2013 D23 Expo and Disneyland Resort Rewind

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Once again, a trip to the D23 Expo was more about the experience outside the convention center than the expo itself. Sure, the expo had some memorable moments (Imagineering Pavilion, “Working with Walt” panel, live action panel celebrities and meeting fellow Disney fans just to name a few) but it was Cars Land that stole the show. Here is a brief recap of what was at the expo, with a focus on Vinylmation, but also my thoughts about Disneyland, DCA and other D23 Expo happenings.

The 2013 D23 Expo was held in Anaheim, CA from August 9-11. This time around, I went with my Once Upon a Pin Podcast co-host Rapinzel. Since we spent the first day in merchandise lines, I’ll take you from store to store to review the vinyls and some other merchandise that stood out to me.

The DREAM STORE was the event shop with logo merchandise and other Disney Parks products including Vinylmation and Pins. The line was never too long here. On the first day you could enter in under a half hour. Most of the weekend there was no line. Only a few vinyl items were sold out. Traditionally, the rest of the inventory makes its way over to Downtown Disney at DLR and WDW. Here is a list of the Vinylmation that were released here:

Angel & Devil Donald Duck
Retail Price: $29.95
Artist Name: Thomas Scott
Edition Size: 2,000

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Beauty and the Beast Set
Retail Price: $29.95
Artist Name: Caley Hicks
Edition Size: 1,500
This set was sold out at Expo.

Black & White Minnie Mouse
Retail Price: $16.95
Artist Name: Eric Caszatt
Edition Size: 2,000

D23 Sorcerer Logo’s
Retail Price: $16.95
Artist Name: Caley HIcks
Edition Size: 2,000
Yellow 3/4, LE 1500
Blue 1/5, LE 400
Clear 1/20, LE 100
These were also sold out at Expo.

Monsters University Set
Retail Price: $29.95
Artist Name: Ron Cohee
Edition Size: 1,500

Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox
Retail Price: $29.95
Artist Name: Ron Cohee
Edition Size: 1,000

Silly Symphony Set
Retail Price: $29.95
Artist Name: Thomas Scott
Edition Size: 1,000

Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story
Retail Price: $24.95
Artist Name: Thomas Scott
Edition Size: 1,500

There were various Artist Signings at the Dream Store throughout the weekend that included Vinylmation artists Thomas Scott, Caley Hicks and Ron Cohee. This is were the Marvel Vinylmation series was officially revealed though Trading Cards that were handed out.

Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Black Panther, Black Widow, Vision, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Dr. Strange, Nick Furry, a Mystery Chaser, 2 Variants, and a Combo Pack with Hawkeye were all confirmed with Thomas Scott as the artist. The Trading Card Set included 1 card for each character and a variant art card for Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, plus a checklist. October 11th was confirmed as the release date.

There were some customs around the Dream Store including the show stopping Alice in Wonderland Chess Set by Miss Mindy.

And John Henselmeier’s 9″ Sour Oswald.

Noah had a few Wild West Mickey airbrushed customs in the shop, among some other artwork. He also had a shop in the Collector’s Corner area of the expo floor where he would meet and greet with guests.

I also enjoyed a few pieces of other art work that adorned the Dream Store walls. Among those were the Disney Red Heads print by Amy Meeberson of Pocket Princess fame.

And Disney Afternoons by James Silverman.

The DISNEY STORE averaged a 2.5-3 hour wait much of the weekend. This was a small shop with some exclusive and first purchase opportunity items. They released some very limited pins and Funko Pop! as well as the Fairytale Couple product line along with Ariel and Jack Skellington merchandise. The Vinylmation released here were very coveted. The Little Mermaid Blind Box Series was released first at D23 for $12.95 per blind box. A limited release Ursula 3 Pack retailed for $39.95.

And a limited release Ursula 9″ with King Triton Jr. retailed for $80.

The Ursulas were not LE and the 9” is rumored to eventually be sold at the DisneyStore.com. The 3 Pack did sell out at the event. The Little Mermaid blind box series is now available at all Disney Stores, Online and at D-Streets.

There was also a Black and White Mickey and a Black and White Minnie. Both sold as open window for $24.95 each and were packaged with a Disney Store pin. Mickey was available all weekend at an LE of 2000.

Minnie, an LE of only 300, was released and sold out on Saturday. Mickey did not sell out and is now up for sale at the Burbank Studio Store.

WDI MICKEY’S OF GLENDALE was my most anticipated store. I loaded up on WDI pins and picked up the intriguing Vinylmation set that instantly became one of my favorite sets ever produced. Check out my full review here. The Imagineering Vinylmation set consisted of 8 figures sold in Open Window boxes behind the checkout counter. They were limited to 1000 of each design and retailed for $14.95.

David Buckley (black shirt, facing camera) and Justin Hamana (black shirt on left), a couple WDI Graphic Designers, were the artists for the set and held a couple meet and greet opportunities.

A few other Vinylmation stories made headlines over the weekend. Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story premiered. Blank is a stop motion animated series that  will consist of twelve, 3 minute webisodes and should be available soon at Disney.com/blank. It feels wrong to like it, because I understand that it is advertising disguised as entertainment and art… but what isn’t these days? It was beautiful animation and had a heartwarming story. Check out my full review here. During the Disney Interactive panel, we saw concept art and the first full episode of Blank.

Blank also had a set up on the expo floor where they played videos, talked about the making of the film and had one of the sets from the filming.

We also discovered that the Sorcerer Level D23 guests (a $1500 ticket) received a Radio Disney Ardy in their gift pack! Remember those? Ya, they did not sell out back at the Radio Disney Music Awards, but supposedly, this was the last of them they had in stock. It appears a box of Junior Pairs 2 were also among the gifts.

photo from Stitch Kingdom

Participants in the D2.3 Fun Run received a runDisney Mickey Vinylmation with a limited edition D23 medal. Although the Vinylmation isn’t exclusive, it seems this would be the only place to get that D23 medal to put around its neck. It was free to sign up and guests had the opportunity to take a 2.3 mile fun run through Disney California Adventure park on the Friday of the D23 expo, and a meet and greet with Sorcerer Mickey and Ali Vincent, host of “Live Big With Ali Vincent” and season 5 winner of the “Biggest Loser.”

Over in the collectors corner section of the expo, we saw many booths with Vinylmation for sale. We also happened upon a booth manned by custom Vinylmation artists Evilos and NRB Relic.

But the expo was not all about Vinylmation of course. In fact, for the second D23 Expo in a row, my favorite purchase was not Vinylmation or Pins! Two years ago, Mattel sold this Woody’s Roundup puppet box.

This year, Mattel sold a Buzz Lightyear Small Fry Poultry Palace happy meal box! It is amazing.

Mattel also had this Dinoco die cast set. It was very popular, but at $100 I passed.

Zoe of course freaked out all weekend because there was so much Ariel, including artwork, tees, dolls and a new Sephora makeup line.

Rapinzel was drawn to the large Tink section and picked up a nice Tinkerbell tee.

I was taken, being a manly man of course, by the Cinderella’s carriage monster truck!

This was just one of the many props and stages advertising the new Disney Infinity video game that was released this past Sunday. Thousands of guest got hands on play time with the game and if you waited in a long enough line, you got a free Disney Infinity figure.

The Disney Interactive panel unveiled a ton about the game, including a Toy Story play set and new figures that include Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Jack Skellington, Wreck it Ralph, Vanelope, Phinieas, Agent P, Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel and Sorcerer Mickey.

Like any great marketing tool, there will be variant and limited edition figures. One such figure, a special Sorcerer Mickey, was given to the guests of the Disney Interactive panel and was limited to 5,000. Sorcerer Mickey will be available for purchase in January 2014, but this one (I’ve heard two stories) either has a different pose or has silver stars and moons in the ears instead of white.

As always, there were some great costumes.

And the Waffle-inator!

Outside the convention center, Ursula was crawling out of the ground ready to shop!

But it was the Imagineering Pavilion that stole the show.

Avatar tease

Disney Springs model

Blueprints for ONE attraction

Yale Gracey’s desk mock up

Early model for Spaceship Earth

Star War tease

Early model for The Land at Epcot

After a busy weekend, the 2013 D23 Expo was over, but the fun was just getting started. Well, actually, the fun started a few hours off the plane back on Thursday. You see, although Monday was our first scheduled day to visit Disneyland, I could not wait to see Cars Land, so we went directly from the airport and were walking around Radiator Springs on day one. It exceeded every single expectation. While Radiator Springs Racers is probably my new favorite Disney attraction, the highlight was just being immersed into the interactive environment. Every detail from the movie was there. And the fact that Lightning and Mater drive down the street and talk to everyone… pure magic.

I miss eating and drinking out of cones

Very cool queue row numbers all over DLR

I got to see a real Piston Cup!

The queue for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree was a nice treat

On Monday, we did make it back to DCA where I was able to meet up again with Zoe and, for the first time, Annemarie. Vinylmation fans know her as a talented custom Vinylmation artist, and although we have known each other for two years and became very good friends, we had never met in person until this trip. Zoe, Annemarie, Rapinzel and myself had diner at Carthay Circle Restaurant that day and were treated to a very special surprise. Our table was not ready, so they gave us the Buena Vista VIP booth! Walt Disney’s daughter ate in that very booth the night before the Grand Reopening of DCA. It was the best service I’ve ever had. Amazing food, drinks and friends in the a wonderful atmosphere.

Talking about atmosphere… Trader Sams at the Disneyland Hotel. Wow, we had a blast there. The bartenders and the bar itself perform a show based on what drinks are ordered. And I left the place with two tiki themed mugs.

Besides Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, I was able to go on a few attractions for the very first time. Grizzly River Run was super fun. Even first thing in the morning while the August chill was still in the air. We found out really quick why there was no wait at park open. And I see what all the fuss is about over the Matterhorn Bobsleds (Annemarie’s favorite ride). It was so fantastic, I had to take the trip twice. Mickey and the Magical Map is a must see show at Disneyland. The soundtrack was great with good on stage performances.

What a great trip! And I met lots of great people too. I’m already missing Cars Land and my friends and looking forward to 2015!

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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.

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  • Just a note the Minnie Mouse Black & White Vinyl LE300 did not sell out on Saturday…I was at the expo and was able to buy one on sunday! :) yey

  • […] I have to quickly share with you all an artist I found at the Wonderground Gallery at Downtown Disney in California, Miss Mindy. Her focus is cartoon folk art and everything she does has a magically whimsical appeal. When I was a little girl, before Tumblr and Pinterest, I spent hours looking up art, photography, products, quotes, etc. to make collages and when I saw some of Miss Mindy’s work, I was brought right back to when I was a little girl making my collages. I envy her talent and her ability to channel magic into her work, sending you back to your childhood where you saw that same magic in the world. Here is a sample of her work, an Alice in Wonderland custom, handmade chess set! (Photos courtesy of  destinationvinylmation.com) […]