My Disney Top 5 - Things I Love About My Disney Village Christmas Collectionby Chris Barry, contributing writer
Welcome back to another Disney Top 5. As we make our way through the 2020 holiday season, more than ever, I hope you are all safe and well out there.
It's been 12 years since I first published an article on MousePlanet. So many things have changed and come and gone since then. It's hard to believe it's actually been that long. One of the things I have treasured most over all these years has been the responses I get from you, the readers. After all, without you, there's no us. The Disney fans are second to none when it comes to their passion and knowledge about their fandom. It's a pleasure writing for such an appreciative crowd. Your comments and emails over the years continue to inspire my writing and I wholeheartedly thank you.
About a week or so ago, I received an email from a reader asking if I knew where or if they could still get their hands on any pieces from the Disney Village Christmas Collection. After 12 years of articles, this one from way back in 2008 still generates the most reader email. Like I said, I just got one a week ago. That's probably because when you do an Google search for Disney Village Christmas Collection, my article is one of the few choices that comes up. Disney fans are consistently in search of these wonderful Christmas houses. Disney hasn't sold them in years and they're next to impossible to find on the secondary market. I just did an eBay search and came up with 3, which is three more than I typically find.
Every once in a while in my Disney collecting, I inadvertently buy something that turns out to be pretty rare and valuable. When I originally bought these, I had no idea Disney would be retiring them and that they would essentially disappear. And that's not the reason that I bought them. I wasn't being a savvy collector. I bought them because I loved them! So, what is it exactly that I love about them? Let's take a closer look with the Top 5 things I love about my Disney Village Christmas Collection.
5 - You Can't Get Them Anymore
Let's face it, the fact that you simply can't get them anymore kind of makes them just that much more special to me. I take pride in putting them out each holiday season knowing that not too many people have them and that lots of Disney fans would really love to get their hands on a set. Once again, that's not why I bought them. I first spotted them in the old Disney Catalog - which is something I truly miss getting in my mailbox to this day. At the time, despite catching them on a 50% off sale, I only bought two, Cinderella Castle and The Main Street Train Station.
That following summer on our trip to Walt Disney World, I bought The Main Street Cinema and Firehouse in Liberty Square and had them shipped home. Shortly afterwards, I called the old Walt Disney World Merchandise phone number and they tracked down Casey's corner for me. I got them all for original list price. None of them were from the secondary eBay inflated market, so I consider them a score when it comes to purchasing collectibles.
4 - The Subtle Lights
This may seem like a small detail to some of you, but I love the fact that the lights are subtle. In the Christmas decoration world there's a fine line between charming and tacky. Truth be told, there's a lot of tacky out there. I would refer to these houses as classy. The lights do cycle and change colors, but it's not flashy. It's subtle and that makes all the difference between them getting prime placement in my living room and being banished to the basement. All things considered, the firehouse…
…and the cinema…
…don't have too many lights at all. To me, that's a plus because it makes them look more authentic to the Main Street U.S.A. structures they're modeled after.
3 - The Details
It's a statement that I refer to in almost everything I write here on MousePlanet, "Disney is all in the details." That's how I feel about the parks, the films, the animated shorts and, yes, in many cases, the merchandise. Sure Mickey Mouse, Olaf and the Disney Princesses are plastered on just about everything you can also slap a price tag on. But, when Disney puts out a piece of quality merchandise, something for the fans and collectors, it's usually well done and features wonderful attention to detail. These houses remind me so much of the actual buildings in the Magic Kingdom, it's pretty uncanny – except of course for the snow on the rooftops. To me the most realistic looking one is Casey's Corner, which is also one of my favorite structures on the real Main Street at the Magic Kingdom.
2 - The Characters
What would anything Disney be without the beloved cast of characters? I guess they didn't have to include little figures on each house. They could have easily made these without them and they would have been just as popular. But, once again, it's the subtlety of the characters that make these houses so special. It's not about Mickey standing outside of the train station. It's about the train station as a beloved building from a place that means so much to so many people. Still, I love the fact that each one came with a character or characters that fit the bill. As I pointed out, Mickey is at the train station dressed in a Casey Jones type of outfit.
Donald and Daisy are out for a date at the Cinema.
There are plenty of dalmatians in, where else, the Firehouse.
Goofy is dressed in his vintage baseball uniform standing on the porch at Casey's Corner.
And Tinker Bell is where she belongs, flying over Cinderella Castle. Regrettably, but sort of comically, my Tinker Bell lost her head - which made for a pretty morbid sight until last week when her headless body fully broke off of her perch. I am going to try my hardest to find a suitably small enough Tink to glue back onto her spot ASAP.
1 - There's One For Each of Us
I didn't plan on getting the whole set, but once I had two of these, I knew I wanted more. I was thrilled when I realized that there were 5 because that's how many of us are in this family. Each one of us identifies with one of the houses. I have Mickey Mouse, of course. My wife, Diane is a big Tinker Bell fan, so the castle is 'hers." My daughter Samantha loved all of the dalmatians so the Firehouse belongs to her. My son Casey chose, what else, Casey's Corner to be his and his twin brother, Alex, was a big Donald fan so the Cinema was his.
These houses all mean something to me, but it's wonderful that they represent each member of my family. There's not much more you can ask for at Christmas than to have a set of cherished decorations that your whole family can enjoy together and that's what I love most about this whole collection.
As I said before, I've gotten plenty of email over the years I've been writing here on MousePlanet, but nothing comes close to the amount of responses and or requests for info about this collection of Disney Christmas houses. There are actually two more that I never purchased. City Hall has Jiminy Cricket standing in front and The Emporium has Minnie Mouse carrying a stack of shopping boxes and bags. These two have become even more elusive than the core 5 I have. There are others from other companies as well. The big player in this segment of the industry is Dept 56. They pretty much have the market cornered when it comes to Christmas light up houses. Disney and Dept. 56 have a long standing relationship. There are some great Disney themed pieces out there. There's a series modeled after the wonderful short, Mickey's Christmas Carol. There's even some Dept. 56 collections that model themselves after other Disney park structures. But, truth be told, there's nothing else quite like these. As far as realism goes, they can't be beat. These houses, once again, despite the snow covered eaves and roofs, look like they are shrunken versions of their counterparts on Main Street U.S.A. For me and my family, it just wouldn't be Christmas without them.
This will be my last article for 2020. It's been said a million justifiable times, and I'll say it one more time right now, "So long 2020. Don't let the door smack you on the way out." Still, some good things happened this year. Because of this mess, we started our MousePlanet: Fun at Home series of live streams. We produced 31 episodes and it became a weekly ray of light for many of us. The MousePlaneteers hail from all corners of the country and we rarely, if ever, get a chance to interact in person. After all those episodes and countless text chains, I now consider this MousePlanet crew of writers and dreamers to be dear friends and I can't wait to be with them together in a Disney park when all of the craziness ends.
2020 also made a lot of people realize just what's most important in life. Things like health, family and happiness came to be more significant than ever to all of us. As 2020 waltzes into history, I hope all of these things that became so important to us continue to be so in the years ahead.
As I post this piece and close the laptop for the night, it's literally snowing like mad outside my window with a good foot of snow expected by morning. I'll walk past the Christmas tree that's lit but patiently waiting for my daughter to arrive home from college to hang decorations on it and I'll see the row of Disney Christmas houses. I'll flick the switch and shut them off for the night as well. But before I do, I'll take a good close look at them. I'll think of my kids and my wife and all the magic that we have been able to share as a family together and I'll walk up the stairs to bed knowing how lucky I am to have all the little treasures I have in my life.
That's it for another top 5 list. As always, I'd like to hear what you have to say. Click on the link below, share your thoughts on this Top 5, stay safe, happy holidays and I'll see you next year with another Disney Top 5.