Adam and I started collecting the Olszewski Walt Disney World Main Street miniature collection by buying the Cinderella Castle piece back in 2005. After purchasing the next two pieces in the series back in 2006, it took Walt Disney World all this time to release their next three pieces. When they announced the date for the release and signing by Mr. Olszewski, we knew we had to go.
We drove up from Miami and after some brief stops, we arrived at the Magic Kingdom’s toll plaza around 10:45 AM. The announcement from Disney noted that Mr. Olszewski would be signing the pieces at Main Street’s Art of Disney store from 10:00 AM till 11:00 AM, and then for a few hours in the afternoon. I wasn’t very optimistic that we would arrive in time for the early signing as we still had to take the monorail or ferry boat to the park. After going through security and the turnstiles, we finally arrived at the Main Street Cinema shop a few minutes after 11:00 AM. As this was our first experience with this type of event, I only had information from Disneyland’s previous releases as a guide. At Disneyland’s events, people wanting to buy the pieces would line up from before the park’s opening time and wait for hours in a queue to purchase the pieces. I was happily surprised upon entering the store to find only a few people in front of the display, the open cash register and Mr. Olszewski seated there. There were plenty of boxes in the back and the table was filled with Mr. Olszewski’s Main Street pieces, the Gallery of Light pieces and more. We quickly requested to purchase all three pieces and advised the clerks that we would take them with us, as opposed to having them shipped to the front of the park, to our resort (we weren’t staying on property this time) or shipped by common carrier. The three pieces that were being release were Exposition Hall with Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, The Chapeau and Confectionary and the Central Plaza – also known as the hub. The pieces were already signed by Mr. Olszewski. A cast member wrapped up the pieces for us, while we were paying and then waited to speak to Mr. Olszewski, who was sitting at the end of the table next to the first piece – Cinderella Castle. There were only four people before us, but as we learned, Mr. Olszewski was a wonderful man with many fascinating stories and loved to share them with his collectors. When we finally got our turn, we were able to spend some time discussing the collection, the future of the pieces, how he started his career as miniaturist and much more. We must have spent around 15 minutes talking to him and were even able to take some photos with him. I am not sure we will visit Walt Disney World for every future release, as the added expense of the drive, tolls, hotel stay, park tickets and everything else is much more than ordering the pieces online and having them shipped home – but the pleasure of meeting Mr. Olszewski was priceless.
Here are some photos from the event and of the pieces.
The sign outside the Main Street Cinema / Art of Disney Store announcing the release.
Exposition Hall and Tony's Town Square Restaurant. The entrance to what used to be the Walt Disney Story is on the right.
In the back side of Tony's Town Square Restaurant building was a tiny scene from Lady and the Tramp. According to Mr. Olszewski, each WDW piece will have a Disney scene like this or similar.
The Chapeau and Main Street Confectionary.
This view shows the hidden Mickey and Minnie inside the Chapeau store - with some miniature hats on display.
Here's a close up shot of that.
The Central Plaza (the hub) piece with the Partners Statue.
Robert Olszewski talking to one of his new fans.
Adam, myself and Robert Olszewski - what a fascinating man!
They also had two of the next release pieces.
The Emporium with the barber shop. Notice the scene with Donald and Daisy.
The side street next to Uptown Jewelers.
Uptown Jewelers and the Main Street Cinema.
Thanks for reading!