June 28, 2010

Toy Story (Play)Land

Toy Story Playland is a land that will be opening soon in Walt Disney Studios Paris and in Hong Kong Disneyland. They will be exact lands, but the layouts will just be opposite.



During Mickeys Magical Party in 2009, information was leaked about an expansion of Walt Disney Studios Park, the resort later confirmed this. The new Pixar themed land will help promote Toy Story 3. The land is designed to "shrink the guest" down to being the size of a toy, and to play in Andy's Backyard with his toys from the movies. It will do this through using highly immersive theming, using bamboo to act as giant blades of grass surrounding the area, the use of many themed props and characters from the Toy Story movies such as a giant Buzz Lightyear, a giant Rex, an oversized paper plane and a large ball from the first Pixar short, Luxo Jr. The land will also feature many photo opportunities. Construction of the land started in late 2009 and is currently progressing well. The new land is scheduled to open in August 17, 2010. The land has been built to the back of Toon Studio, on the right hand side of Walt Disney Studios Park, behind the Art of Disney Animation. The land will open in August 2010, during the New Generation Festival. It has been rumoured that the hugely popular Toy Story Midway Mania attraction may be built here in a few years time.

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Hong Kong Disneyland will feature an almost identical land, named simply Toy Story Land. The land will be themed identically; using bamboo to act as giant blades of grass surrounding the area, the use of many themed props and characters from the Toy Story movies such as a giant Woody, a giant Rex, an oversized paper plane and also a large ball from the first Pixar short, Luxo Jr. The land is being built to the back of Adventureland, on the right hand side of Hong Kong Disneyland, behind Fantasyland. Its area will open in September 2011, after the release of Toy Story 3. It has been rumoured that the widely popular Toy Story Midway Mania attraction may also be built here. It has also been rumoured that the widely popular Toy Story: The Musical show, currently found on ships of the Disney Cruise Line, may be built here too. It also for Hong Kong Disneyland's 5th anniversary new land.

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Both lands will feature the same three attractions: RC Racer, Slinky Dog’s ZigZag Spin and Toy Solider Parachute Drop.

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Pictures and Information From DLRP Magic, WDS Fans, and Theme Park Review

June 26, 2010

Weekly (Pin) News

Let's begin today's WPN with a couple pictures from reader Greenhpper's trip to Disney Trading Night last night. She's brought back some pics of some upcoming Special Edition 3in Figures and their tins. (For more information and pictures from DTN be sure to check out Vinylmation Station and/or the Disney PinCast.) 

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While at D-Street yesterday for the release of the Condiment Set (which DID NOT sell out) she noticed new designs around the ceiling of the store, previews of upcoming figures. (For more individual pictures various figures, be sure to check out Vinylmation Station

group shot

Onto some pin previews (only two). The first is a preview of an upcoming Open Edition pin, similar to many of the other Grape Soda cap pins, inspired by the Pixar film, UP.


Another Pin Preview is of an upcoming Tiki Vinylmation pin. (Presumably in a Park Series?)


Finally, we have some Vinylmation Previews from the Vinylmation Blog. We have two Adventureland-inspired figures, a tiki and a Dole Whip.VMBlog_20100623_Tiki


For more information on upcoming Pins and Vinylmation Figures, be sure to visit the Vinylmation Station and the Disney PinCast.

June 24, 2010

Vinylmation Connection: Toy Story

As a conclusion for this Month of Toy Story we will be doing our Vinylmation Connection to this past month. Originally having only four Vinylmation figures for this feature this week, but on Tuesday with the release of the WHOLE Toy Story Series at the most recent Disney Store “Imagination Park” in Montebello, CA, we now have a WHOLE SET to do a Vinylmation Connection with.

Let’s start at the ‘beginning’ (well… kinda)! The first Toy Story themed figure that was released as a Vinylmation was the Little Green Man from the Toy Story movie series, this figure was a rather popular one. Released as apart of Park Series #2, this three-inch figure was released in Spring 2009, and is now retired, and guests no longer have the ability to purchase from Disney at Park stores, or Online.


The second Toy Story-inspired figure was released in Early 2010 as apart of the Big Eye series, an open-windowed, 3 Inch, Open Edition set. This Buzz Lightyear-inspired figure has the face placed on the back, like the rest of the set, and the head and arms of the figure is Clear, and is inspired by Buzz’s helmet.


The other two Toy Story-inspired figures were released recently, in Early June 2010, as apart of the Thomas Scott’s Vinylmation Jr. Series #2. This series is know as a ‘Character Color Block’ Series with no distinct faces, just various colors and designs that represent the figure. These 1.5-inch figure/keychains are also popular.

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The final Vinylmations that are featured today are the most recent ones, released just at the beginning of this week, the Toy Story series. This set of 12 three-inch, blind-boxed figures is the first set to be solely based on a single movie, and not various themes. The set is also the first set to have ‘additions’ to the figures, such as hats for Woody and Jessie, a Helmet for Buzz Lightyear, and a horn for Buttercup.

Here are pictures of the whole set, all 12 figures (including the chaser). (For More Information on this set, be sure to check out Vinylmation Station or VMStation on Twitter)


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Bullseye      Jessie      Wheezy

BigBaby      Lotso      Buttercup


The set features:

    1. Woody
    2. Buzz Lightyear
    3. Jessie
    4. Bullseye
    5. Green Army Man
    6. Rex
    7. Wheezy
    8. Hamm
    9. Lotso
    10. Buttercup
    11. Big Baby
    12. Evil Dr. Porkchop (Chaser)

It is also rumored that there are two 9-inch figures for this set, including a Evil Emperor Zurg figure and a Little Green Man figure that will be released at a later date (to be announced, not official).

This final Vinylmation is a Vinylmation that will be coming out soon. It will (rumored) to be apart of Park Series #5, the 3-inch figure is inspired by the Buzz Lightyear AstroBlaster attraction in Disneyland.


Remembering back to the beginning of the month, we DID do a quick series on the various Buzz Lightyear attractions, here they are, incase you missed it.

Pictures and Information from Official Vinylmation Website

June 22, 2010

GDP Special Report: Interview with an Archivist

Recently I had a fantastic opportunity to ‘interview’ Chief Archivist of the Walt Disney Company, Dave Smith. And I found it fitting that I should post this great interview on his 40th Anniversary of working at the Walt Disney Company, today, June 22th. I really hope you enjoy this great opportunity that I was allowed to have.


GDPinvestigation (GDP): What did you do before you came to the Walt Disney Company as Chief Archivist?
Dave Smith (DS): I was a librarian, first at the Library of Congress, then at UCLA.

GDP: Did you do anything for the Walt Disney Company before becoming Chief Archivist?
DS: Nope, I’ve had the same job for the past 40 years (my anniversary is on June 22nd).

GDP: How did you get the job of Chief Archivist of the Walt Disney Company?
DS: Essentially, I was in the right place at the right time when Disney needed someone to make some sense out of its history. I actually proposed the idea to Disney; they liked my idea and hired me. I never realized it would turn into a 40-year job.

GDP: How often do you get items for the archives?
DS: Daily. We are constantly getting new materials from all over the company. Most of our files are paper files—documents, correspondence, press releases, employee publications, etc.—since most of our users come to us searching for information. They are not usually looking for objects. But we have objects too—merchandise samples, awards, books, props, costumes, etc.

GDP: What is your favorite thing about being the Chief Archivist of the Walt Disney Company?
DS: It is an honor to be the archivist of a company that has meant so much to so many people over the years. When you work for Disney, you can go almost anywhere in the world, tell someone who you work for, and get a smile on his or her face. How many other companies can claim that?

GDP: With so many archives, I’m sure it’s hard to choose, but what is your favorite archive?
DS: My favorite pieces are those relating to Walt Disney himself, as these are things that most collectors cannot hope to have themselves. I treasure a drawing that Walt did on the back of a post card he wrote to his mother when he was 15 years old.

GDP: How does a piece get to be in the archives of the Walt Disney Company? Is it everything or are you selective?
DS: Oh yes, we are very selective. We have learned over the last 40 years what type of materials our users are going to be wanting, so that helps us know what we need to save.

GDP: Are you the only person who works in the official archives? Or do you have staff that help you?
DS: There is currently a staff of 8 in the Archives, though it started with just me in 1970.

GDP: Since this site is about Disney Collectibles, in particular Pins and Vinylmations, do you collect Disney Pins or Vinylmations? If so how and when did you get started?
DS: I don’t personally collect any Disneyana, though I have a few things at home—mainly books and service awards. The Archives does indeed collect pins, and we have tens of thousands. We get a sample of each pin as it comes out. We have not yet begun collecting Vinylmations, but we are starting to put together a sampling.**

GDP: In regards to pin trading, does the archive try to get one of every pin since the formal start in 1999? Or just a few key ones?
DS: (See Previous Question)**

GDP: With the new Vinylmation craze, do you have any new Vinylmations in the Archive?
DS: (See Previous Questions)**

GDP: Do you have any other collectibles in the Archive?
DS: We have samples of Disney merchandising going back to the 1930s.

GDP: What is the one ‘subject area’ that has the most in the archives? Parks, Movies, or something else?
DS: We’ve never really counted boxes or files—parks and movies might be fairly even.

GDP: Who comes to use the archive as research?
DS: The Archives is only open to researchers from within the Walt Disney Company, though, when we can, we do answer questions we receive by phone, email, and regular mail.

GDP: Since you have written in a lot of publications answering fan questions (in Disney Magazine, and D23 FanFare are just a few), which would you say is the strangest question asked? If there is one particular one.
DS: We get a lot of strange questions, but the strangest might have been: How much does Walt Disney World weigh? Actually, there is a reason for the question, as the Magic Kingdom is actually built on the second floor, i.e. the Utilidor tunnel system, which is itself built on top of the ground (because of the high Florida water table). Thus, it would have weight, but I have no idea how anyone would ever measure it.   

GDP: What is your favorite Disney Movie? Disney Character?
DS: Of the early movies, I like Pinocchio; of the more later ones, I like Beauty and the Beast. My favorite character is Pluto—I like dogs.

GDP: What is your favorite Disney Resort around the world? Why?
DS: This question is harder to answer. I grew up with Disneyland, so have a fond place in my heart for it. In Florida, I like Epcot. And foreign Disney park—I love Tokyo DisneySea.

GDP: Which Disney Attraction is your favorite Disney attraction (that is presently in a park anywhere around the world?
DS: No question: Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.

GDP: What is your favorite ‘extinct’ attraction?
DS: America Sings at Disneyland; it was not only a fun attraction, but a cool place to sit and relax during a hot day visiting the park.america--AGDP: As we finish up this interview and you belonging the company for 40 years, what has been your most memorable part of the 40 year career that you have had in the Walt Disney Company so far?
DS: Getting to know and work with so many Disney Legends, people who were responsible in getting the company where it is today.

GDP: And finally, as a major part of this blog lately is about the Walt Disney World Fantasyland Expansion, are you looking forward to the new Walt Disney World expansion? If so, which portion are you most excited for?
DS: I am always excited to see enhancements in the parks. The Imagineers are always thinking of great new projects.

GDP: Thank you Dave for taking the time to do the interview with us, here at GDPinvestigation, I’m sure many of our readers will enjoy and appreciate this, and congratulations on your 40 year career.

June 21, 2010

Then & Now Pinvestigation: The Orange Symphony Swings

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The Orange Stinger opened with Disney’s California Adventure as one of the only attractions in the park, on February 8, 2001. It was an off the shelf Zierer Wave Swinger enclosed in a large orange and themed as bees. Riders swung on suspended seats inside the enclosure which offered views of nearby Paradise Pier and Paradise Bay through large openings in the walls. These openings were made to look like peeled sections of an orange peel. The original bumblebee seats were removed on February 10th, 2001 due to damage during use. After removal, the seats were unthemed swing seats. Initially an orange scent effect was introduced into the attraction giving it the smell of a 'real' orange, but was later removed because it attracted real bees.The giant orange peel was a tribute to the orange fields that Disneyland was built on.


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Closing in mid-2009, the Orange Stinger was overhauled as apart of the ‘California Adventure Expansion/Re-Do’. Many ideas were thought of to re-theme the Orange Stinger, like a Gepetto Puppet attraction, or Little Green Man Claw attraction, but still keeping the swings. The final theming settled on was the Silly Symphony Swings, inspired by the Disney Short, ‘Band Concert’.

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Themed to Disney's The Band Concert, conductor Mickey Mouse conducts the attraction from high atop, synchronized with the music. Although "The Band Concert" was not part of the 'Silly Symphonies' film series, the name was applied to the attraction due to its apparent symphony storyline. Closely following the plot of "The Band Concert" the main column of the ride rises revealing a tornado which spins the riders to the tune of the William Tell Overture and William Tell's "Storm". Once the tornado safely passes, the music comes to an end and the ride slows and lowers riders to the ground. It is speculated that the new voice of the Silly Symphony Swings is that of the fictitious Mr. Tinkershmidt, the supposed new owner of Paradise Pier. Tinkershmidt and the Silly Symphony Swings update is part of the multi-year, $1.1 billion expansion plan for Disney's California Adventure Park. Previews of the attraction are offered at California Adventure's Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar.


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The attraction was originally slated to replace the Orange Stinger on May 28, 2010. Although the attraction soft opened on May 28, 2010, it had an Official Grand Opening on June 11, 2010.

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Pictures and Information from MiceAge, Yesterland, and PinPics