Vinylmation 360

About the Column

The biggest new Disney collectible craze is Vinylmation. These little vinyl figures resemble Disney characters and they're eagerly sought by thousands of folks some of whom know in their sleep the terminology, release dates, and arcane facts necessary to become a Vinylmation master. For the many who aren't so vinyl savvy, Kelly Firth is here to help. Her new column, Vinylmation 360, will indeed provide a full 360 degree experience from the bare basics of blind boxes to the tippy top of cutting-edge tips and teasingly true trivia. Ready? Get your Vinyl on!

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FROM: Vinylmation 360 Published Mondays

Park Starz

Kelly gives us her review of the Vinylmation 360: Park Starz and all its Oddities.

Author’s note: If you have been looking for Vinylmation 360 on Sundays and wondering why the column was not available, there has been a scheduling change! Vinylmation 360 will now appear on Disney Dispatch every Monday.

Due to this change, all questions for the monthly Q&A column should be submitted no later than the Saturday night before the column is scheduled to be published. If no questions are received, a regular column will appear.

For the September column, please submit all questions in the comments section below or email them to me no later than Saturday, September 24th.

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed the new mold and all the positives and negatives (okay, mostly negatives!) that goes with it. Soon Vinylmation collectors will encounter yet another mold. Make that molds!

At the Vinylmation event during Epcot’s Florida Project, Disney announced that their much hyped “Project Z” stood for a new series of Vinylmation called Park Starz. This blind boxed series will focus on theme park characters reinterpreted on to a vinyl form. It is a standard size series, with eleven known designs and one chaser. It will be released on Friday, October 21st at D-Street WDW and D-Street DLR. It will also be released on DisneyStore.com in November.

Sounds pretty nifty right? Well, there are three big changes collectors should be prepared for with this series.

  1. The mold. Everyone knows by now that I am not a fan of the new mold. The good news is this series does not use the new mold. Hooray! But wait, there is a catch. This series uses multiple molds, each designed for the specific character being produced.
  2. Blind tins. For the first time ever, a blind boxed series will come in tins, not cardboard boxes.
  3. The price. According to a sign on display at Florida Project, each blind tin will cost you a whopping $19.95, pre-tax.

The Characters
So far we know six of the twelve characters: The Everest Yeti; Country Bear Jamboree’s Big Al; Journey into Imagination’s Figment (this time, in bowling pin form); 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’s Squid; Blizzard Beach’s Ice Gator; and Horizon’s Robot Butler. You can see pictures of most of these on the official Vinylmation website’s blog.

The Good and the Bad
I see good and bad sides to this. I always enjoy seeing vinyls of characters that rarely (if ever) get their own merchandise. I also like seeing merchandise that pays tribute to classic Disney attractions that now only exist in park goers’ memories. Some of them look really cute, especially Big Al.

I am surprised that three of the six vinyls we have been shown so far are characters Disney has already made into vinyl form (i.e. Yeti, Figment, and Big Al). As much as I do adore Big Al, I am also surprised he specifically was made, since his Park 3 vinyl was quite the trade fodder in Walt Disney World this year.

Beyond that, I am admittedly bothered by the fact that Vinylmation has now officially gone in a very different direction than it originally was taking. The original intent of the line that collectors were sold on was to showcase various designs on a Mickey-shaped canvas. Now, I do not have a problem with this series being made at all. I think some of the figures are cute and they are a good addition to Disney’s merchandise line. What I do have a problem with is that they are being released under the Vinylmation name. To me, these are just vinyl figures (or vinyl toys, depending on who you ask), and not true Vinylmation.

Somehow I doubt I am the only one confused about what Disney is getting at here. Is the Vinylmation line going to be expand to include any small figure made of vinyl? To me it defeats the point of the entire concept. At least the new mold, as poor as I think it is, still obviously evolved from the original mold. This line is entirely new territory for the line and the hobby. Not only do collectors need to choose whether or not they want a collection with the old and new molds, or which mold to stick to if they only choose to collect one style, but they now also have to factor in different molds across an entire series that look nothing like Mickey.

The price is obviously a problem as well. Unless you are independently wealthy or spend all your fun money on vinyls, $19.95 for a mystery vinyl is not exactly pocket change. The price hikes Disney has been instituting have been bad enough in a bad economy (especially considering we are in a bad collectibles market as a consequence), but this is really too much. If the company’s logic behind the price tag was “Well, they each come in a tin!”, then I would say “Ditch the tins for a blind boxed series.” I love tins for special releases, but a blind boxed series? Not so much.

Which brings me to my final point: Why would anyone ever think tins would be a good idea for a blind boxed series? If Disney expects collectors to buy multiples of these to try and get the ones they want, what, pray tell, do they suggest we do with the tins? One of the biggest problems collectors have is space. That is why so many people throw out the cardboard blind boxes, or collapse them and store them. You can’t collapse a tin, unless you’re planning on recycling it like a soda can! The tins are undoubtedly the most head scratching part of this series to me.

What do you think? Are you excited for Park Starz? Will you be buying a few or even a full case? Is this a good move for the Vinylmation line? What will you do with the tins? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Mark Your Calendars
Monday, September 19
Cars two figure 3” set featuring Lightning McQueen and Mater scheduled for release at select Disney Store locations. Open Edition. Retail price: $26.95.

Sunday, September 25
Aquaduck 3” vinyl scheduled for release on DCL’s Disney Dream ship. Open Edition. Retail price: $12.95.
Disney Dream Ship 3” vinyl scheduled for release on DCL’s Disney Dream ship. Open Edition. Retail price: $12.95.
Disney Magic Ship 3” vinyl scheduled for release on DCL’s Disney Magic ship. Open Edition. Retail price: $12.95
Disney Wonder Ship 3” vinyl scheduled for release on DCL’s Disney Wonder ship. Open Edition. Retail price: $12.95.
Mexican Riviera Cruise 2011 3” vinyl scheduled for release on DCL’s Disney Wonder ship. LE: 2,500. Retail price: $13.95.



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