Steven Miller is the Project Manager for Disney Trading and you can see his posts at the Official Disney Parks Blog
[all Text by Steven Miller]
For those unfamiliar with the “Vinylmation,” don’t worry – here is a brief introduction.
At the Vinylmation Park #3 release party in November, we introduced a 21st century Guest book – a blank, yellow 9” Vinylmation figure. Anyone who attended this party could sign the Vinylmation to proclaim “I Was There.” The response was overwhelmingly positive and the comments were awesome to read. I’m particularly torn between “Vinylmation Rocks” and “Greetings from Switzerland” as my favorites (yes, the Guests really were from Switzerland – how cool!). This new release party tradition got me thinking about all the things one can do with a blank Vinylmation.
As you may recall from previous articles, Vinylmation began with blank, white Create-Your-Own figures. This month, we’re expanding the color pallet of these blank figures to include Mickey Mouse’s colors – black, red and yellow – as well as pink and purple. The addition of these colors, especially pink, was inspired by a custom figure that Debbie Damato, a fellow product developer for children’s apparel and costumes with Disney Theme Park Merchandise, made “just for fun.”
Debbie decorated these 3” Vinylmation using a toothpick to attach each jewel. She said it took about four hours to complete each figure (two hours were spent just decorating the head!). After she completed the pink jeweled one, she showed Donald Ferro, product developer for Vinylmation, and remarked that the figure would have “popped” even more if the base color was pink. He agreed and thus the blank pink Vinylmation was born.
Our Disney Design Group artists have also created some unique Vinylmation figures. These one-of-a-kind custom figures have been sold at previous release parties. Quynh Kimball from Disney Design Group created the 3” figure pictured above using acrylic paint. I love the way he described it – “a sweet taste of strawberry tops the melted milk chocolate and rich, smooth dark chocolate ‘mouse.’ Savor the chocolate buttons and delicate shavings. A one-of-a-kind indulgence, without the calories.” Wow – I’m hungry.
But you don’t have to be an artist to express your creativity. Here are a couple of other ideas that may inspire you:
- Newlyweds – In stead of the traditional “guest book” at your reception, use two blank 9” Vinylmation – one for the bride and one for the groom. Have attendees decorate or leave good wishes which can be displayed in your home for years to come. The 3” blank Vinylmation make great cake toppers too.
- Traveling the World – When visiting Epcot, bring along a blank Vinylmation to have International Cast Members at each of the World Showcase pavilions write greetings in their native languages.
- 3-D Photo Book – Decoupage a blank Vinylmation with favorite photos or ephemera (theme park maps, FastPass tickets, etc.) from your vacation at Disney Parks.
- Graduates – Graduates can have fellow classmates sign a blank Vinylmation as you embark on the next chapter of your life.
“Vinylmation is about expressing creativity and the mysterious thrill of the chase,” said Donald Ferro, Product Developer for these new vinyl figures, when I asked him to summarize Vinylmation in one sentence.
It’s a thrill for our Disney Artists to who see the Vinylmation figure as a blank canvas. Their inspiration comes from everywhere – Disney Park icons, urban landscapes and even holidays (like the new set mentioned above).
With each figure having a distinctive art style and personality, the difficult part for me is choosing a favorite. I’m still looking for that SMRT-1 figure from the Park Series #1. Any help?
So how does this Vinylmation thing work?
There are a variety of figures to collect – from 3” limited releases to 9” limited edition figures. For 3” limited releases, there are typically 12 figures per series. Eleven figures are known while the twelfth is called the mystery “chaser.” Each 3” Vinylmation is packaged in a “blind pack” – which means you won’t know which figure you’re getting until purchased. The 3” figures are sold individually or you can get a whole tray (which means you’ll find the chaser, and potentially become the best friend to many collectors).
For the Holiday Series #1, there are four additional 9” limited edition figures. Unlike their 3” cousins, the 9” figures are sold sans mystery (or in a window box). The 9” figures have a finite production run, meaning only so many were made. Once a limited edition figure is gone, it’s gone. Sorry.
One of my favorite 9” figures from the new Holiday series was inspired by the “Skeleton Dance,” the first Silly Symphony cartoon released in 1929. I loved the music by Carl Stalling from that animated short. Add it to my favorites!
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