunted Mansion Bride Vinylmation has been released today at WonderGround Gallery in the Marketplace Co-Op, and Disney Pin Traders at the Walt Disney World Resort. It will be released tomorrow (March 4th) at WonderGround Gallery and D-Street at the Disneyland Resort. It is also available at the Disney Store online.
This 9" figure has its own shape, much like Hipster Mickey, instead of the regular 9" Mickey shape and was designed by artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith. This Vinylmation has a retail price of $69.99 and is labelled a "special edition".