Monday, March 18, 2013

WDCC Reunion: Celebrating the First 20 Years!

Ray, Traci & Elaine
For many collectors like myself of the Walt Disney Classics Collection, the past few months are really hard to put into words your thoughts, feelings and emotions over something you've been collecting for 20 years.

There was the uncertainty as 2012 was coming to a close if Enesco would renew their contract and then the announcement they were not continuing beyond 2012. Awaiting word of the new licensee, confirmation the line was moving forward with Precious Moment and the release of their first offerings.

I would like to thank Ray, Elaine, Gary & Tammy for giving us collectors an opportunity to all gather together and celebrate and share our memories of the past 20 years by putting their heads together and deciding to put together a Reunion Weekend to Celebrate the First 20 Years!

To make this Reunion Weekend even more special, they invited some very special guests! Traci Thomas (Former WDCC Brand Manager) and Master Sculptor Patrick Romandy-Simmons.

Missing was the opportunity to see upcoming new releases, possible teasers of future releases and asking collectors of what they would like to see going forward.  

This event was different.  It was a chance of 'true' friends getting together.  Friendships that came together from both a common interest in Disney and the Walt Disney Classics Collection.  Friendships that have gone beyond porcelain and built on a foundation so strong, nothing could shake it.

Memories were shared .. How did you begin collecting the line?  What was your 1st piece?  Your favorite piece? You're least favorite piece? Yes, many tears were shed, there were a lot of hugs and a lot of laughs but one thing remains, it was a collection that will never be matched again.  There is no collection out there now or before it, that truly brought favorite characters from 2D drawings to 3D life like the Walt Disney Classics Collection.

The Enesco Team (many who have been with the line since day one) and all the talented sculptors who contributed to this line over the past 20 years have so much to look back on and feel proud of what they accomplished and created and being part of the Walt Disney history and legacy. They dealt with negativity but never comprised their artistry and integrity throughout these past 20 years, celebrating their 20th year with such a strong line-up. Had they only continued, can only imagine what they next had in store for us.

Grand Jester Busts
During these events, there is a session where Traci and the featured sculptor would usually talk of the current, upcoming and possible future WDCC releases.  We knew that would be missing from this event.  

In its place, they did a presentation on the Grand Jester Busts that were introduced early 2009.  Many, like myself were familiar with them but really didn't know a lot about them.  Both Traci & Patrick explained the process of how both the character and environment are chosen.  

It was also interesting seeing the initial concept and the changes before deciding on the final sculpt.  As an added treat, we got to see two upcoming releases planned for later this year and quite honestly, was very impressed.  It gave me a new appreciation for this line.  Will I begin collecting it?  No, at this time I want to focus on going back filling in gaps of my WDCC collection with pieces I passed on but do see myself adding one of the busts from time to time.

Another collection that was previewed was Pillars.  Some of you may be familiar with this collection as most recently, images have been released on-line and Facebook of three of its upcoming releases from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and The Wizard of Oz.

It was explained how each sculpture tells a story and how you can rearrange the pillars to tell the story.  Part of the presentation was a preview of an upcoming release in honor of Mickey's 85th Birthday.  

From the photo, you really can't appreciate the detail in this set, as it recaps Mickey's 85 Years.  I really liked the wood tone to this one, the drawings, quotes and stories included on each pillar. Mary & I are both looking forward to the release of this one.  Now to only convince them to do Donald :)

So many great memories of this Reunion Weekend .. Breakfast each morning at the Hampton, planning future get togethers and just being with good friends!

Ray, Elaine, Gary & Tammy - Thank you as always for a both a wonderful and memorable weekend.  You simply can't put into words how much we appreciate all you do and have done for us over the years. You know to all of us, you're not just our dealer, you are more than just friends, you are family!  

Traci - I don't know where to begin.  We both started on this journey together, August 17, 1997 and what began as a working relationship became a friendship. You became Famiglia. You did not just see this as a job, you being a collector yourself, put your heart and passion into this line. You were a friend to the collector. You unselfishly gave 100% of yourself to both the collector and this line.

This particular journey may have come to an end but the ride continues.  Can't wait to see you again later this year.

Patrick - You are an amazing talent.  Feel honored and blessed to get to knowing you and so many of the sculptors on a personal level and seeing our friendship build over the years.  So many great memories and funny stories over the years.

Thank you for so many great sculptures and one day, Willie will be in my collection :)  Looking forward to seeing you later this year too!

To My WDCC Gang -- You guys simply Rock!  Mary, Amanda and I are so blessed having you in our lives. Little did we know when Mary bought me that 1st sculpture (Charter Jiminy) the journey it would put us on. 

Like any journey, there were bumps along the way. Learned some good life lessons but is was you, my friends who I think of as family, that made the journey what it was. You made those bumps so incidental.

I can't thank you enough for your love, support and always having my back and looking forward to this continued journey we call life with each and every one of you!


Babette said...

The Gallery of the Lakes team truly put on a wonderful weekend event!! "Thank you" is just not adequate enough to say how grateful we are as collectors of WDCC to be able to meet the sculptors over the years, voice talent and the great team behind the line! So blessed to be part of it....Great times, great laughs, great friends!

Bob said...

Don very well said!! Not much to add to that.

Unknown said...

I'm so sad I couldn't be there. I had tickets to see Cinderella on broadway ;(