Olszewski Disneyland miniatures - November 18, 2006

The release of the Pirates of the Caribbean/Disney Gallery piece was, appropriately enough, at the Disney Gallery in New Orleans. This is the second and probably only other time when you'll be able to buy the location you're actually at, the other occurrence being the Disneyana piece that was sold out of Disneyana.

The night before the release, however, the Olszewski Studios sent out an email with some additional information on the line. The first production run of the Main Street platform is expected to arrive at the Olszewski Studios around December 10, 2006. Around the beginning of December, those who have already put down their deposits will be contacted by email for the balance due as well as to confirm if the platform will be picked up in person in Camarillo, CA (where the Olszewski Studios are located) or if the platform should be shipped, and if so, to what address. The platform package is 76" x 34" x 9" and weighs approximately 90 pounds. The current offices of the Olszewski Studios aren't able to handle the inventory of platforms, so they're looking for a different office space that has adjacent warehouse space. Platforms that are shipped will be done via UPS. It is expected that the platforms would be available for pickup from the warehouse on the weekend of December 16 and otherwise on weekdays.

For the second production run of the platform, there are still about 75 available. The price has increased from $275 to $345 because of rising labor and material costs. Since people who ordered on the first run have already put down deposits, they are honoring the previously-quoted price for them. It is expected that the price of the platform will increase for future production runs. To order a platform, go to the Olszewski Studios website. People who have reserved a platform on the second run will soon be getting an email asking for a deposit, with the platforms expected to arrive sometime in January with shipping or pickup available in late January. The platforms are generally ordered by container, with one container holding 168 platforms, though the first run is actually one and a half containers.

The display boxes for the Pirates of the Caribbean inserts are now available for sale through the website. The price is $22.50 each plus shipping.

The Main Street platform with all of the sculptures released to date will be on display at the Nixon Library from November 18, 2006 through January 7, 2007 as part of the Holiday Festival of Trains exhibit.

Bob Olszewski has written an article entitled "Insights into the Olszewski Resale Market" that is available on the website and includes his thoughts about the resale of his products especially through the internet. Here's the link to read his article. The Olszewski Studios website has also included a survey. Click on the "contact us" link, and included are questions about whether you are collecting the Disneyland pieces, and if yes, how many and which ones, and you can enter your responses in the comments section. You can also include any other comments you might have about your collecting experience with regard to these pieces, any comments about the products themselves or any other feedback you would like to provide. If you have something you would like them to know, this is a great way to make sure your comments are heard.

OK, on to new product release day!

We arrived at the resort at shortly after 7am, figuring there would be a line for the Pirates piece as there had been for the Haunted Mansion release. We arrived at the main gates and found a line where we were within the first 10 people. Early entry was in effect, but the regular gates didn't open until 8am. After making our way down Main Street and to New Orleans Square, we arrived at the queue, which was again on the bridge over the Pirates attraction queue. About half-way down the bridge, the queue looped back and then there was a break, with the rest of the queue re-starting on the other side of the walkway, parallel to the outdoor seating for Cafe Orleans. We were about 3/4 of the way down the line before the queue looped back. We were in line for about 5 or 10 minutes before they started letting the first group of people up into the Gallery. People were released in groups of about 5, depending on how many people exited the Gallery. When we got into the Gallery, we were directed to one of the cash registers on the balcony, where we made our purchase. They asked if you wanted to have Bob sign your piece there or if you wanted a pre-signed piece, and we opted for the latter. There were then two lines in the courtyard, one line to wait for Bob, who was starting his signing at 9am, and one line to pick up the pre-signed ones from the far room. When we got into the room, we examined our pieces, but when we were going to put in the batteries to test the lights, we were told they weren't allowing that since it would hold up the line. It seemed odd that they would implement this all of a sudden given that it had never been a problem before, so we took our pieces into the courtyard to examine them and test out the lights. They were telling us that we could always bring the piece back if there was a problem, but expecting people to carry the product home and back to get a replacement if there was a problem seemed like a bad idea, especially for anyone who doesn't live locally. For the release of Haunted Mansion, there was the option that if you didn't need to examine your pieces, they had them pre-packaged and you could just pick them up and go. That seemed like a much better idea so that anyone else in line knows that they're waiting to be able to fully examine their pieces.

We had been wondering what identifier would be used for the Pirates piece since it's the first piece released that's neither part of the Main Street collection (blue box) nor the 50th commemorative attraction collection (gold box). The Pirates piece is released under the Art of Disney moniker in a black box, though the first-day-of-release plaque uses a modified form of the moniker - The Art of Disneyland Resort.


Top cover of the box for the Pirates piece.


Plaque for release of the Pirates piece.


After we were done, we went back to the lobby where Travis from the Olszewski Studios had his setup. This time, he had the completed Main Street platform on display so people could see what it looked like. The only extra pieces available for view were the Disneyland sign which he previously had as well as the first tree accessory pack that will include six pieces and will be available in February 2007 for ordering through the Olszewski Studios website only. Pieces for Plaza Inn and Triton's Garden/Ariel's Grotto/Wishing Well are completed, and it had been expected that they would be there for people to see, but due to some sort of mix-up or misunderstanding on Disney's part, they weren't brought to the Gallery. Travis described the pieces, and they sound spectacular. King Triton's Garden had originally been planned to include multiple lights that would alternate shining on Triton, but that didn't work out, so there will only be one light source, but it will have changing colors, similar to the changing colors on the Christmas tree but without the fiber optics, and the Wishing Well will include the Snow White figure as well as all the dwarfs as well as the fish and frogs.


The Main Street platform.


Four of the pieces in the first tree accessory pack.


The other two pieces in the first tree accessory pack.


The Photo Corner piece that was released in September was discovered to have a misspelling on the identifier plaque attached to the piece. They have made new plaques with the misspelling corrected. The new plaques are available through Disneyana or supposedly also through Delivears. We went into Disneyana later in the day to inquire, and they don't require that you bring a receipt to get the new plaques. If you bought one of those pieces and want the new corrected plaque, you can inquire at Disneyana or check with Delivears, though Delivears may or may not have yet been told about this.


The plaque on the piece released in September.


The new corrected plaque.


Much of the discussion was about the platform since that's the current hot topic. They ended up using a different kind of resin because their original platform model was made completely out of resin, but it was extremely heavy, so they decided to change to a lighter-weight resin. They were also noticing that the resin base of the platform would chip through normal wear-and-tear, and the chips really marred the look, so they decided to use wood around the bottom of the base. The platform will come with the outer parts glued down, and the train tracks are screwed on so that they can be replaced with the train track kit for anyone who gets that. The inside parts of the platform are movable. Not all of the pieces are the exact same shape, so they wanted to make sure the parts were adjustable to accommodate that. The platform will also include rubber feet to put on the bottom of the pieces that go on the platform. That way, the wiring for the lights can be placed under each piece. The lighting kit will include five different light connections. Three will be used to power the buildings, one will be used to power the train, and one will be used to power the mechanical road. The platform comes with holes at the bottom near each of the four corners on the longer sides so that the power cords can come out of the platform to be plugged into an electrical outlet.

With regard to the plexiglass cover that goes over the platform, American Plastics Corp. in Camarillo made the one that Olszewski Studios uses. It's made using 3/8" plexiglass, is about 12" high and cost them about $500. 1/4" plexiglass can also be used to make the cover, and that would have cost about $380. The intention is for Olszewski Studios to give the dimensions that would be necessary for both kinds of plexiglass, and then people can have their own covers made from a local company since the cover will be bulky and expensive to ship. Olszewski Studios will contact American Plastics to see if they would be willing to give any kind of group discount if enough people commit to buying the cover from them. The cover they currently have doesn't have any door at all, so they will also get pricing if the cover includes a side door with plexiglass hinges. Without a door, the entire cover needs to be removed for access to the pieces on the platform, so having a door would make access much easier. Having a door is likely to increase the price of the cover as well.

The lighting kit that will be used to light up the pieces on the platform will be available through the Olszewski Studios website only in April 2007. For anyone who has the first run of Sleeping Beauty Castle and Central Plaza (aka the Hub) which were made before the current system of power plugs was implemented, there is expected to be a separate kit available to adapt those pieces to the current electrical system.

The next pieces are scheduled for a tentative release of March 31, 2007. Plaza Inn is expected to be about $245, King Triton's Garden/Ariel's Grotto/Snow White's Wishing Well is expected to be in the $225 - $240 range, and the Disneyland sign is expected to be about $65.

One bit of very interesting news did come out during the discussion - March 18, 2007 marks the 40th anniversary of Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, and there is apparently a special event planned in conjunction with the anniversary. There is no information available about what the event will include, what the pricing will be, or when tickets will go on sale. However, Olszewski Studios has been commissioned to create some merchandise pieces for the event. Keep an eye on the Olszewski Studios website, the DisneyGallery.com website and various Disney-related websites and discussion boards for more information.

The rest of the release schedule is on track, with subsequent releases in June 2007 and September 2007. The Plaza Pavilion/Tiki Room combined piece will include a wall of the Tiki Room that opens so you can see into it, and there will be a device similar to the Haunted Mansion piece with the hanging man in the elevator, except in this case, pushing down on the spire will drop the birds down so you can see them.

The C.K. Holiday train (including open seating cars) is still tentative for Summer 2007, but there's been no confirmation yet since the Olszewski Studios are not involved in making the train.

There is no update on the testing of the Electrical Parade pieces. They are still working on the mechanical road, but they need to make sure that it is able to run not just the Main Street vehicles but also all the floats needed for parades. The mechanical road would probably not be available until late 2007 or early 2008.

Per Disney's dictate, all the attention is focused on completing the Main Street collection, so there has been some speculation on where Disney would want to go after that. Work on Peter Pan has already been completed, so that would be ready to go (which would work especially well if Disney decides to commission Fantasyland as the next land to be completed). Plans have already been done for Dumbo, Splash Mountain and the Matterhorn. The plans for the Matterhorn include having a lift-off that would expose the basketball court inside the top of the Matterhorn, and there would also be a monorail track with a false monorail next to the Matterhorn as part of the decor, and there will also be holes in the Matterhorn to accommodate sky buckets. However, given the size of the Matterhorn and the other amenities that are planned, the price would be much higher than any of the pieces released to date, so they would have to figure out how to balance the inclusion of so many "bells and whistles" with not having the price be prohibitive.

There has been discussion about having Christmas decorations accessories or even separate pieces like Haunted Mansion Holiday, but those are just in the preliminary discussion stage since they are focusing more on the main pieces themselves.

As part of the Walt Disney World collection, Olszewski Studios has been commissioned to do a villains character pack. The character pack was originally scheduled to be released in December, but that has been pushed back to Spring 2007. Since it's on the same scale as the Disneyland collection, and those characters aren't specific to WDW, we are planning to order that character pack when it becomes available since Disneyland seemingly has no plans to commission such a character pack.

See you in March!


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