Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cars: Star Wars Weekends 2014 Pixar Cars (Part 1)

A few weeks ago, starting Friday May 16th, Star Wars Weekends 2014 began at Hollywood Studios. 

As soon as I got back from our trip to Disney World, and after buying wave 1 of the Star Wars/Cars mash-up diecasts (posted yesterday, see post HERE), I saw that this wave two was revealed. Needless to say, I was so excited for this new wave having just bought the first set. Given that that I just missed their release in the park by exactly a week and that it would be very difficult to mail order them to get them in time for my birthday, I didn't even request or expect them. 

Leave it to my parents though to come through with this fantastic surprise. When I was opening my presents, I was shocked to have received these! I still don't know how my mom was able to order them that fast, have them come in time to put them in the package she sent and get them out to me before my birthday. Ever since I can remember though...she has always worked some serious present magic and is the master at tracking collectibles down. A big thanks to my parents for this awesome. thoughtful and unexpected surprise.

This wave of characters is just too cool and goes perfectly with the previous set. In this wave we have:

Chick Hicks as Boba Fett

Red as Chewbacca (a detail that stood out to me was the Wookie Bowcaster weapon mounted on top).

Ramone as Han Solo

A 3-pack including a re-release of Luigi as C3-P0 and brand new Pitties as Jawas (genius idea)

And a 2-pack including a re-release of Mater as Darth Vader and a brand new Doc Hudson as Obi-Wan Kenobi 

So there we have it, both waves of the Star Wars Weekends Pixar Cars. But wait! There's still one more to come. Stay tuned for another 2014 release. I'll give you a's a limited edition 2-pack.

What's really cool to me is that they've released just about every main character from the original  Cars and the original Star Wars at this point. However there are still a few more that they could make! 

Lets take a look:
Unused main characters from Cars: The Sheriff, Lizzie, Mack and Sarge 
Unused main characters from Star Wars: Lando Calrissian, Jabba the Hutt, Wicket the Ewok and the Emperor 

Any more you can think of? There are of course more side characters from both films that would work as well, so I guess I won't limit it to main characters. Using the characters listed above (and any others you can think of) what are your ideas for future Star Wars/Cars mash-ups? I would love to hear them! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

You can pick these up on eBay, at Hollywood Studios in Orlando or by calling the Disney World Merchandise Guest Services/Mail Order Hotline at 877-560-6477. If you call that number, they will charge you the "in parks price" and you will only have to pay shipping. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Cars: Star Wars Weekends 2013 Pixar Cars

If you're a follower of my blog, you remember me talking about how I don't collect Cars that are from the "expanded universe", as there's just too many of them. Well, I broke my rule with this when I went to Disney World a few weeks ago.

I had seen these online for a while, but it wasn't until I saw them in person that I was hooked on the idea of getting them. Being a HUGE fan of both Pixar and Star Wars, it seemed like the perfect mash-up for me and I knew I had to get them for my collection. 

Being that they are pretty expensive for what they are (about $10 each, compared to Mattel's regular $3 price tag...but it is Disney World after all so expensive merch is expected:), I let my wife make that decision on whether or not they would be birthday gifts. Sure enough (because she's just awesome) she hooked me up with the whole set for my birthday this past week! I was pumped. 

These don't seem to be made by Mattel, but are sure close. They are Mattel's 1:55 scale, but do not have Mattel's logo on the package at all. This leads me to believe they are just made by the "Disney Theme park Merchandise."

These were released last May during the 2013 Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios park. There must have been a LOT of these made, as they were still very prevalent almost everywhere I went in Disney World when I was there just a few weeks ago.

The six characters that were released in this collection are:
Lightning Mcqueen as Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Pilot Gear 

Luigi and Guido as C-3P0 and R2-D2. Seriously, how cute are these guys? This was what really sold Brita on getting this set. She likes it so much, she jokes about "it being hers."

Fillmore as Yoda

Sally as Princess Leia. Don't you love the idea of tires being her classic hair buns? Really creative idea.

Mater as Darth Vader

Tractor as a Stormtrooper 

But WAIT! That's not all. I was also given a crazy surprise on my birthday...stay tuned because tomorrow I will be showing series 2 of these Star Wars Pixar cars!

A HUGE thanks to my wife for getting me these. I definitely couldn't recommend them enough if you're a fan of Pixar's Cars, Star Wars, or like me, both. 
You can pick these up on eBay, at Hollywood Studios in Orlando or by calling the Disney World Merchandise Guest Services/Mail Order Hotline at 877-560-6477. If you call that number, they will charge you the "in parks price" and you will only have to pay shipping. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Incredibles: MagicBandits

Disclaimer: Here I'll be talking about MagicBandits again, so if you read my other posts about the Monsters Inc. and the Cars ones, I'll just be mostly reusing what I said there.

Today's post is something I had a lot of fun with in Disney World...they're called MagicBandits! I had no idea about these before my trip but they turned out to be a really fun surprise. They're basically just little accessories that snap into the extra holes of your magic band (seen below) to add additional pops of color and personality. At first when I saw these, I thought they were kind of a pointless way for Disney World to make extra money. I was like"these are lame, who would buy these." That thought didn't last more than ten seconds.

The first ones I saw in the parks were the Monsters Inc. ones, which sold me on the idea of these things.  I thought it would be fun to add some of my love for Pixar to my magic band and my overall ensemble. After finding those, I was hooked and looked for more Pixar related Bandits. I then found a great Cars 3-pack (featuring Lightning Mcqueen, Mater and Lightning's signature number 95 logo)and then found out there was this rare/sold out Incredibles 4-pack. 

I couldn't find these ones in the parks anywhere...I looked at every single park and gift shop I went in and there was no sign of them. Come to find out, these have been sold out for a while as they were from the previous summer. I was so excited to have gotten them on eBay for my birthday from my awesome wife Brita! For now, my Pixar MagicBandits collection is complete...until they release more (which I hope they do)!

You're probably wondering if these stay on well, and yes, once you pop them on, they're pretty secure. They can snag on things, however, and pop off (I had that happen once or twice, for example getting off of Rockin' Roller Coaster). For the most part though, you won't have to worry about them falling off. Getting these for young kids though may be a different story, since they could easily rip them off. I definitely wouldn't get them for kids under six or seven, but it totally depends on the kid of course. Just in case you do plan on getting these Bandits for very young kids, be aware that they can easily be snagged on something or ripped off and lost. 

Anyway, that's about it with these things. They're fun and I definitely recommend decorating your magic band when you go. They have many different Disney characters, from the classics to the Muppets, to choose from! You can find them in just about every park and resort gift shop. 
You can pick these up on eBay by using the link below:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Events: My "The Blue Umbrella" Themed Birthday Party (Featuring Our Custom Red Umbrella)

Well, my birthday yesterday was, I think, a big success! A HUGE thanks to my incredible wife and phenomenal family for making my day perfect, filled with tons of birthday magic from start to finish.

Of course, I also need to thank Saschka Unseld (the short film's writer and director) for such an amazing film that inspired the theme of this party.

So, to start off this post, I wanted to spread the news that I have finally made an official "Dan the Pixar Fan" YouTube channel! The video below (a short video documenting the decorations of my party last night) is my first upload and there will be many more to come. I eventually want to go back into my collection and do video toy/collectible reviews to go along with the written posts I've already done. Please support this site and my new channel by subscribing here!

As mentioned, check out the video below to check out footage from my birthday last night. I recommend watching it on YouTube's actual site though (by pressing the YouTube button on the player) so that you can view it bigger. It's pretty small here on the blog. Also be sure to continue reading this post after for many more images and insights into my great day!

Ok, onto the birthday details. The magic started a few months ago when my wife Brita was trying to come up with a birthday theme for me using one of the Pixar short films as an inspiration. It was her brilliant idea to do a party based on "The Blue Umbrella." Since then, she has had ideas that she had written down and kept secret on how she would bring this theme to life. 

When we got back from our Disney World trip, it was time for her to start making the preparations. Between presents, decorations (most of them homemade crafts since there aren't any real The Blue Umbrella themed decorations out there), the cake, the food, etc, it was a lot of work to do. Being the dedicated person that she is, she found the time for it all even with her very busy and draining job as a nurse. 

Brita worked hard on this theme for weeks leading up to the night before the party. Together, Brita and I worked on creating a custom red umbrella to go along with my Pixar Studio Store exclusive blue umbrella. For whatever reason, Pixar never released "red" to go with "blue", so we took matters into our own hands. Red was not only to be a decoration to go along with Blue, but it worked out as a present for me as well! 

To create our custom red umbrella, we started off by purchasing a, well, red umbrella at Target (the last one in stock luckily). We found the absolute most perfect one which is the exact same size and the blue studio store one, even with the wooden "J" handle.

We then went online and made a template based on her main expression from the film and sized it to be the same as "blue". We printed that and Brita cut out the facial features with an X-acto knife to that she could be as precise as possible. 

Once the template/stencil was done, we centered it on the umbrella where we wanted to (based on where Blue's face was on the studio store umbrella). Carefully (and nerve-rackingly, since we had just one shot at this and couldn't afford to mess up), I taped and held down the stencil (with a book under it so that there could be a hard surface) while Brita filled in the spaces with a black sharpie...and voila! We had done it. It came out pretty perfect if you ask me and I was completely thrilled.

 There they are, together at last.

We also made templates/stencils for our blue and red cake plates (which also came out perfect), which you'll see down below.

Now onto my actual birthday. Lots of really cool things happened! I was able to relax and take it easy. I awaited my parent's birthday package in the mail and, sure enough, it came just in time! Not only that, but my package from my in-laws came as well and also my card/classic birthday check from my 93 year old grandmother who still has perfect timing. Another instance of perfect timing was that something Brita had ordered came in the nick of time for my party. She was really hoping it would get there in time and sure enough it did! It's all part of the birthday magic.

Throughout one's birthday, it's always fun to get lots of extra love. All day, I enjoyed getting messages and calls from family and friends, from people on Facebook I haven't seen in years and from Instagram/Twitter users that I've never even met. How cool right?

I then took a drive to Walmart to see if I could find any new Pixar cars. I had been waiting and checking the store for weeks waiting for a new case...and of course, my birthday just happened to be the day some new ones showed up! I felt very lucky. Leave it to that, once again, birthday magic. I even found an extra one for my good friend and fellow Cars collector.

 Once Brita got home, I headed out for a drive again while she worked on secret preparations. When I got back, the place was transformed! I was amazed at all the work she put into it, and took footage of everything as seen in the little video at the beginning of this post. 

Now onto what you've been waiting for...the decorations! How do you turn this film into a themed birthday party? Well, see for yourself. 

The blue, red and gray M&Ms that Brita found in Disney World! They traveled all the way back to Idaho for my party.

It is so cool that I have this official The Blue Umbrella poster now, another great decoration that doubled as a gift! More on that in a future post.

I just loved these three "rainclouds" with "raindrops" coming down that Brita made. Such a cute and crafty idea! It really added a lot to the atmosphere. 

The birthday table with the custom red and blue umbrella cake plates I had mentioned earlier. 

Later that evening, our good friends showed up for the party. We watched the film and had the soundtrack going later as well for the full ambiance. 

At the end of the short film, the two characters are seen together at the "le parapluie cafĂ©", which is French for "The Umbrella Cafe." Because of the French cafe and the European vibe throughout the film, we assume it takes place on the city streets of France. Brita, in turn, made a whole bunch of French cafe style snacks to much on before opening presents. Isn't she great?! It was delicious. 

Then it was presents time...always the most anticipated part of any birthday party! I'm not going to be posting pics of anything I got today so I don't ruin the upcoming posts for the next few weeks. I wish I could share them with you right now though! I can't believe some of the items I got.

One present I will post here (since it's unrelated to Pixar but is Disney and Vinylmation) is that my parents surprised me (big time) with the complete set of the new Star Wars Weekends 2014 series 4 Vinylmation! I'm still baffled at how they had time to get them and have time to send them in the birthday box.

The next morning while looking through them, I realized that my mom actually got me a chaser (the Wampa) that is signed by the artist Casey Jones! Wow, that was dang cool of her.

After presents, we all went into the kitchen for singing happy birthday and eating  homemade cake (my classic strawberry one I've had since I can remember) and ice cream. YUM. 

Don't you love the two umbrella cake toppers surrounded by the black candles? It was such a fun ideas that turned out really awesome. 

Something that really stood out to me during the present opening was the Toy Story 3 card I received from my in-laws. It really describes my emotions to a T! It says:
What Happened? 
Just yesterday, you were a little boy.
Filling the house with laughter.
Robot toys, bicycles parts 
and endless energy...
...and now you're a grown man
with serious accomplishments confidence, skills, and a respected name in the world. 
Two things haven't changed though...the fun and the love.

Another cool thing that I thought was super thoughtful was a drawing my 14 year old brother-in-law drew for me of Carl from Up. I was really impressed since i didn't know he could draw like that! 

When I went into our room for bed, the birthday magic continued! Sticking out from under the covers was yet another present...but more one that soon! Look for that in an upcoming post.

 And so that was the end of yet another amazing birthday. I feel so grateful and blessed to be so loved and to have so many loved ones around me. It really couldn't have gone better! I just wanted to thank everyone involved once again, you really outdid yourselves. Everyone was SO incredibly generous!

One last funny note, when I woke up the next morning, this is how the red and blue balloons were. They ended up together! Not only that, but all the black balloons lost their helium while these two stuck it through the night. 

I hope you enjoyed the video and pictures as well. Please comment below or send me an email if you have any other questions! Also, be sure to look forward to many new birthday additions to my Pixar collection, right here, starting tomorrow.