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March 2008 Archives

March 3, 2008

Pin Trading - End of an Era?

On Saturday, February 23, I attended the Parkhopper's pin meet hosted by Disney Vacation Club Members and Annual Passholders Vince and Suzy Gredone. This Maryland meet has been a mainstay for pin enthusiasts for many years. Sadly, this was probably the last meeting in their wonderful gallery as the building is about to be sold.

Maryland Pin Meet

VInce and Suzy are wonderful ambassadors for the Disney pin community. As a small tribute to everything they have done, I want to share a little of their story with you.

Vince: "We got started with the Disney Store Countdown to the Millennium pin series of pins. We had planned many years in advance to be in Walt Disney World for New Year 1999/2000 and when Disney announced pin trading as a new activity we decided to give it a try. It didn't take long before we were hooked. We were not into any other pins before starting with the Disney pins."

Since June 10, 2001, the Gredone's have hosted 14 meets in their Maryland pin gallery. You see, they don't rent a room in a hotel or recreation center, they have a special place that makes Disney fans, well, drool!

The meeting area is comprised of 2 rooms on the upper floor of a commercial townhouse. This gallery is truly a Disney museum. Every available inch of space is covered with a themed pin collection, a framed pin collection, Disney lithos, pin box sets, Disney cuts outs and much more. You could spend hours just wandering the 2 rooms looking at all the memorabilia.

Maryland Pin Meet

This Saturday was like most of the other Parkhopper meets I have attended. A core of tried and true pin enthusiasts that travel from Ohio, New Jersey and around the Washington DC area had hundreds, maybe even thousands of pins spread out along many tables.

Folks like Shelia and John Rick founders of the Central Jersey Pin Traders drove to the meet. The Ricks are also great ambassadors of the Disney Pin Trading Community.

Shelia and John Rick Central Jersey Pin Traders

Vince told me that they had one person, Barbara Bird, travel from California to come to one of the meets. In addition, people have also traveled from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Florida.

Here is a photo of Vince, greeting folks as they enter the Trading Area!
Maryland Pin Meet

Like so many other Disney Pin Traders I've spoken to, the hobby is much more than just collecting pins. As Vince explained, "It truly is the friends we have met through pin trading that have made this hobby so special for us. What had started as a pin trading interaction has many times developed into great and long lasting friendships. We would have never met most of the closest friends that we have if we hadn't gotten into pin trading."

James and Linda Dezern, from Virginia, have been regular attendees at the Parkhopper meet! James and Linda Dezern

I asked Vince to tell me about one of their most memorable trades. "The one we do remember quite well was for our Haunted Mansion Dangle pin. Early in our pin trading experience we had seen the Walt Disney Art Classics Celebration Haunted Mansion pin with the three Hitchhiking Ghost dangles which was available for attendees of a 1999 Walt Disney Art Classics Event. It quickly became a most wanted or "holy grail" pin for us. A close friend of ours, Lisa Tobin, was attending one of our pin trading meets and had been able to acquire an extra Haunted Mansion Dangle pin. We worked on making a trade for the pin in a very relaxed manner throughout the meet and continued into the next day. We were finally able to finish a successful trade in the living room at our house just as time was running out before we had to take Lisa to the airport. A great trade with a great friend!"

From the first time I met Vince and Suzy, I felt an immediate connection. They are warm, friendly, kind, and generous. They have done a great deal to enhance the Disney pin trading community. And, not only do they provide the space for the meet, they also provide food and drink to help those so wrapped up in trading, they would have other wise forgotten to eat.

Maryland Pin Meet

During Saturday's meet, I sat and listened to the table talk. Some folks had laptops and were visiting PinPics.com (an online catalogue of virtually every Disney pin and it's relative value) while others were checking out their want lists.

I enjoyed listening to Robyn talk to a new pin trader about the hobby and the community.

I watched as folks intensely searched for their "holy grail" and pins to finish collections. One lady had a photo of her "holy grail" pinned to her shirt. A holy grail is that elusive pin, very difficult to find, that you need for your collection.

One gentleman had a "Pete" T-shirt on and was looking for Pete pins for his collection.

There was the young girl and her dad, fans of All Ears, who came by to trade and say hi!

It's always a delight to see 2 traders smile at the end of a trade, thrilled with the new addition(s) to their collection.

And, there isn't just pin trading that goes on, Vince and Suzy have give away drawings and also games that are sprinkled throughout the event.

Cover your card BINGO is one of the favorites. The cost? A Limited Edition (LE) 3000 or less pin for each bingo card you want. Be the first to cover your card and you win the bag of LE pins. And once Bingo is yelled, the whole group erupts in cheers for the lucky winner!

Vince announces the next BINGO number

As I mentioned in the beginning, this was quite likely the last Parkhopper Pin meet. The event and more importantly, the gathering of this special group of people will be greatly missed!

A word from Vince and Suzy: "We would like to thank everyone who has attended our pin meets over the past seven years. We have had a lot of great trades, fun times, and fantastic memories with all of our pin friends!"

A tip of my Mickey Ears to a wonderful couple that know what Sharing the Magic is all about!

Vince and Suzy Gredone

March 18, 2008

3 Night Disney Wonder Cruise Getaway Part 1 Gaylord Palms

Every now and again, I need to escape to my favorite place. What? you ask - aren't you there all the time? Yes, it does seem like I"m there quite a bit. But I need to get away to RELAX; not as someone who has appointments or research items or a large to do list.

One of the ways I visit my favorite place and relax is by taking a Disney cruise. I do not plan any meets and just use the time for myself and my friends. No meetings, no research...well, there is always the desire to take photographs.

A number of months ago, several of us decided to take a Winter break and head to the Bahamas; the 3 night Disney Wonder Cruise. On this journey were Masayo and Mamoru (Japan), Beci Mahnken (Washington State), Linda Mac (Florida) and LindaLou and myself (Maryland).

We'd fly down Wednesday after work and then head to the port on Thursday.

I decided to check out my new 2008 advertiser, Gaylord Palms and made a reservation for one night.
While I had toured Gaylord Palms before, I had never stayed there. I did not make any special arrangements with my contact person. I simply made a reservation like anyone else would. The online reservation process worked very well. We requested a Florida View King Non-Smoking room and that was exactly what we received.

The room was really nice and big. We had plenty of area to have our suitcases out and move around!


There is a resort fee of $16.95 per room per night which includes: daily newspaper delivered to your guest room door; wireless internet access in your guest room and in public spaces throughout the hotel in the three atriums (St. Augustine, Everglades & Key West); in-room high speed internet access; two bottles of Dasani water delivered daily to your guest room refrigerator; complimentary local and toll free telephone calls (up to 20 minutes); use of Canyon Ranch SpaClub fitness center; complimentary scheduled shuttle bus service to Walt Disney World theme parks and a free bucket of range balls at nearby Falcon's Fire Golf Club.

Arriving late like we did after plane travel, I have to say we were very glad to have 2 cold bottles of water waiting for us in the room. We also used the in-room internet service and enjoyed the newspaper.


The next morning, Linda Mac met LindaLou and I for breakfast at Villa de Flora. It's a buffet which includes an omelet station. I joked with LindaMac that there was an entire area just for carnivors :) There were a wide variety of options to choose from. Our server was quite good.

In fact, all the employees we encountered at Gaylord Palms were above average, some exceptional!


And after breakfast we toured the atriums. In the St. Augustine area, there is a gator pond!

I look forward to staying here again in the near future and enjoy more of the resort. Oh, and if you are in the Orlando area during December, be sure to check out ICE! a unique winter experience at Gaylord Palms!

Stay tuned for Part 2 as we gather all our personal belongings and head to the Port!

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March 24, 2008

3 Night Disney Wonder Cruise Getaway Part 2 Embarkation Day

This would be LindaMac's 2nd Disney Cruise and Masayo and Mamoru's FIRST cruise!!! Beci, LindaLou and I have stopped counting LOL!!

Masayo and Mamoru had no idea Linda Mac would be joining us. After enjoying our breakfast at Gaylord Palms, LindaMac, Linda Lou and I were picked up by Happy Limo in a stretch. We headed to the Boardwalk to surprise Masayo and Mamoru. Surprise them we did!

Masayo and Mamoru

During our ride to the Port, I pointed out one place where we could see the Disney Wonder!
I still get excited when we see the DIsney ship off in a distance and I still get goosebumps when I check my bags with the porters and head inside the terminal.

Deb, LindaMac, Masayo and Mamoru

This cruise was all about relaxing and enjoying friends. Plus, we had the extra bonus of seeing Masayo and Mamoru first experience through their eyes.

Masayo flitted from character to character in the Port. She was grinning from ear to ear.

Masayo and MInnie

Things were pretty hectic for us at the Port. Usually they aren't but we spent time checking on this and that. We were glad when we were finally able to board. Masayo and Mamoru really enjoyed their first moments on the Disney Wonder!
The Disney Wonder Welcomes the Kano Family!

Once onboard, we made our way down Deck 3 to Parrot Cay. Lunch is offered both here and on Deck 9 Embarkation Day. The food is the same, just different setups. We prefer Parrot Cay. The characters were all out during lunch -- Stitch, despite his outfit had a HUGE Badneess Level going on. He mussed everyone's hair at our table.

Stitch, Masayo and Mamoru

After lunch it was about 1:20pm; cabins are ready at 1:30pm, so we went to Deck 7 and wait. Someone sprinkled a bunch of Pixie Dust on Masayo and Mamoru as they were unknowingly upgraded from an inside cabin to one with a verandah! They were speachless.

Entering the Cabin on Deck 7

After dropping them off, we went to deposit our luggage in our cabin. Soon, we all met up again for a tour of the Vista Spa. Masayo, LindaMac, and LindaLou all fell in love with the Rainforest heated stone chairs.


After seeing all the wonderful spa areas we walked into the Fitness Center. Look who was on the tread mill!


Then he tried to take my camera!


Not sure what we did next, but all too soon it was time to get ready for the Safety Drill. Linda Mac and LindaLou were hamming it up before the alarm sounded.


Immediately after the Safety Drill, it's time for the Sail Away Party.
The Action takes place on Deck 9. For those who want to watch from above, Deck 10 is a great place to hang out.


Mamoru captured as much as he could on video.


Dinner this evening was in Parrot Cay. We were so excited to have Egi, our server from December, take care of us. He was awesome as always!!!!!


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About March 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Deb's Digest in March 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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