Olszewski Disneyland miniatures - March 19, 2011

For today's release of the House of the Future nostalgia piece, Bob Olszewski was signing from 9am to 11am (with Travis out front to answer questions and show whatever might be upcoming), with Disneyland (and Disneyana) opening at 8am. For today's release as with the other nostalgia pieces, there were two versions available. The piece itself was the same, but one had a regular plaque identifying the piece whereas a second one had a plaque exclusively for annual passholders. Normally, when you purchase a piece, you have the option of choosing a pre-signed piece or you can then get in the signing line, where you pick your piece out before having Bob sign the piece in person. We normally get the pre-signed version, but today, they didn't have pre-signed versions available, so we made our purchase and then joined the signing line.

Once Bob started signing, the line moved along, and we made it back inside to choose our pieces. Since they had both versions out, they asked which we were purchasing and directed us to the correct table. They normally have a wall plug available so that you can test out the piece to make sure all the lights work, but in this case, they had batteries available in some of the pieces. If you liked one that already had batteries in it, then they'd take out the batteries before giving you the piece. (The piece actually comes with batteries, but those were in their respective boxes.) They could then use those batteries to test out another piece. The process actually worked quite well. I think the plug will still work better for bigger pieces, where handling the piece to insert and take out batteries could be cumbersome and difficult, but with the small size of this piece, using the batteries was actually faster and more convenient. CORRECTION POSTED 3/21/2011: The House of the Future does not come with a transformer plug, which is why the cast members had batteries to test the pieces. Also, while the piece does run on batteries, batteries are not included and must be separately provided by the collector. Apologies for the errors.

After picking out our pieces, we proceeded in the line until it was our turn for Bob to sign our pieces. We were able to chat with him for a couple of minutes while he signed for us. We then had the pieces re-boxed, with the first day release plaque, and then we went outside to see Travis.


For the House of the Future release, Travis had brought the Ariel's Grotto piece and a House of the Future piece that had been removed from its base, to show how the piece fit over the Ariel's Grotto area. To allow the House to fit, two trees need to be removed from the Grotto, and the tree on the House piece needs to be removed as well. The trees on the Grotto piece are connected to the base by a hard metal wire, and they can be twisted and pulled out. Once the House is put in (which fits right over Ariel) and connected to the electrical, you can also place one or both of the trees back in to hide the electrical wiring. And if you decide to take off the House to return the piece to its original state, the trees can also be put back in to restore the piece.


Ariel's Grotto piece with the two trees removed.


A close-up of the area where the House of the Future is to be placed.
The bottom circle shows where a single tree has been removed,
and the top circles show where a dual set of trees has been removed.


The House of the Future as it sits on its own, which includes the tree in the back.


The House of the Future (minus the base and the tree) added to the piece.


Another view of the House of the Future in the Ariel's Grotto piece.


A third view of the House of the Future in the Ariel's Grotto piece.


King Triton seems to be threatening the House of the Future for landing on his daughter and imprisoning her.


Olszewski Studios has posted detailed instructions (with pictures) on how to install the House of the Future onto the Ariel's Grotto piece, which includes links to two YouTube videos by Bruce Richards demonstrating the actual process.


Travis also had on hand the prototype for the Pinocchio/Village Haus piece, which also includes the restrooms on the other side of Village Haus. The piece is still planned for a July release, but it may not be ready in time for July, in which case it would be released in August during the D23 expo. If the piece ends up being released in August, there may be more of them available during the on-line presale to accommodate those collectors who won't be attending the D23 expo.


The colors on the piece are bright and vibrant and beautiful. The piece contains little details like the weathervanes - school of fish, whale and stork. One detail that's not included on the piece is Pinocchio atop the entrance to the attraction. Because of the size of the piece, adding him there would have been difficult and would have compressed the piece a bit since he sticks out from the front of the entrance, so the decision was made to just not include him. The prototype doesn't have the identifying signage for the Pinocchio attraction or the Village Haus, but the final piece will have those. They're also considering adding a sign for what used to be Geppetto's Toy Shop, where the meet-and-greet for Rapunzel from "Tangled" is currently situated.


An overview of the Pinocchio/Village Haus piece.


The entrance to the Pinocchio attraction.


The top of the Pinocchio attraction entrance.


The Village Haus section of the piece.


A side view of the entrance to Village Haus.


The front view of the entrance to Village Haus.


A different view of the Village Haus outdoor seating area.


The "yodeling restrooms" adjacent to Village Haus.


I absolutely love the permanent scene inside Geppetto's toy shop, especially since it includes a little Figaro. The detailing is really amazing. We've been collecting Bob's work for some time now, but I still marvel at the intricacies in the detailing on such a tiny scale. The two inserts also reflect the same impressive detailing. It's hard to see in the pictures, but the final scene also includes Figaro in his bed with his back paws on top of the footboard.


The back of the Pinocchio attraction section.


The back panel comes off to reveal the scenes.


The scene on the left inside Geppetto's toy shop is permanent. The scene on the right is interchangeable.


Geppetto's toy shop scene.
See the back of Figaro to the right of Geppetto's legs?


The scene insert for Stromboli's puppet theatre.


A closer view of the scene.
The "puppet theatre" marquee is a bit obscured when the scene is inserted in the piece.
You have to bend down a little to be able to see more of the sign when the scene is in the piece.


A closer look at the stage.


The scene insert from the finale of the attraction.


A closer look at the scene.
You can barely see Figaro's feet/paws just above the front of the ride vehicle.


The only aspect I'm not entirely happy with is that Pinocchio sits in the ride vehicle in both scene inserts. Since Pinocchio is also in both of those scenes, it seems weird to me that he's watching himself. I can *almost* reconcile the first scene since it's the puppet Pinocchio in the scene, so real-boy Pinocchio is watching his previous puppet self, but since the Blue Fairy is in the second scene, she would have already turned him into a boy, so boy Pinocchio is watching boy Pinocchio. In some other Fantasyland pieces, they've also had a character in the ride vehicle, but whereas Mr. Toad was riding his own attraction vehicle and Alice was riding her own attraction vehicle and Dopey was riding the Snow White attraction vehicle, there was not a representation of any of them in their scene inserts.


The scene insert from the Mr. Toad's Wild Ride attraction.


The scene insert from the Alice in Wonderland attraction.


One scene insert from the Snow White attraction.


The second scene insert from the Snow White attraction.


Some people, including the husband, have expressed the sentiment that it's nice that Pinocchio actually gets to go on his own ride. I suppose if I can someday coerce Pinocchio in Disneyland to go on his ride with me, then I wouldn't object to his inclusion in the ride vehicles in this piece.


The next set of floats in the Electrical Parade was previously scheduled for release in May, but that's now been moved to July. There are some additional tweaks that need to be made to the release, which necessitated pushing back the release date. Travis didn't have the piece on hand to look at, but he had a picture of the piece. Some changes need to be made in the coloring of the Blue Fairy from the prototype in the picture.


A picture of the photo of the Electrical Parade float prototypes.


The last set of Electrical Parade floats will be released in 2012, so I asked Travis what they might be contemplating for release in their place in the schedule. Travis said that there are other parades they've considered doing, and they may also use that release slot for the accessories packs.

Speaking of the accessories packs, the first set is due for release this fall. It hasn't yet been decided what exactly will be included in the first set, but it will be some combination of vehicles, cast members and other accessories.

Development is continuing on the Storybookland/Casey Junior piece. Since they can't include every aspect of the attraction, they're having to make decisions about what to include in the piece. They'll include as many details as they can, including the windmills and Cinderella's Prince Charming's castle and the patchwork quilt and Agrabah, the city where Aladdin and Jasmine live. And while they'll include Pinocchio's village, they probably won't include every house in the village. Bob is planning on seeing a detailed prototype of the piece in the next month or so.

The nostalgia piece for next year may be the Skyway bucket, and there is no further news about a PeopleMover nostalgia piece. Since they're planning to release a nostalgia piece every year, once thing I thought of that would be cool to have as a nostalgia piece is the Mike Fink keelboat. It would be a nice complement to the Mark Twain riverboat piece, and it would actually be relevant now since in the last couple years, Disney has put a keelboat parked on one side of Tom Sawyer Island, which you can see if you ride either the Twain, the Columbia or the canoes around the Rivers of America.

The Fantasyland platform is still scheduled to be available for pre-order in August at the D23 expo and available for delivery in the fall.

With Fantasyland on its way to being completed, there is much speculation about the next land which Olszewski Studios may do. Travis thinks that the best bet is New Orleans Square since the signature attractions are already done with Pirates and Haunted Mansion. There would only be probably two pieces to complete the buildings, and one could include a rooftop reveal of Club 33, much like the Fire Station on Main Street has a reveal of Walt's apartment. Travis thinks Tomorrowland may be a more difficult land to tackle, though the back half of Tomorrowland is a better possibility, since that would include it's a small world, the Matterhorn, the submarine lagoon and Autopia.

Disney has also approached Olszewski Studios about possibly doing some attractions at Disney California Adventure, and in particular, the Tower of Terror attraction. Screamin' might be a bit too much to do because of its size, but I think the Monsters Inc. attraction and Soarin' would work well, especially with scene inserts. And of course, the opening of Carsland and its attractions next year would open up several more opportunities for new pieces.


For the Walt Disney World miniatures, the next two pieces - Ice Cream Corner and Casey's Corner - are scheduled to premiere at the D23 expo in August, along with the Magic Kingdom Main Street platform. A signing event for the two pieces may be done at a later date at Walt Disney World. Nostalgia pieces for the Magic Kingdom area being worked on include the main sign and the Nautilus from the "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction.


Only one bit of news in the Gallery of Light series. A Tiki Room piece was done in 2008, but it was a limited edition of 500, which has since sold out. Disney has asked for a re-release of the piece, but Olszewski Studios will be making slight modifications to the piece. The fountain in the middle will be lowered to allow room for the bird mobile that descends from the ceiling. As mentioned previously, the prior release of the piece included an error in the placement of two of the main birds, and Olszewski Studios is taking all necessary steps to correct that error in the next release.


Star Wars-themed Gallery of Light, pokitpals and paperclip boxes are still scheduled for release in conjunction with Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney Studios in May and June. Olszewski Studios is tentatively planning on having a signing event for Star Wars Weekends in early June. Olszewski Studios had a few of the pokitpals to preview today that they also had during the January 2011 Disneyana Show and Sale, but today, they also had the Jedi Mickey and Darth Donald Gallery of Light piece, and as a big Star Wars fan, I think it's absolutely spectacular. The setting and the look of both characters, as well as the styling of the framing and the coloring really accent the piece nicely. The piece will debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios but will then also be available at Disneyland. I expect this particular piece to be very popular with the Star Wars crowd.


Jedi Mickey and Darth Donald, with flash to show some of the details.


The piece, naturally lit.
Seriously, isn't it spectacular?


In addition to the pokitpals that were available to preview at the January 2011 Disneyana show and sale, Olszewski Studios also had on hand today a pokitpal for Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.


The front of the Cinderella Castle pokitpal.


The back of the Cinderella Castle pokitpal.


The side of the Cinderella Castle pokitpal.


The next Olszewski Studios release event will be in July, in conjunction with Disneyland's birthday on July 17. It's not clear yet what day the event will be held, though it's likely it will be held actually on Disneyland's birthday on the 17th. Our release schedule will be updated as soon as the information is available. Regardless, we'll definitely be at Disneyland for its birthday, and we'll also be at the D23 expo in August.





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