Project Z Explained (…well, our best effort to)

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Original Article by RMThompson

Update: 9/8/11 We didn’t think we would get any more teases, but just days away from the reveal of project Z, Disney released this picture:

It’s the Expedition Everest Yeti. Is this a clue that Disco Yeti will be fixed? Or a look to a whole now mold that different designs will be printed on? Maybe a set of 12 Yetis all painted up and a set of 12 tiki birds painted differently and so on? Or a line of Funko Pop! Vinyl-like figures? We will see on Sunday 9/11.

Update: 9/6/11

Final thoughts on Project Z before Florida Project

By RMThompson

Well, it’s almost time for Florida Project, and while visions of Pooh Figures and trading events dance through everyone’s heads, it’s also the time we will hear what all this PROJECT Z business is all about.

Until then though, we’re all free to speculate wildly, and since that is one of my favorite pastimes, I am here to make my FINAL Project Z Vinylmation guess… which is probably going to be WILDLY offbase, and then we can all laugh at my poor guessing skills later.

First, let’s go over the stuff we DO know:

  1. Project Z is not Park 7.

Aaaaaand, that’s about all we know for certain.

For the past few months, in case you haven’t been keeping up, we’ve been given clues from the Vinylmation team (lead by head designer Thomas Scott who is also one of the best Words For Friends players I’ve ever seen). They all started with Urban 7’s Red Telephone, the phone number of which started giving us numbers to decipher, and since then the clues have been given their OWN page on These clues have been sporadic, but one of the BIGGEST clues is the “Think outside the Mould” picture seen here:

See those seemingly random series of numbers on the right? Those are the same ones given out on the Urban 7 Telephone phone number, (doubling as a Vinylmation Info line) along with more cryptic clues! Well those are actually coordinates, and while the details of each one are interesting – the important thing to note is they ALL are rides inside various Disney parks. Some are from WDW, and others Disneyland, but there are also some strange choices… Tokyo and Hong Kong parks are represented, but with classic rides that are seen at (most) Disney Parks.

Also given out on the official page are random pictures of these rides, like this one:

Which shows a picture of Haunted Mansion, but if you look closely there are some changes; each picture has letters (some have one or a few, others have up to 4) and those letters all seem to be some combination of P – A – R – K.

So, what does it all mean? Well, we won’t know for SURE until Sunday (and maybe not even then) but until then I am going to say that this is my guess:

  1. The Z in project Z might stand for Z-Corp, who makes 3-D printers. Why is this important? Well, for one, they listed Disney as one of their customers ( and secondly, we know that Disney has messed around with some 3-D Printers, thanks to an article based on the upcoming DUFFY VINYLMATION.
  2. The letters (PARK) in the pictures, along with the coordinates and the photos, all indicate this will be a PARK based series. While this could mean it’s Park 8 (we know it’s not Park 9 based on pins we’ve seen before), it could ALSO be it’s own series called Park Z or something along those lines.
  3. I believe, and this is really the point of Project Z, that the HEADS of each figure will NOT be the same Mickey Mouse eared figure we’ve come to know and love. I think that the Z-Factor in this set will be that each figure, depending on which figure it is, will have a “custom” head to represent that figure better than Mickey Ears ever could. That means we could get a Hatbot Ghost with an actual SKULL head, or a Country Bear Jamboree with a bear head, etc. If this is the case, we could also see some AWESOME Variants, with each character having MORE than one “Head”!

Whew. So that’s it. There is some speculation that this could be the aforementioned “Duffy set” that we’ve heard about, but since we know those are based on clothings from around the world, I don’t think that’s it… it’s going to be more park oriented than this.

Until Next week though, this is all speculation… so what’s YOUR guess? Leave it in the comments!

Update: 8/9/11

Lets assume this is Park 7 and take a look at what we have. I also have word that Park 7’s under riding theme is “milestones.” So taking that information, and your comments on the coordinates, it seems as though Park 7 jumps around the world taking its cues from each major theme park, a water park and a historic spot in Disney History. Here is what we can see:

28.418723, -81.583849
Country Bears. Magic Kingdom. One of the last attractions Walt Disney worked on. Also hold significance as a WDW opening day attraction that Disneyland did not have.

22.313776, 114.038853
Golden Mickeys. Hong  Kong Disneyland. Previous to being in HK, it was a Disney Cruise Line Show. If this is it, is the artist just picking an attraction you don’t see in other parks to represent HK?

35.634565, 139.880955
Pirates of the Caribbean. Tokyo Disney. As far as my knowledge goes, not much difference between this Pirates and DLR.

28.352144, -81.573059
Blizzard Beach. WDW. If I’m going with the milestones theme, this is odd. It isn’t even Disney’s first waterpark.

28.37412, -81.546922
Mission Space. EPCOT. But he have a Mission Space figure… could this be Horizons? It’s about time.

48.870227, 2.777049
Phantom Manor. Disneyland Paris.This ride does have a different feel than its US counterparts, so a figure for this attraction can be unique.

40.749582, -73.848381
Site of the 1964 World’s Fair. This is very very cool. I like figures that point to Disney history. The ideas are endless for this one and I for one am excited.

Those are 7 figures. We already have these 3 confirmed for Park 7: Earful Tower, EPCOT 2000 and Kali River Rapids. And of course our Park 7 Explained page was early, and we noted that only 3 were confirmed, but it appears from that food picture the other day, Kitchen Kaberet may have it’s own set. Thoughts?

Update: 8/8/11 Disney posted a few more clues today. First, a lot of you are saying Park 7. Look at this:

Disney posted this folder with a Z on it.

Turn it, and part of the Z makes a P

The other part of the Z makes a 7. Hmmmmm. Also, they re-posted all the coordinates.

28.418723, -81.583849

22.313776, 114.038853

35.634565, 139.880955

28.352144, -81.573059

28.37412, -81.546922

48.870227, 2.777049

40.749582, -73.848381

Update: 8/7/11 Thomas Scott tweeted this today:

Is that Pizzafarri at Animal Kingdom? I’ll have to look up some pictures. Yep, Pizzafarri:

And Casey Jones tweeted this picture:

The Z from Horizons. Another clue? Or just a fun Z?

Update: 8/6/11 Disney posted this Z on the blog:

And what’s with the Frenchy looking guy up top? He looks like the figure from Cutesters Like You… with a makeover.

Update: 8/5/11
We found two Zs on the Vinylmation Blog today:

A Z on Disney Artist Thomas Scott’s shirt

Thomas Scott was showing off a handful of It’s a Small World Jrs.

A Z on the foot of the Adventures Through Inner Space Vinylmation

They posted this Park 4 figure as a tribute to the attractions anniversary. More numbers were posted as well:

Update: 8/4/11 As if it wasn’t crazy enough, here’s what the blog posted today! There are 19 z’s in each piece. That’s a lot of Z’s. Can some one say Sleepy? Oh, hey, isn’t there a Disney Character called Sleepy???? The number seem to point to Tokyo Disneyland again.

Also reported today, there is a new set of numbers on the telephone number. DisneyMozart says they point to a gray building in Disneyland Paris. Does anyone have more info?

Long time collectors of Vinylmation will note that Disney is a long time fan of games; when Vinylmation Jrs were first announced it came with a “game” of sorts, a scavenger hunt that led to a certain date where Steven Miller (dressed conspicuously as a spy) was giving out Jr. cards and other prizes to those that showed up. Also, a sub-quest was found (I am happy to say I figured this one out) that said “CHASER 2X”, hinting that Juniors would have two chasers… and they did.

Although it’s been awhile since we’ve seen something this fun from the Vinylmation team, this week may have started another challenge of sorts.

First, we noticed that the Urban 7 Telephone had a phone number on it, which isn’t a big deal, there are other instances where pins and even the side of one of the value hotels has phone numbers on it all with 407 area codes. Usually they lead to customer service, or a voicemail but after Urban 7 was released, we were greeted with a message that said “LISTEN CAREFULLY” and then left a series of numbers.

28.4 187 23 -81.5 83 849

What does that mean? Well a few people quickly decoded this into coordinates that work with latitude and longtitude, so after googling it real quick, we see that the coordinates are pointing directly to the center of Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Pretty neat, but really not a game or anything, just a cool Easter Egg that the team threw in.

Or was it?

Because a few days ago, when pointing out the phone number to the readers of the blog, the phone Vinylmation was sitting on top of a piece of paper with a handwritten, and completely out of place letter Z. That’s it. Just a Z.

Perhaps it was a doodle, or just someone placing their initial in the picture for fun, but then the following day the post was signed with a Z.

Now things are interesting.

After today’s blog post, we saw that they posted the coordinates above, perhaps trying to get more people to notice it, and then I called the number ONE more time to see if it had changed… and it HAD.

That’s right the new coordinates are:

22.313776 114.038853

Which directs us to Disneyland Tokyo. Also, after the new recording, the person says “Z…Z…Z…Z”.

4 Zs?

SO, what could all this mean? Is it leading up to a new announcement? Are they trying to get us to go LOOK at the locations the coordinates are pointing to (We doubt it since one of them is in the middle of a street, and the other in a roped off section of the parks).

Whatever it is, we’re on high alert looking for new clues as to what this all could mean.

If you find anything, please feel free to report it here!

I don’t know about you, but there are times when planning a Disney vacation can be overwhelming! There are so many options, where to stay, when to go, is this the best price. So, I want to introduce you all to Cindy Minor and the team at Small World Big Fun. They will help you plan your Disney vacation for FREE. Contact them today!

About the author

Nick LoCicero

Nick LoCicero has almost 20 years experience in the media industry. He has worked on numerous Disney related media projects, most know at WDWNT for WDW News Tonight. He has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1982. After moving to Orlando in the late 90's he became a passholder, developed a fascination with the history of the vacation kingdom and has spent way too much money on park merchandise.


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  • Hey guys. So the original coordinates led to right on top of the Country Bears attraction in WDW. The second set leads to Disney Land in Hong Kong. What I noticed with this, is that the building this leads to is directly behind It’s A Small World there.

    In Google Maps, I was first looking at the “pinpoint” but that’s just the next closest location, but then I saw the green arrow, that’s the exact location of the coordinate.

    I’m still not sure about the Zs but I guess we’ll see!

  • If you look more closely at the new coordinates, they point to a location that appears to be inside a warehouse outside the train loop at Hong Kong Disneyland. When compared with a park map, this is the building that houses the It’s A Small World attraction. Also, the original coordinates appear to point to the building that houses the Cointry Bear Jamboree. Not sure what those are trying to tell you, but I’m sure the buildings aren’t a coincidence. Google maps defaults to giving you the nearest address. Since neither park should have addresses for the individual buildings, it will point you to some generic location.

  • The first coordinates lead to Country Bears, not the Hub. And the second are to a specific building backstage.

  • Scot :
    If you look more closely at the new coordinates, they point to a location that appears to be inside a warehouse outside the train loop at Hong Kong Disneyland. When compared with a park map, this is the building that houses the It’s A Small World attraction. Also, the original coordinates appear to point to the building that houses the Cointry Bear Jamboree. Not sure what those are trying to tell you, but I’m sure the buildings aren’t a coincidence. Google maps defaults to giving you the nearest address. Since neither park should have addresses for the individual buildings, it will point you to some generic location.

    Exactly! Not sure about Z though 0.o

  • I pretty much figured out the whole Z thing yesterday, but I have bigger questionz now. Oh, I sill have my set of Jr Stickers Steven gave away HOW cool was that?

  • Could the Z’s somehow point to a signal of Sleeping Beauty and maybe a Princess series? Just a complete guess

  • The red phone is talking on a black phone in the picture…….. does the black variant have the same phone # ?

    • In my humble opinion and im only commenting because you are onto something. I feel (and this is only MY opinion) that the first Z was an “N” for north giving you a clue to figure out the first set of numbers as “Coordinates”.

      You are not correct about the “Foreign” part, and I applaud you for your “Out of the box” thinking.

      Now this is the last time I make any more comments on this as I feel many blogs failed to mention me by name as the code breaker the first time around and every one had a blast reporting on my find. ;)

      Now good luck to you all…

  • My guess is that the “Z” may have something to do with Zurg from Toy Story and may have something to do with the up coming Villains 2 set or a Pixar set.. who knows .. can’t wait to see what it is but I am sure it is a promotion for something..

  • How is it NOT a Z when I very clearly heard the new voicemail message say “Z… Z… Z… Z…”

  • disneymozart :okay, i just google mapped the exact location, its the snow white grotto

    How did you get that? Tried searching and found it pointed to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Tokyo Disneyland.

  • Sorry to comment twice but the next co-ordinates will be at Disneyland Paris and Disneyland CA.
    1.-Country Bears Jamboree (WDW)
    2.-It’s a small world (HKDL)
    3.-Pirates of the Caribbean(TDL)

    I don’t know the releavance to Z but so far 2 of these attractions has a set of Vinylmation. Perhaps a sneak at what sets are too come in the future for example Country Bears Jamboree set. Although to be honest I wouldn’t consider it a major attraction to produce a whole set, on the other hand there are enough characters to make up a set.

  • When I look at the new coordinates, it’s at a police building outside the gate, which is clearly the closest address… but how else can you look it up?

  • i searched the coordinates, then went to the park map, and it was in fantasy land, i dont see why it would be potc because they just released that series :D you get the pink thing or whatever color it bulb thing, and then theres a green arrow a little bit away, and it would make sense to me if it was snow white grotto :D

  • The new coordinates from the phone number point to the Phantom Manor building at Disneyland Resort Paris.

  • the wiki link shows black letter Z as a number 3 (z) x 4 = 12 i wonder if this is pointing to a new series of 12 park figures?

  • The number now has new coordinates: 48.870227, 2.777049 pointing to the Haunted Mansion at Euro Disney…

    Anyone else seeing a trend here? They have us bouncing all over the “small world” following these clues…

    • Also wondering… there are 11 rows of 19 “Z”s…. Perhaps 11/19 for the date of some kind of giveaway or event? Or maybe 11 is irrelevant and their using 19 “Z”s to point to the D23 Expo beginning August 19th, we’ve been hearing rumors of Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, and Small World all being released at the expo…

      • so this is my though on the matter, its eleven rows of zs, right…how many images are released before the actual release date, 11…im thinking that this is leading up to a release of a series on the new mold that they really want to sell well so they are building the hype :D

  • Why does the news set of coordinates point to the Blizzard Beach just inside the entrance? I was totally expecting Disneyland CA.

  • My bad…. Its 1510 ave of the stars, epcot center merchandise office & reedy creek emergency service center.

  • My newest guess is that they are pointing to trade boxes, begging people to go up them and ask for Z.

    Then they will give them Zazu chasers from Lion King! LOL

  • I really don’t think the coordinates should be taken more literally than the area of the park they point to. For example when I entered the first coordinates I got the hub area not country bears. Each GPS site might interpret the “spot” differently. Project Z is leading to a D23 Shanghai announcement? or a set related to all the parks?

  • VK Matt :I really don’t think the coordinates should be taken more literally than the area of the park they point to. For example when I entered the first coordinates I got the hub area not country bears. Each GPS site might interpret the “spot” differently.
    Oh and as Kaitlyn said when using Google maps the green arrow is the exact location.

    Using all of the websites with the same co-ordinates I get the same place everytime. Of which are clearly pointing to a certain attraction (with the exception of Blizzard Beach).
    Although it may not be the attractions we should be looking at, and as you said maybe the area of the park or the park itself.

  • okay, so this is a failed attempt at figuring out a clue… on aug 4th they posted 11 sets of 19 zs… it ook this temporarily to mean 1911…the year walt moved to kansas city, mo … so i decided to give the kansas city, mo disney store a ring… the lady was very helpful, she even went to get the managers knowledge, but they dont think that they are participating…so yeah, that was a fail :D

  • I think the z’s have something to do with Professor Z from cars. The points around the globe correlate to the movie since the cars were in different countries racing. I am thinking it points to a Cars 2 series coming out.

  • I keep focusing on the letter Z. My guess is that it has something to do with a letters of the alphabet series coming out (how cool would it be to spell your name). The only problem is that there are 24 slots in a Vinylmation case, but 26 letters in the alphabet. Maybe Z is a special open box letter (and Q/X are the variant chaser in the box?).

    I’m totally making all of this up, but it would be pretty awesome, wouldn’t it.

  • Since Thomas Scott has a “Z” on his shirt, maybe Disney is introducing a new club like D23 called “Z”. It will be a club for members who like to follow twitter feeds and email updates pertaining to GPS locations at Disney Parks worldwide.

  • The corrdinates points to different disney parks around the world right? And we just had urban 7 come out. So Z in greek means “Zeta (uppercase Ζ, lowercase ζ; Greek: ζήτα Modern Greek: [ˈzita] zíta) is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 7!!!. It was derived from the Phoenician letter Zayin . Letters that arose from zeta include the Roman Z and Cyrillic З (Ze)” so im guess all the corrdinates are going to be the new PARK 7!!!!

  • I just called the phone # on the Red Telephone today – August 8 – and there is a new message about the release of the Cars 2 vinylmation set. It is an open edition set of Lightning McQueen and Mater, $26.95, at both D-Street 8/26 and online 9/2. The message then refers to the Vinylmation Blog in regards to all the Project Z info being there for you.

  • The “two” new coordinates point to Epcot’s Mission Space, however confusingly the next one points a car park near to Arthur Ashe Stadium(Tennis) in NY.

  • Other co-ordinates include…
    Expedition Everest (AK) milestone maybe that it is the first Disney roller coaster to have a backwards section???
    Pooh’s Playful Spot (MK) Which would indicate another vinyl based on 20,000 Leagues Under the sea.

    • Sorry, have to say no to the Expedition Everest milestone — the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril roller coester in Disneyland Paris went backwards long before EE opened. :/ Perhaps this is a throwback to the Matterhorn? In that EE is almost a ‘sequel’ to the Matterhorn (which is a milestone in its own right being Disney’s first roller coaster) with EE then being Disney’s first *sequel* to one of its attractions. I don’t know, I’m probably overthinking this. Just gets me so excited. :P

  • Anyone seen the Vinylmation Blog lately? At the bottom of the post about 9″ Merlin and Bolt there is a “Z”. This “Z” is hyperlinked, and when you hover over it, it mysteriously says “follow the shadows”, when clicked it takes you to the Project Z page with all of the coordinates on it… One set of coordinates (the set pointing to Tokyo Disney) is now hyperlinked as well!!! The link takes you to a picture of the POTC scene with the prisoners reaching for the key. Disney has photoshopped the key with a ghostly extension making it resemble an upside down “P” in some kind of script, and the spiderwebs above the cell create a letter “Z”. Also, much more subtle, there is a “Z” in the rock on the upper left-hand corner of the picture. This could point to the P7 set that we have all been expecting lately, or the “P” could stand for something else… It is in the Pirates ride… but it’s too soon for a Pirates 2 release. Maybe not the Park 7 set, but rather the release of some 9″ Pirates?(maybe we could have a 9″ redhead!!!). Then again, this could all be smoke and mirrors, there is a P+Z in the picture, probably standing for Project “Z”, which we are all well aware of at this point. I’m not sure yet what it is, but I’m intrigued and excited!

  • Kieran Ward :Sorry, have to say no to the Expedition Everest milestone — the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril roller coester in Disneyland Paris went backwards long before EE opened.

    True, but only for four years. So I guess again and say the milestone is it’s the most expensive rollercoaster disney have ever built, and I think in the world as well.

  • They are now adding the photos slowly of all these land marks on on the Z page. Right now they have Country Bears, POC, and Small World :-)

  • If you click on the folder image it will take you to a blueprint like picture. This includes the outline of the new mold vinyl scratched over with a white marker, a postitnote saying “Think outside the mold this time” signed by Z. As well as the artists names Casey Jones and Thomas Scott, plus the original coordinates.

    Maybe the old mold returning?

  • On the page that shows photos of some upcoming figures, as seen at D23. “We shared four figures from Park #7 (which, contrary to semi-popular belief, is not Project Z).” So there you go PROJECT Z IS NOT PARK 7, its going to drive me mad again.

  • Check out this video on YouTube:

    3D color model printing….. What do you think??? Duffy? A whole new way of doing customs? Maybe this allows them better contol on color than a molded vinyl. Maybe they will reveal this set by printing them before your eyes! Disney is listed as a customer…..

  • I’m on board with the Zcorp theory. It looks like Disney could put these in their DStreet stores and even have an online ordering method where customers could upload their own custom images, or pick from a pre-designed set of pictures to have their own unique figures, or “open edition” figures printed right in front of them on demand at the locations or via the online disney store. On the down side, this could flood the market with customs.

  • okay, everyone is getting on board with the zcorp thing, but i was looking at the article, and it was published in 2008, and i dont really see the correlation with the two being that they been customers for 3 years now. im just saying that im not in total agreement with the zcorp theories.

  • If you look at the linked attraction pictures on the vinylmation website there are shadows that seem to be the shapes of vinylmations with different feet/arms or heads. also on the blue print in the folder the head and left arm are scratched off. In the pirates attraction picture the cob webbs in the back seem to be photoshopped to make a skull. It seems as though this park series will make use of the fact that the new vinylmation body is more customizable and we will see variations with different head arm or feet shapes. This is my best guess.

    p.s. Not sure of the significance but the opera house photo in addition to the photoshopped shadow behind the light has photoshopped sunglasses on the tragedy mask.

    p.p.s. My first thought when I saw all these attraction pictures was “I hope we are getting display scenes for the vinylmations” e.g. the figment vinylmation could have a balloon to sit in…This isn’t my guess, the above is, this was just a wild dream, haha

  • I’ll make final judgement after the event. If it is (And we can assume from the photo) that these are character specific molds, then this whole time we’ve been chasing POP vinyl figures. I’m still excited to see what the final product is. But I won’t make a final decision until:
    1. I see what exactly the figures look like
    2. How they’ll be utilized.
    3. Price
    4. Will these replace the “new mold” and “old mold” or will these be a 3rd mold for the figures.

  • I think this is awesome. Since Vinylmation is just Disney copying Kidrobot, it makes more sense for them to expand beyond just a Mickey mold. The regular Mickey vinylmation is Disney version of Dunny, but Kidrobot has a bunch more different vinyl styles. I’d love a set of stylized character figures of park attractions, and am very excited for this expansion. I’m glad the vinylmation brand is expanding beyond the Mickey mold and can’t wait to see what the future brings. This new style in no way cheapens or lessens the Mickey mold style figures.

  • I posted this on a other message board and want to share it with you as well.

    These have absolutely nothing to do with vinylmations. They were just marketing it to fans of the vinyl world. Project Z will not replace the mickey mold and each figure will not have its own series of different art work. My guess is this line will be called Park StarZ (hence Project Z). As mentioned earlier it will be its own set of 11 and, again im guessing, will be blind box with possible chases and variants…..more on that below.

    I think some of you who are associating these with vinylmations are not aware of the vinyl world. Vinyl obviously refers to the material of the figure, but not always is it one mold with different art work. Understandably, most people make that assumption based off the very popular and long running Kidrobot Dunny’s (circa 2004), which is what Vinylmations is based off….one mold, different designs


    Here is the part I think is being missed. About 2-3 years ago, a style of toy called “deform” became big. It is a style where the head becomes enlarged (like a bobblehead) and the body is shrunk. The reason being, the head/face is the most notable and recognizable feature of a person. This toy craze started, and again, Kidrobot had their hand in the popularity and has become a smash hit with vinyl collectors…..hence why Disney is targeting us. Here are 4 of the most popular lineups

    South Park


    Family Guy



    As you can see they come in blind boxes. There are different odds of getting different characters. Best odds for main characters, lower odds for secondary characters, usually one chase per case, and even rarer is the variant. Here is a picture of the simpsons checklist….notice the infamous black out figure with the question mark…..wonder where ive seen that before?


    And here is the variant of the main Simpsons characters….. these were from series 2.

    So again, my thought is this will be its own lineup of blind boxed figures, each being sculpted to match the character. Nothing to do with vinylmation other then the same target audience.

  • I still prefer the Traditional vinylmations… but I just might have to get some of these other new vinyl’s coming out.. I’m headed down in a month… Can’t wait to see them in person!

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