Everyday Art: Vinylmation Obsession

Have you heard of Disney's Vinylmation? No? Don't feel bad. I had no idea what it was either until about two months ago. We were at Mall of America and visited the Disney Store.

My mother-in-law was letting the kids pick out a little something there and the girls fixated on these little Vinylmation characters. I had never seen these before. I thought they were a little overpriced for what they seemed to be. A little three-inch plastic figure for $12.95. And here's the kicker. It was in what they call a "blind box". So you didn't KNOW which one you were getting! WHAT! You spend $13 for 3 inches of something you may or may not like? Wow, Disney. What a racket! Yes, those were my initial thoughts. However, I softened. We have nearly 9 million stuffed animals in this house already so the fact that they were looking at something so small, I started to see the positive side to this. HOWEVER, my older daughter wanted the Nemo one. She had to have it. And both girls were getting a box. Can you see where this is going?

Here's a Disney Store display (though not the MOA store).So each one grabbed a box and we opened them right outside the store. Guess what happened? My older daughter (the one who really wanted Nemo) got...Mr. Incredible (though I still thought it was pretty cool). And my younger daughter got.....wait for it....NEMO! Actually, that was pretty much a miracle considering there are 11 or 12 they could have received. Now, my younger daughter is very sweet and she knew that her sister really wanted Nemo so she switched with her even though she didn't really like the Mr. Incredible guy. No one was devastated so we went about our day.

Well, then we made a trip to California for a family vacation. We gave each of the girls a little money to buy a souvenir and I told each of them I would buy them a vinylmation figure. Well. Even though, we saw them throughout the park, we waited until we could go to D-Street in Downtown Disney to pick out their characters. They had a HUGE selection there.
This is in front of the Tomorrow Land store at Disneyland.You wouldn't believe HOW LONG we were in that store! Ella picked two (she saved some of her souvenir money to get one) and Lily picked one. And well, I picked one too. Another tidbit about these, you can trade them! So we brought Mr. Incredible with and Lily traded him for the Toy Story Unicorn at the Tomorrow Land store. Here's our current collection:
Now, remember when I said Lily just happened to pick the Nemo one out of the box. Well, the girls picked out blind boxes from the Park #11 series. See that little guy on the left. The yellow Donald guy? Well, Lily picked him. She wasn't super excited about it so she thought she would trade it. Luckily, the store person mentioned to us that this was a VARIANT. Um, what is a variant? Yeah, apparently, Disney puts "variants" and "chasers" into their blind box series. So one in each case of 24 blind boxes is more RARE than the others. Lily just happened to pick that. And it's not just one of the rare ones, it's SUPER RARE. I told her it might be best to keep it. I looked on ebay the next morning and I couldn't believe how much that little 3 inches was worth! And HOW LUCKY Lily is. She is now picking out all my future Vinylmation purchases and I'm now referring to her as Lucky Lil'. Okay, not really. But it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

They have fun playing with these little guys too. Here is something they set up at our rental house while were were still on vacation:
 Each of their characters had a little room and a vinylmation friend.

I started actually googling all this and learning more about these figures. There are some really cute ones out there, and some really not cute ones. And it's kind of fun that you don't always know what you're getting. My older daughter and I have actually bonded over this joint obsession. I've told her everything I found out about vinylmation. And she and I have had fun looking at them in the Disney Vinylmation Vault and here at Vinylmation Kingdom. We talked about which ones we liked. She and I haven't really had something fun like this that we both liked. She is into Legos and Star Wars which is more my husband's thing. She and I have always had art in common, but nothing toy-related really. It's been really nice to have a topic I can bring up with her if I hear something new.

Now, typically, I wouldn't post all this on HERE, an art blog. I mean, I could claim that each of these little 3-inch figures is a work of art because Disney has a team of artists who work on these and create the series. And I do believe the newer series are more creative than the older ones. But all that might be stretching it just a bit. ;-) I did mention to Ella that there are artists who create the vinylmation characters. She thought that was the COOLEST THING EVER! She has long said she wants to be an artist (or a scientist) when she grows up. And I think it was kind of neat to show her a job where someone can be creative and it not be your stereotypical idea of what an artist is or what they do.

We had one weekend day to relax after we got back from our vacation before we jumped back into the craziness of our lives. And THIS (below) is how my girls spent their entire day! Seriously, they worked on this project for about 6 hours almost nonstop.

They decided they were going to create their own vinylmation series. And it would be the Pixar Series 2 (Series 1 is currently being sold at Disney Stores). We had some Color Blanks waiting to be created. They carefully thought out each character and drew an image first.
And here's the REALLY COOL thing. The girls worked TOGETHER! Seriously, these two are quite the opposites when it comes to personality. And there are times they get along, and other times they simply do not. But they spent the entire day working together on this really nicely without any fighting. It was amazing!

Once all their characters were created, they enlisted the help of my husband to create boxes for their characters. Here's what he came up with:
Here they are! Eight completed blind box vinylmations:
So now, what did we do? Why, opened them of course! We shuffled them around and everyone picked two to open.
And here's what we found:
 Sully and Boo in her purple costume from Monsters Inc.

Mittens and Rhino (hamster in the ball) from the movie Bolt (I don't think Pixar created Bolt, but the girls were trying to come up with vinylmation characters they hadn't seen before).
Dory and Squirt from Nemo
Doug from Up and a "rare" one. They didn't have a name for it. And it's not really based on a character.
Instead of the rare one above, they originally were going to make Russell from UP but I think there was a mistake on that Color Blank. ;-)
I don't even know if this post will be of interest to anyone. I just thought it was so amazing how such a creative endeavor brought our whole family together on a weekend day when typically we would all be in different parts of the house doing our own thing. I was intrigued and amazed at the amount of attention and thought my girls put into this project. I have NEVER seen them work on something for so long all at one time.