Olszewski Disneyland miniatures - D23 Expo - August 19 - 21, 2011

Our D23 Expo experience started very early on Friday morning, August 19, 2011, when we got in the D23 members line to get into the Anaheim Convention Center. D23 members were supposed to be let into the convention center starting at 9am, with non-members gaining entrance at 10am. There were some events that started at 9am, and they were billed as "members only" events, since only members could be inside during that time. What they failed to realize, though, is that thousands of people weren't going to immediately get into the convention center at the stroke of 9am - it takes a while for that many people to get into the facility. They at least seemed to have learned their lesson, though, since members were allowed in at 8am on Saturday and Sunday. I'm not sure if the entry time for non-members was moved up as well.

We had gone through the Expo schedule the night before, and luckily, there wasn't anything scheduled for Friday morning that we were interested in going to, so the goal was to get to the Dream Store since the Pinocchio attraction piece and the D23 Expo pokitpal were being released at the Expo.

After we were let into the convention center, we tried to find the line for the Dream Store but ran into a few snafus resulting from 1) there was no signage anywhere about where the various lines were; and 2) asking Expo staff members didn't necessarily get you the correct answer either. There were people lining up for multiple events including the arena for the Disney Legends ceremony, the store from Imagineering called Mickey's of Glendale, entry onto the show floor itself, and of course, the Dream Store. Even the people in the lines weren't necessarily in the line they thought they were in. After some confusion and much running around, we finally found the line for the Dream Store and got in it. The line was queued quite a bit outside the Dream Store and into the surrounding areas.

We were in line for about 40 minutes before actually getting into the Dream Store. The last part of the line brought you next to the front windows of the Dream Store, and I saw that Olszewski Studios was set up in one corner.


The view of the Olszewski Studios corner of the Dream Store, from the line outside.


After we got inside, we picked up our Pinocchio attraction piece and the Gallery of Light with Dumbo, as well as a few other items from the Dream Store itself. There were many people in line waiting to check out with their items, and the line had gotten so long that the line to check out was queued through the store itself, which was making the store even more crowded, even with the staff members monitoring entry into the store. While they had many, many cashiers, they apparently still underestimated how crowded the store would be so didn't make much queue space in the separate section where the cashiers were. They fixed that problem later in the day, so the checkout line was never queued in the store again for the rest of the Expo.

It had previously been announced that while Bob Olszewski was going to be at the welcome center for signings and in the Dream Store itself, collectors would only be allowed to have him sign at the welcome center and not in the Dream Store. I saw Travis inside the Dream Store, and he mentioned that Disney had changed their mind and was allowing signings to occur inside the Dream Store as well. I noticed that other artists were also doing signings inside the Dream Store, which really makes perfect sense, and it had seemed odd to me that Disney hadn't thought to allow that from the start.

We learned that Bob had done a signing on Thursday night for premier level attendees of the Expo, since they had early access to the Dream Store, and that Bob's signing was well attended.

I had seen the little table set up in the section where Bob would be greeting collectors who came to see him. As I was looking around, Bob arrived at the Dream Store, ready to start his first day at the Expo.


The table set up for Bob in the Dream Store.


Bob arriving in the Dream Store.


There was quite a bit of Olszewski merchandise available, from the miniatures collection to the Gallery of Light collection and pokitpals as well. There were display cases showing the various items available, and the merchandise was just available as open stock on the shelves for people to get as they wished.


Some Olszewski merchandise in display cases.


More Olszewski merchandise in display cases.


Olszewski merchandise on the shelves.


After we got all of the merchandise we wanted, we got in line to check out. We had no idea how long that was going to take, and with Bob's official signing time at the welcome center due to start 30 minutes after we got in line, we figured there was no way we'd make it, so we were going to have to figure out another time to come back to the Dream Store and have Bob sign our pieces. Luckily, the checkout line only took about 45 minutes to get through before we made it to a cashier. As I mentioned, all of the Olszewski merchandise was just out, with one exception. The D23 members only Expo pokitpal was being kept behind the registers along with the limited edition pins being released by Disney since they all had purchase restrictions. We were glad that we were able to get the pokitpal this time since we'd missed out on the pokitpal at the 2009 Expo (though kind friends got one for us afterward). We checked back in the store on Saturday afternoon, and they were sold out of the pokitpal, so I don't know if it sold out on Friday or Saturday. Maybe for the D23 Expo in 2013, Disney will finally decide to have more of them available, since it's a well-made, affordable and easily portable souvenir for Expo attendees?


One change from a regular release is that normally, the premiere plaque for miniatures pieces is available at the cash register. In this case, there was a cast member stationed in the area where the Pinocchio pieces were, and he/she had the premiere plaques in hand and was giving them out when people picked up the piece.

All the information had indicated that no discounts were being accepted at the Expo, so we were pleasantly surprised that our premium AP discount did actually apply at the Dream Store, and it was even the "holiday" 20% discount that's been in effect for some time now.

Since Bob's 10:30am signing was scheduled to last an hour, we actually did make it there with time to spare. There was a bit of a line, so we waited, and we did manage to speak to him for a bit and to have him sign our pieces. (Side note: The collectors in line a few in front of us hadn't gotten their premiere plaques with their Pinocchio piece purchase. One of the Disney merchandising cast members very nicely went and got some for them, but I wonder how many people missed out on them. Having a cast member just handing them out in the area of the merchandise doesn't seem the best way to handle it. I still think that having the plaques at the registers would be a better idea, even at the Expo, to make sure no one misses out.) They had three little tables set up. At the first table, they unboxed the merchandise and then brought it over to Bob, who was at the middle table. After Bob had signed, the merchandise was then taken to the third table, where it was re-boxed. They actually even had packing tape so that they could re-tape the boxes back together. It actually all worked out quite well, since with our purchases made and our pieces signed, we were then able to take our purchases back to the hotel and not have to carry them around all day.


The sign indicating Bob's signing time at the welcome center.


The set-up for Bob's signing at the welcome center.


Bob chatting with some collectors.


We spent the three days of the Expo attending various panels and seeing the different pavilions on the show floor, but we would periodically wander through the Dream Store just to see what was going on. There were usually people waiting to see Bob and have him sign their merchandise, and there were others who were asking questions of Travis. There seemed to be quite a few people who hadn't known about any of the collections and were learning about them for the first time. In addition to Olszewski Studios' presence in the Dream Store, there was also a completed Main Street platform out in the welcome center/lounge area of the show floor, and there were people stopping and taking a look at that as well.


Bob speaking to one of the collectors who stopped into the Dream Store.


Travis helping out a collector.


The complete Main Street platform.


I stopped into the Dream Store on Sunday early afternoon, and there seemed to be plenty of stock left of the Pinocchio attraction piece. At the bottom of this page, Disney had a note that the online sale of the piece was expected to be around September 6, 2011. The online sale of the inventory of Pinocchio attraction pieces remaining from the D23 Expo will go on sale at 8am on Tuesday, September 6, 2011. The pieces will come with the premiere plaque but will not be signed. All Pinocchio attraction inventory remaining from the D23 Expo are being reserved for this online sale and will be available on a first come, first served basis. Disney has updated the page to reflect the confirmed online sale time and date.


The main attraction for Olszewski Studios in the Dream Store was the full Fantasyland platform. They are expecting to start taking orders in the next 3 to 4 weeks, with delivery in January or February of 2012. The very tentative price for the platform is in the $375/$400 range but is subject to change. The platform will come with the individual trees that are scattered throughout as well as the round "placeholder" for Dumbo's old location. There are two tree packs that are planned for release at a later time. Fantasyland platform tree pack one will include the groups of trees from the Castle forward (towards the Partners statue) and is expected to be released in early 2012, and Fantasyland platform tree pack two will include the groups of trees from the Castle backward (toward Storybook) and is expected to be released in Spring or early Summer of 2012. There will also be an accessory pack due out in 2013 consisting of the Kodak kiosk (which is the last remaining ticket booth from 1955), the Partner's statue and the Toontown train depot. The Fantasyland sign (due out in 2012) and the Fantasyland Theatre/Princess Fantasy Faire (due out in 2013) will also each be sold separately. I'm not sure what exactly the Fantasyland Theatre/Princess Fantasy Faire will include, but it's likely to be some combination of the entrance sign, the nearby restrooms and/or Troubadour Treats and adjacent seating area. The Fantasyland platform will also have a lighting kit, due out in late 2012 or early 2013.


The Fantasyland sign for the platform.


The front part of the Fantasyland platform.


The back part of the Fantasyland platform.


Different views of the Fantasyland platform.










The round placeholder for Dumbo's former location is included with the platform.
The flat wedge behind it is how it will look when it comes with the platform.
The clump of trees on the back right will be part of tree pack two.


The Skyway hill where the pulley is located is expected to include the chalet.


A different view of the back corner.


This is the line-of-sight of the Skyway on the Fantasyland platform.
Some adjustments still need to be made, most likely to move trees out of the way.


The reverse line-of-sight of the Skyway on the Fantasyland platform.
The little section just behind the tree in the foreground
is where the second stantion for the Skyway would sit
and would probably come with the string of Skyway buckets.


Marked to show the location of the second stantion for the Skyway.


The other back corner.


The Kodak kiosk from the accessory pack will replace section 1 on the platform.
The Toontown train depot from the accessory pack will replace section 3 on the platform.
The Fantasyland Theatre/Princess Fantasy Faire will replace section 2 on the platform and will be sold separately.


The mockup of the Carrousel, by Bob Olszewski and Bruce Richards.


The Carrousel with the top off, to show what's currently underneath.


A closer view of the Carrousel.


On the Walt Disney World miniatures front, the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion was on display and will go on sale September 30, 2011 at the Room for 1 More event being held at Disney's Contemporary Resort. This Haunted Mansion also has scene inserts, and the one that's different from the Disneyland version was on display.


The loading area of the attraction, with flash to show details.
Since the loading for this ride involves making a U-turn after you enter,
the doom buggy is actually facing the wrong way.
We should be seeing the back of the doom buggy, not the front of it, given this view.


The loading area of the attraction, with just the scene lighting.


The Magic Kingdom marquee was also on display and will go on sale October 1, 2011.


I love the richness of the colors on this piece.


Also on display was the Nautilus submarine nostalgia piece, expected to be released in November or December of this year. Both sides of the sub are shown on the piece - the one in the water is embedded, but the sub on top is removable.


Note that the fin on the top sub is broken off in this prototype.


The Magic Kingdom's Main Street platform is expected to be available for orders in late 2011 with delivery in Spring of 2012.


Olszewski Studios has done a miniature piece of the Disney Dream, with the Disney Fantasy forthcoming. It's a beautiful piece, capturing rich details of the majestic ship.





A couple of upcoming pokitpals were on display at the Expo as well.


The top of the amazing Millennium Falcon pokitpal, to be released at Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios in May 2012.


The bottom of the Millennium Falcon pokitpal.


The side of the Millennium Falcon pokitpal.


The top of the very pretty Belle pokitpal.


The bottom of the Belle pokitpal.


One side of the Belle pokitpal.


The other side of the Belle pokitpal.


As previously announced, Olszewski Studios is creating paperclip boxes of both Cinderella Castle and Sleeping Beauty Castle. Pictures of the Cinderella Castle box were published previously, and the Sleeping Beauty Castle box was on display at the Expo.


The front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle paperclip box. Note that the very top spire is broken in this prototype.


The back of the Sleeping Beauty Castle paperclip box.



Olszewski Studios is appearing at events on September 30 and October 1, 2011 at Walt Disney World. For those attending, have a great time. Olszewski Studios may be attending an event at Disneyland in November in conjunction with the next exhibit at the Disney Gallery involving Disney trains. Otherwise, the next scheduled Disneyland release is the last set of floats in the Main Street Electrical Parade, scheduled for release in Spring of 2012.






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