Park 8 In Depth Review

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Park 8 is the second set in a row dedicated to the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World. Great idea for WDW fans like me, but not a favorable plan for some Disneyland enthusiasts. But with four parks, 2 water parks and a ton of resorts to pull ideas from, there are no shortages of designs specific to Walt Disney World and it worked well. It also opens up the door to theme future Park sets to other resorts around the world… an idea that I would very much welcome.

The breakdown of this set gives us 4 figures from Magic Kingdom, 3 from EPCOT, 1 from Studios, 1 from Animal Kingdom, 1 from a resort, 1 from a water park and 1 generic WDW. We were also given 5 “accessories”… 2 of which are brand new ideas to Vinylmation. An artist break down shows three artists giving us 3 figures each.

Thomas Scott designed the three above. Maria Clapsis contributed these three.

And Casey Jones did these.

Overall, this set has a perfect selection of different designs. From popular attractions to niche characters to logos and even a park ticket, it has something for everybody. The production value is also top notch. As you will see, there is a lot of little detail across this set. As evident in the small, yet detailed logo of the Kilimanjaro Safari on the back of the truck and this…

That is the back of the head of the MK Park Ticket. It was one of the biggest surprises once the set was in hand. How geeky is it, but wow! I love that Thomas actually printed the writing on the back of the real ticket, onto the vinyl. So while overall, I give this set very high marks, and will break it down figure by figure, the first figure I will talk about is to me the biggest disappointment. The chaser from this set, while not my least favorite, is my most disappointing Park Series chaser. Only because what it represents, means so much to me, I had hoped more attention to detail would be payed to it. And the funny part about it, the figure has more actual detail than I think it should. Here it is.

Fort Wilderness Mickey was designed by Casey Jones. But you probably already knew that because you have seen this design before. His body is practically identical down to the detail of Casey’s brilliantly designed Davy Crockett figures.

If you follow DV closely, you know that Casey’s Davy Crockett is one of my all-time favorite figures. And I also defend the idea to produce both a 9″ and 3″ version with identical designs, just a different color tone. And honestly, my problem is less the copying of an existing design, than the fact that the Park 8 chaser is not the Mickey from the Fort Wilderness logo. Take a look at the Mickey on the official logo from Disney.

The sign that hung at the campground entrance
Another look at the logo from a sign
(picture from DisneyPins.com) When  Disney released this commemorative pin, the correct Mickey was portrayed.

I don’t think I’m splitting hairs to say that our chaser doesn’t look like the Mickey on the logo. Like I alluded to earlier, the Mickey on the logo has much less detail to it and is a different kind of outfit. From color to no belt to the shoes and even the color should be more tan than brown.

The hat has a slightly different design… look closely at the black bands. But again, its not the copying of a pre-existing design that bothers me. I’d like to know if this decision was the artist’s, because I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the higher ups who make the final decisions wanted to just push this design through instead of taking the time for a redesign.

Now, please don’t call me a hypocrite for liking both the Park 7 and Animation 2 Tinker Bell designs. There is a pointed difference between what each figure means. One is the movie version and one is the sparkly version that flies above MK. But to me, this chaser is supposed to represent the Mickey we see on the logo, and it just doesn’t. Don’t get me started on no riffle.

The 25th Anniversary Logo was designed by Maria Clapsis. The figures fit well on to the mold and I agree with the decision not to detail Genie, Simba and Lumiere’s faces.

EPCOT’s Sea Base Alpha by Eric Caszatt is a perfect niche item. The arms almost look like robots and the bubble has a great paint job.

EPCOT Center 82 is a Thomas Scott design that is perfect retro.

Eric Caszatt chimed in with a rare Vinylmation ride vehicle! The Animal Kingdom Safari Truck has so much detail and an amazing looking logo on the back. It also has a no mud variant version… but why would you want that?

Blizzard Beach is the lone water park represented. And it is done perfectly by Casey Jones with the tourist Snowman.

New to Vinylmation, but not to designing at Disney, Jon Bishop has given us a brilliant 3″ Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I so enjoy the under water and surface transition. Here is a sample of Jon’s other work:

In addition to pins, it seems he worked on some of the artwork for Star Tours and big pin trading events like Trade City a few years back.

Not my favorite figure in this set, but my favorite choice for a subject matter… it’s Buddy from the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor designed by Thomas Scott.

It’s about time we get a Horizons figure (not counting Park Starz). Casey Jones chimes in with the Robot Chef. Love the ears. The bottom of the figure doesn’t exactly mimic the real robot, but in visualizing trying to get an exact copy of the real robot onto the mold, you would probably pull other features out of proportion.

How about 100 Years of Magic? We have a few sorcerer caps now, but this one gives us a fresh take. Some would argue use of brim on the accessory hat, and maybe that shouldn’t be there, but the design from hat to head lines up perfectly… and you can’t beat that.

Maria Clapsis gave us this one. The back also has a cool Mickey head star swirl.

Maria also designed Minnie Moo. One of those obscure characters, but she did a great job on the design.

And of course got the familiar shaped spot on the side.

Then, what I think is the set’s crown jewel, the MK Park Ticket from 1981 by Thomas Scott. We were wondering if Disney would do it, and they did. Punching a hole through the ear and tying a string in it. The printing detail on the front is simply spectacular. But its the writing on the back that ices the cake.

I can’t wait for EPCOT Center!!!! In my book, this set is an instant classic. Rivals Park 4 and 7 for my top slot. What are your thoughts?

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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.

20 Comments

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  • Thanks for listing the artists. My two favorite figures in the entire set are the retro Epcot and the ticket, and it turns out they’re both done by Thomas Scott. I usually am harsh on him, but looking back, he’s awesome when he’s not doing characters. Some of my favorite urban and park designs are his. It’s just interesting that the same artist can do amazing designs with more abstract or representative designs, and then turn around and do horrible designs for characters.

    I never realized that the FW Mickey is dressed different than Davey Crockett. Casey Jones needs to stop recycling his designs in multiple series. I would kill to have his job, but it seems like he could care less.

  • I’m with Rust on the chaser. Never realized until now. Now, I don’t really care to have it.

    Good, no great, solid set. My second (and last) complaint is Buddy Boil. Really? In a stellar “retro” set, we get this guy? Why not a Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride figure for those who couldn’t, or wouldn’t pay the eBay price, get the AP Toad. Maybe even a Mission To Mars or If You Had Wings figure?

    Personally, I would have loved to see a Timekeeper 9″/3″ (9″ Timekeeper, 3″ 9-Eye) instead of the Pepto Castle Cake.

  • Hmm. I heard the sorcerers hat was the filler. I kinda hope the ticket is the filler now since I have the hat!

    • Evilos, come on? After I complimented you on all your customs (especially Tron). Most were OLD mold, right?

      Back at you Rust. Ha.

      • Brad we all liked the old mold but its gone dude, do I need to make a video to prove it? I will bury it in my front yard and have a service and everything. With a tombstone and everything….

        • If you give up on everything that you love in life, then your just a jelly brain. I like the old mold and so do others. If people keep the interest alive, there is always that glimmer of hope that Disney might bring back some old mold vinyls. I am not naive to believe they will totally throw away the new mold, but you never know.

          Think of the old mold in the sense of independent choice of health care. That’s what I grew up with love and value. Obamacare (new mold) is here and the machine wants to force it on us. But if you fight hard enough, it will go away. If you think it won’t eventually, you are naive.

          That’s all I will say about old mold today. As long as guys like Underdog and myself keep it alive, there is hope. Check Nerd Stitch and Nerd Figment. They could have just trashed the plans for them, but they didn’t. It gives me HOPE.

      • I’ve done lot of old mold customs too, but the main thing that made me a new mold fan is that they are 10x better for doing customs on.

        I for one welcome our new flat faced overlords.

  • This set is amazing! I’m a WDW local so all of the figures in this set really appeal to me. The real seller in this set for me was Buddy, which would make sense if you’ve ever seen the show! Hes an unforgettable character and the figure undeniable expresses that. The MK ticket blew my mind with the hole punch and the string through it (cant wait to see what theyll do for christmas now!) I got the ticket as the filler in my case, but I’ve heard a lot about people getting 3 100 years variants instead.

  • Over at wdw today for my anniversary and picked up a box from the new park series and believe I found a new variant from the series. My sorcerer hat Mickey has a clear bottom instead of the red. Has anyone else found this?

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