Olszewski Disneyland miniatures - June 12, 2010

The third set of floats in the Main Street Electrical Parade series was released as were two pieces in the Gallery of Light series - Mickey and Minnie in individual tea cups, and the Jungle Cruise boat with two hippos. The husband and I arrived at our normal time, and I was a little surprised to notice that there were a number of cast members working the event in Disneyana that I didn't recognize, but everything ran very smoothly. We were able to make our purchases and pick up our pieces fairly easily. There seemed to be fewer people at the event this time, perhaps because of the ability to purchase a piece online. The purchasing line that had accumulated at opening was mostly done around 9am, though for the remainder of the event, a short line would again develop periodically as collectors arriving a bit later came to make their purchases. The line to see Bob Olszewski and have him personally sign a piece was a good length for the duration of the event.

While we'd been waiting in line outside, I was surprised to see Bob in front of Disneyana. I rarely see him out there as he's usually busy inside signing, and Travis is usually the one in front of Disneyana, but the signing wasn't scheduled to start for another 45 minutes, at 9am, so Bob was out front helping Travis set up as well as to talk to the collectors.


Bob Olszewski in a rare appearance in front of Disneyana rather than inside.


Bob talking about the Fantasyland platform.


As exciting as it was to get our next set of Electrical Parade floats, we all knew to expect something even more exciting - a mailing from Olszewski Studios earlier in the week indicated that the much-anticipated Fantasyland platform prototype would be available to see for the first time, and there was even going to be a preliminary mockup of the long-awaited (well, by me, at least) Storybookland/Casey Jr. attraction piece. If you're not signed up to receive news and mailings from Olszewski Studios, you really should be.

The Fantasyland platform is 4 feet by 30 inches, the same width as the Main Street platform, and is expected to be available sometime in late 2011. The platform is actually two pieces connected together. The main piece is 3 feet long and holds Fantasyland proper. The front end section, which is one foot long, requires three pieces from the Main Street collection - Sleeping Beauty Castle, Carnation Plaza and Snow White's Grotto/King Triton's Garden - to complete the platform. The very front of the platform contains a truncated version of Central Plaza, with the Walt and Mickey partners statue. The partners statue will not be included with the platform, but Olszewski Studios has plans to include that individually in one of the accessory packs to be released in the future.


The Fantasyland platform.


A different angle of the Fantasyland platform.


The right front of the Fantasyland platform.


The middle front of the Fantasyland platform.


The left front of the Fantasyland platform.


For collectors who have the Main Street platform and would like to have their Fantasyland platform connect with it, they can detach the one-foot end section, and the main three-foot Fantasyland platform can then be placed directly at the end of the Main Street platform. For anyone who doesn't have a Main Street platform, or for collectors who prefer to keep the two platforms separate, the full Fantasyland platform is fine just on its own.

It's interesting to see how the design of the platform has changed from the blueprint plans that Bob Olszewski had at the D23 convention last September.


Bob and the then-current version of the Fantasyland platform blueprint.


The Fantasyland platform prototype.


In order to duplicate the spirit of the Disneyland marquee that sits at the front of the Main Street platform, the front of the Fantasyland platform has an identifying sign as well, and the current plan is to have the sign be available separately, and it will be lit like the Disneyland marquee.

The Fantasyland sign at the front of the platform.


We do have the Main Street platform, but our plan is to have our Fantasyland platform be separate. Finding space for the combined length of the two platforms would be more difficult for us than finding space for the two separate platforms. I also like the Fantasyland sign and would hate to lose that by having to remove that section. And, having the truncated Central Plaza section presents the opportunity for some great views.


The partners statue with Sleeping Beauty Castle in the background.
Credit for all the wonderful pictures goes to the husband anyway, but I really love this shot in particular.


The very back of the Fantasyland platform has a false train track, behind Storybookland. Bob explained that the Main Street train station has one track which connects to the tracks that encircle the Main Street platform, enabling a train to go around its perimeter, but there's also a second section of track on the train station piece in front of that.


The extra second section of track is easily visible in this prior picture.



The Fantasyland platform has the extra strip of false train track so that eventually, when the entire park is done, collectors would have the ability to build a track to have a train that encircles the park, utilizing the extra train track section on the Main Street train station piece.


The false train track behind Storybookland is easily seen in this picture.


The Fantasyland platform already has Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland/Mr. Toad, the Mad Tea Party, and Dumbo in place. The Snow White attraction had originally been scheduled for release this summer, but all of the release dates have been pushed back, so the piece is now anticipated to be released in October or November of this year. The Evil Queen will be visible and backlit in the second floor window, and the piece will contain two inserts as previously mentioned. Also released that same day will be the Monsanto House of the Future nostalgia piece, which had originally been scheduled for release on July 17. The Pinocchio/Village Haus piece which had previously been scheduled for November/December of this year has now been pushed back to early 2011.


Peter Pan and Mr. Toad attractions side by side on the Fantasyland platform.


Electrical Parade floats can be set up behind them on the parade route.
I was oddly amused that three of the characters were placed to be watching the parade.


The layouts for Snow White and Pinocchio/Village haus.
On the right, you can also see the dividing line between the two sections of the platform, right behind Sleeping Beauty Castle.


Development on King Arthur Carrousel is continuing, and the piece will include the "Sword in the Stone" section in front of the carrousel as well as the walkway in between the two. The Fantasyland platform also includes a spot for the previous location of Dumbo, so that you can remove the Dumbo ride itself from its base and place the ride in the platform where it was originally located. Then if you remove the rest of the Dumbo attraction base from the platform, that spot can then be filled with the retro Chicken of the Sea attraction piece that is planned for the future. In the meantime, the old locale of Dumbo will probably have benches or trees as the standard setting.


The planned locations for the carrousel, and the former Dumbo location.


This angle of the Fantasyland platform shows the Dumbo ride sitting in its former location.


But the piece de resistance will be the Storybookland/Casey Jr. attraction. Originally, because of the complexity and size of the actual attraction, Olszewski Studios had thought to make two pieces to fully represent the attraction. However, upon further reflection, they didn't think that two separate pieces would properly represent either attraction, and they wanted to be able to have the Casey Jr. train run above Storybookland if people wanted to make it work that way. So, it's been decided that the attraction would work better as one piece, especially to keep the train track intact. The piece is about 20-30% bigger than the Jungle Cruise attraction piece. It's a little narrower but longer. The price of the piece is targeted to be under $500.


Storybookland in relation to the rest of the Fantasyland platform .


A closer view of Storybookland.


A front view of Storybookland.


The beige rectangular block at the top middle is where the Casey Jr. train station will be located.


The entrance to Storybookland through Monstro will be on the left.


I've mentioned Bruce Richards before, and he's become instrumental in helping to design some of the pieces that can be mechanized. He's working on the carrousel, and he was also the one who built the track for Casey Jr. and to make sure that a real train for that scale would be able to make it up the incline. Bruce made a rough video in his workshop to show Olszewski Studios the progress he was making with the piece, and he has graciously allowed me to include the link to the video here (9.7 MB). Bruce also made the mock-up train, which looks pretty good to me. There are a number of different angles in the video, and you can see that the train does slow down and has some difficulty making it up the hill, but for anyone who has actually gone on Casey Jr., you know that slow down is true to life on the attraction. The Storybookland attraction is intended to come with a false track (like the Main Street train station did) and a Casey Jr. train, but it won't be a working train. Collectors can then, if they choose, replace the false track with a real track and obtain or make a train on their own to run on the track.

Storybookland is one of my favorite attractions, and I have been looking forward to Olszewski Studios doing this attraction for a very long time, so I was excited to be able to see the mock-up, rough as it was. I was concerned about the spacing on the piece, though. Obviously, the track for Casey, Jr. takes up quite a bit of the piece, and there doesn't look like there's all that much room for any of the villages in the attraction. But Travis assured the gathered collectors that there was plenty of room for Bob to work with. Even with as many miniature pieces as Olszewski Studios has produced, I guess the thought of them making a miniatures piece out of an attraction of miniatures seems even more impossible. I know that they wouldn't be doing this piece if they couldn't do it right, and they did a marvelous job with Central Plaza, which also contains miniatures of miniatures, so I'm going to rely on their track record that Storybookland is going to turn out wonderfully. It's hard to remember that what was available to see today is a very, very rough mockup of the attraction, something we collectors don't normally get to see, and it is of course very different from the lovely finished pieces we're used to seeing.

One of my favorite bits in Storybookland is the statue of Peter Pan in London park. Unfortunately, that will be too small to replicate in any sense in the miniatures piece, but the husband joked with Travis that they could just put a small dot of gold to represent Peter. Several of us also joked that while not really part of the attraction, a common occurrence when riding a Storybookland boat is to see ducks resting in various parts of the attraction, usually in places like London park or near the windmills. With the miniature size of the villages, the regular-sized ducks look like Godzilla ducks in comparison, so we wondered if ducks would be included in the piece. While swans were included in the moat of the Sleeping Beauty Castle piece, I have a feeling Disney wouldn't be keen on the idea of including giant ducks in this attraction, but it will be a while until we know what exactly the piece will look like as it's scheduled for release in late 2011 or early 2012.

The most pleasant surprise on the Fantasyland platform is the mockup of the overhead Skyway buckets. While the Monsanto House of the Future is the nostalgia piece for this year, it is not known yet what the nostalgia piece for next year will be. One possibility is the PeopleMover vehicle, but another possibility is the Skyway. The intention is to use the design of the original buckets, the round ones as opposed to the rectangular ones that I'm more familiar with, and have the nostalgia piece include the former Fantasyland chalet/loading station and one post with a couple of buckets on them. There has also been discussion of making available an additional set that has a second post and a longer string with more buckets so that anyone who wanted to make the Skyway run could actually do so. You know where this is headed, don't you?


The Skyway buckets travel high across Fantasyland.
For a larger version of this picture so you can better see details, click here.


In addition to the carrousel and Casey Jr., Bruce Richards has also been involved in the development of the Skyway. He made the mock-up buckets that you see on the platform (the buckets are actually fishing weights, by the way), and the Skyway that sits on the platform actually does move. Here's a video that he made in his workshop showing the moving Skyway (4.4 MB). Even with the very rough landscape below, it's still pretty incredible to see the Skyway moving overhead. Our sincere thanks to Bruce for allowing us to link to his wonderful videos. As I've mentioned previously, Bruce has a wonderful website that shows his work on mechanizing some of the Olszewski pieces. If you haven't already had a look, I highly recommend that you take some time to look through his website.

As much as I'd love the idea of having a moving Skyway myself at some point, that's not necessarily an option that's feasible for everyone, so I really do hope that Olszewski Studios and Disney decide to at least give us collectors the opportunity to have a full version of the static Skyway available for our Fantasyland platform.

All efforts are currently going into getting Fantasyland fully completed, so other projects, including non-Fantasyland attractions and character/accessory packs, are on the backburner. The character/vehicle packs had originally been planned to have their initial release later this year, but that's been pushed back to sometime in 2011.

Pirates of the Caribbean will be back in stock shortly, probably in mid-July, and there's a schedule for other attractions and Main Street buildings to be re-released over the next year or two. If you're missing any of these and aren't already signed up for the Olszewski Studios mailing list, be sure to do so as they do send out notifications of when and what pieces are back in stock at the Disneyland Resort.


The next piece in the WDW/Magic Kingdom miniatures collection is still the back half of the Emporium and the Market House, and the September/October release is still on track.


The Gallery of Light pieces for Sleeping Beauty Castle and Cinderella Castle were also on display today, and both are absolutely gorgeous. Each is priced at $125, and the release date has been moved to September/October of this year. And each piece will also come with a transformer so it can be plugged in. Olszewski Studios decided to include the transformer ability on these pieces because the complexity of the lighting design would quickly burn out the batteries, so they wanted collectors to have the option to use batteries or to plug them directly into the wall. Currently, each piece is scheduled to be released exclusive at its respective resort, but there is some consideration underway to have both pieces available at both resorts. I really hope they decide to make each piece available at both resorts. There are many fans who have been to both resorts but don't necessarily have the opportunity to go often, so even by visiting either Disneyland or WDW, they'd still be able to purchase both castles.


Sleeping Beauty Castle, with flash to show details.


Sleeping Beauty Castle, with regular lighting.
You can see the Mickey topiary on the left under our site tag,
and Tinkerbell's shadow can be seen in the fireworks on the right.


The shadow of the Walt and Mickey partners statute, highlighted here, is a lovely touch.


Cinderella Castle, with flash to show details.


Cinderella Castle, with regular lighting.
You can see Tinkerbell's shadow in the fireworks on the left.


The shadow of Walt and Mickey highlighted.


Olszewski Studios had been working on Gallery of Light and pokitpal pieces with the hope that they'd be ready for Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World, but development is currently still continuing. The pieces won't be ready for Celebration V, the Star Wars convention being held in Orlando in August this year, so the pieces would be available at a later date.


Olszewski Studios will be at the NFFC Show and Sale on July 18, 2010 at its regular location the Crowne Plaza in Garden Grove. We may post an update following the show if there's any news. Otherwise, see you in the fall for Snow White and Monsanto.





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