Welcome back to Disney Stuff. It’s always a pleasure to write about all of the Disney stuff that we all have, and it’s even more of a pleasure to hear your comments—so please keep them coming.
As you all read this, we are deep into the last few days of a countdown to our summer Walt Disney World trip. The Polynesian awaits us and we’re all itching to go. So, what does that mean for me? There are so many things, of course. I can’t wait to lie in a hammock on the Polynesian beach. We can’t wait for the Magic Kingdom opening ceremony. I can’t wait to see the new Star Tours. My wife and I can’t wait for Tinker Bell to fly over us in the rose garden. There are so many things to look forward to, but as you might imagine…a trip to Walt Disney World…for this writer and collector/accumulator…means…more Disney Stuff to bring home!
My birthday is in July and we typically go to Disney later in the summer. My wife and my parents have figured out in recent years that it’s just wise and practical to give me a Disney gift card as a birthday present. It makes sense. They know I’ll use it and they know it’s a gift that I’ll thoroughly enjoy. They’ve been plenty generous over the years and this summer was no exception. So, watch out Emporium! Clear the aisles Mouse Gear! I’m heading your way and I’ve got some money to spend.
The decisions are always endless, but there are a few things that always seem to make it into my suitcase. I typically pick up as many pins as will fit on my backpack straps; generally four to six pins in all. Lately, I’ve been into Vinylmations, so a few of those will probably make it home with me. There’s always a new T-shirt to select, isn’t there? And if I can find a new Hawaiian shirt at the Polynesian’s BouTiki shop, it’s mine. That said, I do like to pick up something a little special each trip. Sometimes it’s a new watch. Other times it’s something that I can display. It's never something too big—I usually prefer something small and subtle.
One stop we always make at Epcot is the Kunstarbeit in Kristal shop in the Germany pavilion. My wife will buy herself a piece of blue crystal for the fireplace mantle. It’s her Disney splurge. She has quite an impressive collection and different pieces are available each year. It’s one of our favorite shops in Walt Disney World.
They’ve got everything from a Mickey Mouse shot glass…sorry…toothpick holder…all the way up to the $37,500 crystal Cinderella’s Castle. (Aren’t you dying to know if anybody actually buys one of those?)
Last summer, with my Disney gift card, I picked up the item I’m talking about today: the Pewter Fabulous 5 Train Set.
Like I said before, this was a little bit of a special purchase. At around $90, it was a treat; but let’s face it, it was my birthday and why shouldn’t I? As you can probably tell by the name, the set comes with the big five characters: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto. A Casey Junior-ish locomotive with a classic hidden Mickey shape on its side is pulling each member of the Fab Five on their own car.
Each platform that the characters are perched on has a small jewel embedded in it. Mickey’s is blue.
Minnie’s jewel is what else, pink.
Donald has an orange jewel, Goofy a green, and Pluto a red.
The locomotive has a red jewel embedded on each side and one as his “nose.”
The detail for such a small item is pretty impressive. Each character is captured in their most famous outfit; Mickey in his shorts, Donald in his sailor suit, Minnie in her bow and heels, Goofy in his classic vest and Pluto…well…Pluto is just in his collar. Their expressions are true to character. It’s the kind of quality that you should expect from Disney and from a pewter miniature, especially for the price.
It’s a small item, only about 8 inches in length and topping out at about an inch and a half in height. So, once again, it’s subtle. It’s not the kind of thing that you immediately see in our house, and as I think I’ve said before, that’s the way we prefer things. We don’t smack you over the head with Disney in this house. You have to hunt and peck around to see the little bits and pieces we’ve collected over the years. It’s kind of a Disney treasure hunt. Sorry though, you don’t get a prize if you find the most stuff! All the prizes are mine!
If you do want a train like this one, you can head on down to Epcot’s Germany pavilion. I would assume that it’s also available on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom at the Crystal Arts shop.
You can also check the Arribas Brothers shop in Downtown Disney.
You can also visit the Arribas Brothers website where you can find many of the items available in their Disney shops.
Tomas and Alfonso Arribas were hand-picked to represent Spain by the Spanish Cultural Ministry at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Perhaps you can see where this is going. At the Fair they met, you guessed it, Walt Disney. They opened up their first shop in Disneyland in 1967 and now have a shop in each Disney resort around the globe. Their staff continue to create and import fine pieces of work in crystal, glass, metal and more.
This is the type of artwork that I enjoy stopping by and admiring every so often. It’s classic. It’s subtle. It reminds me of yet another great moment on yet another great trip with my family.
That’s really the purpose of bringing home these little odds and ends isn’t it? They remind you of the place that you love so much and perhaps an exact moment when you found it and decided to make it yours. When you pass by them in your home, hopefully you stop and think, “Boy. When are we going back?”
For me, at least for this week, that answer is, “Real, real soon!”
Thanks for reading. You’ll excuse me while I finish packing and get ready to put my gift card to good use, and I’ll see you next time with more of that great, and more than likely, brand new Disney Stuff.
(Send an email to Chris Barry)
Chris Barry lives on Long Island in New York with his wife and three kids. He has had a lifelong love of cartoons, comics and animation. Those who know him well say he has truly, "earned his Disney PhD." Chris has been involved with Television Production for 20 years and began his career working with The Muppets at Jim Henson Productions in NYC. Currently teaching TV Production to high school students, Chris has been writing about many different facets of The Walt Disney Company for several years now.