Vinylmation is a brand of 1.5", 3", and 9" vinyl collectibles sold at Disney theme parks, select Disney Stores, and the online Disney Store. The name Vinylmation is a combination of the word Animation and Vinyl. Most figures are all shaped with the body of Mickey Mouse but have different themed markings, colors, and patterns. This means that all figures have round mouse ears, whether or not the painted character has them. This is accommodated by painting the ears with backgrounds - stars, stripes, rainbows - to match the painted character. The series exception is the Park Starz series which does not resemble Mickey at all, and more closely resembles iconic figures from the parks. Vinylmation was first introduced in July 2008, and the first figures were introduced in November 2008.
The trading of figures is officially encouraged and practiced at Disney locations in a fashion similar to Disney pin trading. There are designated places where guests may trade figures with cast members. Trading now takes place at select Disney Stores as well.
Disney Parks allow people to trade in their Vinylmations for either one out of a mystery box numbered one through 24, or for one in a small clear case. If you do not like the Vinylmation from the mystery box then you may trade with one of three in a clear case that you can see which ones there are. Each store has a slight variation on these rules but generally you can trade up to two times per person. You can trade them in at most stores throughout Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort, and in several Disney stores.
Over the past 2 years, online trading has become more prevalent, with sites popping up dedicated to trading and trading news. This makes it much more convenient for fans to trade if they aren't close to both the parks and the Disney Stores.
Vinylmation figurines are tradeable through friends, clubs, or other owners of Vinylmation figurines. At some locations, old or dulled figurines can be traded for new figurines.
Vinylmation figures are sold in sealed packaging. The purchaser does not know which figure they are buying until they have opened it. Each figure belongs to a series of 8, 12, or 24. All of the figures in a series are printed on the packaging and the series itself comes in a large box on display at the point of purchase. Each series has one unknown figure, called "the chaser." Some figures come with cards, stickers, or another figure to make a set. In addition to being a mystery figure, the chaser is also one of the rarer figures in each series. However, in addition to the chaser, there are also variants which are randomly inserted into cases at a lower rate than the chaser. The variant is a different version of one of the vinyls in the series.
Limited edition nine-inch figures are also sold and these are visible without opening the packaging. There is also a 1.5-inch Vinylmation Jr. size.
3" figures can be purchased by the case. Each case comes with 24 vinyls containing at least 2 of each known design, and 1 mystery chaser. To accommodate the chaser, one of the 11 known designs appears 3 times in a case.
There are various series to choose from:
- Park series feature designs relating to Disney theme park attractions and characters.
- Urban series vinyls have designs that are more open-ended than Park vinyls as they do not need to relate to Disney or its theme parks.
- Park Starz series, featuring park characters.
- Cutesters series
- Holiday series
- Vinylmation Jr series
- Open Edition series, where buyers know what figure they are getting. There are many sub-series, such as Phineas and Ferb series, Nerds series, Sports series, Bakery series, Big Eyes series, Walt Disney World 40th Anniversary, Disney Vacation Club series, and others.
- Limited Release series, which includes The Nightmare Before Christmas series, Toy Story series, Pirates of the Caribbean series, Brave series and others.
- Limited Edition series, which includes Disney Afternoon series, Sushi series, among the others.
- Commemorative & Events series
- Cast Exclusive series
- Animation series
- ONE-OF-A-KIND series
- Accessories series, featuring Ear Hat series
- Disney Store series, featuring New York City Exclusives series, Villains series, Furry Friends series, Disney's The Lion King series and more.
- Robots series
- Disney Cruise Line Exclusives series
- Monorail series, which includes Disney-Pixar Cars Series
- The Muppets series
- Marvel Comics series
- Alice in Wonderland series
- Star Wars series
- Indiana Jones series
- Create Your Own series: This consists of blank 3" and 9" Vinylmation figures, with no artwork printed on them. These vinyls are available in several colors, including red, yellow, pink, purple, black, and white, as well as a glow-in-the-dark green version. Unlike the other series, buyers are aware of the color of vinyl they will buy prior to purchase by way of a window on the packaging. The purpose of blank Vinylmations is, similar to toys like the Munny by Kidrobot, to provide a three-dimensional canvas on which fans can play artist and draw, paint, or otherwise apply their own art or designs to the figure, creating their own one-of-a-kind piece of Disney art. To assist fans in customization, Disney has recently introduced decals, rhinestones, and colored pencils embellished with Vinylmation motifs to use in the creation of their figures. Blank or customized vinyls are not accepted for trade at Disney Parks.
- Official Disney Vinylmation FAQ. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- Trade Street, USA. "TradeStreetUSA.com". http://www.tradestreetusa.com/.
- vinylnation.net - What is Vinylmation?. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- MouseStation 409 - Vinylmation? What's that?. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- "Vinylmation Vault". Disney. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Mauney, Matt (10 January 2014). "New Disney Vinylmation figures include Indiana Jones and limited edition Duffy". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 10 January 2014.