I haven’t actually participated in any kind of advent calendar activity for, uh, at least a few decades — but I might have to hop back on the advent train this year, because the Disney Animators Collection Littles advent calendar is calling my name. This holiday treat contains 24 tiny figurines from the Disney Animators Collection Littles line, each one more adorable than the last. Honestly, I don’t even care if this thing is technically meant for kids. I want it.
The Disney Animators Collection line pays homage to Disney’s history as an animation innovator. If you’re familiar with the line, you’ve no doubt spotted the Animators Collection dolls around; they look a bit like toddler versions of all the Disney Princesses, which has made them quite popular with younger kids. But the line encompasses much more than just dolls, including everything from clothing to luggage. According to the Disney fan site Mickey Blog, the designs on these kinds of items were “conceptualized and hand drawn by Disney animators” — which, of course, means they’re absolutely gorgeous.
The line eventually birthed a surprise hit, too: The Disney Animators Collection Littles Mystery Micro Collectible Figures. Like their predecessor, Vinylmation figurines — those little Mickey-shaped vinyl toys designed to look like anything from other Disney characters to abstract works of art that were so ubiquitous among Disneyana collectors in the early 2010s — Disney Animators Collection Littles are blind box toys; they all come packaged in the same style of box, with the gimmick being that you won’t know which figurine you’ve received until you open it. (Fun fact: Blind boxes are an evolution of gashapon, a word that refers to both a specific type of vending machine in Japan that dispenses mystery toys and the toys themselves.) Typically, the Littles are around $5 a pop, although they can go for much more on the collectors’ market. They’re also made of plastic, rather than vinyl, further differentiating them from Vinylmation’s offerings.
Given that an advent calendar is basically a giant collection of blind boxes, it makes perfect sense to build one around toys like the Disney Animators Collection Littles — and that’s exactly what Disney has done for the 2018 holiday season. The calendar takes the form of an evergreen tree-shaped box with 24 little doors on the front, each of which hides one Littles figurine. The front of the box even folds down and includes several pop-ups, making a little stage on which you can build a winter holiday scene with each new figurine you open. The figurines are largely holiday-themed, too; Lilo and Stitch are both wearing Santa hats, for example.
It is, as you might expect, adorable. Heck, even the back of the box is cute.
The advent calendar is also a pretty terrific value, all things considered. At just shy of $50, it contains 24 figurines, which averages out to around $2 per toy — substantially less than the usual $5 price tag they carry. True, not all of the advent calendar toys are characters; some of them are décor. Even so, though, if we count the sidekicks as characters, there are around 13 character toys in the calendar, which is still a great value — and, hey, don’t brush off the worth of some choice décor. Those pieces are what will allow you to build a whole scene with your advent calendar Littles. I think that’s delightful, personally.
What’s that? You want to know specifically which toys you can expect to find behind each door? That, uh, sort of ruins the surprise, which is really the whole point of an advent calendar — but if you must know, the calendar’s listing on shopDisney includes an image of all of the toys waiting for you in all those little compartments.
If you don’t want to know, stop reading now.
If you don’t mind spoilers, though— maybe, for example, you’re trying to figure out if the calendar would be a suitable gift for the Disney lovers and/or children over the age of 3 in your life — here’s what’s in store:
Oh, and in case the Littles aren’t your jam, Disney also has a Disney Tsum Tsum advent calendar available this year. Because I am incredibly unhip, I had to look up what exactly “Disney Tsum Tsum” is; now that I know, though, I’m, uh, going to have to work very, very hard not to spend all my money on it. The line consists of little rectangular plush figures based on Disney-owned characters and franchises; they’re named for the Japanese verb “tsumu,” which means “to stack.” (You’re meant to collect tons of these little plushies and display them by stacking them into a pyramid.)
Like the Animators Collection Littles, Disney Tsum Tsum figures are so cute I can barely stand it — and also a little more my speed, as I was always more of a stuffed animal person than a statuary person. The Tsum Tsum advent calendar is a little pricier, though; it’ll set you back around $130, more than two and a half times what the Littles calendar costs. If that’s your jam, though, go forth!
Both calendars can be purchased at shopDisney. Happy not-quite-holidays!