My Disney Top 5 - Things I Love About My Disney Village Christmas Collection

by Chris Barry, contributing writer
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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.


Cinderella's Castle with the divine Miss Bell circling it's spire. Photo By Chris Barry.

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…


Only 21 Dalmatians inhabit this firehouse. Photo By Chris Barry.

…and the cinema…


Donald and Daisy out on the town. Photo By Chris Barry.

…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.


Casey's Corner, featuring Goofy in his vintage ballplayer pinstripes. Photo By Chris Barry.

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.


Walt's favorite hobby meets Walt's favorite mouse. Photo By Chris Barry.

Donald and Daisy are out for a date at the Cinema.


"Donald, where's Daisy's popcorn?" Photo By Chris Barry.

There are plenty of dalmatians in, where else, the Firehouse.


Just a handful of the 101 here on the firehouse balcony. Photo By Chris Barry.

Goofy is dressed in his vintage baseball uniform standing on the porch at Casey's Corner.


Casey Goofy or Goofy Stengel selling hot dogs on his corner. Photo By Chris Barry.

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.


All five of my Disney Village Christmas Collection houses currently set up for the season in my living room. Photo by Chris Barry.

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.

 

Comments

  1. By wdwchuck

    What? No train set to put your village by? We have the latest Disney train and it is a pretty cool little set.
    Merry Christmas!

  2. By maxbuffmelvin71

    Thank you Chris for continuing your Top 5s in 2020. They were a nice reprieve during this rough year. I love this village per your photos. If it was on my radar back (but with my current income since I was still in school then), I would have bought the whole set. I didnt know Disney made Park Christmas Village outside of Dept 56. I checked your village on Ebay and there was either nothing or too expensive for used pieces. I bought all the Dept 56's Disney Parks Village pieces via Ebay and started collecting the Dept 56's Mickey's Christmas Village pieces. Although Mickey's Christmas Village isnt Disney park specific, they remind me of Disneyland's Toontown.

  3. By cbarry

    Quote Originally Posted by wdwchuck View Post
    What? No train set to put your village by? We have the latest Disney train and it is a pretty cool little set.
    Merry Christmas!

    So, I have my Lionel train set - non-Disney, perish the thought - under our tree. We have always set up a smaller Christmas tree in our family room which is "for the kids." That tree traditionally has the monorail under it. So, yeah, surprisingly no Disney train! I guess it's because I've had the Lionel set since my first Christmas with my wife. She bought it for me. So i never thought of getting another set.
    Merry Christmas to you Chuck!

  4. By cbarry

    Quote Originally Posted by maxbuffmelvin71 View Post
    Thank you Chris for continuing your Top 5s in 2020. They were a nice reprieve during this rough year. I love this village per your photos. If it was on my radar back (but with my current income since I was still in school then), I would have bought the whole set. I didnt know Disney made Park Christmas Village outside of Dept 56. I checked your village on Ebay and there was either nothing or too expensive for used pieces. I bought all the Dept 56's Disney Parks Village pieces via Ebay and started collecting the Dept 56's Mickey's Christmas Village pieces. Although Mickey's Christmas Village isnt Disney park specific, they remind me of Disneyland's Toontown.

    It's my pleasure. Writing them was my own reprieve as well. Thanks for always reading and commenting!

    Yeah somehow these houses seem to have flown under the radar for a while. I'd love to know the reason why. There has to be a reason. It's funny how you will see some things for sale year after year and other things will come out and then disappear. I think these would sell like crazy, but who knows, maybe they didn't?
    I checked on eBay as well. I was surprised to see two Train Stations - both between $150-$200. And then there was I think an Emporium or a City Hall for around $350!! The big winner, if you look at it that way, is the Haunted Mansion which is more of a Halloween decoration. There's one on eBay right now for $1,000!

    Enjoy all of your villages and your holiday season.

  5. By Dave1313

    Quote Originally Posted by cbarry View Post
    So, I have my Lionel train set - non-Disney, perish the thought - under our tree. We have always set up a smaller Christmas tree in our family room which is "for the kids." That tree traditionally has the monorail under it. So, yeah, surprisingly no Disney train! I guess it's because I've had the Lionel set since my first Christmas with my wife. She bought it for me. So i never thought of getting another set.
    Merry Christmas to you Chuck!


    Curious what kind of set you've got running? (I'm as much, if not more of a train nut than a Disney nut! )

    Something from the early to mid-90's?, or maybe an older classic Post World War II era (from the Lionel trains heyday when they very popular as toys) train?

    There are lotsof Disney Lionel trains these days (well over the last 30 years or so, but there actually have been a lot of offerings over the last 3-4 years). I've got some examples of modern ones, some being Christmas themed.

  6. By cbarry

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    Curious what kind of set you've got running? (I'm as much, if not more of a train nut than a Disney nut! )

    Something from the early to mid-90's?, or maybe an older classic Post World War II era (from the Lionel trains heyday when they very popular as toys) train?

    There are lotsof Disney Lionel trains these days (well over the last 30 years or so, but there actually have been a lot of offerings over the last 3-4 years). I've got some examples of modern ones, some being Christmas themed.

    I know nothing about trains except how to set mine up and get it running.

    It's a Lionel "O" gauge I believe. Set number 1113WS
    Attachment 9269

    This was a gift from my wife when we were first together. So that would be mid to late 90's.

  7. By Dave1313

    Quote Originally Posted by cbarry View Post
    I know nothing about trains except how to set mine up and get it running.

    It's a Lionel "O" gauge I believe. Set number 1113WS
    Attachment 9269

    This was a gift from my wife when we were first together. So that would be mid to late 90's.

    Looks good. I'm not familiar with that exact set, but from the artwork style of the box, I would have guessed that was when it was from. It is indeed an O Gauge train, though the track may technically be what they call "O-27". (it's just a slightly smaller diameter curve than the smallest size for "O Gauge" track, and the rail height from the floor is just a little shorter than the "O Gauge" line of track).

    The only reason I asked if it was maybe from what Lionel train enthusiasts refer to as the "Post War" era, is sometimes people have a connection to the past with trains (father's or grandfather's trains, etc). There are people today who still prefer the older ones due to nostalgia.

    If you don't consider it too much of a divergence from your article topic, I'll post a pic or 2 of a Lionel Disney Christmas train once I have things set up.

  8. By cbarry

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    Looks good. I'm not familiar with that exact set, but from the artwork style of the box, I would have guessed that was when it was from. It is indeed an O Gauge train, though the track may technically be what they call "O-27". (it's just a slightly smaller diameter curve than the smallest size for "O Gauge" track, and the rail height from the floor is just a little shorter than the "O Gauge" line of track).

    The only reason I asked if it was maybe from what Lionel train enthusiasts refer to as the "Post War" era, is sometimes people have a connection to the past with trains (father's or grandfather's trains, etc). There are people today who still prefer the older ones due to nostalgia.

    If you don't consider it too much of a divergence from your article topic, I'll post a pic or 2 of a Lionel Disney Christmas train once I have things set up.

    Would love to see it Dave. Feel free to post here. It's "on-topic"

  9. By spectromen

    That is a great set, Chris. Isn't it a shame they don't still produce nice collectibles like these?
    I literally JUST completed the Dept 56 Liberty Square set a couple of weeks ago. Found a great deal at an antique mall. I love those too.
    I had the entire Toon Town set - the first version when the area of the Park was still new - and dumped them. What was I thinking? I never gave credence to Toon Town as a "True" land. And look - it's now over 25 years old.
    Train-wise, I have several of the Pride Lines trains but have never tried to operate them. They just display in a curio cabinet

  10. By cbarry

    Quote Originally Posted by spectromen View Post
    That is a great set, Chris. Isn't it a shame they don't still produce nice collectibles like these?
    I literally JUST completed the Dept 56 Liberty Square set a couple of weeks ago. Found a great deal at an antique mall. I love those too.
    I had the entire Toon Town set - the first version when the area of the Park was still new - and dumped them. What was I thinking? I never gave credence to Toon Town as a "True" land. And look - it's now over 25 years old.
    Train-wise, I have several of the Pride Lines trains but have never tried to operate them. They just display in a curio cabinet

    Wait...when you say you dumped them...did you actually chuck them in the trash?? My Disney collector's heart just skipped a beat.

  11. By spectromen

    Quote Originally Posted by cbarry View Post
    Wait...when you say you dumped them...did you actually chuck them in the trash?? My Disney collector's heart just skipped a beat.

    Ha - oh, never - I meant sold at a Disneyana show. Never in my life have I thrown away Disneyana, even when broken!

  12. By Dave1313

    Quote Originally Posted by cbarry View Post
    Would love to see it Dave. Feel free to post here. It's "on-topic"

    OK. I got way delayed in posting these, my apologies for that...

    Not the greatest shots (I don't have a current account on any photo sharing sites to really show the higher resolution versions easily - so I reduced these until they would fit in my attachment space here on MP)

    Here is the steam engine and tender from the set.
    Attachment 9271

    Here is the boxcar from the set and also an "add-on" car (you can barely see it, but there is a little Pluto figure on the roof - he moves back and forth when power is applied to the tracks - I should have taken the pic with him not hidden by being a similar color to the Griswold house behind the train )
    Attachment 9272

    Here is a "chasing" gondola and the caboose. The figures of Mickey and Minnie "run" around the boxes chasing one another as the car rolls around the track.
    Attachment 9273

    The remaining 3 cars shown are also "add on" cars, not part of the original set. The mint car really probably doesn't match the set, but the hopper car and tank car were meant to complement the set.

    Here is a Donald Duck tank car.
    Attachment 9274

    Here is a hopper car. It has some small gift boxes that are meant to be the load, but I don't have them set up here. (nothing fancy, basically little colored foil wrapped cubes)
    Attachment 9275

    One more in next post (system won't allow more than 5 pics per post....)

    {edit: not sure if I'm doing something wrong with the attachments... when I initially posted, they showed up as images in line (that's how the single pic in the below post looks to me on my screen), not just links. Editing a few times seemed to reset it, but then it went back to links again for this post. Oh well.}

  13. By Dave1313

    Here is what is known as a bullion or "mint" car.

    These series of cars have generally got simulated gold bars as the load that show through the windows. (in traditional Lionel trains, the originals offered over many years were named for real US mints, hence "mint" car. Fort Knox being the most popular version of this type of car, but they were made for most mints that ever existed in the past or present) Sometimes other things are inside the car, and it's then decorated for whatever the subject is.

    Having gold bars as the load, obviously Scrooge McDuck from Mickey's Christmas Carol is the character featured on this car.
    Attachment 9276

    Oh, and I forgot to call attention to it in the 1st post, but note the water tower with the ears in the 1st pic of the engine and tender. It's not quite the same as the Earful Tower that existed at DHS before TSL was built, but it's got the spirit of it.

    There are tons of other Disney Lionel trains. I'll try to post some different examples one day in another topic.

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