As part of the LEGO Group’s plan to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney Animation Studios, the Disney theme is releasing multiple commemorative sets. There are already four different BrickHeadz sets to choose from and two more sets are coming soon – 43217 Up House and 43212 Disney Celebration Train. It’s no surprise to see a train as part of this line up, with one chugging around Cinderella’s castle in Disney’s modern title opening, as well as locomotives featuring in the Disney parks around the world.
On closer inspection though, 43212 Disney Celebration Train is a bit more special than just a train. It might be a lot smaller than it’s sibling, 71044 Disney Train & Station, but there is significance hidden within this set. Blocks, the LEGO magazine for fans, is sprinkling some pixie dust to reveal all…
At first glance 43212 appears to come with a very lovely selection of minifigures, and it is offering Tinker Bell for the first time since 71040 Disney Castle, which already has fans and collectors really excited. However, while the minifigures included in this set might seem random, each one is actually a reference to a milestone from Disney’s 100 year history. Mickey and Minnie Mouse are probably the easiest to note, with Mickey leading the company to great success since his debut in 1928, he celebrated his 90th birthday just five years ago.
Then there’s Sheriff Woody. Toy Story was released by Disney Pixar in 1995 and its animation was absolutely revolutionary. Up until this point almost all animated films had been hand drawn, with some computer generated elements adding to that. However, Toy Story was the first ever feature-length computer animated film, setting a precedent that would define the form going forward. Almost all modern day animated features completely use CGI.
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How about Moana? Although the character has appeared in LEGO Disney sets before, it has always been as a mini-doll. Her inclusion is probably to highlight how diverse Disney women have now become – Moana is the first Polynesian character to appear in a Disney feature. It is characters like Tiana, Raya and Moana that allow more fans to see representations of their cultures on the big screen.
Peter Pan and the aforementioned Tinker Bell do not seem to be specifically representing any technological feats or progression with storylines. Although the film was successful it didn’t pioneer anything new. Yet, perhaps more powerful than that is Peter Pan’s message, the entire message of the film. Peter doesn’t want to grow up. And aren’t LEGO and Disney fans all just big kids? There are a lot of similarities between the message of the film and the LEGO Group’s own mission statements about how anyone, regardless of age, can enjoy playing with bricks.
It’s only early in the year and it’s likely that there might be a few more commemorative LEGO Disney sets announced. Will you be buying 43217 Up House or 43212 Disney Celebration Train on April 1? Grab an animal companion and set off on an adventure to let Blocks know on any of our social media channels.