I think a lot of people have been a bit skeptical/apprehensive about the release of Park Starz. A new mold? No… twelve new molds? A weird, wacky new design? Crazy! WE ARE CREATURES OF HABIT, WE DON’T LIKE CHANGE.
This is human nature, obviously, and a not an uncommon reaction. It seems like a slippery slope to introduce an entirely new line of Vinylmation, and I can understand and agree with the hesitation to embrace it. Vinylmation is already overwhelming. I’m fairly new to it, and I have a pretty good collection (I think) so far… but there is so much Vinylmation out there that I don’t have. The only way to keep myself sane (and out of the poorhouse) is to limit the collections and series I buy.
This is why Park Starz appeals to me. I like the idea that I can begin collecting these now, and collect them all. I’m an artist myself, so I appreciate the artsy-stylistic approach Thomas and Casey have chosen for these figures. It makes them unique and interesting. I’m not going to spend too much time talking about Series One, because the purpose of this article is to speculate about the awesome possibilities for Series Two… and beyond!
A quick mini-review of Series One for me, though: I LOVE them. I bought a case sight-unseen, except for the photos we’ve seen over the past month or so. I took my case home and opened them one by one. It was like Christmas morning, my husband and I had so much fun. They were smaller than I expected, as most people have been saying, but their small size has grown on me (especially with the possibility of adding to them year after year!) My chief complaint is that they’re pretty much all top-heavy, which makes a few of them a little difficult to stand securely. I realize changing this would change the design style, and I don’t want that at all, but maybe something to think about in the next batch… to somehow make the bottoms of them a bit heavier, or even to give them stands or something? Just a thought. My favorite is Big Al. Best surprise was the Giant Squid… I was not expecting to love him as much as I do. And my least favorite is the Funmeister. Probably because I have no idea who he is, being a Disneyland West Coast girl. (Or maybe because he reminds me of Lucky Charms. There, I said it.) Not to diss him, though, I absolutely love the idea of choosing extremely obscure characters to make these figures from. They appeal to only hardcore Disney Parks fans, and that’s how it should be!
This leads me into the crux of this article… my personal hope for some more original Disneyland-only characters (we only have one in this series, Abe Lincoln, who I’m assuming is from “Great Moments” at Disneyland, but he can also found in the Hall of Presidents at WDW!) This series has many more WDW-specific characters than Disneyland, which I get, because obviously there are way more characters at WDW because of the sheer square-footage over there. Don’t get me wrong, I love Walt Disney World, and I entirely expect to get more characters from it, but my hope for Series Two is MORE DISNEYLAND LOVE!
Let’s start with Harold, the Abominable Snowman from the Matterhorn.
This seems like a really obvious choice, and given the abundance of WDW characters to choose from in Series One, I’m kind of surprised they didn’t choose him over the Yeti from Expedition Everest. Harold is the ultimate Disneyland Park Star, and I’d love to see him turn up in a future series.
The “Partners” Statue has been mentioned as a possibility, but I really doubt they’re going to go there, as it’s not really a character; less of a Park Star than a monument. You never know, but that’s just my feeling on it. So I say give us Walt Disney himself! We don’t have any actual Walt Vinylmations yet, and there’s never been a better opportunity than now to give him his own mold, perhaps a Mickey plush accessory, and a spot in the Park Starz series. Let’s remember, Disneyland is the only park Walt himself walked in, so he could of course be a Disneyland Park Star!
Sam the Eagle from “America Sings” would be another fantastic Disneyland-specific choice.
He already has his own Vinylmation but so does Big Al and they did just a great job with him in Series One. Sam’s right-hand owl Ollie, or better yet: the Pop Goes the Weasel would be great Park Starz as well.
I’m going to divert for a moment to elaborate on what I think would be a great model for the Park Starz series. M.C. and Nick mentioned in a recent podcast that it would be a good idea for each series to have another Small World kid/animal duo, and I agree this would be a great idea. Going along with this theme, a new Country Bear in each set would work wonderfully. Might I suggest Teddi Barra or Henry for the next set? Or even a new America Sings character? There are many to choose from, and WDWers would enjoy seeing characters they will recognize having made their way to Splash Mountain as well! If each series sort of mirrored the last, I think that would make it fun to collect and guess what each series will contain.
On to some more possible Future Park Starz!
-I’m a HUGE Captain EO fan, and was hoping for a Captain EO character in Series One. Captain EO himself, or any of his sidekicks (i.e., Hooter) would be cool.
-Captain Rex, the bumbling pilot from Star Tours.
-Bathing Bertha from Jungle Cruise, among other jungle possibilities.
-The Goat with the dynamite in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
-We already have the Dog with the keys from Pirates of the Caribbean as a Mickey-shaped mold, but I think he deserves his own Park Starz mold at some point.
-Indiana Jones is a must as well, from the Hollywood Studios’ stunt show, as well as from Disneyland’s Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
-The Brer characters from Splash seem a little obvious, so how about Mr. Bluebird instead?
-Benny (or “Lenny”) the Cab would be an AMAZING Park Star. (This is coming from the biggest Roger Rabbit fan around, and technically he’s a ride vehicle in Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, but he’s also a character himself, so I think they could make it work.) Speaking of Roger, how do we not have ANY Roger Rabbit character vinylmation yet, outside the custom realm? I imagine there may be some copyright issues, but come on, Disney. Get on that.
-Max, Buff, or Melvin, the animal heads on the wall in Country Bear Jamboree would be a great opportunity to get creative: maybe each could have a little hanger on the back to display on your wall?
-The Tiki Gods in the Enchanted Tiki Room, particularly Pele, would make awesome molds, and could be a continuing series like the Country Bears or Small World figures in Park Starz. (On another note, I thought a cool variant[s] for Series One would have been different tiki birds representing Fritz, Michael, and Pierre. They can keep the same mold but change the color. It would be really neat to have all four of the Tiki Room hosts!)
A big thing for me in upcoming Park Starz would be to not see too many “cheats,” say a character that is in the parks, but is also a character in their own right (for example, Brer Rabbit, or Mr. Toad). I hope they stick with Park-only characters, or at least ones obscure enough not to be immediately recognizable as a non-Park-only character.
There are some fantastic opportunities to get creative with Park Starz. Yes, they’re different, a little wacky, and a bit more expensive, but I think they’re amazing collectibles and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
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