The Buzz

19 posts from November 2010

« October 2010 | Main | December 2010 »

Confessions of a Disney Store Vinylmation Artist

By Jim Valeri, Nov 30, 2010 3:46 AM the heading on this post is a little misleading. The only thing I really have to confess is how thrilled I am to be a part of the team of artists that was asked to help design Disney Store's own exclusive New York City themed Vinylmation figures that debuted recently at our Times Square Grand Opening.

Early in 2010, the artists on the North America Creative Team were told that The Disney Store would be carrying its own exclusive Vinylmation figures as well as some of the amazing pieces that until now have only been available in our Theme Parks. Since most of the crew had already been avid collectors, we wasted no time in conceptualizing our first series of exclusive designs for the opening of our flagship Times Square store in New York. In doing so, we really set out to capture the spirit and essence of NYC couched within the context of Disney.

Needless to say, to be able to “sign” our work is a fantastic motivation for us and we all take every piece very seriously because of that. A sampling of the names that will continue to grace the feet of these items are those of: Enrique Pita, Gerald Mendez, Oskar Mendez, Marcella Lau and Kyle Jensen.

   NYC VM 

 Our design philosophy is to inject each and every piece with some element of story telling and to pay attention to the details. In addition to the long time collector, we want to provide guests that may be new to Vinylmation with that special little homage to Disney’s heritage while maintaining an elevated, collectible look and feel. 

Despite the inherent design restrictions that come with representing a huge array of characters on a single figural shape, I'm constantly amazed how so many unique creative solutions present themselves. I’ve learned over the years that innovation is actually enhanced by certain limitations. Creativity always finds a way….the muse eventually sings. That’s one reason that I love my job!

For a long time Disney Character Artist and Product Designer like myself, designing Vinylmation figures is the opportunity of a lifetime not only because it is an artist driven phenomenon, but because Disney has an entire vault of rich content and characters to plumb. In addition to our beloved iconic characters, we have many lesser-known ones that deserve to take another bow and going forward, we’re looking forward to introducing them to a whole new generation of Disney fans.

Psst...Here's a little inside scoop for you. Keep it under your hat. We are currently putting the finishing touches on a set of Disney Villains which will debut in early 2011....(insert maniacal laughter here.) More to come on that later.


Best Regards,


The Magic Continues with Cyber Monday!

By Amy Lin, UGA Online Marketing, Nov 29, 2010 9:57 AM

We all love Fridays- especially Magical ones ;) But who thought we'd look forward to Mondays too?

Here's a Monday to smile about: is offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders placed today and up to 25% off! Go to for all the fun!

The magic continues! Happy Monday, everyone!


Magical Friday Secrets

By Amy Lin, UGA Online Marketing, Nov 24, 2010 11:32 AM

Psstttt! Magical Friday is just around the corner and we have some secrets to share. Here are hints to be the first to know about our Magical Friday Deals TONIGHT:

Hint #1
Be ready three hours before Cinderella turned and left her glass slipper (PST)

Hint #2
Follow closely! Keep a twinkling eye on @DisneyStorePrez and @DisneyStore

Hint #3: 





Get "Tangled" Up in Free Shipping!

By Amy Lin, UGA Online Marketing,


Hear Ye, Hear Ye! All gentlemen and lovely ladies of the kingdom:

In celebration of today's release of Walt Disney Studios' newest hair-raising adventure, Tangled, add any Tangled item to your online shopping cart when you shop ay and your entire order ships free!

Now that's something for the whole kingdom to celebrate about! Don't forget to  get your tickets and snuggle up to watch Tangled this weekend!

Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi Promote "Tangled" at The Disney Store in Times Square

By Amy Lin, UGA Online Marketing, Nov 23, 2010 2:31 PM


Last Friday, actors Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi promoted their new movie Tangled at the Disney Store in Times Square with storytelling! A second grade class from Queens was specially invited to attend the story time and children who were already in the store also joined as Mandy and Zach read to them in the in-store theater. Talk about a magical story time!

Tangled is the Walt Disney Studios' 50th animated film and opens in theaters tomorrow! Cuddle up with loved ones at your local theater and enjoy this hair-raising tale this weekend!  I know I will! :)




Disney Gift Card gets Tangled

By Adam Parish, Disney Gift Card Services, Nov 22, 2010 2:23 PM


Tangled arrives in theaters this week, and to join in on the excitement we have a Tangled themed Disney Gift Card now available right here at!  This design is exclusive to and features Flynn being held hostage by Rapunzel and her 70 feet of golden hair.

Unlike Flynn, who as you can see, is a little tangled at the moment, you can use the Disney Gift Card for your next Disney vacation, at your local Disney Store, and beyond! It's the perfect gift for the holiday season!

Pick up a Tangled Disney Gift Card and don't forget to snuggle up with loved ones (and Pascal!) when you enjoy Tangled in theaters this Wednesday!

Get your Mickey ears on the Disney Store Times Square billboard!

By Amy Lin, UGA Online Marketing,

Congratulations to Adrian from San Diego
who got his Mickey ears 
featured on our billboard in Times Square! 


Adrian was our latest winner- will you be next? To see pictures of all our previous winners, visit

30,000 Mickey Mouse Ears magically appeared in New York City today during our Times Square Grand Opening celebration…and the fun won't stop there!  Disney Store is holding a Twitter sweepstakes where you can win a $50 gift card and have your picture featured on the brand new Times Square Disney Store billboard!

 To enter to win, tweet a picture of yourself wearing Mickey Ears to @DisneyStore with the tag #DisneyStoreNYC!  Remember, you should be following @DisneyStore here.

The sweepstakes runs from November 9-30 and a new face will be put on the billboard every Wednesday and Saturday!  One submission will qualify you for the entire month's sweepstakes, but feel free to have your friends retweet your submission! We've already seen a lot of great submissions- don't wait to join in on the fun!

You can find all of the sweepstakes rules at


Behind the Scenes: The Story Behind Disney's Princess Singing Dolls

By Amy Lin, UGA Online Marketing, Nov 19, 2010 5:45 PM

Chromeless 480 x 270px. No File Name Display. No Auto-play


One of the best things about my job here at Disney Store is the fact that I am surrounded by so many incredibly talented and creative people who are also some of the nicest and most approachable people I've ever met. When the Disney Store Product Development Team released their Princess Singing Dolls on October 31st (and I saw Jimmy Kimmel present the Singing Rapunzel doll in front of Mandy Moore on Jimmy Kimmel Live!), I was so fascinated by the dolls that I wanted to learn more and I knew our Buzz readers would too. When I got to work the next morning I requested a meeting time and before I knew it I was chatting with Nomi Vela, Design Director of Toys and Hardlines, and Doug Oglesby, Senior Manager, Merchandise Toys- the creative minds behind the Disney Store Product Development Team's latest royal project.

After settling into one of our neon green conference rooms, appropriately called 'The Toy Room,' we started chatting about the inspiration, the songs, the details, and the future of the Disney Princess Singing Doll. 


The Inspiration

Amy: So what inspired the development 201498 of the Disney Princess Singing Dolls?

Doug: We were looking for new ways to extend the doll business and we wanted to come out with a new doll that would be unlike any other doll out in the market right now. The first thing we decided to do was make our new doll at a bigger scale, while still retaining the fashion and elegant quality of our previous Disney Princess dolls. As a result, we moved away from the usual 11-inch doll size and created a 17-inch fashion doll. We thought that moving the fashion doll to a bigger scale would allow our guests to have a better play experience in dressing the dolls and in playing with them. We also hoped that in introducing the 17-inch fashion doll we would be creating a new fashion doll niche. 

Nomi: The other important thing we wanted to focus on was making sure we were capturing the magic of the Disney Princesses in our new dolls. That's when we started thinking, 'Okay, what is iconic to our Disney Princesses? Their dresses and their songs!' We already had the dresses part down with our current dolls but we knew we wanted to highlight their iconic princess songs in a new way that would be interactive, magical, and true to the Disney experience. At Disney we're all about storytelling and we wanted to bring the princesses right out of the screen for our guests. Their songs resonate with our guests so we knew we wanted to incorporate them with these new dolls.


The Songs

A: How did you choose which song for each princess doll to sing?

Nomi: We actually did some extensive research on the songs we chose for each princess. Each song we picked was from a crucial moment in each princess' story- a turning point, a moment of empowerment, love, or realization. For example, for Belle it was the moment she realizes there is a softer side to the beast and she begins to grow in affection for him. As a result, we chose "Something There" as the song for our Belle doll. For Ariel it was when she is looking at her collection of human things and she realizes she wants to be part of their world, so we picked "Part of Your World."

A: Can you tell me about the voice talent used for the recording of these songs? I've heard the dolls and they sound like they came straight from the movies!

Nomi: We used original voice talent if it was available for the song recordings, including Mandy Moore for the Rapunzel doll and Anika Noni Rose for the Tiana doll. We also paid attention to detail with these recordings to ensure that girls would be able to interact and sing with the dolls. We had our voice talent record their respective songs a cappella to make it easier for girls to feel like they are singing with each princess and we decided to have each 45-second song play in three 15-second intervals so girls can pause and sing comfortably with each princess.


  201385 The Details

 A: Wow! It sounds like a lot of detail went into the development, design and crafting of each doll. How long does it take for one Disney Princess Singing Doll to be made? 

Doug: It takes about three weeks for each doll to be made. The whole project from concept to production took from December of last year to Oct. 31st of this year.

Nomi: Yes! We wanted to be as detailed as possible. For example, the voice box on each doll is shaped like a heart on each dolls' back. The button you press to make her sing is a very small pressure point on her hand so little girls can "hold" each princess' hand to sing with her! Also, each princess singing doll was sculpted in a way that is true to who they are- each sculpt is unique to each princess. We didn't have a generic face sculpt that we duplicated. We even worked with the directors of Tangled and The Princess and the Frog to create our Rapunzel and Tiana dolls.

A: Were there any challenges in making these dolls?

Doug: The voice box technology is not new so putting the technology into the dolls wasn't difficult but the challenge was embedding the technology and still making it pretty. We wanted to have this technology but keep the princess as elegant and grand as she ought to be. We call it 'elegant technology.'


The Future

 A: What are the plans for the future? 201388

 Doug: Right now we have 7 total princess singing dolls and we plan to add the remaining three princesses next year. We're also looking to create dolls with longer hair. We've been noticing a trend that girls like longer hair on their dolls because they can play with it more. We want guests to have as much of an interactive experience as possible so longer hair will mean girls will be able to braid it, clip on accessories, and do more things with it.

A: Anything else you would like to share with our guests? 

Nomi: The singing dolls are a reflection of the talent level of the Disney Store Product Development Team. Our goal is to bring home story-telling and I think we do it in a way that is authentic to the princesses and, as a result, a delight to our guests.


Well, there you have it! I had a wonderful time laughing and chatting with Doug and Nomi and I am amazed at the hard work and detail that was put into such a beautiful and thoughtful project. I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did!

To get your own Ariel, Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, and Tiana Singing Doll, click here!


Pascal Plush in the Spotlight!

By Amy Lin, UGA Online Marketing, Nov 17, 2010 5:46 PM

Where's Pascal? He's not too difficult to find nowadays.

Chameleons are known for their camouflage abilities but our little chameleon friend from Tangled has been making his way along Hollywood's red carpet lately and mingling with the stars. Pascal shared the spotlight with Tangled directors Byron Howard and Nathan Greno, actress Mandy Moore (voice of Rapunzel), actor Zachary Levi (voice of Flynn) and shared kisses with singer Grace Potter at Disney's world premiere of Tangled at the El Capitan Theatre on November 14, 2010.






He's cute, he's shiny and irresistibly spunky! No wonder they can't get enough!

Want a little Pascal of your own, too?  You can get him here! (Like a true chameleon of many colors he also comes in red and blue!) Don't leave the house without him on your shoulder!

Tangled In-Store Craft Event this Saturday

By Amy Lin, UGA Online Marketing, Nov 16, 2010 5:53 PM

If you're like me, the right side of my brain gets a tickle every so often when it has been too long since I've done something artsy. Soon enough this little tickle spreads and sends messages to my hands which, tired from a work week of typing in data and emails, longs to hold paint brushes, colored pencils, glue, and scraps of colored paper. Or maybe you love to see the delight on your child's face when he or she tugs on your arm to show you their latest drawing, art project, or sandcastle tower. Art encourages imagination, creativity, and reflection and if you've ever felt the "creative tickle" you know that taking time away to enjoy the arts is a wonderful thing.

So why not take a magical trip this weekend to your nearest Disney Store and do some arts and crafts? Encourage your little ones to use their imagination and take them to our Tangled in-store craft event that's happening this Saturday! We're celebrating Rapunzel's birthday and making paper lanterns in her honor!

For more details, please visit our Facebook page here. We hope to see you there!

Do you ever get the "creative tickle"? What do you do to cure it?