Olszewski Disneyland miniatures - September 23, 2006

The release of Photo Corner and Disney Clothiers was back to the regular location of Disneyana. They switched the lines again so that the purchase line was coming down Main Street to Disneyana whereas the signing line was going up Main Street to Disneyana. The line for purchase wasn't very long (as expected for a regular Main Street piece, unlike the much longer line for the Haunted Mansion release in June and the expected long line for the Pirates release in November), but we noticed that the line moved much slower than normal. We wondered whether there weren't as many cash registers running as usual or whether something else had changed since the last release at Disneyana. Travis was already outside with his display, and Bob was in the inner room of Disneyana signing pieces.

When we finally got to the front door of Disneyana, we noticed a few changes. First, only three registers were running - sometimes, they've brought in additional registers on a release day. Secondly, people seemed to be buying more than just the release pieces, which meant they took longer at the register, and both CMs and guests seemed a bit more chatty during the transaction than normal, so that added to the wait time. After we'd purchased our pieces, we went to the middle room to pick up our pieces - and that's when we found the reason for the delay. One of the things that makes me crazy about Disney is that they find a really great way of handling something - and then they completely throw it out the window the next time as if it had never happened and no one remembers how to cycle through large numbers of people purchasing merchandise. For the last several releases at Disneyana, the pieces were already taken out of their boxes and laid on a table. That way, multiple people could examine pieces, and then when they found ones they liked, one of two CMs boxed it up and then they took them to a different table where they were bagged. There were also one or two electric plugs available so you could test out the lights on your pieces. With the give and take between examining and testing and choosing and boxing, everything ran pretty smoothly and continuously.

This time, there was only one person that was helping people pick out their pieces, even though there were two different pieces being released, and there was one light plug. All of the pieces were still in their boxes. You showed them your receipt to let them know what you had purchased. We were buying multiples of each piece, and the CM proceeded to open one box at a time, stand there and wait while my husband examined and tested the piece, then the CM would box the piece back up and hand it back. So during the process, at alternating intervals, either he or my husband would be standing there doing nothing but waiting. Finally, while my husband was examining a piece, I reminded the CM how many pieces of each we were purchasing and asked if he could start unboxing the other pieces while my husband was examining one. I was conscious of the fact that at that point, we were holding up the rest of the line. We finally managed a system where the CM, my husband and I were all either unboxing, examining or re-boxing a piece, which seemed to make the process go faster. They had also set up a rope stantion in that area, so when you were done, another CM had to open the rope to let you out, which really seemed like a waste of time and manpower. By the time we were done, there were probably 5 people in line waiting to get their pieces, each only being helped one at a time.

I commented to a CM in charge about the change in procedure, and he mentioned that pieces had been unboxed and set up on the tables earlier, but they had all been purchased. Well, ok, that's how it worked before as well, but as pieces were being picked up by guests, CMs were replenishing the supply, which was not happening this time. There also seemed to be quite fewer CMs working this particular release. There's usually a CM to control entrance into the store, and there was no CM doing that this day.

The next release will be back at the Disney Gallery, the same place where Haunted Mansion was released, and there seemed to be a pretty good system set up there, so hopefully, they'll remember that in November, and when we get back to a release at Disneyana next year, they will hopefully remember the system that they'd previously implemented that worked so well.

On the release front, lots of changes and some new information. With the release of the last two pieces on Main Street proper, the only things left to complete Main Street are the pieces between the north end of Main Street and the castle. With the 2007 release schedule tentatively set, all of Main Street will be completed by the end of 2007.

The next piece being released is Pirates on November 18, and while it had been expected that the piece would be $295 (comparable to the Haunted Mansion piece), the release price is actually $345. The price increase is a result of the manufacturing complexity involved because of the lift-off top that will show the decorated living room inside of the Disney Gallery.

Light boxes will be available for the Pirates piece scenes (like the boxes for the Haunted Mansion scenes, but these boxes are a different size than those). Each box will be $22.50, and they will be available for order through the Olszewski Studios website starting in about a week or so, with delivery expected in December.


Lighted shadow box for Pirates inserts.


After Pirates, the next release is planned for March 2007, and the pieces being released are Plaza Inn and King Triton's Garden/Ariel's Grotto/Snow White's Wishing Well. Also being released that day will be the Disneyland sign.


The Disneyland sign.


The Disneyland sign with lighted base that will presumably be available for sale.


The next release is planned for June 2007, which will see the release of the Plaza Pavilion/Tiki Room piece. The original plan had been for some representation of the Tahitian Terrace to be included, but they've changed the plan, so now, the Tiki Room will have a reveal where you can see inside, and there will be a push-down tower that will allow the Tiki birds to come down (similar to the device used for the hanging man in the elevator of Haunted Mansion). Also released in June will be the front gate turnstiles and the side gates at the transition from Town Square to Main Street proper.

The next planned release is for September 2007, with the release of Carnation Plaza and the Adventureland/Frontierland combined gateway piece. Also being released are the souvenir stands (one on either side after the entrance tunnels under the train track), the newsstand and the stroller/wheelchair rental area.


Adventureland/Frontierland gateway piece - front view.


Adventureland/Frontierland gateway piece - top view.


Close-up of Adventureland gate.


Close-up of side of Adventureland gate - note the wonderful Tiki detailing.


Close-up of Frontierland gate.


Side view of Frontierland gate.


Some of the details inside the Frontierland gate.


More details.


The foliage "island" in front of the Adventureland gate.


The Main Street and New Orleans Square cast member packs have currently been put on hold.

Those who have already ordered the Main Street platform should have already paid their deposits. The platforms are expected to be ready in late November or early December, and they will be offering the option of having it shipped to you (and confirming where you want it shipped) or you can pick it up yourself from their offices in Camarillo. For anyone who still wants to order a platform, they were still taking reservations. Once they get a set number of registrations, they will then proceed with the next production batch. Those registering now can expect to pay their deposits in January, though some might end up being included on the first batch since some people made reservations for the first batch but haven't paid their deposits yet.


The completed Main Street platform.
The false train track, the "grass" around the edges, and the false road are included with the platform.
The Main Street pieces, vehicles, character packs and accessory sets are sold separately.


The front of the platform (where the entrance gates will be) has a few inches of extra space. The hope is that eventually, they may be able to add a monorail to the collection, and if that happens, the platform will already be set up to accommodate that.

Olszewski Studios will also be working with a plexiglass manufacturing company to make the tabletop to go over the platform, so this will be the recommended company from whom the plexiglass top can be ordered.

The Ripley train that was released last September was a limited edition of 1955 and has sold out. There are plans for doing the Holiday train next, with a tentative release of Summer 2007.

The train track kit (to convert the false track that comes with the platform into a real electrical track that the train can run on) is available for reservation as well from the Olszewski Studios website. There will also be 3 separate tree accessory packs available that can be ordered from the site in the future. The packs will be scattered around Main Street, and the plan is to also make available at a future date another tree accessory pack with stand-alone trees that can be placed anywhere.

There have also been discussions about recreating the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas visible from the train, if the logistics can be worked out.

Disney had not yet committed to any land other than Main Street. Once Main Street is completed, Olszewski Studios expects to have discussions with Disney about where to go from there, whether they will work on another specific land or just individual attractions. The two lands most likely to be next would be New Orleans Square (including buildings where you would be able to see into the Blue Bayou and Club 33) or, more likely, Fantasyland. If Fantasyland was made, there would be a separate platform for that land, with the thought that the Casey, Jr. train would be running around the perimeter of that platform. The original plan had been that the Main Street platform could be extended an additional two feet to accommodate the Fantasyland buildings (so the castle would be properly situated between Main Street and Fantasyland) but they discovered that Fantasyland really needs about three and a half feet, and the two feet they would have wouldn't work. If they do Fantasyland, Storybook would definitely be on the list. That's the piece I'm personally waiting for.

Disney had originally been asking for work on the Christmas parade, but that has been put on hold.

The most exciting news for me (and probably many others) is that they are currently testing two floats in the Main Street Electrical Parade to run on the mechanical road that will also be released for Main Street. They're testing to get the floats to work right and light up and blink correctly. Once they've got the kinks worked out, they will present to Disney to see if they can get approval to proceed with building the entire parade. Some people asked how they would best be able to pass along word to Disney that they'd be interested in purchasing this. The best way seems to be purchasing the platform. Anyone who purchases the platform can be assumed to eventually purchase all the pieces in the Main Street collection (who would buy a platform only to purposely have holes where buildings should be?), and you would need the platform and mechanical road in order to run the Electrical Parade. How cool would it be to have the Main Street platform with all the buildings lit and the Electrical Parade running down the middle?

There are also discussions about possibly building a coffee table that the Main Street platform could sit on and/or a cabinet with drawers and storage space underneath to keep the empty boxes. They would be made to match the color and style of the platform.

See you in November!


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