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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Piper: Pixar Studio Store Exclusive Greeting Card (Art by Jason Deamer)

Piper Pixar Studio Store Greeting Card Art by Jason Deamer

When Pixar's short film Piper arrived in theaters last year with Finding Dory, it almost instantly became one of my all time favorite Pixar shorts. To this day, it still takes my breath away and continues to charm me with each viewing. I don't think anyone could see Piper and dislike it—it's just that good.

I was thrilled when my friend [Disney freelance Artist] Jerrod Maruyama sent me this in a recent care package—another something I didn't even know existed! Here we have this beautiful Pixar Studio Store (not open to the public) exclusive Piper greeting card. This is one of the most elegantly illustrated Pixar art pieces I've seen. From the soft, "beachy" colors to the overall classy design, layout and fonts; it really captures the tenderness of the film, not to mention it feels so different from any other Pixar art I own. Plus there's Piper right there front and center—one of the cutest Pixar characters ever created. You can't go wrong here.

Piper Pixar Studio Store Greeting Card Art by Jason Deamer

I love how it says "Drawn from Nature by J. Deamer" down in the bottom left. Obviously the "from nature" part is humorous (subtle, yet funny if you think about it), but the "by J. Deamer" is of course absolutely true. Jason Deamer works at Pixar in the animation department (art director and character designer) and was the production designer on Piper.

The text "Hungrius Littlus Birdis" is obviously some sort of play on words for Hungry Little Bird. The year the film was released (2016) can be seen in the upper left hand corner (along with some sort of numero sign for some reason?) and "Printed & Colored in Emeryville, CA" is straightforward. The only thing I don't quite get is why it says "PLATE XVIII." in the upper right hand corner. I understand that those are roman numerals for 18, but I don't get what it's trying to say overall. If you know what the heck that means, definitely let me know.

The back of the card is simple and straightforward with only the Pixar Animation Studios logo. The inside of the card is 100% blank.

Piper Pixar Studio Store Greeting Card Art by Jason Deamer
Piper Pixar Studio Store Greeting Card Art by Jason Deamer

Other than the just released D23 Expo exclusive Piper Tsum Tsum set (which I'll be reviewing here soon), this card, a pin and a plush (all Pixar Studio Store exclusives) are really the only pieces of Piper merch out there (and interestingly, none of which is available to the general public). One of my goals in life is to get that Piper plush, but that's going to be near impossible.

What are your thoughts on Piper and what do you think of this gorgeous card? Let me know in the comment selection below.

Piper Pixar Studio Store Greeting Card Art by Jason Deamer
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Up: Hallmark 2017 Dug Keepsake Ornament (Lights & Sounds)

Up Hallmark 2017 Dug Keepsake Ornament (Lights & Sounds)

As a followup to yesterday's post on the 2017 Hallmark Keepsake Cars 3 Lightning McQueen ornament (definitely check that out HERE before moving on), here we have Dug from Up (with lights & sounds)— the second out of three Pixar themed Keepsake ornaments being released this holiday season at Hallmark! Note: The third this year is little Dory with her parents, however that won't be out until October. Stay tuned for my review on that one in the coming months.

Dug here is also the seventh (and apparently final) part of a Pixar Keepsake ornaments sub-line called the "Disney·Pixar Legends Series", which began in 2011. The previous six ornaments/characters released under this banner were: Carl/Russell (2011), Sulley/Boo (2012), Crush/Squirt (2013), Edna Mode (2014), Wall·E (2015) and Joy/Sadness (2016). I'm not exactly sure why they're considering this the final "Legends" release, though honestly I don't even know why there's a Pixar sub-line to begin with (since all the ornaments are the same in feel and quality to the others anyway). Like why wasn't McQueen included in the "Legends" lineup? What about Buzz and Woody? They're pretty legendary to me! ;) 

Up Hallmark 2017 Dug Keepsake Ornament (Lights & Sounds)

Like usual, each Keepsake is designed by a different artist within Hallmark. The look of this Dug ornament was created by Anita Marra Rogers who did an outstanding job capturing the character.

Up Hallmark 2017 Dug Keepsake Ornament (Lights & Sounds)

Dug measures about 2.3" tall x 1.6" wide and is made of a non-fragile plastic (which is great for families with young kids who might be tempted to pull this off the tree). He requires two button cell batteries (which are included, but need to be installed. A small screwdriver will be needed). Once the batteries are in, press the small button on Dug's front to hear six of his most classic lines directly from the film:
  • "Hi there! My name is Dug. I have just met you and I love you." 
  • "Squirrel!"
  • "I am a great tracker. My pack sent me on a special mission all by myself."
  • "Have you seen a bird? I want to find one and I've been on his scent. I am a great tracker. Did I mention that?"
  • "I can bark. [barking sounds] and here's howling [howling sounds]."
  • "I do not like the cone of shame."
What a perfect selection of quotes. And the best part? The light on his collar glows red when he speaks just like in the movie! Now that is cool.

Up Hallmark 2017 Dug Keepsake Ornament (Lights & Sounds)Up Hallmark 2017 Dug Keepsake Ornament (Lights & Sounds)Up Hallmark 2017 Dug Keepsake Ornament (Lights & Sounds)

Retail price for this Dug is $17.95 and can be found right now at your local Hallmark store or online HERE. If you're a big Up fan, then this might be the perfect addition to your Christmas tree this holiday season (or maybe you know a big Up fan and this could be a great gift). Either way! He also works as a display piece if you're just looking to add a little Dug figurine to your work/office desk space.

Lastly, you can watch his talking feature in action in my YouTube video review below. Another big thanks to Hallmark for sending me this to review!



Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Which Keepsake ornaments have you gotten/plan to get? Do you have an all time favorite from over the years? Shout it out!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cars 3: Hallmark 2017 Lightning McQueen Keepsake Ornament

Cars 3: Hallmark 2017 Lightning McQueen Keepsake Ornament

Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!

Wait a second...

Christmas in July? You better believe it! It's that magical time of year again when Hallmark expands their popular and ongoing line of Keepsake ornaments. On July 15th, fans across the US flocked to Hallmark stores to check out all their newest holiday 2017 offerings (over 200 new ornament designs premiered); but thanks to my friends over at Hallmark, I was delivered these right to me door! A big thanks to them.

Within this huge selection of 2017 Keepsake ornaments, there are three themed to Pixar: Cars 3 Lightning McQueen with sounds (as seen in this post), Dug from Up with lights and sounds (which I'll be covering tomorrow) and little Dory with her parents (premieres in October).
 
Cars 3: Hallmark 2017 Lightning McQueen Keepsake Ornament

Each Keepsake is designed by a different artist within Hallmark. This Cars 3 McQueen stems from the work of Rodney Gentry who did a fantastic job capturing the character.

Cars 3: Hallmark 2017 Lightning McQueen Keepsake Ornament

When I first opened up this McQueen, I was surprised to see how different his paint job is compared to the image on the front of the box and the other publicity photos. Rather than what appears to be a bright red matte finish, he's actually more of a deep red with a shiny ransburg/metallic look! Very cool.

Lightning measures about 3.9" long and 1.9" wide and is made of a non-fragile plastic (which is great for families with young kids who might be tempted to pull this off the tree). He requires two button cell batteries (which are included, but need to be installed. A small screwdriver will be needed). Once the batteries are in, press the small button on McQueen's back to hear three movie phrases:
  • "Ohhhhh yahhhhh... Faster than fast, quicker than quick. I am Lightning." (followed by engine sounds)
  • (Engine revs) "Whooaa Ka-Chow!"
  • "OK here we go. Focus. Speed. I am speed." (more engine/revving sounds)

Cars 3: Hallmark 2017 Lightning McQueen Keepsake Ornament
Cars 3: Hallmark 2017 Lightning McQueen Keepsake Ornament
Cars 3: Hallmark 2017 Lightning McQueen Keepsake Ornament

Retail price for this Lightning McQueen is $17.95 and can be found right now at your local Hallmark store or online HERE. If you're a big Cars fan, then this might be the perfect addition to your Christmas tree this holiday season. Honestly he even looks cool enough to just display as a collector's piece as well. Really nice quality overall.

Lastly, you can watch his talking feature in action in my YouTube video review below:
 


Stay tuned for my Keepsake Dug review right here tomorrow (NOW POSTED HERE)! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Which Keepsake ornaments have you gotten/plan to get?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

REMINDER- Kmart 2017 Cars 3 Event Lightning McQueen Promo Ending Soon

mattel kmart cars 3 2017 event

On June 10th, Kmart partnered with Mattel once again to bring you their latest Cars diecast "mail away" promotion! These used to happen pretty regularly (once, or even sometimes twice a year), but this is the first one since 2013. It's a fun, welcome return for us long-time Cars fans/collectors! This time around it's Cars 3 themed in celebration of its theatrical release last month.

Here's the offer and what you need to do. Get a FREE brand new, never before released Mattel Cars 3 Precision Series Lightning McQueen (rumored to be the blue "Fabulous Lightning McQueen, but there's nothing official yet) by doing the following:

Between June 10 and July 31...
  • Purchase five Cars diecasts from Kmart (in store or online)
  • Send your Kmart receipt(s), the printed order form AND the blister cardbacks of the five diecasts you purchased to the designated address. Note: If you didn't pay the $3.50 for shipping electronically through the online order form, you'll also need to include a check or money order for that amount (payable to Mattel). 
That's it! Pretty simple. To see a full outline of all the official rules and regulations, check out this detailed page HERE. Also, below you can view what it looked like as I was gearing up to send these off a few days ago; got my receipts, my five cardbacks and sent it all off with the completed order form inside an envelope I got at Walmart for just a few cents. Now I just sit back and await my free diecast! They say it should arrive between eight and twelve weeks.

mattel kmart cars 3 2017 event

I can't wait to see what it is! I really hope the rumor is true and that it turns to be the blue epilogue "For Doc Hudson" McQueen. How cool would that one be as a Precision Series diecast? Fingers crossed.

To wrap things up—If you haven't yet, be sure to purchase any five diecasts at Kmart ASAP and quickly go through the process if you're interested in this. Time is running out! The cars need to be purchased by July 31 and the outgoing envelope to Mattel needs to be postmarked by August 4 (at the latest) in order to qualify.

Best of luck! I'll be excited to show off the McQueen right here as soon as it arrives. Stay tuned for a detailed review next month and let me know your thoughts in the comments below in the meantime.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cars 3 Fruits, Veggies & Recipes ("Fuel Up With Dole" 2017)

disney pixar cars 3 dole bananas

Here's a little fun something I've wanted to document for a while now. On May 25th, Dole launched their summer 2017 collaboration with Disney·Pixar to promote the release of Cars 3 in theaters and an overall healthy lifestyle. This campaign is dubbed "Fuel Up With Dole" and will run through the entire summer until the end of September.

Right now at your local grocery store, you can find specially marked Dole fruits and veggies featuring your favorite Cars 3 characters. Take these bananas for example; I was able to find all five designs one night: Smokey, Jackson Storm, Lightning McQueen, Cruz Ramirez and even Miss Fritter makes an appearance! You know I had to pick them up.

disney pixar cars 3 dole bananas

Something else I spotted was this Cars 3 bagged lettuce. I know there are also Cars 3 marked berries out there as well as [apparently] pineapples, cauliflower and celery (which I never ended up seeing near me). Which Cars 3 Dole products have you seen?

disney pixar cars 3 dole lettuce

As part of the campaign, Dole also released these healthy smoothie recipe cards, loosely inspired by some of the film's characters. If you went to one of the Cars 3 "Road to the Races" tours, you may have had one of these already (since Dole was a sponsor there was handing out samples). If not, be sure to try out the McQueen inspired "Lightning Berry Smoothie" and/or the Cruz inspired "Pineapple Pit Stop Smoothie" at home and let me know what you think!

"Lightning Berry Smoothie" cars 3 dole
"Pineapple Pit Stop Smoothie" cars 3 dole

It doesn't stop there. Don't miss out on the other "Race-Ready" recipes featured on Dole's website; including the Crunchy Banana Roll (Jackson Storm inspired), Romaine Mandarin Oranges & Avocado Salad (Miss Fritter inspired) and Buffalo Bites with Chicken & Pineapple (Smokey inspired). 

pixar cars 3 dole recipes 2017pixar cars 3 dole recipes 2017
pixar cars 3 dole recipes 2017

Lastly, Dole is sponsoring a big summer "family photo" contest. They're giving away an epic, customizable road trip (through and to any location within the US or Canada) to one lucky family. Just upload a picture of YOUR healthy lifestyle and fill out the entry form and the one with the most creative photo and caption will win! Twenty smaller runner-up prizes will be awarded as well. Find more details and enter HERE. Hurry though! As of this post, the time frame to enter ends in just two days (July 19th). A personalized, all paid for road trip to anywhere I want sounds pretty sweet deal!

There you go. Just a little Cars 3 promotion history I wanted to document on here. One day we'll look back and say "oh yah! Cars 3 bananas!" ;) As usual, let me know your thoughts or any questions you might have for me in the comments below.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Disney Store's 2017 Summer Play Days UPDATE

disney store 2017 summer play days

Note: This is a repost of my original 2017 Summer Play Days post (which went up early last month), with added updates.

Good times ahead—on June 10th (a week from today), the popular "Summer Play Days" return once again to Disney Stores nationwide! Beginning next Saturday, Disney Store cast members will be hosting a special event every day at 3pm where you and your kids can get out of the heat, have some fun and earn some sweet prizes. The event to kick things off will be a new Cars 3 themed event (which I'm excited to see) and the FREE gifts this year have been revealed to be Disney emoji style embroidered patches, starting with Lightning McQueen on June 10th and then a new character released every subsequent Wednesday through August 9th. The patches are adhesive, but they can also be ironed or sowed onto whatever it might be.

Summer Play Days have traditionally been heavy on Pixar theming, which I love to see. They began in 2013 which featured a ton from Monsters University, then in 2015 they where were centered primarily around Inside Out. In 2016, Finding Dory took center stage at Summer Play Days and now Cars 3 is revving up the excitement. In 2014 there was no Pixar film, so it ended up being a classic Mickey and friends theme.

See the entire 2017 schedule, featuring the patch release dates and more, on the handouts below! I'm excited to snag Lightning, Cruz Ramirez, Jackson Storm and Mater. What about you? Which ones do you hope to get your hands on?

disney store 2017 summer play days

You'll notice that there are a couple special patches as well, which I wanted to point out. On June 10th, a sleeping Mater patch will be available exclusively to DRVC (Disney Rewards Visa Card) holders. That's also a must have for me! Then on August 9th, if you've collected and saved all 10 standard patches, you'll be eligible to receive a bonus Mickey and Minnie patch. Hot dog!

Additionally, look out for two "secret" patches. A Simba patch will be given out spontaneously to select guests in Disney Stores (which I have, seen in my photo below) and a Jack Sparrow patch will be available exclusively at the 2017 D23 Expo Disney Store.

disney store summer play days simba patch

Don't worry parents, there's something for you too! For every five times you visit Summer Play Days during its run (limit one per week), you'll earn a $10 off $40 or more coupon. Be sure to ask for one of their official stamp cards if you haven't already and don't forget to get it stamped each week!

disney store 2017 summer play days

As soon as I collect all the Cars 3 patches, I'll add pics of them right here in this post! Until then, have a blast going to Summer Play Days at your local Disney Store and be sure to let me know your experiences in the comments below.

By the way, if you happen to be near Danbury CT, stop by! That's the Disney Store I work at and I'll be hosting the events all summer long. Hope to see you there!

#DisneyPlayDays

UPDATE 7/16/17- 
I've officially collected the entire series of 2017 Summer Play Day patches thus far, but these four Cars 3 patches are the ones I wanted to share with you all in this post (given that they're the only Pixar related ones). Also, something I've yet to document on here, below is the folder guests receive to organize their patch collection as they go through the summer. Just stick each character on their designated spot and bring the folder to each event (there's also room for any extras you might receive on the back as well).  

Check it all out! These patches are absolutely adorable. What should I stick them on? A backpack perhaps?


disney store summer play days cars 3 patches
disney store summer play days 2017
disney store summer play days 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cars 2: Vladimir Trunkov with car boot

Cars 2 Vladimir Trunkov with car boot

Today I'm jumping back over to my Mattel Disney·Pixar Cars diecast collection to review this year's Vladimir Trunkov with car boot! He is part of the 2017 "London Chase" sub-series (#3/11) and was included in Case B—one of the last cases released before the transition into the Cars 3 line. This case never showed up in my area and was overall harder to find within the US (since Mattel had most of their focus on getting Cars 3 merch out at the time, I understand why this case got mostly snubbed. It came out at an odd time).

Vladimir appeared in Cars 2 as the head of the Trunkov family. As shown in the screenshot above, this diecast stems directly from a moment near the end of the film when Sheriff captures him using a yellow car boot in London. This is the first release of Vladimir with boot, but a standard version of the character was released back in 2011 in the initial Cars 2 line (seen HERE).

Cars 2 Vladimir Trunkov with car boot mattel

Honestly I think it's kind of fun when characters are released again with subtle "movie moment" details added. This will be perfect to recreate the scene! His boot (which is plastic, not diecast) can move back and forth but cannot be removed. His details and expression are spot on; he looks straight out of the movie.

Cars 2 Vladimir Trunkov with car boot mattel

At this point, checking eBay using this direct link to current listings or visiting Amazon using the link below are your best bets if you're looking to add this one to your collection. Unfortunately I had to resort to eBay since I was never able to find him in stores, but luckily his prices are currently very reasonable.

What about you? Were you able to find this case near you? What are your thoughts? Shout it out in the comments below and stay tuned daily for more from my Pixar collection!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Flashback: Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition)

Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2

Like many of you out there, I'm extremely nostalgic for the 90's. It was my childhood era and I couldn't look back more fondly at those times. One thing I remember vividly is flipping through issues of the official Disney Magazine. Even though I wasn't a subscriber (I don't know why I wasn't now looking back), I remember it mostly through family members and friends. And as you know, I'm also very nostalgic for Pixar and their early films; so when my Disney Store manager reached out to me a few days ago and offered me her copy of this Toy Story 2 themed Winter 1999-2000 issue of the Disney Magazine, I couldn't say no. This is history right here and I'm excited to document it.

It was such a blast from the past flipping through these pages this morning that I really wanted to share this throwback with you as well (plus "Flashback Friday" seemed the perfect time to do so). Let's take a dive inside to see what was going on in the world of Disney·Pixar in late '99!

The main highlight from this issue (for any Pixar fan) would be the "Play Boys: Meet the stars of Toy Story 2" article. Other main segments include a holiday guide to Walt Disney World, "How Do They Stay So Nice" (about castmembers), a peek at Fantasia 2000 and a look into the life of legendary Disney Animator Joe Grant (who was even involved with some Pixar films towards the end of his life—namely Monsters Inc. and Up).

Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2

Here are some of the ads that personally brought back the most memories:

I use to love KB Toys (that was my store growing up)...

Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2

Gameboy Color was all the hype (even though I didn't have one)...

Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2

Bear in the Big Blue House is totally classic to me (I'm for sure introducing my kids to that show one day)...

Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2

And which 90's kid didn't play the Backyard Football PC game (or at least one of the games from that series)?

Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2

This "On the Set of Toy Story 2" article is such a fun behind the scenes read (nine pages worth!). There are some great insights into the characters, the filmmakers' general thoughts on creating a Toy Story sequel (including mention of the advancements in the technology at the time) and some fun facts. It's really interesting to read this perspective on the film from when it was brand new and all the talk! It was a big deal when it hit theaters.

Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2
Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2
Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2
Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2
Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2
Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2

The newest films coming out on VHS home video and DVD at the time were Disney's Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas and Inspector Gadget (which I remember getting), as well as Pixar's deluxe 2-disc DVD version of A Bug's Life. There's even a fun little plug for the Toy Story 2 visual dictionary, which actually ended up being released as the Toy Story Essential Guide (check out the post I wrote for that years ago HERE). You know I love my Pixar "Essential Guide" books! I still collect them to this day.

Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2
Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2
Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2

Another gem for me was reading the "Eyes & Ears" article about Randy Newman and his musical contribution to Pixar films. You gotta love that little cartoon of Newman as well...so classic! I hadn't seen that before.

Disney Magazine (Winter 1999-2000 Edition) Toy Story 2

There you go. A little peek into yesteryear and hopefully a fun trip down memory lane. It's too bad this Disney Magazine officially ended in 2005. I like this old style! Now I might have to track down some more issues that were heavy on Pixar.

Did you get Disney Magazines back in the day? Maybe you even still have this one as well! What are your memories associated with them? Do you have a favorite issue? Shout out your thoughts in the comments below and I'll see ya real soon!