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Thursday Treasures

February 10, 2011 by Shelby Sawyer

"I hope we never lose sight of one thing - it was all started by a mouse." -Walt Disney

This famous quote probably best defines one of the key elements of the now infamous Vinylmation. If you've been to the parks in the past few years you may have seen them in the many merchandise locations that sell them. They are almost always displayed in a clear case right above it's corresponding trays. They were originally available only in blind box form, you don't know which of the twelve designs you would get (eleven are known the 12th is the mystery chaser).  

Painting vinyl figures has been a craze for some time now ranging from action figures to designer vinyl toys that typically use a single vinyl shape to host a plethora of designs. Vinylmation provides an additional sentimental value to the creativity that can be displayed on vinyl figures. Vinylmation is actually a combination of the words "vinyl" and "animation," thusly bringing the animated characters from childhood onto an affordable collectable in a new way. As an art student and Disney obsessed, I found this concept of combining Disney with this art form to be very appealing. I tried to resist this new collectable for some time but, silly me, I ended up with a full-fledged obsession! What's not to love about conforming all of those Disney (and non-Disney) themes to a Mickey-shaped vinyl? It's one of the greatest homages to Mickey Mouse and the start of the Disney Company possible. Plus, you can take it home to enjoy (Much like From Screen To Theme)!

When Vinylmation started to come out, it started in pin form. The blind boxes were first available and then Create Your Own white blank vinyls came out. In the picture above are two vinyls I have made. The Minnie Mouse is in a Mouse Gear costume and then I used a clear yellow (from the clear series) to create Ray. Then the blind box sets became available and for about a year that was the only way Vinylmations were available for retail purchase. Slowly trading began and "open box" sets and special addition pieces were available. Whenever you know the design before you buy it due to the window on the box it is called an "open box." The biggest factor that led to the increase in Vinylmation collecting was trading in stores with cast members.

Let's face it, if you want one particular design, or even a relatively narrow range of designs, it is not in your wallet's best interest for you to start blind boxing for them. Once trading with cast members began it almost guarantied that you would at some point be able to get the figures you want. It

was a major factor in what made Disney Pins so incredibly popular! You are never "stuck" with unwanted vinyls or pins. You can always find something you will want to trade for. 

Unlike the pin trading where there are very few times when there are "mystery traders," Vinylmation often gives you a choice of either "mystery trading" or "clear box trading". In most locations that trade there is a clear case that usually holds three vinyls that you can see. These are the "clear box trading." Then there is either a 24 or 15 count black box. This is the "mystery trading" box. Sometimes it is behind or under the counter, so you may have to ask for it. The rules vary from location to location but the general gist of it is you get to choose a number and you trade for whatever that vinyl is. On occasion you will get cast members that allow you to pick again if you don't like the number you picked. Be sure to ask the cast member about it before hand! This is a great way to help build a fabulous collection of designs you love while still getting the thrill of opening blind boxes. 

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