An Introduction to Disney VinylmationKim Inman
written by Kim Inman, specialist in Disney Destinations from St. Louis, MO
An Introduction to Disney Vinylmation
You’ve probably heard of Disney Vinlymation but you may not know what it is all about. Here are some Vinylmation basics to get you started!
What is Vinylmation?
The name Vinylmation comes from combining the words “vinyl” and “animation.” They are 3” tall vinyl figures shaped like Mickey Mouse. There are a number of different series with particular themes. Some of them are decorated with an “Urban” theme which could include anything like a gnome to an ice cream cone. This is my son’s favorite collection! Others may include Disney characters, park attractions, and holidays. There are also 9” Vinylmation and 1 ½” Junior series but the most popular ones are the 3” figures.
How do I buy them?
Opening a new Vinylmation figure is a BIG part of the fun in collecting them! Vinylmation can be purchased in stores at the Disney theme parks, Downtown Disney and at Disney Stores nationwide; even online! Most Vinylmation are sold in solid boxes, so you don’t know which figure you have purchased until you open the box. If there are 12 figures in the series you are purchasing from, you could get any 1 of those 12 figures. There are “common” figures and 1 “chaser” in each series. Pictures of the common figures are shown on the back of the box but the chaser has a question mark because that figure is a mystery. The chaser is obviously harder to get! Some series also include “variants” which take a common figure and change something about it. For example, a Vinylmation that looks like a green apple may be a common figure, but a variant is the red apple Vinylmation. It’s a lot of fun to see what is inside the box you’ve just purchased!
Most Vinylmation series are sold in solid boxes but some are sold in “open window” boxes, meaning you can see exactly which figure you are buying.
How much do they cost?
Most 3″ figures range from $9.95 to $12.95, depending on the series. Special edition figures cost $16.95. Vinylmation figures come in cases of 24 boxes. Each case has 2 complete sets of the 11 “common” figures, the 1 “chaser”, and an additional common, known as a “filler”. Some people buy the entire case to guarantee they get every figure including the chaser, but it may take some of the fun out of collecting. It’s also no guarantee of a variant if one exists. A case usually costs around $250.
What if I get a duplicate?
You trade! If you open a box and you get a duplicate or one you don’t like, you can trade it for another. There are a couple ways to trade. Disney stores in the theme parks and Downtown Disney have trading boxes located at the cash register counter. There are two kinds of trading boxes; the mystery box and the clear box.
Mystery trading boxes are black boxes with 15 spaces. You pick a number between 1 and 15 and the Cast Member shows you the figure in that space.
Typically, the rules are if you don’t like the figure from your first pick, you can pick another number. Even if you don’t like the second figure, Cast Members will require you to trade after that second pick. I’ve had some Cast Members who don’t require you to trade so you can keep yours and try at another trading location. So, it can vary by Cast Member and trading location but just be ready to give up your Vinylmation on a trade if asked to.
Clear trading boxes are clear boxes that hold 3 Vinlymation and you can see what you are trading for. If you like a figure in the clear box, you trade yours for one in the box. The rule here is the one you are giving cannot already be in the clear box. They won’t allow two of the same figure in clear boxes. In the above picture, you can see the clear box.Vinylmation trading rules state that you get one trade in the mystery box and one trade in the clear box at each store per day. If there are multiple people in your party, each person can take a turn trading once in each box.
You can also trade online. There are online forums where people can post their trades or through social media sites. A good site for trading is Vinylmation Kingdom. They require their members to have joined the forums for at least one month and have made 50 posts or more in order to trade. You can also look on eBay for figures that you are interested in. Vinylmation series eventually get retired as new ones are released so some are harder to find and also more expensive!
How do I track my collection?
If you are collecting Vinylmation, you can keep track of them via checklists or an app on your smart phone. Mouse Vault is an app only available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Vinylmation World updates checklists that you can print out to track your collections.