Recently, I made a trip up to Disney World, and as part of my visit, I went over to the D-Street at Downtown Disney (official Vinylmation store). There is no better place to go for all your little vinyl heart desires! I felt like a little kid in a candy store when I walked in, to be sure.
Even though they've only been out for about two years, the vinyls seem to have a huge following already. Not only that, some of the earlier runs of special release Vinylmations were limited to as few as 500 pieces! What brings me down is the knowledge that Disney doesn't plan to re-release any of the older series once they get put away. I've only been collecting these for a short time, after all, so I missed out on some of the earlier fun.
In any case, the whole point of this is to see what's in the store, right? Go ahead and follow the jump to see more on what you can find at the official Vinylmation shop, D-Street at Downtown Disney!
When I passed by the shop, I was immediately drawn to the huge display up front with full sets (including chasers) showcased for all to see. They had shelves upon shelves showing off vinyls I missed out on, won't ever be able to purchase, chase figures I've been trying to get out of blind boxes and exclusive figures that require membership to the Disney's Vacation Club or an Annual Pass.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in was a huge statue of Mickey Mouse, made entirely out of 3" Vinylmation molds! This model was mounted on top of a glass table which displayed hundreds of painted vinyls as well, and what's more, it was sitting under a chandelier lighting fixture which was made with the shapes of 9" Vinylmation figures. Talk about vinyl heaven, right?
That isn't all. The ceiling was painted with likenesses of the vinyl molds, there were Vinylmation-inspired t-shirts, bags, hats, the works. D-Street was the one-stop shop for everything, including blank figures in several different colors (even a glow-in-the-dark one) for you to make your own custom Vinylmation.
Speaking of customs, I didn't know until the weekend I went up to Disney World that they actually sold so many materials. If you go to a store that has a lot of the vinyls, you'll probably see sticker sets in different sizes meant to be used to customize your figures. There are all kinds of eyes, mouths, accessories and other random articles in sticker form for three- and nine-inch vinyls alike. This is good news for anyone who wants to make a custom but isn't artistically inclined enough to do the paint job or make really detailed designs.
There is one particular set that caught my eye at a store in the Magic Kingdom, which I saw again at D-Street, meant to be a Billiards Set; limited to a run of 1000. Each set contains 16 figures (seven stripes, seven solids, the eight ball and one styled as the cue ball and chalk) and comes in a box that looks like a pool table on the inside. It also would run you $255.95 if you wanted to purchase it, averaging at about $16 per figure, which isn't bad considering it's a limited release (and regular price blind box figures are $9.95).
Other figures that caught my eye are a Mr. Toad, which I cannot buy since I am not an Annual Pass member, and the long-gone Cinderella-themed vinyl which was one of those figures I was telling you about earlier with a limited-to-500 pieces run. A lot of these figures actually go on sale via eBay and other places, but of course, the price is going to be much higher for figures which have been retired or are only available to specific groups of people.
Going back to the store; I spent some time chatting with a shop attendant who informed me that I should be looking at the Vinylmation Blog in order to see when events happen, because to my great dismay I had missed (by less than a week) an opportunity to meet three of the designers. Casey Jones appeared among them, and he is the person who designed The Nightmare Before Christmas themed figures. By the time I got to the store, most of his autographed boxes had been sold, and all that was left were a couple of Dr. Finkelstein boxes with his John Hancock on it; but I resisted the urge to purchase it, if only because I'd rather meet him myself and get an autograph than buy a box that he'd signed for the store days before.
Learning from my mistakes, I've been checking on the site daily so I don't miss an opportunity like this again if I can help it. I live only four hours driving from the store, so realistically I could make some events. The problem is, some of them require you to buy an entrance to one of the parks to meet the artist; so more specifically, unless I'm planning a trip to the theme parks on the same day, I'll just be waiting for the next artist event that happens in a resort or at the main store.
That's all I've got for you this time, but the next time I have a Vinylmation event, I'll be sure to give you guys all the details. Enjoy the gallery!
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