Over here in the United Kingdom & France we have been seeing many more Vinylmation releases, in the past 6 months we have had Behind the Masks, Myths & Legends, Oz the Great & Powerful, High School, Animation 3, 110th Anniversary, Wild West and a Goofy Candy co. While over at Disneyland Paris they have also seen the Star Wars 3, Droid Jr’s and Cutesters En Vogue released. There have been a few items not released over here such as Whiskers and Tales or Urban Redux but generally we have had a lot more items than ever before.
There have been some issues of items selling out super quick like the 110th and Wild West series, but generally things are looking up. Disney UK have been much more proactive on their Facebook page in answering collectors questions about up coming releases though we still get the wishy washy response that doesn’t answer a question but at least acknowledge they’ve seen the question.
Recently they have been trying to get some feedback from collectors and have said that they will be making an announcement about the UK scene soon. There are lots of little rumours running around but many people are assuming a bigger push to online releases away from physical stores and more new releases.
But in the last couple of weeks we have seen a very small change to the UK website, on the Vinylmation page, we now have the banner image showing us the next release or two. Instead of a generic image of a figure never released in Europe (the Park 7 Combo Topper!).
We know weeks before hand that the Monsters University set was due out on the 17th of June and the Lone Ranger set is due out on the 28th. This is a huge improvement for European collectors, we now before a release that its coming out. No more guessing, no more asking questions on Facebook, no need to work out a back up plan encase they aren’t released here. It’s such a simple change that makes collecting so much more easier. They have used a similar system for Pins, showing the next release or two on the page and it works for the most part (There are huge Pin collector issues with .co.uk/fr which I’m not going into!)
With some of the recent releases like Wild West, 110th and High School, they randomly turned up on Disney Store instead of on their proper release day which caused a lot of agro for European collectors and this new way of promoting new releases is exactly what is needed. We shouldn’t have to be kept in the dark, they aren’t top secret releases, New Releases are what keep stores going, companies promote their new products before release. There is still a long way to go in how the UK team give out release dates, as while the Vinylmation.com website gives details on Park releases, Europe is never mentioned. There is a counter argument that many of the Disney Store products are promoted properly in the US either, but that’s a whole other discussion.
However I’m not getting my hopes up that these new improvements will last, last year they launched the Park Authentic Range which saw a load of new and older releases brought over from Disneyland Paris including Haunted Mansion, Park 10, Theme Park Favourites, Bakery, Big Hats and many other releases. But there have been some Vinylmation releases such as Cutesters En Vogue and Popcorns that weren’t released through the Park Authentic range and from replies from the Disney Store, Park 12 and Beauty & The Beast will be following that same trend of not being made available through their online stores. I hope this is just a small set back, as its much easier to buy direct from the .co.uk website than going through the mail order system.
But anyway you look at it, these little changes can make a lot of difference to the overall shopping experience, making it easier to pick up new items is exactly what we need. So my hat is off to the UK website team for looking at some of the issues and making small adjustments.