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Designing Vinylmation

Steven Miller

by , Merchandise Communications Manager

November is a special month for Vinylmation – we celebrated our first birthday on November 7, 2009. We first introduced blank Create-Your-Own Vinylmation at the annual Festival of the Masters 2008 at Downtown Disney. To celebrate this first year milestone, we are launching the Park 3 series at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts in mid-November. Interestingly, Park 3 has been in the works for about a year.

Sam the Eagle and Big Al Vinylmation

For the Park series, our Disney Artists are inspired by the various attractions, shows, icons, characters or experiences found at Disney Parks around the world. The Park 3 series contains some classic characters such as Sam the Eagle from the former Disneyland Park attraction America Sings and Big Al from the Country Bear Jamboree. I still have the 33 1/2, long-playing record from “America Sings” featuring the voice of Burl Ives. But that is a different kind of vinyl than what I’m talking about today.

When it comes to designing Vinylmation, the thought processes are slightly different compared to the designing of a Disney pin (the other part of my world). The Vinylmation form is a three-dimensional blank canvas, so our Disney artists have to think about their artwork from all sides. I spoke with Thomas Scott, lead designer for the Vinylmation art team at Disney Design Group, about the art development process.

Herbie the Love Bug Vinylmation

“The art team is continuing to learn the best ways to create art on a flat surface that is eventually wrapped around a three-dimensional form,” said Thomas. “For example, when we designed the 3″ Herbie the Love Bug inspired Vinylmation for Park 3, we had to consider the front, back, side and even the top of the form. The flat artwork looks much different than the final form due to that dimensionality. Also, the manufacturer used 3 different art application processes on that piece to execute our design.”

Thomas also explained that the complexity of the artwork varies from design to design. This means that some Vinylmation make take longer to design than others.

Designing Vinylmation

“With each new series, we are pushing the boundaries of creativity, design and manufacturing,” continued Thomas. “I like the Park 3 series as the designs come right from the Disney Parks. Yet, I’m also very excited about the future designs I’m working on now. We’ve learned so much since introducing Vinylmation to the world and the designs are only getting better with each new release.”

One new thing for Park 3 is a variant (or slight difference) to the Test Track inspired limited edition 9″ plus 3″ Vinylmation set. For this release, the limited edition 9″ Vinylmation designed like a test dummy will be sold with one 3″ Vinylmation. There is something special about the 3″ Vinylmation in the set that will be unique to the west coast and the east coast. Let’s just say it involves some familiar roads where I seem to spend a lot of time sitting in traffic. Any guesses?

Test Track Vinylmation

For more information about Vinylmation, please visit http://www.Vinylmation.com.


  • Hey Steve! Is Chad Miller the designer of the NYC exc. going to be on hand in NY WOD or WDW to sign?

    • We don’t have any plans at this time for an artist signing featuring Chad in NY or in FL.

  • When will we have vinylmation events at Disneyland ??

  • Might we ever see Vinylmations with attraction costumes? Such as a Tower of Terror vinylmation wearing a bellhop costume or a Mission: SPACE one wearing the ISTC jumpsuit?

    • William – The possiblities are endless with Vinylmation :-) We’ve discussed such a collection internally (especially for a Cast Member collection). I know we’ve released Cast Exclusive Disney pins featuring Disney characters in Cast Member costumes. There is a Cast Exclusive Vinylmation coming in early 2010 featuring an “Ambassador” inspired figure. But there is nothing currently planned at this point for Vinylmation featuring other costumes.

  • Hello STEVEN!!! Is there any chance that Dan Howard might be on hand this Friday to sign a Haunted Mansion???

    • John – Hello! I spoke with Dan Howard from Disney Design Group. He sends his apologies as he won’t be able to attend the upcoming release party on Nov. 20. He hopes to see you at a future signing party.

  • Never really been interested in these… but the Park 3 set has some that have actually peaked my interest (for example the Herbie The Love Bug one) and since our group will be at WDW from the 20th-28th I will plan on being at DTD for the release day…

    • I hope to see you at the Art of Disney on Nov. 20 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Please make sure you introduce yourself. We will have the following Disney Artists at the event: Randy Noble, Maria Clapsis, Lisa Badeen, Monty Maldovan and Quynh Kimball.

  • It’s I-4 in Florida and I-5 in Anaheim.

  • Love the Herbie vinyl! Thanks for sharing this, when will Park 3 be available online for those who can’t get to the park? Would love to see one inspired by Mary Blair artwork — or did I miss one already? Like the idea that you’re pulling inspiration from current and classic attractions. As for the road, pls. tell me it’s Main Street and not I-95 or the Florida Turnpike!

    • The plan is to have Park 3 available on the DisneyParks.com/store site. See: http://www.disneystore.com/disney-parks/vinylmation/c/70998/

      According to the on-line store team, the 3″ Vinylmation – Park 3 series should be available early next week (after the Nov. 20 release at the Parks).

  • I have a question about the Park 3 set. In the photos of the vinylmation figures, it shows a blue monorail figure. However, in the Park 3 pin set that is already being sold in the theme parks, it includes a pink monorail vinylmation pin. Why is there a discrepancy between the pin set and the vinylmation set?

    • It all comes down to production timeline. The Vinylmation Park 3 mystery pins set was completed first and was already being shipped to locations. We changed the color for the Vinylmation Park 3 figure after production for the pin set was done.

  • Hey guys, there’s a lot of info gathered by fellow fans of these figures at the vinylnation site, great forums for discussing the figures past, present and future series and some trading! There is also a customs section where fans have created their own designs using the blank figures! The designs just keep getting better and better! Really looking forward to all the annouced Parks’ series as well as the Muppets and Star Wars! YAY!

  • I heard there is a muppet Vinylmation coming up, how cool. I’m guessing for Test Track (My favorite Walt Disney World ride :)) is going to have the yellow and black all over it, like the ride. Mabye there will be some Disney roads on it.

    • That is true – Muppets Series #1 is coming in early 2010. The set looks great. As for Park 3, you can get a look at it on the newly enhanced Vinylmation.com site – http://www.vinylmation.com

      We launched it today in honor of our “birthday” and the start of the Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney.

      You can see Park 3: http://eventservices.disney.go.com/files/park3.html

      Additionally, we are having a release party on November 20 (the day of release for the series in California and Florida). Stop by the Art of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida from 5-7 to meet some artists behind the series.

  • Well WDW is on Route 4 isn’t it?

  • I’ll guess something that has to do with the 101 for the west coast? East coast I’m not so sure about, however.

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