Olszewski Disneyland miniatures - March 13, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010 was release day for the combined Alice in Wonderland/Mr. Toad's Wild Ride piece in the Olszewski Disneyland miniatures collection. Unlike other prior pieces, this piece hadn't really been very available to see prior to its release date. There were pictures that accompanied Disney's announcement of the release, and the piece itself was at Disneyland (in Disneyana and the Disney Gallery) for about a week prior to its release, but that was about it.

In talking to other collectors at the event, I was surprised when someone mentioned that it had almost been nine months since the last release. It hadn't seemed that long to me since there had last been an event, but in looking at the release schedule, I realized that they were right. The last event release was the monorail nostalgia piece on July 17, 2009. However, I hadn't noticed the time since because we had seen Bob and Travis at the Haunted Mansion anniversary event and the D23 Expo, both in September last year, as well as at the NFFC show and sale in January of this year.

There didn't seem to be quite as many people at the release this time. There was still a line for both purchasing and to see Bob, but the line didn't extend all the way up the street as it had during some other releases. I wonder if many of the collectors ended up ordering their piece online during the pre-sale.

Everything ran smoothly with the event - once you were let into Disneyana, you were directed to one of several cashiers to make your purchase, and then you could either wait in line outside to have Bob personally sign your piece, or you could pick up a pre-signed piece. They had the pieces unboxed and out, so you could pick out whatever piece(s) you wanted, and they had an electrical plug available to test all the lights on your piece. Once you were satisfied, you took them to another CM for the piece to be re-boxed.

The husband particularly noted this time that since the pieces had all been unboxed, they weren't going to be put back into the same boxes, and therefore accompanying accessories, that each piece originally was boxed with. In the past, Travis had mentioned that specifically for the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean pieces, the inserts were specifically tested to make sure that they fit in the piece they were shipped with. Travis had said that all the pieces didn't necessarily have cutouts that were exactly the same, nor were the inserts all exactly the same size, so one insert might fit into one Haunted Mansion piece but not another. It appears that they don't have that kind of clearance problem anymore since the chances are extremely slim for an unboxed piece to be reunited with its original box. The husband did check to make sure the inserts did fit into the piece, and he said there was no issue with that. The last piece that came out with inserts was Peter Pan, and while I'm not entirely positive, I do think those were unboxed for inspection and then re-boxed as well, so the insert problem must have been resolved some time ago.

For those who haven't seen the new Alice in Wonderland/Mr. Toad's Wild Ride piece, here are some pictures. It really is a gorgeous piece, with lots of incredible details that collectors have come to expect in Olszewski pieces.


Showing the Mad Hatter shop and the front of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.


A close-up of the teacup photo op and the entrance to the Mad Hatter.


A top view of the queue area. The trellis covering the queue area was intentionally omitted from the piece so that you can see the queue area and not have it be obscured.


The entrance to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, with the vehicle photo op.


Alice in Wonderland on the left and the Mad Hatter shop on the right.


A close-up of the upper portion of the outside track on Alice.


The top of the mushroom even has the caterpillar's shoes!


The outside track of Alice includes 3 ride vehicles.


A vehicle about to go back inside.


The CM control station - you can even see the outline of the door in the side of the large mushroom.


The Cheshire Cat is tucked away in a wall crevice.


The side of the piece can be removed to reveal the scene inserts.


One of the scene inserts, as it appears outside the piece.


The Alice insert scene - the Cheshire Cat's face is illuminated by a light in the back.


The Mr. Toad insert scene - the light coming through the hole represents the on-coming train.


The outside wall that covers the insert cut-out on the piece.


The next release will be the third set of floats in the Main Street Electrical Parade, consisting of a snail, a caterpillar, Cinderella inside her pumpkin coach, the clock tower and Smee in his boat. Yes, a rather eclectic collection, spanning three animated feature films. The set will be $125 and is still expected for release sometime in May.


The snail, with flash to show the details.


The snail, with flash off to show internal lighting.


The caterpillar, with flash to show the details.


The caterpillar, with flash off to show internal lighting.


The coach, with flash to show the details.


The coach, with flash off to show internal lighting.


A close-up of Cinderella in her coach.


The clock, with flash to show the details.


The clock, with flash off to show internal lighting.


Smee in his boat, with flash to show the details.


Smee in his boat, with flash off to show internal lighting.


A close-up of Smee and his exposed belly.


The next piece to be released after that is the Monsanto House of the Future, which is the nostalgia piece to be released on Disneyland's birthday on July 17, 2010.

Disney has indicated to Olszewski Studios that they would like two attraction pieces to be released a year. This would be in addition to the annual release of a set of Main Street Electrical floats and a nostalgia piece. There will actually be three attractions released this year because the Alice/Toad piece had originally been scheduled for release in late 2009. The first scheduled attraction piece for this year is Snow White's Scary Adventures, which is currently still slated for July 2010, but circumstances may result in a delay in its release.

The second attraction piece scheduled for release this year is Pinocchio's Daring Journey with the adjacent Village Haus restaurant, scheduled to be released in November or December. Like most of the other Fantasyland attraction pieces, Pinocchio will come with two inserts, but it will also include one static scene included in the piece. The static scene will be inside Geppetto's toy shop. One interchangeable scene will be Stromboli's street wagon with the puppets in cages, and the other scene will be from the end of the attraction, when the Blue Fairy appears to turn Pinocchio into a real boy.

In 2011, the two attraction pieces scheduled for release are the two parts of Storybookland/Casey Junior. The attraction is big enough that it will need two pieces to properly represent it, and each piece will be released separately. The nostalgia piece for 2011 has not been confirmed to be the PeopleMover vehicle.

Work is still continuing on the King Arthur Carrousel piece. Since the piece will be duplicating each of the individual horses on the carrousel, it's a much more involved process. They are also working to see if the piece can be released with mechanical movement already included. Of course, that would necessitate a higher price point, but I think it would be absolutely worth it for such a magnificent piece. The piece may debut in 2012.

There is also work continuing on seeing if the Matterhorn can be done, but Travis says that it would be at least 2013 before it would be ready. Both the Matterhorn and it's a small world are considered part of the Tomorrowland set (because of their location) rather than as part of the Fantasyland set.

With discussions of possible work on Tomorrowland and how that ties into Fantasyland, there's been some speculation about whether the chalet in Fantasyland (which was previously used for the now-defunct Skyway) would be recreated. The chalet would actually be perfect as a future nostalgia piece. Many guests to Disneyland have fond memories of the old Skyway and of walking up to or down from the chalet when they boarded or disembarked from a skybucket. Having the chalet as a representative of the old Skyway through the nostalgia series would be pretty cool, and if it turns out that Tomorrowland ends up getting done, the chalet will already be available to utilize if they proceed with the Skyway.

Many collectors have been eager for a re-release of vehicles as well as the release of more characters and cast members and other accessories like the corn dog cart and stand-alone churro carts and popcorn carts. (There always seems to be a huge, generally friendly, disagreement on Disney-related discussion boards about whether the favorite park snack is popcorn or churros. I wonder whether collectors would want a stand-alone churro cart or popcorn cart first.) Well, it looks like collectors will finally be getting their wish this year. Multiple packs are scheduled to be released which include a few re-releases of vehicles and such as well as one or two new items. The first pack is expected to be released this September, with additional packs coming out about every six months thereafter.

Collectors have also asked about seasonal dressings for their Main Street pieces. There has been some consideration at Olszewski Studios about releasing a seasonal overlay pack for Main Street, which would include decorations for Halloween (like the giant pumpkin which sits at the head of Main Street, in the same place that the Christmas tree occupies during the Christmas season), decorations for Christmas (like the Mickey-shaped wreaths that are draped across Main Street), and even for the Fourth of July, with the patriotic bunting on the buildings. Any such pack would probably not be available for some time though. For other depictions of holidays at the park, there will be more information in the Gallery of Light section below.

For those who might not have signed up yet for the mailing list on the Olszewski Studios' website (if you haven't, you really should, as it's the only way to get mailings directly from Olszewski Studios and important information about website-exclusive offerings), the monorail support stanchion/extension kit is now available for purchase exclusively through the website.

Orders for the re-issue of the third tree accessory pack will be taken shortly directly through the Olszewski Studios website, with delivery to occur a month or two afterward.


On the Magic Kingdom miniatures front, the next releases will still be the back half of the Emporium and the Market House. However, the release of the two pieces has been pushed back to probably September or October of this year. While there are normally two release events a year in Orlando, there will probably only be the one this year.

Work is still continuing on the pieces by Olszewski Studios that are scheduled for Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios, which runs on weekends from May 21 to June 13 this year. Because of timing and production issues, the merchandise may only be available for show and pre-sale during that time, but if the merchandise is actually ready to be sold, Olszewski Studios will likely have an event and appearance in June.


In the Gallery of Light series, the Jungle Cruise and Mad Tea Party (with Mickey and Minnie) pieces are still scheduled for release in June. The pieces for each of Sleeping Beauty Castle and Cinderella Castle are also still scheduled for July. Olszewski Studios is also working on holiday versions of Disneyland attractions, which will feature the holiday-decorated exteriors of Sleeping Beauty Castle, it's a small world and Haunted Mansion Holiday. They are also working on a piece featuring the Talk to Crush attraction.


In the Pokitpal series, Maleficent and Jiminy Cricket were released a couple of weeks ago, but they are currently sold out. The next releases (Geppetto's Toy Shop sign, Evil Queen, Mickey Mouse Club and Casey Jr. train) are expected in stores in the next couple of weeks.


See you in May for the release of set #3 of floats in the Main Street Electrical Parade.





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