One of the easiest way’s of getting hold of Vinylmation’s in the UK is through Disney’s official European store, while the site doesn’t have the biggest collection, it does still offer the occasional new release and is my first port of call when it comes to getting hold of these lovely bits of plastic.
Updates of new vinyls are always hit and miss, sometimes they come online between 9am and 10am, while other times they pop up around midnight. But I will happily admit that I usually check the website every morning just encase something new pops up.
Some items sell out extremely fast (usually in just a day like the Paris Exclusive or Tunes) while other items have been around a while (i.e. the UK flag and Jafar). Personally I still would advise anyone that if you seen a item on the website, buy it as soon as you can, since it probably won’t be around for too long. However recently they do seem to be getting in much more stock of each item and it also depends if the item is available in physical stores or if its an online exclusive. Recently the blind box series 25th Anniversary has been online only and has been around for over a month when the last blind box series Animation 2 only lasted a short time.
It’s not just 3”’s that the UK site sells, so far this past month saw the first release of a Juniors set (Snow White) and they have released 5 9”’s including Jafar, London Taxi, London Bus and the 2 La Kidada’s. It was only the most recent 9” La Kidada that sold out within days as they only had 50 to sell to the whole of Europe.
The site uses two different price points for delivery, the standard delivery takes up to 5 working days (they don’t include weekends and bank holidays) which is priced at £4.95 (but free if you spend over £50) and the express next day delivery (ordered before 4pm) which is priced at £5.95. So if your only putting in a small order, sometimes its worth just paying that extra pound to get it as soon as possible. However if you spend over £50, you qualify for the free delivery but should you decide to upgrade to Express, you will pay the full £5.95 and not just an additional pound which I find extremely annoying and a rip off. If you are ordering around a bank holiday, you should expect your items to be delayed however at the Jubilee weekend they ended up working a few Saturdays to make sure they didn’t have a similar problem that they had at Easter with huge backlogs in their hubs.
Unfortunately DS uses Yodel for their delivery service rather than the Royal Mail, while Yodel can be very efficient with texting details of delivery and being able to track online, I have found in the past that my orders are very hit and miss, some arriving on time, some early, some late and some with poorly damaged boxes. My biggest bug with Yodel is that if you are out, while they will often leave the parcel somewhere if they can, if it goes back to the warehouse (which is usually located out of town) you then have to get it redelivered. Whereas at least with the Post Office, you can just pop there and get it. I will say in Disney’s defence that every time I’ve had a issue with a delivery, the office has been very friendly and helpful in trying to sort out any issues such as chasing Yodel and sorting out replacements for lost/missing/damaged goods etc. I really can’t fault the Disney Store UK team when it comes to dealing with any problems.
Since the distribution centre for Disney in Europe is located in the UK it also serves the rest of Europe either through shipping internationally or through their other portals .fr (French) and .de (German (though only the Jafar is available on that website) ) so if you’re a collector from any of the European countries, it is worth looking at the UK site as an alternative to .com. The only difference in ordering from another European country is that they have different shipping costs to different countries and they have organised that into Zones, (basically the further you go from the UK the more it costs) so while Ireland and the Netherlands are in Zone 1 (only costing a single pound more than the UK delivery price), if your in Greece, you are in Zone 5 where its £21 shipping, no matter the size of your parcel or value. Unlike the UK where they use Yodel for delivery, international packages are sent via DHL. This is a much better option than using .com for most collectors due to cheaper shipping prices and different European customs. It’s worth noting that some items can’t be purchased from outside the UK but Vinylmation’s don’t usually come under that rule.
Another point to remember when using DisneyStore.co.uk is to keep a eye out for offers, be it by checking voucher code sites like Quidco (more on this in a later column), Disney Movie Awards, Vouchercodes, Money Saving Expert etc as you may be able to find a % off code or free delivery. These codes usually only have a limited time frame, but its always worth a quick search before placing a order. Also Disney does occasionally put a offer on the front of their website with a percentage off code (such as at a bank holiday) or free or reduced delivery offer. It’s worth checking if your order qualifies for free delivery after adding a promotional code as a £50 order with a 10% off, brings the order down to £40 and you’ll have to pay the delivery charge (ie. Buying 7 blind boxes at £8 would be £56 (free delivery) but with a 20% code it works out as £44.80, so its worth adding an extra blind box of £8 to get the free shipping and pay £51.20 with free postage). But usually you will find these codes won’t be on when a new item comes into stock (they aren’t stupid!