Olszewski Disneyland miniatures - December 8, 2007

This was the first release after the completion of the Main Street collection, and the good news is that anyone who wanted a Peter Pan piece got one, and some people even got a few bonus pieces as well.

We entered the turnstiles right around park opening at 8am and headed for Disneyana. For the last few releases, they had turned the lines around so that the purchasing line started at Disneyana and queued up toward the castle while the signing line started at Disneyana and queued down toward the train station. Presumably, as the purchasing line is generally much longer than the signing line, this was so that regular park guests would not be confused by the long line extending down Main Street, wondering what everyone was in line for. However, for this release, they went back to their previous setup of having the purchasing line queue down toward the train station and the signing line queue up toward the castle. For the last release, the purchasing line was so long that at times, it extended past Photo Corner, so maybe they thought it was too disruptive to the rest of the park and busier pathways and decided that containing the line on Main Street was a better idea. Things change so often that I can't begin to understand the reasoning behind the changes.

When we got in line, we were at about the Magic Shop. There didn't seem to be nearly as many people at this release as at the last one, but that might be expected given the unique nature of the last release, being the final pieces in the Main Street collection. The line still seemed to move a bit slower than normal. However, they did implement a new system this time, borrowed from the pin trading department. Shortly after we got in line, cast members came around to pass out wristbands. They had as many wristbands as they did Peter Pan pieces (500 available in the total shipment, 350 available for the in-store purchase [100 or so of which were pre-signed], and the rest allocated to the online presale). If you were going to buy one piece, they put one wristband on you. If you were going to buy your full allotment of two pieces, they would put two wristbands on you. Once you made your purchase, they would cut your wristband off. The wristband guaranteed that as long as you returned by noon that day, you would get one of the pieces, so you didn't necessarily have to stay and wait in line. Any remaining pieces would be sold after noon on a first come, first served basis. This ensured that if you were in line, you got a wristband and were guaranteed a piece in case they sold out. It also meant that late-comers who might join others already in line wouldn't have a wristband and wouldn't be able to cut in front of others who were buying a piece. This new system was probably implemented because of the last release, when many people waited hours in line only to come away empty-handed because Disneyana had sold out of the new release items by the time they got to the front of the line.


Disney merchandising "borrowed" these wristbands from their fellow pin trading department colleagues.


Two wristbands to buy two pieces.


Once we got into the store, we made our purchases of the Peter Pan piece. We had planned to get the Gallery of Light "Lady and the Tramp" piece as well, but they had apparently already sold out earlier. We figured they must not have had very many of that on hand or lots of people happened to be buying that as well. My husband noticed that the cashier had bar codes for other Main Street pieces as well, so we asked about those. It turns out that they had gotten in a shipment of Town Square, Astro Orbiter and Haunted Mansion, so people were buying those as well. Town Square is particularly coveted since it hasn't really been available since soon after its initial release, and it's one of the pieces that collectors who have purchased a platform need to finish their collection. One thing we found a bit odd is that while they got in some of these much-sought-after pieces, there was really no indication that they had them in stock. You'd pretty much have to know to ask about them or you might have been able to find out by accident, like my husband did, or possibly word of mouth from other collectors. I understand that they don't generally announce when pieces are back in stock, but given that it was an Olszewski collector event, it seems that in this case, it would have been nice to either have some kind of flyer or poster or placard or something out to let people know especially that Town Square and Astro Orbiter were available, even if it was nothing more than a verbal notice from a cast member. One collector I talked to missed out on getting Town Square because he didn't know about it - and the person behind him ended up buying the last Town Square on hand. It's expected that they'll be getting more of the pieces soon, so if you're still in need of them, definitely stop by Disneyana or call DelivEars to check.

After making our purchases, we got in a separate line to pick up our pre-signed pieces. They had switched the lines so that the pre-signed pieces were up against the right side of the store, and those who were picking up pieces for Bob to sign were against the left side of the store. One problem this created is that there are no electrical outlets on the right side of the store. They generally have the electrical plugs available so that you can plug your piece in to make sure the lights work properly, but they could only use the electrical outlet from the back of the store, and the cord is only so long, so even though they had two cast members helping people with their pieces, there was only one electrical plug in use available for testing. (One of the pieces we had looked at turned out to have a faulty electrical system as none of the lights came on when it was plugged in, so we had to pick out another one.) It seemed odd that they didn't have more of the plugs available, at least one per cast member. A simple extension cord would have sufficed to make the plug more accessible and to have room to plug in more than one.

Unlike the last several releases, they did not sell out of the new release during the course of the event. At about 11am, there were no more people in the purchasing line, but the cast member still had wristbands to give out. People who had previously gotten a wristband were still returning to pick up their pieces. As other people arrive later in the day or on Sunday, they may well sell out of the piece by the end of the weekend. Unlike the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean pieces which had separate light boxes for the additional scenes, Olszewski Studios had not created light boxes for the Peter Pan scenes. They knew that Haunted Mansion and Pirates would be in high demand, but they weren't sure about Peter Pan, so they decided to wait, especially since they would have to come up with a slightly different box for the Peter Pan scenes as the pullouts on that are different than the ones for Haunted Mansion and Pirates. Because Peter Pan seemed to have been very popular, Olszewski Studios plans to make light boxes for the Peter Pan scenes, to be available at a later date exclusively through their website.

There were several displays in front of Bob, including one new Gallery of Light piece and two new heirloom box pieces, but the most eye-catching display was the one with the Main Street Electrical Parade floats.

The plan had been originally to have the Electrical Parade floats running on Main Street on a mechanical road that would drive them. However, problems arose with the mechanism, and it was discovered that they couldn't create a drive strong enough to be able to pull 10+ floats and light them as well. They decided that the Electrical Parade couldn't very well be unlit, so they decided to forego the movement aspect instead. The first series of the Electrical Parade, containing five floats (train, drum, Elliott, turtle and lightning bug), will be on March 29, 2008. The price is estimated at $75 but will definitely be less than $100. [December 18, 2007 update: The Studio was given an incorrect quote on the price of the set, and now that the correct information has been relayed to the Studio, the price of the set will actually be approximately $125.] The plan is to release two series a year, with five floats per series, and they're planning to do 25 to 30 floats in total. Each series will come on a base with multi-colored LED lights. The floats themselves each have a hole on the bottom, and the floats are placed over the lights, which change colors and provide the lighting for the floats. Eventually, a separate road will be available for purchase that can replace the current road on the Main Street platform, and the new road will with the LED lights built in. The new road would be able to hold 15 to 20 floats, so you could decide which floats you wanted on the parade route at any given time.


The five floats on their base.


The pieces on the base with the lighting effect.


The lit drum. What a familiar sight.


The floats can also just sit on Main Street. (No, the princesses weren't in MSEP like that.)


A close-up of the train.


A close-up of the drum.


A close-up of the turtle.


A close-up of Elliott. Pete seems to be on holiday.


A close-up of the lightning bug.


The underside of the turtle, to show the hole in the float to fit over the LED light.


The Mark Twain (with red, white and blue bunting instead of the previous gold bunting), Plaza Pavilion and King Triton's Garden will all be re-released in February 2008. The Penny Arcade and Refreshment Corner are still expected to be re-released in Spring or Summer 2008.

The next nostalgia piece to be released (the first one was the Disneyland marquee) will be the Moonliner in July 2008. The marquee was released with three different plaques, a regular one, one for annual passholders only and one for cast members only. No decision has been made yet on whether subsequent nostalgia pieces will be similarly released. The monorail nostalgia piece is scheduled for release in 2009 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the monorails.

The other bit of really good news is that Disney has officially commissioned the Dumbo ride piece, which is expected for release in November/December 2008. The piece will not just be of the ride itself but will also include the surrounding area, including the nearby calliope, hedge and stationary Dumbo ride vehicle that's used as a photo opportunity. Hopefully, this means that we're getting closer to Disney actually commissioning all of Fantasyland, since this will be the third Fantasyland attraction (fourth if you include the castle). (Have I mentioned how much I'd love to have an Olszewski Storybookland piece?) If/When Disney gives Fantasyland the go-ahead, Olszewski Studios does plan to release a Fantasyland platform, but they're not sure how they're going to do it yet. Peter Pan is designed to be situated right next to the castle, as it is at Disneyland. Olszewski Studios realizes that some collectors will already have the Main Street platform and some collectors may only want the Fantasyland platform, so they're trying to accommodate both kinds of collectors. They have discussed the possibility of having two different Fantasyland platforms, one which would serve the need of each kind of collector, but they're still working on that.

There has finally been some movement with regard to character packs. Disney has inquired about those, but instead of releasing packs containing only several characters (like the princesses and the Fab Five), they would prefer something like the band character pack, where a group of 15 to 18 are released altogether. Included in this group could be the Main Street cast members as well as cast members for Haunted Mansion, Pirates and other attractions and/or atmosphere, and they may be available sometime in 2008. Disney has also discussed releasing a sort of vehicle pack, which could potentially include the red horseless carriage on Main Street, the corndog wagon, a lemonade stand, a churro cart, a cotton candy cart and other outdoor vending carts.

One of the things that Olszewski Studios is working on is the House of the Future. This is not a piece that would sit by itself, but it's designed to fit over the Triton's Garden piece, where the House of the Future was actually located, and where the foundation for the house still exists.

There is also good news for those who have been asking about the Walt Disney World collection. Disney is committed to re-starting that program, tentatively planning on two release events a year (possibly Spring and Fall) with two pieces released at each event. Scheduled for release in 2008 is Exhibition Hall/Tony's Restaurant and Confectionery/Hat Shop/DVC building. While some of the buildings in the Disneyland collection have hidden surprises, all of the Main Street buildings at the Magic Kingdom will have hidden features. Tony's Restaurant will have a drawing in the back that depicts the famous spaghetti dinner scene from "Lady and The Tramp". The hat shop will have a covering that lifts off to show Mickey and Minnie trying on various hats. The fire station will have a knob that turns so you can see the Norman Rockwell painting of Mickey shaking hands with a fireman. The barber shop will have a covering that lifts off to show Donald and Daisy inside with one of Donald's nephews, who is getting a haircut. The cinema (which isn't currently in use as a cinema but still maintains the facade) will have a lift-off cover that shows Mickey and Minnie watching "Steamboat Willie". Disney has also made tentative inquiries about having their Spectromagic parade done by Olszewski Studios, which would be done similar to the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland.

As the Magic Kingdom Main Street collection pieces are released, Olszewski Studios is planning on releasing a platform for that collection as well. It will actually be the same size as the Disneyland one, but because the Magic Kingdom's castle and train station are bigger and wider than Disneyland's, there will be some changes. Whereas the Disneyland platform has room for the front turnstiles, the Magic Kingdom's train station will instead be at the edge of the platform, which also means that their train route will be longer since it will need to run the entire perimeter of the platform, unlike the Disneyland one.


To date, about 650 Disneyland Main Street platforms have been sold. If you'd still like to order one, go to the Olszewski Studios website.

The painting/touch-up kit is currently being assembled and will include 15 to 18 colors as well as primer. It had previously been contemplated that the kit would also include paint brushes, but they ultimately decided against it, although there will be recommendations for what people can use. The kit will be approximately $50 and should be available in the next week or two exclusively through the Olszewski Studios website. The fourth tree accessory pack is now expected sometime in early 2008 and will also only be available through their website.

The Main Street mechanical road has officially been cancelled because it could not be made to work with the Main Street Electrical Parade floats. I would personally still love to have it so that the Main Street vehicles can move along the street, but I don't know how many others would feel the same way, and since they're also making a new road to display the parade floats, you wouldn't be able to have both roads in at the same time and changing them out would probably be cumbersome.


The Gallery of Light piece for "Lady and the Tramp" was released a couple of weeks ago, and the "Bambi" piece should be available imminently. The "Pinocchio" piece ($70), the Tinkerbell piece (with her on the blocks) ($65) and the "Fantasia"/Sorcerer Mickey piece (with Mickey at the fountain directing the brooms) ($70) will all be released at the March 29, 2008 event. Also being released that day will be the "Pinocchio" heirloom box ($75) and the "Peter Pan"/Big Ben heirloom box ($65). During the July 2008 event, other pieces in the Gallery of Light and heirloom box collections are expected to be released as well, including an "Alice in Wonderland" piece in both collections. Also in the works for release in 2008 is a Gallery of Light piece for the Tiki Room, and it's likely that the scene will be as if you're peeking into the attraction so that you can see a couple of the four main birds as well as the birds in the center and other aspects of the attraction. A second Gallery of Light piece for "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is also expected in 2008 for the 15th anniversary of the release of the film.


The Gallery of Light piece for "Pinocchio".
The detailing is incredible, and I particularly love the inclusion of Figaro.


The internal lighting creates a dramatic effect.


The heirloom box for "Pinocchio", with Pinocchio on the work bench.


The heirloom box for Peter Pan, depicting Big Ben, with Tink on top.
These two sides show the mermaids and a general view of Neverland.
I love the cloud effects at the bottom of Big Ben.


These two sides show the clockface and the pirate ship.



The first round of Disney-themed PokitPals is due to be released in January 2008, with a total of 16 being planned for release in 2008. The second round, due for release in March 2008, include one for the Matterhorn (which includes a yeti footprint), one for the castle (which includes a picture of Walt holding hands with Mickey and Minnie and fireworks overhead), one for the Haunted Mansion (with the lady in the stretch room who is holding a parasol who is then revealed to be standing on a tightrope over a dangerous animal), and one for the Ripley train. Also in the works for 2008 are PokitPals depicting the Jungle Cruise, Tinkerbell, the monorail, the submarines, the fire truck, another one for the Tiki Room, the Columbia and "Alice in Wonderland".


The next release event at Disneyland isn't until March 29, 2008, but Bob Olszewski is expected to be at the NFFC's Strictly Disneyana Show and Sale on Sunday, January 20, 2008 at the Anaheim Crowne Plaza Resort in Garden Grove. Go here for more information about the show and sale. You can sometimes find coupons for discounts off the price of general admission. Dizpins has previously offered such a coupon, so it wouldn't hurt to check them beforehand if you plan on attending.



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