Tuesday, June 7, 2011

So That's Where the Toys Come From!

I am a big merch fan. Luckily I'm not rich or every time I travel, go to a concert, or, especially, go to a theme park, I would emerge weighted down in armfuls of merchandise. I have been pretty good about setting limitations for myself.

Usually, when I go to a Disney Park, I come armed with some pins to trade and I'll get a new lanyard. Then I'll buy one t-shirt. On my first Disneyland jaunt, I came home with the awesome black Haunted Mansion New Orleans Square shirt with the classic hitchhiking ghosts poster design. My last trip to Disney World, I got a rad eighties-licious Epcot Figment shirt. After that I'll maybe pick up one book or DVD or other assorted thingamabob. (In unison, now. I know you want to. Don't hold back. "I've got twenty!" OK. Now that that's out of your system, we move on.)

But one merch phenomenon that I can't quite wrap my brain around is Vinylmation. They are small Mickey Mouse shaped plastic figures that have other characters and designs painted on them. I can see the draw to them. They are modern, artistic, and cute. And I have seen some that are pretty fun. But the ones that I really like are inevitably the huge ones that cost upwards of fifty bucks. I cannot justify spending that in one fell swoop on one. Though I came awfully close when I saw this one last spring in Downtown Disney.

But, luckily for me with my hoarding tendencies, they just aren't my bag. The price point in general on these lil' guys is too high for what you actually get. Plus, unlike pins, there isn't the interactivity of in-park trading. Unlike apparel, it just sits in a shelf. Unlike media, you can't read or watch it. Or I guess you can watch them, but if they start doing anything worth watching, you've got a problem. Which brings me to the following video for the new Cutesters Like You Vinylmation series. Sorry I couldn't embed it. I'm still new at this whole blogging thing. But trust me. Click. It's worth watching.

Click Here and Click on Watch the Video on the Cutesters Like You Vinylmation Banner

I have a lot of feelings about this video. First off, with all the would-be actors who work in Disney Stores, you'd think they could find one who could convincingly act like they were doing something that they actually do every day, i.e. leave work. Second, this series does not reinforce the value of these tchotchkes aesthetically. So, they are Mickeys that are painted with "everyday" cartoon kids.

Because I can't go a day without seeing a kid dressed up in a panda suit. And blurring out the mystery one in the video just makes it seem like it's nakey. I guess it bothers me a bit that they've taken the Disney out of the whole operation. Just cuz it's overpriced and painted on a Mickey shape does not give it the charm or creativity that something like the Pete's Dragon one had. Or that this one has. (Sigh. I miss the Dreamfinder. Bring him back!)

But thirdly, it has to be said. This video is a steaming hot plate of amazingness drenched in Paula Deen style, two sticks of butter awesomesauce! With all of the creepy computer animation trickery at their disposal, they are kickin' it old school in the style of the Teeny Little Super Guy from Sesame Street

or the weirdly fascinating Disney Channel classic Where the Toys Come From and taking inspiration from the Nickelodeon TV perennial (to me, at least) Today's Special.

It makes for an immensely cute video, I must admit. I want to go to that shindig, foshiz. However, I would probably advise Ms. Disney Store Employee not to leave her purse right next to the vinyl figures that come to life after dark and throw all-night blowouts. They've got to be paying for it somehow. Disco glitterballs don't come cheap.

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