Toy Story News Roundup: Merchandise, Epcot, and Change at Pixar

Well, we’re still waiting for that trailer!  But since I know it’s going to pop up any day now, I thought I’d do a quick catch-up on some of the other bits of news I’ve collected in the past week.  That way, when the trailer does drop, it can be my main focus – because, honestly, will I even be able to focus on anything else?

Merchandise Update

It’s exciting to see Toy Story merchandise starting to hit the shelves again!  Over the past couple weeks, products have been trickling into the stores, however at this point it’s mostly re-releases of lines that were available in years past.  I imagine this is a tactic to get the characters back out into the public’s attention and build enthusiasm for the new movie, before the Toy Story 4-specific items come out in a few more months.

Walmart is rereleasing the Toy Story Imaginext series, including figure packs of Buzz Lightyear and Jessie, and Woody and Bullseye, a Pizza Planet truck with Buzz and Aliens – and, based on artwork on the back of the figure packages, possibly the Pizza Planet playset.  A Buzz Lightyear Play Doh set has also been spotted at the big-box retailer.

Target has joined the reissue game with the Thinkway Signature Collection toys – in-store only, though.  As of right now, they have Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Bullseye, the Bucket ‘o Soldiers, and the three-pack of Space Aliens listed on their site.  These are the movie-replica toys that are made to scale and come in authentic decorative packaging, like Buzz’s spaceship and the Woody’s Roundup designs.

And – just as fun for me as the big stuff – the little things are popping up, too.  Target also has Toy Story valentines this year!

While none of these finds have been specifically branded for the sequel, I’ve found some brief mentions of a few new products that will be releasing with the movie – along with the Lego sets that were recently listed – as of yet, however, there are no specifics on what any of them will look like or when they will be available.  These items include Toy Story 4 editions of the games Uno and Kerplunk, as well as a series of Pillow Pets and Megamats tied to the film.  Thinkway will return with their line of merchandise for Toy Story 4 – just as they have with the other three films – a fact that is confirmed by their distribution and marketing agreement with Funtastic in Australia and New Zealand.  With Toy Fairs coming up in London later this month, and New York in mid-February, we should soon get a sneak peek at some of the new toys that will be launching in the spring and summer months.

One new collection we do know about, though, and can start to get excited for, is the “Road to Toy Story 4” event that is being hosted by the Disney Store, in the months leading up to the sequel’s release.  On the fourth Saturday of each month, a new selection of products will be launched, based on each of the previous movies, starting with the first Toy Story on February 23 – Toy Story 2 will be March 23, and Toy Story 3 on April 27.  By May, based on the release dates of books on Amazon, Toy Story 4 merchandise should be filling the Disney Stores and shopDisney website (and I can’t wait!).   Thanks to Dan the Pixar Fan for sharing this exciting info on Instagram!

Bo Peep Joins the Flower and Garden Festival

This week, Blog Mickey shared that a Bo Peep topiary will be added to the 2019 lineup at Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World.  The festival, which runs from March 6 through June 3, features a wide variety of character topiaries throughout both World Showcase and Future World – Woody is usually in the American pavilion every year, and Buzz Lightyear is typically out in front of Mission Space.  This spring, in honor of Toy Story 4, Bo and her sheep will be a part of the the Family Play Zone area.  I’ll be there when the Flower and Garden Festival starts, and I’ll be sure to find Bo and get some photos of her in all her glory!

Lee Unkrich Leaving Pixar

Although this news isn’t directly related to Toy Story 4, it does relate to Toy Story in general.  This past Friday, Lee Unkrich – director of Toy Story 3 and Coco, and an integral part of Pixar since the series’ beginnings – announced that he will be leaving Pixar after 25 years at the studio.

He also shared the letter he sent to his Pixar colleagues:

While Unkrich has been a respected member of the Pixar braintrust, and was credited with involvement in developing the original concept that became the basis of Toy Story 4, his departure shouldn’t have any major impact on these last few months of the sequel’s production.  He clarifies that he won’t be taking his talents to another studio, and instead is taking some time for his family and back-burnered interests.  While it’s sad to see him go – this has certainly been a time of change for Pixar, from Ed Catmull’s retirement to Lasseter’s disgraced departure – I wish him all the best in his new endeavors, whatever they may be.

I think that catches us up for now.  Be sure to follow me on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook – occasionally there are smaller news stories that I post or retweet there, that I don’t get a chance (or have a need) to do a full writeup on here – like the Innisfree skincare and Toy Story Funko Pop collections from a few weeks ago.  That’ll probably be even more the case once news starts to amp up in the coming weeks and months.  Here’s hoping the next time I have something to share, it’s about the trailer!

Images © Disney/Pixar, Fisher-Price, Hasbro, and Thinkway.


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