Olszewski Disneyland miniatures - January 20, 2008

The NFFC held their Strictly Disneyana Show and Sale on Sunday, January 20, 2008 at the Anaheim Crowne Plaza Resort in Garden Grove. The show and sale is held every January and July. We're not members of NFFC, and we don't generally go to the show unless there's something special going on. In this case, Bob Olszewski's last public event was in December and the next event/release wouldn't be until March. Two of the Gallery of Light pieces to be released in March hadn't been available for preview at the December release, so we figured they'd be at the show. In addition, we decided to take advantage of Bob being available to sign pieces that day. We've customarily gotten the pre-signed pieces of the Disneyland Main Street U.S.A. collection. When we started getting the Gallery of Light pieces, we ended up waiting in line to have him sign those. We had picked up the Bambi and Lady and the Tramp Gallery of Light pieces at Disneyland a couple weeks ago, so we wanted him to sign those, especially since the Lady and the Tramp piece has specific significance for us.

We arrived at the show and sale at about 2:30. Travis had the entire Main Street platform collection set up, and Bob was signing pieces for various collectors. There's not much by way of news with the Main Street collection. As most collectors already know, the first set of floats in the Main Street Electrical Parade are being released on March 29, 2008 for a price of $125. According to a flyer produced by Olszewski Studios, the touch-up kit should be available in late January, and the fourth tree accessory pack should be available in the summer. Both will be available exclusively through Olszewski Studios. In addition, Plaza Pavilion, Triton's Garden and the re-dressed Mark Twain Riverboat will be available in February, the Astro Orbiter and Haunted Mansion will be available in March/April, and Plaza Inn, Penny Arcade and Refreshment/Coke Corner will be available in May/June.


The new version of the Mark Twain Riverboat.


The prior version of the Mark Twain Riverboat, with its 50th anniversary adornments.


Another view of the Twain with its 50th anniversary adornments.


With regard to the Walt Disney World Main Street collection, the program will re-start with releases in June. Go here for more information about the WDW Main Street collection and upcoming releases.

Three new Gallery of Light pieces will be released at the March 29, 2008 event - Pinocchio ($70), Tinkerbell ($65) and Sorcerer Mickey from "Fantasia" ($70). The prototype of the Pinocchio piece had been available at the December release, but this was our first look at Tink and Sorcerer Mickey.


Pinocchio Gallery of Light piece, lit to show details.


Pinocchio Gallery of Light piece, with just internal lighting.


Tink Gallery of Light piece, lit to show details.
I love the books on either side of her.


Tink Gallery of Light piece, with just internal lighting.


Sorcerer Mickey Gallery of Light piece, lit to show details.
I love this piece.


Sorcerer Mickey Gallery of Light piece, with just internal lighting.


A third new Gallery of Light piece was available to see for the first time - Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty) touching the spindle. Unlike the rest of the Gallery of Light line, all of which are available for purchase at the Disneyland Resort, this one will not be available there. For some inexplicable reason, Disney has decided not to carry this particular piece. It was recently announced that Olszewski Studios has entered into an agreement whereby Enesco will publicly distribute the Gallery of Light line that had previously only been available at the Disneyland Resort. If you want the Aurora piece when it's released in the summer, you'll have to get it from a retailer other than Disney that carries the Gallery of Light line.


Aurora Gallery of Light piece, lit to show details.


Aurora Gallery of Light piece, with just internal lighting.
I love the lighting on this piece.


Enesco will also be distributing the Heirloom Box line from Olszewski Studios that had also previously only been available at the Disneyland Resort. (Walt Disney World will carry a few pieces from both the Gallery of Light and Heirloom Box collections.) The Pinocchio ($75) and Peter Pan ($65) heirloom boxes will both be released at the March 29, 2008 event. On tap for release in the spring is Mickey on Matterhorn Mountain (that should be an amazing piece) and the Mad Tea Party in summer. One of these two could turn out to be my first introduction to the heirloom boxes. I have so far managed to talk myself out of that collection, even though I love the Snow White one with the portraits of all the dwarfs.

The most news available was regarding the new pokitpals line. Eight of the pieces in the Disney line were available, and each has designs both on the front and back. These will be available exclusively at the Disneyland Resort.


Front and back of the Disneyland Railroad pokitpal ($18), due in May.


Front and back of the Disneyland Monorail pokitpal, due in summer.


Front and back of the Columbia pokitpal, due in fall.


Front and back of the caterpillar ride vehicle from the Alice in Wonderland attraction pokitpal, due in summer.


Front and back of the Castle pokitpal ($20), due in May.


Front and back of the Matterhorn pokitpal ($20), due in May.


A stretching portrait from the Haunted Mansion pokitpal ($22),
closed and open to show the entire portrait, due in May.
This one is sure to be a popular one.


Front and back of the Tinkerbell pokitpal, due in summer.


Additional pieces expected for release are Mickey Mouse 80th anniversary ($18) in March, Tiki Room - Pele ($18) in March, Jack Skellington head ($18) in March, Pirates of the Caribbean ($18) in March, Tiki Room (aloha) in summer, and fire engine in fall.


As I mentioned, we had decided to go to the show partly to ask Bob to sign our two Gallery of Light pieces. After perusing the three new Gallery of Light pieces and the new Disney pokitpals, my husband got in the signature line. I stopped to talk to Travis for a few minutes, and I also looked around at the nearby Walt Disney Imagineering booth. When my husband joined the line, there were maybe three or four parties in front of him. Prior to that, I had been near the front of the line looking at a display case, and I had noticed that the people for whom Bob was signing merchandise had been up there for a while. As I was browsing at the neighboring booth, I would periodically look back at the line, and I noticed it wasn't really moving. When I finally rejoined my husband, he had barely moved. And I found out the reason. The people I had seen earlier had apparently brought a few Main Street vehicles and the Disneyland Band for Bob to sign. However, they had apparently asked Bob to sign EACH AND EVERY SINGLE BAND MEMBER. There are 16 members of the band. And they're tiny. If you go to this link and scroll down to the "Accessories" section, you'll see a picture of the band as the second item.


In this picture of a snow-covered Main Street, the band is coming onstage from the left.
This gives a good idea of the size/scale of the band members.


If I had ever thought to have Bob sign the accessories, I probably would have asked him to sign the inside packing of the box. Others have apparently asked him to sign just the bandleader. It would never, ever, occur to me to ask Bob to sign each of the 16 individual band members. In my view, that's rude to both Bob and the rest of the collectors in line. The band members are very tiny, so signing them must be very difficult, so I can't imagine what it must have taken out of Bob to have had to sign all 16 of them. Any time that I've seen him at a release, he's pretty much available to sign as long as there are people who want him to sign, but I'm sure it gets pretty tiring after a while. In addition, it took a very long time for Bob to go through all the band members, so in asking Bob to sign each of them separately, that meant these collectors were making the other collectors in line wait an inordinate amount of time before getting their pieces signed. This was why the line wasn't moving at all for such a long time.

Generally when there is any kind of signing event, there is usually a limit of how many pieces each individual person can have signed, usually something like two. That seems to make it more fair, so that the artist isn't tired out from signing excessive numbers of items from collectors early on, only to have collectors further behind in line miss out on signatures. One party in front of us did have about 4 or 5 pieces that they'd brought for Bob to sign, but they were pretty organized, with the pieces unboxed and ready for Bob as soon as they got to the front of the line. One other party in line had three things signed and when I chatted with him briefly, he said he had a few more in his car that he was going to get. In this case, at least he was making a couple trips, so others could have their opportunity to have Bob sign their pieces in between signing his. I was just really shocked that someone would think it would be ok to ask Bob to sign each individual band member. I hope that in the future, vendors will be aware that some collectors can take advantage of Bob's availability and will put a limit of how many signatures each person can obtain, and if they want more, they'll just have to get back in line and take as many turns as necessary to have everything they want signed.


On a much nicer note having to do, peripherally, with the NFFC show and sale, Bob Olszewski was interviewed by Steven Ng of MousePlanet for MousePlanet's podcast of January 23, 2008. Here's a link to MousePlanet's page about that particular podcast, and here's a direct link to the podcast itself. Steven does a terrific job of interviewing Bob, and I think there's something to interest everyone. Those that weren't aware of Bob's work previously will get a general introduction to a few different lines, and those who were already collectors will get to learn a little more. Bob talks about how and why he started the Gallery of Light line and goes into detail to describe the Beauty and the Beast piece. He also discusses the pokitpals line, but of course, the main focus is on the Main Street collection. Bob talks about how the collection started, what's been done and what's due in the future as well as a few things that we can hopefully look forward to on the horizon. For those who haven't had the opportunity to meet Bob in person, this is a terrific chance to get a glimpse of what Bob's like, how his enthusiasm and passion for the product is downright infectious. Collectors often marvel at the detail and thought that is so evident in his work, but it's no surprise once you've heard this podcast that Bob's love for what he does shows through in the end product.

The next release event at Disneyland is on March 29, 2008, and since it includes the release of the first pack of Main Street Electrical Parade floats, I expect a lot of people will be on hand to purchase those. I hope Disney knows that as well and orders enough to go around but in any case, that they use the wristband system that was implemented during the December release. It didn't end up being completely necessary then, but it probably will be in March. See you at Disneyana!



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