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

Doll Madness

Kelly explains why the Disney Princess Designer Collection is important to all Vinylmation collectors.


On my last summer visit to my area Disney Store, I picked up some Vinylmation blind boxes and was given a flier advertising something called the Disney Princess Designer Collection. Little did I know then what madness that little flier would cause nationwide!

In late August, select Disney Stores began selling a Limited Edition series of designer princess dolls and related merchandise. Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Tiana were each given a 50s or 60s glam makeover by Disney Store artists, packaged in a very nice display case, and sold for $59.50 each. The dolls’ edition sizes were 8,000, 6,000, or 4,000, while the shirts, mugs, journals and other merchandise items were not limited to a specific number. Initially one doll was released every Monday in stores and online at DisneyStore.com.

In an earlier column, I discussed how DisneyStore.com has oversold limited edition vinyls on more than one occasion, but the problem was seemingly never fixed. Doll collectors and princess fans alike started to get a feel for the problem themselves with the Mulan and Snow White doll releases. Everything with these doll releases seemed to go smoothly at first. Things started going downhill when Mulan sold out online within hours of her release and the dreaded “oversold” emails started rolling in. People who had not experienced this problem before were surprised and upset. Fast forward to the following week, and Snow White sold out within minutes of being visible to everyone on the website. That release crashed the entire website, and even more dolls were oversold than the week before. Cue mass fan outrage on the Disney Store’s official Facebook page and on Disney forums across the ‘net.

Between online problems and in-store issues, Disney halted the sales of the remaining five princesses and came up with a new plan: All remaining dolls would be released in-store on October 17th, followed by an online release on October 18th. Everyone would be limited to one doll per princess, and you had to be at least 17 years old to purchase them. Many collectors did not dare brave the in-store release, while many others went to stores on the 17th and either walked away without some of the dolls they wanted, or walked away totally empty handed (like me). Add all those folks together, and you had a recipe for disaster the following day online.

Doll Flyer
The above flier was given out on the 17th at most locations to people too far back in the line to receive the dolls.

As pretty as it is, all I could do was groan because I knew the online release would be a mess from start to finish. Considering the website crashed just for Snow White, I did not see any way it could handle all five dolls being released simultaneously. That was why I went to my area store in the first place!

Sure enough, within seconds of the release time last Tuesday, the website began freezing, crashing and everything in between. Checkout buttons would not work, the site would not recognize credit card numbers, and so on. As many problems as I have had with the website as a Vinylmation collector, I have NEVER seen it that bad. Still, I was one of the fortunate ones who could get an order through, after over an hour of trying. Many people had no luck at all.

During the few seconds here and there when the website was working, it would seemingly crash and then give a message in the address bar that said “Check Inventory.” Once the dust had settled, I did hear of some individuals saying their order was canceled. However, the number of people publicly complaining about oversells has been drastically less than with the Mulan and Snow White releases. Although Disney did not explain what any of the given error messages meant, it stands to reason that they did have some type of system in place this go round to prevent mass overselling. As a Vinylmation collector, I hope this continues in the future for vinyl releases.

If you are like me and rely on that website for the majority of your LE Vinylmation releases, then all of this is ultimately good news for us! Disney claims to have recognized the issues and the unhappiness the situation caused many, is considering a “major upgrade” to their system (per DisneyStorePrez’s tweets), and they will look towards finding even better ways to handle LE releases in the future. It is simply a shame that the problems Vinylmation and pin collectors have been having for so long had to happen with another type of collectible on such a huge level just for anything significant to be done about it.

I don’t know if the Disney Store will ever create anything else that will be as in demand as the Princess Designer dolls were, but I hope their website is prepared for a much higher level of demand in the future. And I really hope all of this ultimately means that we, as Vinylmation collectors, will no longer have to worry about items being oversold and website crashes and freezes at release time. Something good can come out of something bad!

Did you endure the October 18th Princess Designer Doll release online? What improvements do you think Disney should make to their system? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


On the last Monday of every month, I'll devote this column to your questions and my answers. You can leave questions here as comments or send them directly to me.



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