My Disney Top 5 - Recent Disney Acquisitionsby Chris Barry, contributing writer
Welcome back to another Disney Top 5. I keep having to say it and I'll say it as long as I have to, I hope you are all safe and well out there.
A bunch of you out there might remember that for about 8 years here on MousePlanet, I wrote an ongoing series of articles known as Disney Stuff. Once a month, I took a closer look at the Disney collectibles that I have stashed all over my house. A reader once said that I wasn't so much a Disney collector as I was a Disney accumulator. I liked that description very much and wear it proudly ever since. My Disney collection – or accumulation – means a lot to me. Much of it comes from magical family moments spent at Walt Disney World. The rest of it comes from the endless hunt at yard sales, antique fairs, online scavenging comic and pop culture conventions and even trips to the local mall.
The Walt Disney Company has always capitalized on their characters and properties going way back to the early days of Mickey Mouse in the '20s and '30s. Perhaps capitalizing is a harsh word. Sure, Disney has made money, lots of it, by plastering that mouse all over just about everything one could put on a shelf and sell. But, to us Disney fans, it's a whole lot more than that. We collect. We accumulate. We buy it all. We seek it out but we do it for a reason. These things actually mean something to us. There's a reason I wear a Disney watch on my wrist just about every day of the year and it's not because I was successfully marketed to. My Disney stuff makes me happy, keeps me young and imbues that certain unexplainable Disney magic into my everyday life. And let's face it, over the last 6 months or so, we all could have used as much Disney magic as possible.
When I look back there were two Walt Disney World trips we would have been on since the pandemic came in and interrupted all of our lives. We had a quick weekend planned in April to check out a nearby college for our sons and then we were planning on going back for a nice long week or so in the summer before our boys went away to college, as per their choice. It goes without saying that I would have acquired some more awesome Disney items on both of those trips to the world. I could just imagine what they would have been. Pins? Clothing? Collectible toys like Funko Pops or the annual Disney die-cast vehicles? A new Disney watch to add to the collection? Most definitely.
Sadly, we all know that those trips did not take place. Neither did several comic conventions that I would have been at. October's New York Comic Con is usually a great place for me to pick up some interesting Disney memorabilia and collectibles. As is a smaller New York convention, Eternal Con, that had to be canceled in the spring. But fear not, I still managed track down some great new Disney stuff that has been keeping me happy over the last 6 months or so. Let's take a look at a few of those items with my Top 5 recent Disney acquisitions.
5 - Disney Park Pals - Br'er Rabbit
As many of you know, this past June, Disney announced that they will be retheming the venerable Splash Mountain attraction abandoning the original Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox, Br'er Bear theme and transforming the ride into the first attraction based on the Princess and the Frog. I'm not even going to attempt to get into that discussion at this particular moment. I completely understand the decision but that doesn't mean that I won't miss the ride the way it is right now. I've always had an affinity for Br'er Rabbit for some reason. I remember seeing Song of the South as a child and not remembering anything about it except for the three main animated characters, but especially Br'er Rabbit. So, when I heard that Disney was going to make this big change, I made it a point to try and snag some sort of Splash Mountain or Br'er merchandise. Those of you who follow all the goings on at Disney probably know where this is going. When Walt Disney World re-opened in July, dozens of "collectors" made a bee-line for Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom and literally loaded up Disney double strollers with every last piece of Splash merch. I hunted and hunted and stumbled upon this little guy in mid July online.
If I recall, I snapped him up for about $25. Now, he was probably going for 10 bucks in the parks, but the Splash resale market went off the deep end and I wasn't buying spending $100 for a Br'er Rabbit or Br'er Bear plush or $50 for a $9 Splash Mountain pin. This was literally the only reasonable piece of Splash merchandise I could get my hands on. So, he represents a slight victory of sorts for me. I have a sneaking suspicion that once Splash Mountain gets rethemed, we may never see Br'er Rabbit again and I may have gotten one of the final pieces of Br'er Rabbit merchandise.
4 - Space Mountain Comic Book
As I said above, last month was supposed to be New York Comic Con. I've gone for about 8-9 years in a row. It's one of my most favorite outings of the year. I'm typically on the hunt for Disney items and collectibles, hopefully some vintage or hard to find and I'm usually not disappointed. I'm also looking for a few new comics or graphic novels to read. I'll add to my Justice League collection which I've been building since I was a kid and I'll typically look for something new and unique. In recent years I've gone on behalf of MousePlanet with full press credentials seeking out interviews with whatever folks from the various arms of the Walt Disney Company are in attendance. This year, of course, there were no conventions to go to and it took a while for my favorite local comic shop, Amok Time to open up again. That left me on the internet searching for something new and interesting to read. I'm a big fan of a site called mycomicshop.com. They've got everything and they ship swiftly and easily and are great to work with. One day while looking through their collection of Disney comics, I stumbled across a copy of the Space Mountain graphic novel.
Now, I thought I always had my ear to the ground when it came to Disney and the comics world. I read most of the other recent attraction-based comics like Big Thunder Mountain, Figment, and the Haunted Mansion. I even bought and read the Tiki Bird series of comics. So, how was it exactly that I did not know there was a comic based on one of my all-time favorite coasters and Disney attractions? Somehow this one slipped underneath my radar. The book was released by Disney's own publishing arm in 2014 as opposed to several of the others I mentioned which were released by Marvel. I'd say the target audience skews a little young, but there's enough action, beautiful artwork and Disney references for all ages. If you're a Disney fan and comic reader look for it and check it out.
3 - Fantastic Worlds of Disney Limited Release Pin Set
One of the best things about being a D23 member is getting exclusive access to limited release collectibles. Over the years D23 has released some of the coolest pieces of memorabilia, both for purchase on their site and as premiums included with annual membership. I can remember checking an email from D23 this past summer alerting me to the availability of this pin set and I quickly snapped it up. This set represents four of my favorite Disney films, Monsters Inc., Zootopia, The Emperor's New Groove and the all time classic Mary Poppins.
This particular set celebrates locations from the films, the cities of Monstropolis and Zootopia, the vacation destination to be, Kuzcotopia and the street where the Banks family lives, Cherry Tree Lane.
Designed by Alex Riegert-Waters, who is a Lead Designer for the Walt Disney Company, this wonderful set is still available on ShopDisney.com exclusively to D23 Gold and Gold Family Members. As always, with Disney Pin Trading and especially D23, these are top quality items and they've quickly become some of my favorite pins in my collection.
2 - Disney Pop! Figures
I've been into Pop! figures for a while. As a matter of fact, I wrote a Disney Stuff article about my small collection of Disney Pop! figures back in 2012. I bought a few characters that I really liked back then, but I didn't really stick with them for a few years and then they simple exploded! That worked for me because the ones in that 2012 article are now worth a nice piece of change. We kept buying them for my sons, however. They liked them a lot. They were plentiful, represent a vast array of characters and intellectual properties and were an affordable gift. Their collection grew but something happened during their time at home during the pandemic and this house became fairly Pop! obsessed. Never one to shy away from a collectible, I reignited my interest in Disney Pop! figures and began accumulating some real classics.
The thing I like about the people at Funko that make the Pop! figures is they tend to dig deep into the franchises, films and television shows when they are designing figures and seem to really respect the fanhoods. Case in point, you probably remember a little TV show called How I Met Your Mother. There was a line of Pop! figures modeled after the lead 5 characters from the show which all made sense. Then I noticed that they also made a Robin Sparkles Pop figure. If you watched the show, you'd know that one of the main characters, Robin revealed on the show that in her previous life in Canada she was a teen pop sensation known as Robin Sparkles. if you're a fan of the show, you know that fact and that name. The casual viewer probably doesn't and I think it's genius that they made a Robin Sparkles Pop! figure. On the Disney side there are lots of examples like that. For instance, one of the earliest Disney Pop! figures was George Sanderson from Monsters Inc. He was part of Disney's first Pop! figure series alongside such heavy-hitters as Mickey, Minnie, Snow White, Woody and Buzz Lightyear. The fact that they included George in the lineup shows me that someone at that company really pays attention.
My most recent Disney Pop! figures have been all over the Disney map. Some have been from the Disneyland 65th anniversary line such as Matterhorn Bobsled Donald and Mr. Toad, driving a car from his wild ride.
Other recent lines have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Disney archives with Sorcerer Mickey and a more classic looking Mickey.
Another popular line in this house has been the Toy Story Aliens Remix, which feature the lovable green aliens from the Toy Story franchise dressed up as other Pixar figures. I've got one, Dug. this one is "flocked" which means it's got a light layer of fuzz which makes him look like a plush toy.
My sons have a whole bunch.
I see no end to the Funko Pop! craze. Each year at Comic Con just about every single booth has Pop! figures for sale. Some can be had for 5 bucks or so, others are worth hundreds and it looks like I'll be on board with collecting them for the foreseeable future. Kudos to MousePlanet's own Todd Pickering for securing me the Mr. Toad Pop! at the Hollywood Funko shop as well as another shop exclusive for my son that's hidden somewhere in the house waiting to be wrapped and placed under the tree this Christmas. Much appreciated my friend! You've contributed to the madness!
1 - Donald Duck from My Childhood
Here's a great Disney collector story. When I was little, and I'm talking real little, like age 4 or 5, my two favorite toys for a long stretch of time were these rubber figures of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. As I get older, the memories start to fade more and more, but I have quite a few vivid memories of playing with these two guys. I also have a relatively heartbreaking memory of playing with Mickey and Donald at the beach on Fire Island right at the shoreline and watching in horror as Donald slipped under the waves and vanished forever. Needless to say, I was pretty upset. I held onto Mickey Mouse pretty tightly from that point on, so much so that when my folks sold the home that I grew up in a few years back and I emptied out my childhood closet, he was one of the few toys that survived.
Circle wipe to the 2020 pandemic. Trapped in the house as much as I was, I began to go through boxes of stuff and came across the box of toys from my childhood which had pretty much sat idle since the move. When I saw Mickey, I smiled. He's a little beat up, but he looks well played with, as he certainly was. Of course, my smile soon turned to a bit of a frown as I remember the tragic loss of Donald. That's when the light bulb went off over my head, "Let's find Donald online! He must be out there!" Lo and behold he was and in no time at all, I had an old friend returned to me after…give or take…48 years!
I've long said that we Disney fans take our Disney Stuff very seriously. It makes us happy. It keeps us young and during times like these, when we can't all be at the Disney parks or at the movie theaters watching the latest Disney releases or at comic or pop culture conventions with like minded fans, our Disney trinkets and collectibles are more important than ever.
That's all for this time. As always, I'd like to hear what you have to say. Click on the link below, share your thoughts on my latest Disney collectibles, tell me about yours, stay safe and I'll see you next time with another Disney Top 5.