Guest Blogger Carol Cruise returns with a report from this year's Pin Celebration at Walt Disney World!
The Museum of PIN-TIQUITIES: Disney Pin Celebration 2009
June 26th - June 29th
This was my 5th Disney Pin Celebration; I was by now a seasoned attendee however this year I was traveling solo, sort of. Gary had decided that since he was not a pin trader and did not want to endure the heat and humidity of Florida in June, he would stay home. The event has traditionally been held in September but this year, due to several other events being held in September, Disney changed the pin event to June. I flew out of Syracuse and met up with my fellow Canadian pin trader and friend Susan at Walt Disney World. We shared a room at Disney's All Star Movies Resort and spent the week enjoying the event and pin trading together. We also decided that since it was so hot and we had so much stuff to tote around we would rent a car, which was a real benefit for this trip.
The event was managed the same as previous years, it was announced on the Disney events site, registration opened February 25th and if you registered early you were entitled to a $15 discount off the registration fee and a early bird pin. Your RSP (Random Selection Process) request was due May 25th; this is when you list the pins you want from the merchandise catalogue and hope that you get lucky when they run your choices through the random selection process. There were more low edition pins this year than previous years and for the first time I did not get everything I wanted.
Thursday was registration day. It was held at the Yacht & Beach Club Convention Centre from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. We arrived just at noon and the line up was through the queue across the main room and out the door. I turned to Susan and said that we would be standing in lines all weekend, lets pass on this one and get some lunch. She agreed so we went to Beaches & Cream and enjoyed a leisurely lunch before returning to the hall. When we got back the line had dissipated and we picked up our packages. The registration package included:
The product/pins you were awarded on your RSP
A 4th RSP request for items that are left over
2 Disney gift cards $15 each
A "Partners" pin from the other Disney Resorts
Early Bird Pin
A voucher for a snack valid on Saturday
A voucher for your gift package valid on Saturday
A list of the new Hidden Mickey pins being released at the event only
After we had picked up our package we went around to the other side of the room where there were table's set up for people to sit at and trade pins or just have a conversation. We joined some of the friends we have met over the years and before we knew it we were getting hungry, it was dinnertime. Disney had announced that the pin trading room would remain open until 10 p.m. and it would be open to the public at 7 p.m. Rather than lose our spot, Susan stayed at the table and I went to get some take-out from the Market Place in the Beach Club.
The evening of trading concluded at 10 p.m. and we had good intentions of returning to the room to get good nights sleep, but as we exited the parking lot we both decided that it was too early so we went to Downtown Disney. This was to be the first of many evenings spent at Downtown Disney, wandering the shops and sitting along the ledge enjoying an ice cream from Ghirardelli's.
Friday morning we were off and running; we arrived at EPCOT with our bags of pins along with several other participants. Disney was ready for us, they had a private entrance set up for the pin attendees and sniffer dog Taz was doing his job. Once through the security check we proceeded to World Show Place. I love walking into this building for the event, you never know what to expect but you know it will be awesome. Disney does not lack when decorating for this event, I am always so impressed.
Disney decorates to match the theme of the event and the pins that they have released for the event. I am a collector of Pluto pins, my first choice of pin for my RSP was a Pluto pin, when I walked through the doors of World ShowPlace the first thing I saw was the display of Pluto with the dinosaur matching the pin I had ordered. The dinosaur was so big I had trouble capturing it in a picture.
Once inside World ShowPlace there was a queue to the tables manned by several cast members. This area was called the store and you could purchase pins that did not sell out. On the other side of the room there were several glass display cases that housed the items for the silent auction. This year was the first year they did not have a live auction. I wandered around to look at the items, and would have been thrilled to own any one of them, but the bids were way out of my price range.
Moving on through the building to the left were the "partners", this year there were displays from Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, Disney Soda Fountain & Studio Shop and Disney Cruise Line. There were also displays from Vinylmation, Kooky Klickers and Mickey Monsters, something else to catch the collector's eye! There was also a guest services area for guests with items to return.
To the right of this part of the building were the pin trading boards, each board had a theme behind it similar to one of the pins that was available for the event. Each board had a queue that on average took 45 minutes to get through. The rules were simple, you gave the cast member two of your pins and you got to take two pins off the board. The catch, you had one minute to make you choice and there are hundreds of pins on the board.
My eyes immediately look for Hidden Mickey's, I can't help it, I collect them and this year the completer pins for last years Hidden Mickey's were only going to be available at the event. Lots of people do look for other goodies, such as limited editions pins or AP (Artist Proof) pins. Apparently this year there were lots of them there, but I pretty much stuck to collecting my Hidden Mickey's.
There was also a large stage set up in the middle of the pin board area and there were numerous activities going on throughout the day. Off to the left of the room there was also a kid's area supervised by a couple of cast members. The kids had their own trading board but mostly I saw them colouring and doing other crafty activities.
During the day there were visits from some of the Disney elite pin people such as Digger and Lovey, a wonderful couple who entertained us. Scoop Sanderson was present and joined Steven Miller (project manager for pin trading) on stage to conduct a pin trading 101 session for all the newcomers. Later in the day a couple of Disney Design Group Artists, Alex Maher and Monty Maldovan, signed pins for the guests.
There were several Disney Trivia games held on stage and the winners were awarded pins as prizes. At one point they called up a young lady to play one of the games, Crystal was asked to draw a name from a hat for the next contestant. When she drew the name it was Shelby, her boyfriend! Well, they made a fuss about that and then handed the microphone over to Shelby. He got down on his knees and said, " I may not be Prince Charming but you are my Princess, will you marry me?" Well, there wasn't a dry eye in the place. She of course said yes and everyone applauded and Disney presented them with some wonderful gifts.
At the back of the building, in a room the size of a convention centre ballroom was the pin trading area. There were rows and rows of tables and chairs and they were all filled within an hour of opening. Some traders had bins and suitcases full of pins, but me, I travel light, I had one pin-trading bag that fits in my backpack. I did however enjoy walking around looking at all the pins and was able to make a couple of great trades.
Friday was also the deadline to return any unwanted pins and hand in a final RSP, it's a chance to pick up any of the sold out items that had been returned. There was one pin I wanted but didn't get so I completed the form.
At 6 p.m. they announced the event was closed for the day and everyone shuffled out, tired but excited by the days events. Susan and myself and two friends from PA, Ann and Mike stopped at the Electric Umbrella for dinner on our way out of the park. Our next stop was Port Orleans Riverside.
Our good friend John Rick, founder of the Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders and co-host of the Disney Pincast had organized a pin-trading gathering from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the food court at the resort. When we walked in there were many traders and a lot of familiar faces. It was a great evening and I made a great trade so I was happy.
We left POR at 10 p.m., dropped Mike and Ann off at their resort, then looked at each and Susan said, "It's too early to go back." so we went to Downtown Disney for an hour or so. When we got back to All Star Movies we sorted through the pins we had traded for, organized our pin bags for the next day and turned out the lights.
Saturday was pretty much the same routine in the morning until we arrived at the Show Place. When we entered on Saturday we went to one of the tables and picked up our final RSP to see if we had won any additional pins. We were given a sheet of paper telling us how many Event Exclusive promotion pins we were each eligible for. These pins were limited to one per person, based on how much you spent. There were six different pins in total and you were allowed to purchase one pin for every $75 you have spent at a bargain price of $3.00 each. We went directly to the Event Store to buy our pins. After the event any remaining Event Exclusive pins are destroyed.
During the day, in addition to the pin trading boards and back room trading there were several Disney Trivia and other games. There was a 1 o'clock Pin Chat with Scoop Sanderson and various announcements about upcoming pin activities and events. At 4 p.m. there were Snacks distributed, consisting of a drink and a rice krispie Mickey head dipped in chocolate. The Auction winners were announced and the Grand Prize Winners were announced. Information was announced about next year's event which will be held in August and the theme is Trade City USA. It will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Pin Trading. They said it would be a cross between Radiator Springs and Main Street USA.
The event closed at 6 p.m. and once again we dragged ourselves out of the building. This evening we decided to eat at the Land in Sunshine Seasons, there was Susan, Mike, Ann and myself. It was nice to just sit and talk and the evening seemed to fly by. Mike and Ann were walking back to their resort so Susan and I headed to the parking lot, found the car and what else, went to Downtown Disney. We hadn't thought about it being Saturday night and all, but it was crazy busy so we got our ice cream and just sat and people watched for a bit, then headed back to All Star Movies.
Sunday morning the event was open to the public at 11 a.m., so we quickly got in the lines for the boards to get some more Hidden Mickey pins before the doors opened. Once the public is allowed in they change the boards and the new and special pins are no longer available. Even after the building opened up we decided to stay and do a couple more boards. I am glad we did, it was a chance to meet some new pin traders. They were full of questions and between us we were able to help them out understanding just what they were getting themselves into. They didn't seem to mind and were having a blast as we left the building for the final time.
There were five of us heading over to the Magic Kingdom, Susan, Ann, Mike and Gabe, another Canadian pin trader and me. Our mission was lunch and the Annual Passholder preview of the Hall of Presidents. It was a great way to cap off the weekend; we also got to do a couple of rides before we all said our good byes. Susan and I had to take the car back to the Dolphin and then it was time to pack, I was leaving first thing in the morning.
It's hard to say what next year will bring but I do hope that I can manage to make it to the event in August. I not only enjoy the pin trading and activities, I look forward to seeing the many wonderful people I have met over the years.
Read Carol's Blogs on the 2008 Pin Event: