The Imagination Gala: A Magic Carpet Event!
But was it really that magical? For my second trip to a hard ticket event, it was a big improvement from last years Reflections of Evil, but there is still much to discuss. You can read the review of Reflections of Evil here:
Much like last year I only attended Thursdays pick up event, and the Vinylmation day on Sunday, so my experiences will be based off of those events. Since this event was themed around an awards show, I will be introducing each category and the nominees. Lets see who won! Hint….its probably me in most of them.
THE PURPLE CARPET:
Best Packing by a Vinylmation Collector:
Nominees: Pink Elephants40, Mickin16, Baltar, BlindBox28, Chaser08
This year I decided to let go(LET IT GOOOOO) of some of my collection since I have had a few big changes occur in my life. This time I needed some extra equipment. Last year I took 4 tackle boxes and a bag or two. This year I had 10 tackle boxes, a full backpack, and a case full of random figures. I had become a suitcase person. But hey, there is something funny about seeing guests faces after the event wondering why you are walking around EPCOT with a rolling suitcase.
Best Early Risers:
Nominees: Mickin16, Travis, People in Front of Me, Procrastinators, The Sun
Winner: People in Front of Me
Thursdays Registration didn’t officially start until 10AM, but that didn’t stop the usual early risers from getting there super early. Some collectors arrived at Coronado Springs Resort as early as 7AM to be some of the first in line. Now, this is not an uncommon experience for Disney collectibles. Some collectors will get to ESPN on a trade night event as early as 12AM for an event that starts at 6PM. Last year I got to this point at about 10:30 and I knew I wanted to get a good spot so I planned on being in line at about 8AM in which this picture was taken.
Not to be confused with about 9:15 when the picture above was snapped. When the line finally started moving about 5 min before 10, this line was extended almost around the whole room.
Best Adjustment for a trading area:
Nominees: ESPN, Contemporary, All Star Sports, Coronado Springs Ballroom, My House
Winner: Coronado Springs Ballroom
Those of you who attended last years event, or who read my recap above, would remember the tiny space that they allowed for trading activities on Thursdays Registration event. The tables filled up so fast and they were asking traders to condense there stuff to allow more guests to have a chance to sit. What a big improvement this year! I remember walking in to get in line and thinking that this room is huge and that it was too big and that there was going to be leftover tables. One of the better things was that they left more room between the tables and it was much easier to navigate around the room.
I felt like the ratio between pin and vinyl traders increases at every event and it showed here. As I walked around I got a chance to stop at way more traders tables and if I wasn’t trading I at least stopped and had a conversation with people. This community grows stronger every event I go to and its great to see.
THE GOLDEN FIGMENTS:
Best Entrance to an Event:
Nominees: The Front, International Gateway, Run for Your Lives!, Sleep in the Ball, Princess Breakfast
Winner: International Gateway
Snub: Run For Your Lives!
This year we chose to try the front entrance of EPCOT. Not only because of the rumors that the front got in first last year, but mainly because we weren’t staying on property and drove from our house. We arrived early for the breakfast at about 6:45 and were some of the first at the front. Then when the security guards started to arrive they moved the line around to the other side and some of us were forced in the back although we had been there for more than an hour previous to some that had jumped the line. I got over that fact because security check went very fast and we were in the line above at about 7:30.
This was the line at the International Gateway. Now I was not at this location so I am not sure exactly what time they were let in the park and granted they have less of a distance to travel to the World Showplace where the Gala was held, but they definitely were there before us. The Cast Members working the Breakfast line were nice and got us all in a timely manner so it really is hit or miss comparing the two entrances. If you want to be one of the first at the boxes, its a hard call, but I would recommend the International gateway mainly because it is closer than the front entrance. The Cast Members at the front suggested we push our bags facing forward and walk to the area, however; there were a good number of guests that as soon as they saw a clearing took off and ran the 100 yard dash to the event. Although they ran their hearts out, I still saw them behind a good number of people in line so I hope it was worth it.
Least Amount of Decor:
Nominees: Mickey’s Circus, Imagination Gala, Mickin16’s House, Fairytale Hall
Winner: Imagination Gala
Compared to last years event in which the decor was the highlight of the event for me, this year left me really dissatisfied. Gone were the elaborate sets dedicated to a particular villain and in its place were what seemed just some cardboard cut outs.
There was no smoke or fog when walking in. No movie clips playing. If there was an “awards show” theme present I certainly didn’t feel invited. The entertainers for the event also got annoying by the the second or third time they hit the stage to sing their sets. Some had nice voices, it was just very loud and they tried some comedy bits that just didn’t work. The piano player was great and I would have been fine if he just came out and played throughout the day instead of the singers.
The one decent backdrop that was present consisted of some of the instruments that were featured in the original Imageworks location on the second floor of the Imagination Pavilion. These were from the Electronic Philharmonic exhibit in which you would wave your arms around sensors and the corresponding instruments would start to play.
I’m not sure what this display from Fantasia’s Dance of the Hours was doing here, but it was nice to see. You can see more cutout backdrops in the background. Im guessing something villainous was occurring over there.
In Memorium: Jrs. and Trade Nights
If there was one thing my wife was looking forward to it was trying to complete some earlier Jr. figures that she had not gotten yet. Much to our surprise there was no Jr. trading box or spinner at this event. None. No Jr. event chaser either. You would think maybe they were doing away with the line, but they announced another Jr. series based off of Star Wars Stormtroppers, so they are still producing them. Did they not have enough traders in the lines last year for them to deem it unnecessary to have one this year?
There was also no Trade Night figures announced or previewed for next year. At last years event we found out about the Trade Night Eachez figures and I was so excited to see Stitch and a few others. We have only had 2 official trade nights covering both coasts in 9 months with none announced (at the moment) for the rest of the year. With no figures announced does that mean they are doing away with this concept? Maybe they didn’t want to preview anything in case they don’t get a chance to hold many events for 2015. Thoughts?
Outstanding Overpriced Auction Items:
Nominees: Ebay, Facebook, Imagination Gala Silent Auction, Soethbys
Winner: Imagination Gala Silent Auction
Every collector loves a good auction. A chance to score some cool stuff and the chance to set your own price for it, Awesome! However I think this year Disney got a little greedy and thought that since they could upcharge us crazy amounts for other events and parties that we would have no issues paying high prices for some of these too. $1000 starting bid for a case of Furry Friends? About the same for a Little Mermaid case? Thats way over anything I could afford.
This display from Villains in Vogue had a starting bid of $500. Congrats to Nicholas Robinson who won it, but still too much for me.
This was really the only interesting item to me at least. With a starting bid of $1400, I thought that was fair for this item. I think it ended up going for about $1750 so congrats to whomever won this item, it looks great. With only 6 of the 20 auction lots being sold at the Gala I think they need to rethink either the items they are putting up for sale or probably more important their choices of starting amounts if they want better results next year.
Best Idea That Worked Out Only Just OK:
Nominees: Smaller Case Sizes, Urban Redux, Open Window, Vintage Vinylmation Vault
Winner: Vintage Vinylmation Vault
I honestly didn’t even realize the time that the Imagination Gala store opened. I was in a trade line and saw a bunch of people start to line up for some random line, so like most Disney things I just got in line not knowing what I was in line for. We eventually found out that there was a Trade Night figure and an additional Gala figure. Then they announced the Vintage Vinylmation Vault! What excitement arose for that. For just $10 you could buy blind boxes of extinct series. YAY! Except if you were in the back half of the line forget it. By the time I got up to purchase my items more than half of the page above was crossed out. All of the worthwhile series were gone and I was left with items that I could purchase at the outlets for $3.99 instead of here for $10. I got a Cutesters 1 and Muppets 1 with hopes for the chasers since I didn’t have them yet. I would have loved to been able to purchase a Park 2,5 or Urban 4, but as they say “the earliest Mickey gets the cheese.”
Best Trade line:
Nominees: Box #5, Villains Spinner, Colored Spinner, Box #1, Thursdays Registration Line
Winner: Colored Spinner
This time around, the boxes were a lot kinder to me. I managed to hit a lot of refreshes and I had a much better time waiting in lines. The colored spinners above were the best lines because they were shorter than the regular boxes, and you had a better chance of getting some quality figures due to there being 10-12 figures in each box. I will say I feel like I saw a lot less chasers, variants, and one of a kinds pulled this year and mostly people were pulling one of the four chipmunk figures created for the event. Some traders ended up walking away with multiples of all 4. I was content with a pair of blues, since I didn’t even see an orange in any box I saw.
Nominees: Mickin16, Jim Parsons, Matthew Mcconaughey, Jessica Lange, Adel Mazeem
LOL of course its me. Thanks goes out to all the great traders and people of this community. You are all that makes this hobby fun and worthwhile.
PRESS ROOM INTERVIEW:
Overall this event was an improvement from a year ago. I had a lot more traders so I was able to make some great trades not only in the boxes but with other traders too. The decor, entertainment, and auctions were a disappointment, but if you are just there to trade over and over in the boxes I guess it doesn’t bother you that much. Im not sure what to expect with next years theme of genEARation but I hope I at least will be able to purchase/get some form of this poster because it is just awesome.
Thanks for reading. Did you attend this years Gala? What was your thoughts? Are you excited about any particular series that was announced? Will you be going to next years event? Did you trade for any grails or get that must have figure? Comment below!