Friday, May 6, 2011

Vinylmation: The Learner's Guide

One of my approximately 20 Vinyls.
You may remember approximately a year ago, when I said I didn't get Vinylmation.  And you may remember approximately eight months ago when I said I get it now.  Welllll since then I may or may not have accumulated approximately 18 more figures.  Approximately.  Yes, I am officially obsessed.  And since my lovely boyfriend owns over 50 and is the official Vinylmation expert of Generation Mouse, I feel semi-qualified to give you Vinylmation: The Learner's Guide.

What is Vinylmation?
Vinylmation stands for Vinyl, the material the figures are made out of, plus animation, the designs on the figures themselves.  All Vinyls are in the shape of Mickey Mouse, and they have various different designs.  There are hundreds of different figures, from park inspired to movie inspired to decorative and more.  They come in three sizes: 1 1/2 inch, 3 inch, and 9 inch.  I own only 3 inch figures, but James owns one 9 inch also.  1 1/2 inch figures (also called Vinylmation Jrs) cost $8.95, 3 inch figures range from $9.95 to $16.95, and 9 inch figures are usually around $39.95. Special edition figures can sometimes be more, and some come in combo packs with figures of more than one size.

But you can't tell what figure you're getting?
Nope, most series come in blind boxes, meaning you don't know what figure you have until you purchase it.  You know what series it's from, but you don't know the exact figure.  This is what turned me off to Vinylmation in the first place, until I learned about trading.  Once you've opened your figure, you can trade with Cast Members all around Walt Disney World until you find the perfect figure for you!  Or if you're lucky, you'll get the one you want right out of the box!

So what is a chaser?  And what's a variant?
This is best understood if you know how Vinyls are packaged.  Each series comes in a case of 24 figures.  There are 12 different figures in each series, so there are two of each in the case.  EXCEPT, there is three of one figure and only one of another.  (So there are two of ten figures, three of one, and one of one. 20+3+1=24)  The figure that there is only one of is the same in each case, so it is the rarest figure by approximately 2:1.  That figure is the chaser, and you can often find chasers on eBay for quite a bit more than retail.  As for a variant, some figures come in more than one version.  For example, I have a Pinocchio variant.  The "official" figure has donkey ears and a tail, but one figure in every few cases has blue ears and no tail.  That's the one I have, and it's rarer than the regular figure.  Disney never releases how MUCH rarer though.  A variant on a chaser is sometimes called a super chaser.  One of the most desired super chasers I've heard of was the Ghost of Obi Wan in the Star Wars series.  It was going for several hundred dollars on eBay at one point.

Why do people get so obsessed with collecting Vinyls?
The thrill of the hunt, and the "gotta collect them all" mentality.  You won't get it until you buy one.  Then you'll be hooked forever.

Where can I buy Vinylmation figures?
Some series are only available in the parks and resorts, some are available online at, and more still are available at your local Disney Store.  I'm actually amazed at how many different series my Disney Store has.  Definitely great when you need a Vinyl fix but don't live near Walt Disney World or Disneyland.  If you're looking for a specific figure and don't mind spending a little more than it's worth, eBay can be a great place to find them, especially if the series isn't in stores anymore.

What is the best figure to start with?
This is really up to your personal preferences.  You can see all the different series at, and you can decide that way!  My first figure was the owl from Cutesters, and my second was the carousel from Park 3.  Some other favorites I own are a special New York City one (available only at the Disney Store in Times Square), a Haunted Mansion one, my Pinocchio variant, and a giraffe with a special extendable neck from the Animal Kingdom series!

Do you have any more questions about Vinylmation?  If so, leave them in the comments, and if I get a few, I'll do another post answering YOUR questions!

What do you think about Vinylmation?  Do you own any figures?  How many?  If not, why haven't you gotten into it?  Let me know your thoughts on this relatively new collectible phenomenon in a comment, on Twitter (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!  And don't forget to leave any questions for me to answer in a future post!


  1. I have been a pin collector for a few years and love it - but haven't figured out how to display my collection. I think if I got into Vinyls, it would be much easier to display because that's the point! I checked out the website and they look REALLY cute. I may have to pick up some of the 3in ones when I go back down there!

  2. At first I also did not get Vinylmation. Then I got one and its addictive. I have a little over 20 of them. With 6 9" and the rest 3". My favorites are Monorail Blue from the Parks Series, Orange Bird Passholder exclusive, and the 9" Hong Kong Disneyland anniversary vinyl.
    I love how they can express your personal love of Disney or how you can *try* to collect them all. A vinylmation collection can be as unique and identifying as your fingerprint. Also it's pretty cool to own something that there are only 500 of.
    If I could have my dream collection, it would include the balloon chaser from Parks 1, the upcoming Up! 9", and all of the monorails (esp the monorail poster 9").

  3. Great post! I'm slowly turning to the idea of vinyl... I might have to buy one on my next trip.. I'm hoping to hold out until my son (1.5 years) wants one so I can have an excuse to buy one!

  4. Jessica, that's another reason I love Vinyls! They're so much easier to display than pins, which makes them a much more "useful" collectible to me!

    Jodi, it was the same with me! Once you buy one, you get hooked! It's awesome that you have a 9" Hong Kong one! Check out eBay for some of the ones you're looking for. You might get lucky and get a great deal!

    DisneyBabies, if you do buy one, beware that you might get obsessed! Also, you so don't need kids to collect! I know plenty of Disney fans without kids that collect Vinyls! Although that would be a perfect excuse!