Olszewski Disneyland miniatures - July 17, 2008

This particular release day was rare in that it fell on a weekday, whereas releases are usually done on a Saturday, but Thursday was picked because it coincided with Disneyland's 53th birthday. We arrived at the resort very early before Disneyland park opening, so we ended up being first in line at one of the entrance turnstiles. When the gates opened shortly after 8am, we headed over to Disneyana, and the line was much shorter than normal, so we ended up with only about 10 people in front of us. Travis was already out in front of Disneyana with a table set up. This time, it was just a small round table with a couple things on it. He said he'd be bringing the full platform for the next event.

The husband went over to Travis to take pictures of the upcoming products which were being shown, and I stayed in line. I happened to then overhear a man a few people behind me ask a CM how fast the line would be moving. The CM explained that they would start letting people into Disneyana very soon, and they usually let a few people in at a time to make their purchase because of the limited space inside Disneyana. He was trying to press upon the CM that he needed to be done as quickly as possible because he had apparently parked his rig in the parking lot with something like $100,000 worth of merchandise in it that he needed to deliver. He kept telling the CM that he only had one item he wanted to purchase and reiterating the $100,000 worth of merchandise he had sitting in the parking lot. The CM kept explaining to him that there was only one merchandise line, and that everyone else was making purchases as well. Unlike usual release days, it wasn't just Olszewski merchandise that was released at Disneyana this day - there were also releases from Manny Hernandez and Charles & Bruce Boyer, and there was one line for everything since no matter what you were buying, you were still using the same resources at Disneyana. And even with the multiple releases, the line was still much shorter than normal. Oh, and Disneyana doesn't have an express shopping lane. It seemed that he was expecting to be allowed to the front of the line because he only had one thing he wanted to buy and because of the value of the merchandise he'd left in his rig. He was almost implying that Disney would have some liability if his merchandise was tampered with or stolen because he was being forced to wait in line. I finally turned around and asked him why he brought all this merchandise to leave in the parking lot if he was concerned about it, and he said he had a delivery to make and had no choice. I didn't say anything further, but yeah, he did have a choice. As much as I love Olszewski products, I probably wouldn't risk $100,000 and my job to make it to a release. There are lots of other ways to get the products if you can't do it yourself for whatever reason. But his choice didn't entitle him to a front-of-the-line pass ahead of everyone else who was waiting.

We were let into Disneyana shortly thereafter and made our purchases of the Moonliner. Like with the last nostalgia piece, the marquee, the Moonliner came in three different editions - open edition, annual passholder edition and cast member edition. The annual passholder edition was available through online presales, and both the regular edition and annual passholder edition were available for purchase at Disneyana. We had also not had a chance to pick up the repainted Mark Twain since they were sold out during the March release, but luckily, they were in stock this time. We also picked up three of the Precious Moments Disney pieces that we've been wanting, so this was a good visit to be able to use our 20% off discount coupon from our AP renewals this year. The CM helping us was very nice and helpful in getting all of our pieces, but she had run out of big bags, so she had to go to another register to get more. It took a little longer, but it wasn't a problem, though I was amused that the man in line that I'd mentioned earlier ended up being right behind us at the register.

The artists were doing their product signing inside the Main Street Cinema next door. There were tables set up surrounding the stage in the middle, and the cartoons were still showing, but the sound was turned off. There was a table where the purchases were unboxed, and then each of the artists were at a separate table. Once the item was signed, there was another table where the items were repackaged. With the artists in the Main Street Cinema, there was much more room inside Disneyana for purchasing and picking up. We found an out-of-the way nook to check our other purchases to make sure they were ok, and then the husband got in line to pick up the Moonliner pieces. It was then time to go outside and chat with Travis.

The next Olszewski release date is August 23, 2008, which will see the release of two new Gallery of Light pieces and one new Heirloom Box as well as the re-release of the first set of floats in the Electrical Parade. The Heirloom Box is of the Mad Tea Party from "Alice in Wonderland" and is priced at $85. Alice, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Door Mouse are all gathered around a table. The table top lifts off to reveal the compartment underneath, and Alice can also be lifted off her chair to reveal another secret compartment.


An Heirloom Box depicting the Mad Tea Party.


A close-up of Alice's side of the table.


A close-up of Alice's tea companions.


The Heirloom Box with the table top removed.


The Heirloom Box with Alice out of her chair.


It's a really gorgeous piece, with designs on the trim of the base as well.


This is one of the shorter sides of the base, underneath Alice.


I have so far managed to talk myself out of buying any of the Heirloom Boxes yet, though the Snow White box was *very* tempting. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to resist this one.

The Mad Tea Party is also the subject of one of the Gallery of Light pieces being released that same day, with a price of $80. Alice, the March Hare and the Mad Hatter are enjoying their very unusual tea party - the Door Mouse isn't in this piece because his tiny size makes it prohibitive.


The Mad Tea Party in the Gallery of Light series.


A closer view.


I love the inside framing with the leaves, which makes it seem like you're peaking at them. The mix of the various colors on the table and such are very pretty. It was also interesting to hear from Travis how they went about choosing whether to use gold or silver as the frame for a particular piece, depending on the colors, hues and scenery of a specific piece.

The second Gallery of Light piece being released that day is of the Tiki Room, which is actually celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. The Tiki Room piece has a price of $120, and this will be the first limited edition Gallery of Light piece, with an edition size of 500.


A look into the Tiki Room.


It is an absolutely gorgeous piece, with amazing details, which is no real surprise given that it's an Olszewski piece, but even with what you'd expect from an Olszewski piece, this one is just breathtaking. You have to really get up close and look all around inside to see everything, from the bamboo roof, to the drummers perched on the shelves at the top, to the four totem poles, to the beautiful fountain (which is illuminated by a light that changes colors), to the representations of the singing birds-of-paradise, and of course, to the four stars of the show - Jose, Michael, Pierre and Fritz.


A closer look at the top part of the piece.


A closer look at the bottom part of the piece.


Focusing on the drummers in the top back.


A closer look at a totem pole and a group of birds-of-paradise.


The Tiki Room happens to be the husband's favorite attraction and one he knows extremely well, so when he was looking at the piece, he had one additional observation - the birds aren't all in the correct places. The view in the piece is as if you were seated in the section on the opposite side from the entrance. From that vantage point, Michael (green and blue) is the front left parrot, and Pierre (blue and red) is behind him, with Jose (yellow, red and green) as the front right parrot, and Fritz (red) behind him. However, in the piece, while Michael and Pierre are correctly situated, Jose and Fritz are switched, so Fritz is next to Michael rather than being at a diagonal from him.


You can see the placement of the four birds in this picture.


These are the two birds in the front.


These are the two birds in the back.


This is a picture from inside the attraction, showing all four birds.


This is a closer view of the birds, where their colors can be better seen.


We're told that the piece that was there is a prototype version, so hopefully, the release version will have all the birds on their proper perches.

Olszewski release events are listed on the DisneyGallery.com website, but it usually takes a while for them to appear, so I was surprised that the August 23 event is already up. Here's the generic link to the event and here's the link to the page with more information about the event.

The next piece released in the Main Street miniatures collection will be Dumbo, with an expected release date of late November, possibly November 22, which is the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Olszewski Studios are planning for two miniatures releases a year - a nostalgia piece on Disneyland's birthday each July 17 and an attraction piece each November. The Mark I Monorail (the original one which was red) will be released on July 17, 2009, and the House of the Future will be released on July 17, 2010, on Disneyland's 55th birthday. Each of the nostalgia pieces will be able to be removed from their bases and put onto the Main Street platform, with the House of the Future fitting over Ariel's Grotto.


A paper mock-up of the House of the Future over Ariel's Grotto.
This mock-up just sits on the grotto/trees, but the real version will fit over it.


The next attraction piece (for November 2009) has not yet been decided upon but will be one of three possibilities: King Arthur Carrousel (first choice as the release), Mr. Toad's Wild Ride/Alice in Wonderland combined piece (with one Toad scene insert and one Alice scene insert) or Chicken of the Sea pirate ship.

The release of the next set of floats in the Electrical Parade collection will be in March 2009 and will include the Alice segment of the parade: three mushrooms (the ones with Alice [who they are hoping to be able to include atop her mushroom], a butterfly and the caterpillar), the other turtle, and the snail. There will be a total of five sets of parade floats, with one set being released each March.

Olszewski Studios has currently put plans for a Primeval World addition on hold and is not currently working on further developing it. Disney won't commit to the project, and research and development are prohibitive enough for Olszewski Studios to forge ahead without knowing whether or not there will be a return on their investment. They actually did a lot of work on the Electrical Parade floats before Disney committed to it, but they knew that once they had it worked out, it would be too good for Disney to pass up, especially given how beloved the parade was and still is. However, Primeval World doesn't have nearly the same following, and Disney could decide not to accept the product because its collector base is too small, and Olszewski Studios would be left with having spent a lot of money it cannot then recoup.

2009 will see the arrival of the long-awaited cast member character packs. It's expected that the first pack will include both Main Street cast members (and possible cast members from other lands) as well as vehicles and other miscellaneous items. It's anticipated that the re-release of the Main Street trolley and the red fire truck will be included in these combined packs, so you may end up having to buy something you already have to get something new that you want.

Olszewski Studios is currently sold out of Main Street platforms, and they don't expect they will be offering another batch for quite some time, but if you still want one in the future, your best bet would be to sign up for the Olszewski Studios mailing list. When they're ready to order more platforms, an announcement for interested buyers will be sent to mailing list members. Olszewski Studios is also sold out of the painting/touch-up kit, though they expect to offer another batch for sale, perhaps sometime this fall. Again, an announcement will be sent to mailing list members for those interested in reserving a kit. They will not be keeping kits in stock and will just be making as many kits as are necessary to fill orders, so if you still want one, be sure to be on the mailing list and to sign up when the announcement comes through.

The fourth tree accessory pack and the Peter Pan shadow box light display are both currently on hold since they are additional/extraneous accessories and Olszewski Studios is currently focused on more pressing matters.


The June release in the Walt Disney World Main Street collection went well, and the Olszewski Studios website actually has a write-up of the event. The next release in the collection is expected to be in early December of this year and will feature the release of the front half of the Emporium as well as the cinema/jewelry store.


In the Gallery of Light line, Olszewski Studios has a park-exclusive second piece from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" that is expected to be released in October/November 2008 and priced at $80.


An iconic scene from "The Nightmare Before Christmas".


Faithful Zero is nearby master Jack.


A close-up of the pumpkins on the fence and the familiar curl.


Olszewski Studios also has four other pieces in the line through their deal with Enesco, so these will be available through regular retailers.

Cruella DeVille (priced at $85) is depicted during her car chase scene when she's after the delivery truck with the stowaway puppies, and this piece is due for release in November 2008.


Cruella is a terror on wheels.


It's not a piece I'm going to buy since I'm not a collector of Cruella (I'm much more enamoured of the puppies.), but it's still a really nice presentation of the scene and really catches your attention and the spirit of that scene.

Aladdin and Jasmine (priced at $70) are on the flying carpet in an orchard, and the detail is pretty nice on this piece, which is scheduled to be released in November 2008.


Aladdin and Jasmine on a magic carpet ride.


Sleeping Beauty (priced at $75) is awakened out of her slumber by love's kiss, in a piece scheduled for release in November 2008. The lighting on this piece is amazing, especially outside the window.


Sleeping Beauty about to be awakened by the prince's kiss.


Ariel (priced at $65) chats with Sebastian in her grotto, scheduled to be released in November 2008. Ariel is a little washed out in the picture, but she does look very nice.


Ariel and Sebastian.


Olszewski Studios is also working on an amazing Gallery of Light piece for the not-as-yet-officially-announced-but-everyone-already-knows-is-going-to-happen Haunted Mansion event in 2009 in celebration of the attraction's 40th anniversary.


Olszewski Studios had previously been working on a Heirloom Box with Mickey on Matterhorn Mountain, but that's currently on hold because they've had problems making the Matterhorn look right.

Olszewski Studios has three Disney-themed Heirloom Boxes in conjunction with their deal with Enesco, so these will be sold through regular retailers, with four more that are expected to be released in January.

Available in November will be an Heirloom Box (priced at $65) in celebration of Mickey's 80th birthday. Sorcerer Mickey sits atop, with eight images of Mickey through the years around the side, with lots of detailing throughout.


Steamboat Willie is in the middle.


Western garb Mickey.


Bandleader Mickey.


Brave Little Tailor Mickey.


Another piece in the collection is a lantern-shaped box (priced at a surprising $45 and scheduled to be released in November) with Tinkerbell inside and four scenes from "Peter Pan" around the sides.


On the left is Wendy looking out the window.
On the right are Wendy, Michael, John and Peter flying over Big Ben.


On the left is Hook's ship.
On the right is the trail to the Indian village.


Tinkerbell inside the lantern.
There's a hiding place under her when she's lifted up.


A better look at Tink.


The third Heirloom Box is the huntsman's heart box (priced at $65 and scheduled to be released in November 2008) from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". It's a really gorgeous piece.


The huntsman's box.


The box opened.


The next set of Disney-themed pokitpals (Tiki Room aloha, Monorail, Tinkerbell and caterpillar ride vehicle) are either just arriving at the Disneyland Resort now or will be in the next couple of days.


The front of the Tiki Room aloha pokitpal.


The front and side.


The back of the Tiki Room aloha pokitpal.


A previous picture that shows the front and back of the Monorail pokitpal.


The front of the Tinkerbell pokitpal.


A previous picture that shows the front and back.


A previous picture that shows the front and back of the caterpillar ride vehicle pokitpal.


The set after that is expected to be released in September/October and will consist of the fire engine, Columbia, Jungle Cruise boat, and a submarine (the original gray sub will be on one side and the clam/giant squid scene will be on the other).


The front and side of the fire engine pokitpal.


The back of the fire engine pokitpal.


The front and side view of the Columbia pokitpal.


A previous picture that shows the front and back.


The front and side view of the Jungle Cruise boat pokitpal.
The side reads "CONGO QUEEN".


The back of the Jungle Cruise boat pokitpal.


For down the line, Olszewski Studios is working on many other Disney-themed pokitpals, including more characters (Minnie), villains (Maleficent), and signs from Disneyland. Another of the Haunted Mansion stretch portraits will be released, and they will also be releasing the Haunted Mansion sign which will come in three different editions, one with each of the hitchhiking ghosts on the back. Olszewski Studios has also submitted five different designs for review themed to the animated film "Cars", with Lightning McQueen and Mater among those submitted.

Olszewski Studios is also working on a number of other product lines with Enesco that aren't related to Disney, so look for them at your local retailer.


I had the good fortune to be able to spend a few minutes talking to Bob Olszewski at the NFFC Show and Sale on Sunday, July 20 (we had gone there to get pictures of the Enesco releases in the Gallery of Light and Heirloom Box lines shown in this report), and after such a nice conversation, I have even more respect for Bob, and not even just as an artist. Bob seems to love talking to collectors and hearing about how they feel about the pieces and what Disney means to them, so if you have the opportunity to meet Bob at a signing, I urge people to do that, even if you're not looking for him to sign a piece. His time might be limited because of the number of people there to see him, but it's well worth the opportunity to be able to talk to him.


See you in August!



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