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Thread: Dispensor's 2020 Melbourne adventure

  1. #1
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    Default Dispensor's 2020 Melbourne adventure

    Earlier this month, Dispensor and I spent a few days in Melbourne for the Annual Toyfair, and he let me take some photos of the trip but I haven't had much time to share them yet.
    So, over several posts, I will slowly get through them while busy with a number of other things at the moment.
    I have grouped the photos into a few categories - Toyfair, food, city photos (old buildings & new buildings), and toys.

    Today I'll start with some that are probably least exciting, particularly if you live in Melbourne, which is the newer buildings in the city.
    Okay, bear with me on this, but after travelling to Melbourne every March since 2008, I have seen a lot of changes to the city landscape, especially in the last five years on the south-western end of the city towards where the Convention Centre is located... so it always fascinates me, as someone who only sees a short snapshot of Melbourne for a few days each year, to see the dramatic changes that occur each year, as well as over the last decade.

    In particular, there were two new buildings this year that were rather eye-catching, so hopefully some of you share the same interest I have in these photos.

    This year I had originally planned to spend a week in Melbourne, to do a number of things I had been putting off for a few years, but closer to the date I had a number of unexpected expenses, so had to cut it back to just 3 nights.
    Saturday FEB 29th I flew down, Sunday was the first day of the Toyfair and the fan-meet, Monday was a day to myself to explore the CBD, and Tuesday APR 3rd I flew back to Brisbane after spending the day with Ian toy-hunting.
    With just a week off work, I was wanting to fly down after work Friday afternoon, so that I could have a night to unwind before meeting up with Hasbro on Saturday (the Toyfair started on Sunday, so some years I am able to meet up with the Hasbro people the day before to talk about upcoming releases in Australia, or just to be introduced to someone new with the Transformers Brand in Australia). Unfortunately I couldn't get an affordable flight down to Melbourne until late at night, so decided to just do a first flight on Saturday, and pretty much go straight into the city to meet up with the Hasbro people as soon as I landed.

    The hotel I stayed at this year was one I've stayed at most years, which is the Atlantis hotel on Spencer Street, because it is the most affordable for the level of comfort I prefer, has on-site parking, has a Coles across the road for munchies at any time, heaps of food outlets and restaurants, and is just 10-15 walk from the convention centre.
    The interesting thing with this hotel is that over the last 7 years, the land opposite on Spencer Street, has gone from a vacant lot, to a couple of police buildings, with one completed about 3 years ago, and the other one to be finished this year.

    2013 - just started work on the vacant lot.


    2018 - a year or two after the first building was finished and working on the second one (I couldn't find my photos between these two years)


    2020 - the completed first building, and the almost-complete second, larger building. Since there are two joining corridors midway up the buildings, I'm guessing the second one is a police building too.






    When I first came to Melbourne for Toyfair 12 years ago, I don't think Spencer Street had any tall residential buildings on it, but in the last 10 years, there is at least one new one every year, so it has made the street look very crowded now.
    One of the three new ones I noticed this year is this one that looks curved from a distance, but just has different sized floors on each level.








    The other two new buildings on Spencer Street that weren't there a year ago.





    In the city centre is the "pants" building...





    This one on the southern side of the river that is still being built is very curved, with a strange ring around the middle.



    Both sides of the bridge to the Convention Centre...




    An alien landscape using the techspec decoder from Skylynx.


    The city side of the Hotel, looking over the northern end of the CBD, with what looks to be a forest in the city.


    More soon-ish...

  2. #2
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    Next up, older buildings in the CBD.
    I'm always fascinated with the different eras of buildings when they are mixed up throughout a city centre, particularly older cities that have had a recent building boom, as buildings that are hundreds of years apart can end up being right next to each other.

    I had the Monday March 2nd to myself, and spent a few hours wandering around the inner heart of Melbourne City. Despite being in Melbourne every year for over a decade, staying on the outskirts of the CBD (Spencer St) almost every year, it has probably been at least 10 years since I wandered into the centre of the city where the mall is, which I thought was really strange. There isn't a lot of things in the city centre that I wanted to do or see, but there are some things in there that I now find odd that I haven't been checking out each year (mostly because I am usually only able to be there for just one or two nights for the Toyfair and meeting up with friends, which doesn't leave me any time to do anything else).

    Funny thing is, I walk past this building (opposite the Southern Cross train station), several times every year, and yet I never noticed that it was Batman's lair... complete with the Bat-Signal on the roof.


    A little gothic church among the tall buildings.


    The old and the new...











    Town Hall.


    St Pauls Cathedral.


    Flinders St Train Station.


    A small laneway opposite the train station, with lots of little (expensive) food outlets.


    Random old building near my hotel (an Irish named pub).



    Next time, I might do up the rest of the photos I took from inside the Toy Fair (of exhibits that weren't Hasbro).

  3. #3
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    Next up on Dispensor's Melbourne 2020 adventure - Toyfair photos.

    In addition to the photos that were posted up of the Hasbro exhibit (in the Oz news section), these were some other photos I was able to take at the event (the Fair has a policy of not allowing photos unless expressly allowed, like for registered Media, so I had to be careful to be quick with taking photos, and as such, some didn't turn out too good).

    This year's Fair booklet and bag (the bag is always sponsored by a kid-themed brand each year, but this year they had on one side, a rather dark themed image)




    The unusual thing about this trade show, is that it is for business people and accountants to go in, sign up to millions of dollars of product that they have no interest in, and go home... and yet, every year, there are people paid to walk around the venue in costumes, paid for by some of the event sponsors.




    The second of two photos I took of the Sky Lynx toys, showing a slightly different angle, so wasn't worth posting up in the news topic.


    One exhibitor that distributes a lot of licensed merchandise, like movie props, characters, and licensed cars.






    They had a Godzilla figure on the shelf that had trouble staying upright, so it's fire breath looked more like the end of a long night drinking.


    A giant inflatable pickle.


    This importer was trying to sell a lot of Knock Off toys, including several Transformers in boxes that copied the Studio Series boxes. (I had to be really quick with the photo, so it didn't end up focusing enough in time)


    Movie statues.






    This one is really amazing. Along one wall of Modern Brand's exhibit, was one of two Disney jigsaw puzzles, each with 40,320 pieces and almost 7 meters long! One features the 90 years of Mickey Mouse, while the other one is a collection of classic Disney animated films. If there was ever a Transformers jigsaw puzzle of that size, I would be all over it. (or maybe that giant Dreamwave Mega Litho poster from about 2004 done as a jigsaw puzzle would be great)




    Outside the Convention Hall, there are usually a number of displays, to get visitors into the mood of toys, and also a special treat for anyone else walking past... but this year there was only one display (a Friends sofa photo-booth), while one of the cafes in the Exhibition Hall was dressed up in a kids cartoon theme.




    Dispensor wanted his photo taken on the replica Friends couch, to go with the photo he had of himself in 2014 at Warner Bros Studios on the real Friends Couch (and film set).




    Next up, other toys and collectables outside of the Fair.

  4. #4
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    Other Toys and collectables outside of the Fair...

    In my short time in Melbourne, I managed to check out a few toy stores and retailers, but didn't end up finding anything on sale that I wanted, so came back to Brisbane empty handed.
    Here are some photos though of some things I did find.

    A toyworld selling a couple of Seeker knockoffs, that were about the size of Voyagers, but cheaper than Deluxes.


    DOTM Egg Bods - newly released, but were made waaay back in 2011 (according to the packaging). They look to be very similar to the Mr Potato Heads Transformers from a few years ago, with three different Transformers characters among a line-up of original characters.


    They also had "wall walkers" which have also just appeared at the Reject Shop. There are 8 different characters, but some have colours that don't even match that character. Lazy licensing.


    In the City on Monday, I found the Minotaur collectables store. It is a very nice and big store, but prices are hefty. Maybe if the store was in a cheaper location than the CBD, their prices might not be as high.














    Myer on the Mall. I had to walk through the new part, to get to the other building that has the toy section... which was weird, as it felt like it was part of a separate shopping centre, with just Myer occupying the top floor. The toy section was big, but deserted... and really old Transformers that weekend.














    Next up... food.

  5. #5
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    One of the favourite elements of an adventure is the food...

    Unfortunately, I didn't have the time in Melbourne that I had originally planned, to be able to try out too many things that I was wanting to... but I managed to take a note of a lot of places for next time. If I can manage a week down there next year, I will definitely be doing a burger-crawl around the city centre, after finding several places on the Monday.

    Starting off in Brisbane at the airport, it had been exactly one year since I had been in the domestic terminal, and it had undergone a fairly big renovation in that time. The QANTAS end foodcourt was completely different, with the cheaper fastfood franchises gone (like Hungry Jacks), while more expensive and yuppy food franchises had replaced them. So I walked to the Virgin end foodcourt and was happy to see that that one hadn't been changed (yet), so a couple of the cheaper options were still there (Red Rooster and Carls Jr). Since I was there so early, Red Rooster didn't appear to be open yet, and it gave me a chance to try out some breakfast burgers at Carls Jr.





    A surprising find with the renovations was seeing a proper outlet for Krispy Kreme, after all of these years just having a small kiosk. Unfortunately, it was too early for them to be open... and my return to Brisbane was going to be late at night, so I wouldn't get a chance to check them out at all on this trip. (I wasn't too upset though, as I knew that there is a Krispy Kreme store near my hotel, so it was already on my checklist.


    Speaking of which... this was on Sunday at the Krispy Kreme store near my hotel. They had as their limited edition doughnuts, three that were Rick And Morty themed, which I wanted to try. Unfortunately, Ian and I were so busy on Saturday, that by the time I went there in the evening, they were already sold out of two of them... so I went back the next day after the fan-meet, and grabbed a mixed dozen to go with dinner in my hotel room.




    On my Monday walk around the city, I found quite a few burger joints in the CBD... most were expensive, gourmet, or for a niche market by being completely meat free.










    This place (the back alley off Flinders Street Station) had burgers with Kangaroo, Emu or Crocodile... I wanted to try one or two, but they were just so expensive.


    What is with the price of doughnuts these days. There was a short-lived kiosk at a shopping centre near me a few years ago that was selling $6-7 doughnuts like these ones, and as such, it wasn't around for very long. These ones at another store in that same back alley, were about $7 each, which was way too much for me to spend on a mere (small) doughnut.



    A place near Flinders Street Station showed up on my facebook feed a few weeks ago, so I had to check it out... but was severely disappointed. They look really nice, but weren't that exciting, as they were little more than fancy dagwood dogs. I tried the noodle and potato ones.







    This was part of dinner on Saturday night from the Coles across the road from the Hotel... it was nice, but expensive ($11), but I bought it as a treat while away from home.
    Dispensor ate most of it first, while I was eating a burger from Hungry Jacks (conveniently located near the hotel... another reason I like staying there ).


    Last part... miscellaneous pics from the trip.

  6. #6
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    The last part... miscellaneous pics and info.

    Saturday FEB 29th, had a really early flight and a lot to do at home, so didn't end up getting any sleep... left home around 4.30am for a flight that was at about 6am. It was the first time in a long time I had left for the airport before time (without any delays or last minute packing), so it was really weird to be driving to the airport without the usual fear and panic I always have, of thinking that I would miss my plane and often only just sneak in at the last minute.
    It actually had me worrying that I had forgotten something this time, for being ready so early, and sure enough, I forgot to pack my sat-nav. I don't use my phone as a sat-nav, and don't like paying the huge price that car rental companies charge for a sat-nav, so I decided that since I wouldn't be driving much on this trip and had been driving the same parts of Melbourne for about 10 years, I might be able to drive "blind" by seeing if I could get around from memory. And I actually managed to get to the three destinations that I drove to on my own, without getting lost.
    So when I arrived in Melbourne, it was surprisingly cold... like, really cold (about 15 degrees) and it was still officially summer. It was still quite warm in Brisbane, so I only had with me t-shirts and shorts, because every year I go down to Toyfair in the first weekend of March, it is so hot, that is all I wear (outside of the Fair).
    The airport and car rental kiosk was really busy this year, so it took a while to get a car and leave the airport. (once again, I get one of the few cars they have that don't have a Victorian number plate, which makes me stand out as a tourist on the road, particularly if I show any hesitation on the road while trying to find my way around a strange area)
    Stopping at the Airport West shopping centre on the way to Ian's place to check out a couple of stores, as soon as I got to Ian's place, we pretty much left his place in the hire car, (very slowly) making our way into the city to meet up with the Hasbro people for our pre-Toyfair meet up.
    I was able to park at the hotel and check in first, before we both walked to the convention centre at around 2pm.
    A couple hours later, we walked back to the hotel, and Ian left soon after to get a ride back home.
    As noted in the previous posting, I headed back out to find food for dinner, and struck out with Krispy Kreme, so had Hungry Jacks instead, along with some snacks from Coles.
    The Hotel room... nothing fancy, but a nice size.




    And comes with an included breakfast every morning. Also nothing fancy, as they call it a continental breakfast (which normally means, nothing hot), but they always seem to have scrambled eggs and baked beans with toast as well. The eggs aren't too bad, as I always like to get a good serve of them, sometimes with a bowl of cocoa pops on the side.





    Sunday was Toyfair and fan-meet day. Heading down to the convention centre a little after 11am (late as usual), there were already some fans there for the meet, so I went inside to get the Hasbro rep and toys, and had our meet featuring Earthrise Sky Lynx.
    After the fan meet ended at about 1pm, I went back inside the Toyfair with Ian, wandering around the exhibits for about an hour. He then headed home with his family, while I headed straight for the donut shop that had failed me the day before.
    It was also getting very cold... I think it got down to 12 degrees that night.

    Monday morning was a day to myself, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I was walking around the city for a few hours, exploring and looking for food.

    Found these oddball sculptures on the mall...


    Like a giant coffin in the middle of the city, to hide a transport construction site.


    The Ash Barty tram...


    Federation Square...


    I saw this poster outside a place near Flinders St Station, and am kicking myself for not seeing the date on it until I got home, as it was something on that night, and I would have gone back to it if I had realised it. It sounded like it would have been fun.


    Instead, Monday night was spent in the hotel room because it was soooo cold, I wasn't able to go a few meters away from the hotel before shivering and having to head back inside... and the hotel doesn't have room service or a restaurant, which is it's one drawback.
    So I had an early night and got up early to check out early, to head to Ian's place for a day of toy hunting before flying back home in the evening.
    And today was the one day that the part of the street with Ian's house, was blocked off for road works, and the guy guarding the blockade wouldn't let me through because I wasn't a resident.


    In the evening at the airport, I got there about 3 hours early because I had used my flyer points to get a business class seat, which comes with free access to the Business Class lounge... and all you can eat food, snacks and alcohol.
    This one seemed to have a really classy set up, with a larger than usual buffet area, and a personalised meal station for the dish of the day (some Indian dish).






    After about an hour filling up on food and internet browsing, I sat down on one of the sofa seats near the viewing windows to watch planes land, and take a nap for about an hour.
    This was a nice homage paint-job to a vintage QANTAS plane...


    Hoping onto the plane a little after 8pm, the internet connection to the in-flight entertainment wouldn't work on my phone, and the app wasn't working either... so I had to just watch a zoo documentary on the main TV screen. Further spoiling my very rare business class seat was just missing the full meal flights, as we were only served a "late supper", which ended up being a cheese board... and the attendant forgot my drink (he had to come back with it when he had served the last two people after me, but then didn't come back for another half hour).

    Melbourne city by night...


    Back in Brisbane, and home at around 10pm, to unpack all of the toys I took down with me (Gen1 versions of the toys revealed at NY Toyfair, in case they were at the Australian Toyfair, for comparison photos - they only ended up with one though, which was Sky Lynx).


    Next year, Melbourne 2021 I am hoping will be the battle of the burgers....

  7. #7
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    Giant coffins? Well that’s one way to look at them I guess!?

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