Carol Cruise Archives

September 17, 2017

2017 EPCOT Pin Event - Love is an Adventure

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Another year has come and gone and so has another EPCOT annual pin event.

Love Is An Adventure logo

The “Love is an Adventure” pin event was held August 24th to August 26th this year and while many of us lament that we would have preferred that Disney left the event in September, this year if they had we would have been smack dab in the middle of hurricane Irma!

On February 14th - Valentine's Day - Disney officially announced the dates of the upcoming event on the site. The official "save the date notice" indicated that registration would open April 25th at 1 p.m.

Feb 14 2017 Announcement
Click on the image to see a larger version.

The announcement also stated that there would be no auction or breakfast this year. These were two things that many people would miss, although it didn't bother me as I never participated in the auction and hadn't planned on going to the breakfast.

On April 18th the itinerary was posted and the merchandise catalogue was available.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

This is when the excitement starts to build for me!

I was happy with the look of the pins and started making my wish list. Registration on April 25th went smoothly, without the mad dash for a breakfast ticket there wasn't a need to overload the web site at precisely 1 p.m. so it was an easy process done later in the day. The event did eventually sell out but not until later in June.

The next stage in preparation is completing the RSP (Random Selection Process). This had to be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday, July 18th. The RSP is like a lottery process that is run when you send in your list of pins that you want. There are 1100 registered guest for the event and the pins are all limited editions. Once the RSP has been submitted you sit back and wait for the results.

The e-mail from Disney telling me what pins I got through the RSP arrived July 25th, I was assigned all the pins that I had requested, the e-mail also went on to tell me that I would see the charge for the pins go through my credit card by August 8th. This year annual passholders received a 20% discount. Nice!

My travel plans were a bit different this year. Flying out of Syracuse was extremely pricey and for the first time ever I found a less expensive flight out of Canada. On the day before the event Gary drove me to the Ottawa airport. I caught a commuter flight from Ottawa to Toronto where I met up with Carrie, my travel companion for the event. We had a good flight to Orlando; picked up the rental car and arrived at Old Key West Resort by early evening. We quickly dropped off our luggage and headed to Disney Springs to have a sandwich at Earl's. After enjoying our sandwich and a quick visit with a friend we stopped by the pin store for a few minutes and, of course, a small purchase. From there we went to Guest Services to update passes and coordinate our fast passes. Once that was complete we headed back to the room via the grocery store. It had been a long day and we had to be up early for the Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders breakfast.

Thursday morning came early but we were anxious and excited to be starting the event with the 7th annual Artist Breakfast. This annual event organized by Janis Lavender and John Rick of the Central Jersey Disney Pin Trader group is the perfect way to start the weekend.

Breakfast Buffet

This year it was held in the Durango room at Coronado Springs Resort. This was a bonus as the registration for the pin event was also held there, so that meant we could go right from the breakfast to the registration without leaving the building.

Team Canada
Part of the Canadian Trading Team!

The food was great and the interaction with the artists was wonderful. During the entire time you could see Alex Maher sketching away and those sketches were raffled off at the end of the breakfast to a half a dozen lucky winners.

Alex sketching

We were each give a keepsake button.

Breakfast Button

The artists that joined us this year from the Disney Creative Group (formally called Disney Design Group) were:

Alex Maher - Senior Character Artist, Disney Creative Group
Quynn Kimball - Graphic Designer, Disney Creative Group
Jess Willis - Freelance artist in house, Disney Creative Group
Ariel Silverstein - Freelance artist, Disney Creative Group

Artists and organizers

Breakfast group

When the breakfast concluded at 11:45 a.m. we headed down the hall of the convention centre to the event registration.

Bob welcomes our group

The line was long, it always is, but it gives us time to chat with old friends and meet some new friends. This year we had a very large Canadian contingent attending so we were able to catch up with a few.

More of Team Canada

Our Canadian group is growing!

Our registration package included a welcome pin, our pre-ordered merchandise, a map for the scavenger hunt, a special $30 gift card, and our credentials that held our trading tabs and our ticket for the goodbye gift.

Gift Card

Welcome Gift
Our Welcoming gift.

Once we got through registration we assembled in the big trading room that is open until 7 p.m. for all event registered guests.

Trading Room

This is the area where we opened our packages, checked out our pins and started to trade. This is when we open the Mystery Boxes to see how lucky we’ve been!

Mystery Boxes

The Mystery Box Pins usually become the “coveted pins” of the weekend. This year they were lovely and I wanted them all. There were 16 pins in total, 2 per box. We were shown 8 of the pins before the event and the other 8 were the "chasers". The “known” 8 pins were limited release and the 8 chaser pins were Limited Editions of 250.

You can see where the challenge was!

I was lucky with my mystery boxes, I got several chasers and all of the “revealed” pins, I was able to work the room and actually get all the pins but three on that first day. I was confident that I could find the rest the next day.

Reveal Pins
Reveal Pins - Click on the image to see a larger version.

Chaser Pins
Chaser Pins - Click on the image to see a larger version.

Take a look at the Dumbo chaser pin above. Some of the pins read "Love is Nurturing" and some are blank like mine. Who knows which of the variants will become more collectible over time!

Carrie and I decided to leave earlier than usual and head to Animal Kingdom; neither of us had been to Pandora and we had decided that our mission this trip would be to see it all!


We arrived at Animal Kingdom by 5 p.m. and the first stop was something to eat at Pizzafari then off to Pandora. We wandered a bit then tucked into the Satu'li Canteen for dessert.


Next we checked out Wind Traders to see the popular banshees found in the Rookery. It was then time for our FastPass+ for the Na'vi River Journey.

The ride was beautiful and we decided that it was something we needed to do again before we went home.

The other item on our list of to-do's was to watch the Rivers of Light; neither of us had seen that either. We slowly wandered over to Asia and arrived a bit early but we were happy to sit under a big fan and cool down. The heat was really getting to us. Soon it was time for the FastPass+ entry into the outdoor theatre and we were seated waiting for the show.

Rivers of Light

Rivers of Light

It was lovely and well worth the wait.

After the show we slowly made our way out of the park and decided to make a quick trip to the grocery store for a few more things. We got lost, turned on the GPS in my phone and navigated our way out of wherever we were. We found the Publix store we were looking for and were soon back to the room. It had been a very long but rewarding day.

Friday morning there was no rush to get there so we took our time getting ready; we arrived at EPCOT about 8:45 a.m. and went immediately to the special event bag check area.

Ruby the sniffer-dog checked out our bags and we were quickly through to the event special park entry line.

Ruby checks a pin bag

Special entrance for traders

We stopped at the Pin Station on our way back to World Showcase, and then joined the line to get into the event at World ShowPlace. The line stretched back past the Canadian Pavilion!

Entry line

It is always long but the doors opened on time at 9:30 a.m. and we were in the air-conditioned room within minutes.

World ShowPlace

We wandered a bit to look at the decor and had our pictures taken to officially kick-off the weekend.

An event character


The hall at World ShowPlace

Welcome sign

Artists signing

Then we started with two of the shorter lines. We chose the coffin game and the hatbox game.

Coffin Game

Hatbox Game

The lines at the trade board were very long so we decided to wait until later in the day.

When we received our credentials the day before we got our trading tabs; similar to last year we each received 4 trading tabs per day.

2017 Credentials
Click on the image to see a larger version.

The tabs give everyone a fair chance at getting to the trade boards and boxes.

Trading Tab

I don't mind this feature but I think that 5 tabs would be better. We were both done our trade lines well before the end of the event day.

We had also received a scavenger hunt map that could be completed over the two days. Carrie and I did ours in the morning while the lines were still quite long. I really loved the pin set that we were given when we completed the hunt.

New this year was the event specific merchandise shop, and they had lots of great items with the event logo.

Event Merchandise

There were hats, jackets, t-shirts and more. I was happy to buy the Alex & Ani bracelet to add to my collection.

Alex & Ani bracelet

At noon we headed over to Rose & Crown for our traditional lunch.

Eric and Trisha

I always make Advance Dining Reservations at Rose & Crown for both event days. I like to get out for a break and it is a good chance to visit with friends.


After lunch we returned to the event and tackled one of the long trade board lines.

As always, the decor for the event was lavish!

Event decor

Some of the backdrops matched with the pins designed for the event.

Rapunzel's tower

Rapunzel Pin

Do you see the sign in front of Rapunzel's tower? Signs like that were clues in the scavenger hunt!

Scavenger Hunt Map

Scavenger Hunt Pins
These are the pins we won for completing the Scavenger Hunt.

The closing time for the event was 6 p.m. but Carrie and I left a bit early, stopped at Art of Animation on our way to the car and then proceeded directly to Disney Springs. We had dinner at Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar; it was great. I loved the fried chicken!

Carrie with her fried chicken

We were both stuffed when we were done. We took some time to walk off dinner and toured through the shops but the heat was beating us down so we headed back to the room. I suggested to Carrie that we could go for a swim to cool off a bit but her response was, "That seems like a lot of work." so I had a shower instead.

Saturday morning started pretty much the same as Friday, we arrived at the event just as the doors opened and we followed the crowd into the nice and cool World ShowPlace. We did a couple of the shorter lines and wandered around having some fun pictures taken. The photo-ops that were set up for the event offered lots of fun options, including posing with Tarzan and Jane, or the bride from the Haunted Mansion or just dressing up and being silly on the face of a postcard.

Fun with Tarzan and Jane

Haunted Mansion Bride

Haunted Mansion Bride

Haunted Mansion Bride



After all that posing we were hungry so we headed off for lunch.

Rose & Crown

After our lunch at Rose & Crown we stood in line for one of the trade boards, then I headed to the back room to do some trades and Carrie went off with Jay and Chantel in search of ice cream. Carrie, being the friend that she is, brought me back a Disney favourite of mine, a Cronut, it was yummy.

World ShowPlace was packed

During the afternoon there was a Disney Artist Panel where the artists answered questions that had been written out by the guests prior to their arrival.

Artist's Panel

There was an Artist Pin Signing where you could have the artist that designed your pin sign it for you.

Artist's Pin Signing

There were games that pre-selected guests participated in and could win wonderful pin prizes. Through out the entire two days the Pin Partners Product Previews were set up, showing the upcoming pins from Walt Disney World, Disneyland CA and Walt Disney Imagineering.

The day was coming to a close, we had used all our tabs, even a couple of extras that were gifted to us, I was thrilled with the pins I got off the boards this year; lots of limited editions and artist proofs. Some will go into my collection and some will go into my trade bag. During the Artist Panel the announcement had been made for next year event and I am excited already about it.

2018 Event Announcement

Coming in 2018 Walt Disney's Animation Celebration - Celebrating 95 Years of Disney Animation.

2018 Event Announcement

Of course dates will be announced next year but August seems to be the trend.

One of the last things Carrie and I did before leaving was pick up our farewell gift. We swapped a tab from our credentials for the set of four pins pictured below.

Farewell Gift

We waited until after the final grand prize door prize draw was done before we left the building and as we headed to the car I could feel the rain in the air. We didn't make it; the downpour started just as we walked by the Pin Station and did it come down! We were soaked by the time we got to the car. We had a dinner reservation at Kona Café and our plan was to then go to the Magic Kingdom to watch the Happily Ever After fireworks and then the Once Upon a Time castle projection show. We decided that after dinner, rather than continue in the rain and due to the fact that I was totally soaked, we would go back to the room. It was a good plan.

The event was over for another year, and I give this year’s event high marks. I really enjoyed the decorations; I thought the photo-op setups were fun. The merchandise shop was a nice addition and the gifts were great. I didn't miss the breakfast or the auction. The addition of the artist panel was nice too. The credentials this year were cardboard rather than plastic and I found that they didn't stand up well for the whole event, just a minor complaint though and I would like 5 tabs instead of 4.

Even though the event was over, Carrie and I still had a couple of days to explore Pandora and take in a Halloween Party.

Sunday started off with a rain storm that we sat out in the room and then we headed to Animal Kingdom for our FastPass+ on Flight of Passage. What an awesome ride! Then we met up with friends, Bob, Juanita and Joaquin for lunch at Satu'li Canteen. After lunch we rode Flight of Passage again; it was even better the second time.

By then it was time to head to Disney Springs for dinner at Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar with a group of our friends, 17 in total.

Dinner at The Boathouse

Carrie and I had decided that after dinner we would head over to the Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks. We had a bit of time before it started so we rode the Little Mermaid ride, then found a patch of artificial turf in front of the castle and sat and waited. It was worth the wait; I love the new show.

Happily Ever After

When it was over we went back to Old Key West, met up with another friend for a bit of a chat in the lobby before calling it a night.

Monday we went to some outlet stores in the morning and wasted a bit of time at Animal Kingdom Lodge before heading to Animal Kingdom park for our FastPass+.

Festival of the Lion King

We watched the Festival of the Lion King show, met with our friends the Dobson's, rode Flight of Passage and did the early evening Kilimanjaro Safari.




We saw lots of animals and I regretted not having my camera. My phone captured a few good shots though!

After the safari we took a chance on getting a “walk-in” at Yak & Yeti for dinner. We lucked out and could sit at the bar without any reservation or wait. We had a great dinner there and then went back to Pandora to ride Na'vi and Flight again. It was raining and quite dark when we left the park.

Tuesday we were back to Animal Kingdom. We had noticed the tour booth near the safari ride the day before so we thought we would check and see if we could do the Caring for Giants tour.

Animal Tours

Sign up here

We signed up for the 10:30 a.m. tour and were the only two registered so it was a private tour. It was awesome, very inexpensive and very informative.

Caring for Giants

Close-up with the elephants

Our personal guide

I would recommend it if you have an hour to spare. We did one last Flight of Passage and then went to Disney Springs to have lunch at Earl’s. Our plan was to go back to the room, get ourselves packed and rest a bit before the Halloween Party. Mission accomplished!

We met with friends at the Jungle Cruise Skipper Canteen and had a great dinner there, then immediately started trick or treating around the park.

Friends at the Halloween Party

It was hot and humid so we took things slow. We visited the pin store and bought a couple of party pins. We were disappointed that some of the pins had been pulled due to a quality issue. We rode Haunted Mansion . . . a must during a Halloween party . . . . then watched the parade and fireworks.

Boo to you

Hitchhiking Ghosts

Headless Horseman

After the last parade Carrie and I said our goodbyes to friends and headed back to the resort. It was over for another year.

Wednesday morning I said goodbye to Carrie, returned the car to the airport, got on the plane to Montreal, transferred planes in Montreal to a 23 minute flight to Ottawa where Gary was patiently waiting to drive me home.

It was a great week and I can't wait to do it again next year!

September 18, 2016

Pixar Party 2016 - A Pin Celebration

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Pixar Party Logo

Last September at the annual EPCOT pin celebration the 2016 event was announced, the theme was “A Pixar Party” and we left with the first of 13 monthly countdown pins. Every month throughout the year a pin would be released at the Disney Pin Trading store in Disney Springs that would create a collection of pins leading up to the upcoming event. The order of the pins released followed the order of the Pixar movies released. The first pin released in October was from Toy Story, the November pin represented A Bugs Life and so on. Each of the monthly releases took us up to August and the Inside Out pin. The final pin was part of the events RSP, it was the Good Dinosaur.

The Good Dinosaur

Countdown Pins.jpg
Click on the image above to see all of the Countdown Pins.

Registration for the event opened up at 2 p.m. (ET) on Thursday April 28, 2016. That was also when you could register for the "Little Chef" breakfast that included a breakfast buffet, trading time inside the Pixar Party venue and a limited-edition commemorative gift pin. I wasn't in a big hurry this year as I had decided to not attend the breakfast; I was told it did sell out minutes after the registration went live. I did my registration for the event in a calm and civilized manner this time.

Registration Web Page
Click on the image above to see more registration information.

The date of the event took a lot of us by surprise, it has normally been held the weekend after Labour Day; we were surprised when Disney announced August 26th - August 27th. That meant we had to do the RSP (Random Selection Process) earlier than usual, the deadline was 11:59 p.m. (ET) Thursday July 14, 2016.

Similar to last year, early registration was held on Thursday August 25, 2016, you had to indicate on your initial registration that you would be attending on the Thursday, otherwise you would have to wait until the Friday to pickup your credentials and merchandise.

Wednesday August 24th
I had booked an early flight, a really early flight so we were up at 3 a.m. Gary was driving me to the Syracuse, New York airport for my 7 a.m. flight. Everything ran like clock work and I was in the rented car in the parking lot at Old Key West by 11 a.m. waiting to meet up with my roommate and friend Carrie. We met up in the lobby, registered and got our purple magic bands.

Old Key West

Our room wasn't ready so we decided that lunch at Earl of Sandwich sounded good. It was my first trip to the new Lime parking lot and I found it to be a breeze.

Disney Springs

We had our lunch then made a few stops, stocked up at the grocery store, checked the outlet store and visited a friend at Fort Wilderness. After all of that our room was ready so we got settled and unpacked. Dinner was back at Disney Springs, we met up with a couple of fellow Canadians and had pizza at Wolfgang Pucks followed by dessert at Ghirardelli's.

By then I was tired, so we said good night to Susan and Alison, headed back to the resort and called it a night.

Thursday August 25th

We had to be up bright and early to get to EPCOT for the 6th Annual Breakfast with the Artist's.

Early Thursday morning
The "Canadian Eh! Team".

This annual event is hosted by our friends John & Sheila Rick and Janis & David Lavender from Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders.

Artist's breakfast

This year it was held in the private room at the Living Seas. The panel of experts from the Disney Design Group had a mix of familiar faces and a few new faces and included: Alex Maher and Ron Cohee - Character Artists, Matt DeWater - Character Artist/Show Artist, Jes Willis and Quynh Kimball - Graphic Designers and Erin Catalano - Product Developer.

Artist's breakfast

Artist's breakfast
John Rick, Sheila Rick, Ron Cohee, Quynh Kimball, David Lavender, Alex Maher, Janis Lavender, Matt DeWater, Jes Willis.

Artist's breakfast

There is always plenty of spirited discussion as the artists answer our questions about pins and other merchandise. The Artist’s Breakfast is always an excellent way to start the pin trading weekend.

Trish and Eric from Ohio
Trish and Eric from Ohio, friends we see every year at the event!.

After the breakfast Carrie and I headed over to the Coronado Springs resort for registration.

Coronado Springs

Event Poster

The line wasn't too bad and we were able to chat with friends and acquaintances that we only see at the event.

A very short line

We were signing for our credentials and merchandise after a mere 45 minute wait.

The Welcome Pin
The Welcome Pin.

Once we had our registration completed we were allowed to enter the pin trading room.

The Trading Room

This room is open for registered event guests from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is where we go to check out our merchandise and open mystery boxes and start trading. The mystery boxes are usually the highlight of the day, everyone wants to complete their set. There are 8 limited release pins and 8 chasers in the set, the chasers are LE400. I wasn't all that fussy about the pins this year so I only bought 3 boxes.

Event Logo Pin
The Event Logo Pin.

Every registered guest received a $30.00 gift card specially designed for the event.

Pixar Party Gift Card

I walked the room several times and made some good trades. I also ran into lots of pin friends that I only see once or twice a year so it was a good to have this time to catch up. After a few hours Carrie and I were getting tired and hungry so we packed everything up and headed back to the resort. We decided to go into Olivia's at Old Key West for dinner.


It is a wonderful relaxing restaurant and the food is always good. After dinner we went back to the room to rest for a bit then headed back to Disney Springs for a couple of hours of shopping and browsing.

Friday August 26th
This was the first year that I didn't register for the event breakfast and it seemed odd not having to rush to get in line. We took our time getting to EPCOT, entered through the special bag check area for our event.

Bag check

Even though I didn't attend the breakfast, I did manage to trade for the special Breakfast Pin!

The Breakfast Pin.

We got in line at World ShowPlace around 9:30 a.m. to wait for the 10:00 a.m. opening. While standing in line we chatted with our neighbours and met another Canadian pin trader; Andrew lives in Quebec but frequents a Canadian Pin Traders Facebook page, so we knew he was going to be there.

Carrie and Andrew
Carrie and Andrew.

Our credentials were the same as last year; they had tabs along the sides that allowed us to go to the pin boards/games. Each person got 4 tabs per day and the tab was exchanged along with 2 of your pins for the opportunity to take 2 pins from the boards. At the bottom of the credential there were 2 more tabs that you tore off in exchange for your parting gift and the scavenger hunt gift.

My Credentials
Click on the image above for a closer look at my credentials.

When the doors opened we immediately got in a line for a pin board. As I waited for my turn I looked around the room. The decorations and themeing were excellent this year, everything was Pixar.

The event hall

One of the games

Here I am with Russell

Up Pin

I noticed that there were fewer boards this year and more game-type trading activities. For example, the Inside Out line, which turned out to be my favourite, had five small doors. Each trip to the game you could open two doors and trade two pins.

Inside Out

This activity was easier for me to focus on what pins were in front of me and I was lucky enough to be close when they did the refresh so I got some awesome pins this year.

“The refresh” is when they remove the used boards and replace them with new boards that have had new pins added to them. The fun pins to get are the AP (Artist Proof) and PP (Pre-Production) pins. The Disney event people go into the vaults and bring out all sorts of wonderful pins from the past and future. There were also a lot of Hong Kong Disneyland pins, several that were parts of puzzles or sets. The boards are generally refreshed every half hour.

Stinky Pete

Posing with Flik

Carrie with Carl Fredricksen

New this year was the scavenger hunt. When we registered we were each given a paper from the Marine Life Institute that we had to complete. Throughout the venue there were clues to help us complete the quotes.

Scavenger Hunt Clues

Once we had filled in all the blanks we took our paper to a designated area to use the decoder. We placed the decoder over our sheet and various words were revealed that gave us the message, “Dory says: Just Keep Swimming”.

Scavenger Hunt form

We took the completed quest to the front of the building to receive our set of pins; we also handed in our tab from the bottom of our credentials.

Scavenger Hunt Prize Pins
Scavenger Hunt Prize Pins.

At noon Carrie, Alison and I headed out to the Rose and Crown for lunch. This is a standing tradition that I started many years ago. I always make Advanced Dining Reservations at Rose and Crown for both days.

Lunch at Rose and Crown

It is good to take a break and get out of the building, plus you need to have a good meal to help you through the very long day.

When we went back into World ShowPlace after lunch we used our last two tabs and then went into the back room to trade. We still had a good amount of time left before the day ended at 6:30 p.m. so I wandered around and looked at some of the pin traders’ books. I was hoping to finish a couple series but didn't have any luck finding what I wanted. I noticed a friend sitting there who had a couple of tabs left on his lanyard. He wasn't going to use them so I traded a couple of pins for them and off Carrie and I went for another go at the boards.


After that we decided to leave a bit early and went over to The Land. I had fast-passes for the new Soarin' ride and we had decided to have dinner at Sunshine Seasons. Just as I was getting up to go towards the ride I heard my name. It was a friend having dinner with her son; it was great to see Cindy and Jonah. It really is a Small World.

After we rode Soarin' we started to make our way to the parking lot via Mouse Gear and the Pin Station. It was a long day and we were tired so we decided that we would just relax in the room and call it an early night.

Saturday August 27th
The second day of the event was pretty much the same as the first day; we arrived at EPCOT, went through the special security area, got in line and entered the venue at 9:30 a.m.

The security dog hard at work

Disney artists
Some Disney artists were on hand to sign the pins they had created.


I was thrilled to have my good friend Beci join us for lunch at the Rose and Crown, it was a very enjoyable hour spent catching up and laughing.

I made some new friends and did some great trades with them; Sarah from Louisiana helped me with the Main Street Mystery pins I was looking for; Krissi from Albany NY and her friend Nancy from Atlanta GA helped me with the Disneyland It's A Small World Mystery pins.

Nancy and Krissi
Nancy and Krissi.

It was fun chatting with these ladies and realizing that they have read my previous pin blogs.

The silent auction ended on this day at 3 p.m. There is always a flurry of activity around the auction displays.

Silent Auction Displays

Silent Auction Displays

Silent Auction Displays

Time is up

Once I had used my 4 tabs I took some time to visit the Pin Partners kiosks. There are some awesome pins coming out over the rest of the year.

Mickey's of Glendale

Pin Trading Logo

A preview of pins to come
A preview of yet-to-be released pins.

One thing that was missing this year was the Pin Talk. In previous years there has always been an hour-long talk by the Disney event organizers and pin designers with lots of overhead projections and information about what to look forward to in the coming year. The only clue about next year’s event was a slide that was periodically flashed on the screen throughout the day.

2017 Theme - Love is an Adventure

There wasn't a pin released to start a monthly countdown either.

I decided to wander the back room again to fill in some time. As I was looking through some of the books Carrie ran up to me with two tabs in her had. Gabe, another member of the “Canadian Eh! Team” had given them to her, so off we went for one last line. We got lucky; they did a refresh right in front of us so we ended our day with two really nice pins each.

Gabe - the Mystery Box king
Gabe - the Mystery Box king.

The Good Dinosaur

At 6 p.m. they announced the closing of the event, it is always a bit sad when it is over. We said some goodbyes to a few people that we wouldn't see again until next year then cashed in our last tab to pick up our Goodbye Gift.

Goodbye Gift.jpg

Carrie and I made our way over to France and had dinner at Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles; it was yummy. After that we wandered slowly around World Showcase until we got to Norway. I had fast-passes for the Frozen ride and neither of us had seen it yet.

A beautiful sunset

The sun was going down when we came out of Norway and we continued our walk to the car. Again, we were too tired to do anything but go back to the room and relax.

Sunday August 28th
We had lots of plans for the day. We started off going to Animal Kingdom and wandered over to Expedition Everest. We walked through the single rider line and directly onto the first train that pulled in. When we got off the ride we weren't sure what we wanted to do and it was too hot to really enjoy the park, so we made our way back to the parking lot. We drove over to Disney Springs and had lunch at Earl of Sandwich. From there we went to the Hotel B and spent a couple of hours at a pin trading meet that was being held there. After a few trades we made our way back to Disney Springs and met up with a bunch of our friends for a wonderful dinner at The Boat House.

The Boathouse

Dinner with friends

After dinner we went back to Animal Kingdom to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris after dark. I found it to be a waste of time - it was too dark to see anything. We planned to watch the Jungle Book light show, but it was just too hot and we were both tired and still had to pack. We headed home early again.

Monday August 29th
I was up early and drove my suitcase down to the Bell Captain to check it in and get my boarding pass. Once I had done that I went back to the room, picked up Carrie and we were off to the airport; we both had morning flights. We had a coffee at the airport then said our goodbyes. Carrie was flying into Toronto and I was headed for Syracuse.

It was another great weekend and a wonderful event.
I hope to be able to do it again next year!

October 10, 2015

2015 EPCOT Pin Event

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When I left the event last year I left with the knowledge that the 2015 EPCOT Pin Event was going to be themed GenEARation D. I also had a Steamboat Willie GenEARation D pin in my hand, the first of a series of 13 pins, one to be released each month leading up to the September event.

"GenEARation D is a chance to pay homage to the key moments in Disney history that made an impact on the lives of Disney fans, both young and young at heart. The content for the 2015 event will span the decades from 1901 to today."

GenEARation D logo

The official dates had not been announced so for several months I kept an eye on the event page of the Official Disney Merchandise Blog. On January 29th the announcement came "Please plan to join us for the GenEARation D Pin Trading Event on Sept. 11-12, 2015 at World ShowPlace in Epcot! Registration for this year’s pin trading event will take place on April 22, 2015."

Event Registration Package

Pin Breakfast

GenEARation D Agenda
Click the image to see a larger version.

The challenge I faced was trying to obtain each of the limited edition of 500 monthly pins. I had a couple of trips to Walt Disney World planned so I was able to get three of the pins myself, then thanks to several friends who could do the pick-up for me I was able to go to the event only missing two of the pins, which were only released at Downtown Disney in the pin store. I had purchased a few doubles so I had some trading power and was able to complete my set quite easily. The final pin was released at the event using the Random Selection Process (RSP) system and I was lucky enough to get it too.

This is a quick recap of my annual trek to the world of pin trading, an adventure that I look forward to every year.

Tuesday Sept 8th
I was up just minutes before the 3 a.m. alarm sounded. We hurried to be out of the house and on the road by 3:40 a.m. Gary was driving me to the Syracuse airport so that I could catch the 7 a.m. flight to Orlando. It was clear sailing; he dropped me off at the airport at 5:45 a.m. My flight was on time and I landed at Orlando 5 minutes early. Rather than stand and stare at the empty baggage carousel I dashed down to Alamo and registered for my rental car. Then I went back upstairs just as the luggage started to come out. All was done and I was on the road to the Beach Club Villas by 10:10 a.m. I picked up my roommate Carrie at Old Key West and then headed over to Fort Wilderness to meet a friend and pick up some of the pins she had bought for me. We decided to have lunch at Port Orleans French Quarter and then proceeded to the Beach Club Villas to check in. Our room wasn't ready so we slipped over to the grocery store for some supplies; by the time we got back the room was ready so we unpacked and got settled.

It is always extremely hot in September so our plans usually keep us from the usual running around that most are accustomed to when going to Walt Disney World. We simply headed over to Earl of Sandwich for a sandwich, wandered through a few shops and then back to the resort. It was an early night for me after a very long day.

Wednesday Sept 9th
We spent the day relaxing. I like to arrive at the event a day early so that I do have some down time before the marathon pin trading begins. We were slow getting up and enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee. Carrie was doing some work so I went out for a walk around the resort before it became too hot. It is a beautiful place, and very peaceful in the morning. By the time I got back to the room Carrie was wrapping up with work so we walked down to Beaches & Cream for lunch; after lunch we went to the pool for a couple of hours.

Stormalong Bay Pool

Even lounging beside the pool was just too hot for us so we went back to the room. Carrie worked some more and I had a short nap. Then it was time to meet up with a group of our pin trading friends and celebrate a birthday at the Captains Grill. It was a fun time with a dozen of my friends and a really good meal. It was the first time I had eaten there and I would definitely go back.

After dinner we went back to the room to get organized for the next day; there would be no more relaxing this trip.

Thursday Sept 10th
We were up at 6:30 a.m. and out the door headed to the Studios by 7:45 a.m.

Hollywood Studios

I always start the event with the Breakfast With the Artists. This is a non Disney event, organized by Janis Lavender and John Rick from Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders. This was the 5th annual breakfast and was held back stage at the Prop Shop.

The Prop Shop
Set up for breakfast in the Prop Shop

The Prop Shop
It was a very popular event!

Happy Traders
Happy traders!

There are usually 4 to 5 artists that participate but this year we had 6 artists from the Disney Design Group and Erin Cantalano, Merchandiser and Trading Advocate, Disney Theme Park Merchandise. The artists that attended this year were: Maria Clappis, Derek Lesinski, Alex Maher, Tim Loucks, Jess Willis and Quynh Kimball.

The Artists
Jess Willis, Erin Cantalano, Alex Maher, Tim Loucks, Derek Lesinski, Maria Clappis & Quynh Kimball

We had a wonderful breakfast followed by an hour of open dialogue with the artists. Lots of interesting information was exchanged and many questions were answered. A question I had for Erin was "What is happening with Vinylmations and why are they not included in this year in the event"? Her response to me was that when they first marketed Vinylmations, Disney considered them a collectible and did not anticipate the trading frenzy that would evolve. They have taken a step back and are now re-positioning the product back to the original intention, a collectible. So Vinylmations are not going away, they will continue to be available on a more focused basis, such as Eachez for special events and occasions. They will no longer be included in the pin events.

After the breakfast a few of us decided to ride Toy Story Midway Mania on our way out of the park. You can't come to Disney without riding at least one ride! We then wandered over to the new pin merchandise area. Now that the Big Hat has gone, they have moved the pins over by the food court area on Sunset Boulevard. By then it was getting very hot so Carrie and I made our way back to the parking lot, hopped in the car and headed over to Coronado Springs Resort to register and pick up our event merchandise.

We arrived at the resort around 12:30 and walked in anticipating the usual long line, but it wasn't too bad.

The Registration line
In line for registration.

Everything was well organized and we were signing for our credentials and pins within 45 minutes. Once we had everything we headed into the big trade room. This was a Disney Pin Trading room for all registered guests.

The Trading room
The Trading Room.

I immediately started wandering around the room, looking to trade for the two missing GenEARation D pins - Ariel (Little Mermaid) and Rapunzel (Tangled). I got lucky and was able to find them both. Once I had that feat accomplished I sat down to open my event Mystery Box pins. I like to have the complete set when they are event pins! There were 16 pins, 8 limited release and 8 chasers limited to 250. I had purchased 8 boxes and I was very lucky, I was only missing a couple and was able to trade for them over the next 2 days.

Mystery Box pins
The complete set of Mystery Box Pins.

I did a bit more trading and checked out the pins that I had been able to get with my RSP. There were a couple of them that looked better in the catalog than they did up close so I decided to return them; you have until Friday 6 p.m. to return any merchandise that you don’t want.

My pins
My purchases and trades from the first day.

I also noticed that the trade room was much less crowded than previous years. I think that attendance was down this year. There were several changes implemented this year that may have contributed to that. The big change that many complained about was the bag restriction; you could only bring one trade bag into the event. The bag had to fall within the guidelines as far as size goes. This didn't bother me as I only take one small pull bag, but I have seen people show up with Costco grocery carts filled with bags and boxes of pins. The new guidelines included this prohibition: Suitcases, coolers or backpacks, with or without wheels, larger than 24” x 15” x 18” (61cm x 38cm x 46cm) in size.

The other change was that you could only go through the lines 4 times each day; our credentials had tabs and each tab entitled you to two trades at the board.

Tabs on the Credentials
My event credentials; tabs for the pin trading board lines are on the sides.

The idea behind this was it would reduce the number of people in the lines and thus reduce the wait times to get to the boards. Guess what - it didn't work.

And I think the other change that many were disappointed with was the removal of the Sunday portion of the event that had been designated as the Vinylmation Trade Event. There are still a lot of us out there who want to trade Vinylmations!

Carrie and I decided that we would leave about 5 p.m. and head back over to the Beach Club and try our luck at getting into Beaches & Cream for dinner. We were successful and as an added bonus I got to sit with some good friends that I hadn't seen in a while. It was great having some time to visit with Georgie and Joe.

Banana Split

After a very good dinner, and a shared banana split, we went back to the room.

Friday Sept 11th
We hit the ground running; it was time to get in line. The next 2 days would consist of standing in lines and it started outside of EPCOT at 7:30 a.m. for us.

Outside the International Gateway
Lined up outside the International Gateway.

The sniffer dog
Rowdy, the security dog, at work sniffing our pin bags.

This year there were no troubles or communication breakdowns; the cast members and security were ready for us. We got through security by 7:50 a.m. and got in line for our breakfast that started at 8:30 a.m.

Lined up for breakfast
The line for breakfast.

We had been given special orange lanyards to wear so that we could be easily identified as paid breakfast attendees and when they opened the doors we were able to just march right in.

The breakfast allows you to enter the event 1 ½ hours early and it sells out almost instantly.

Breakfast fare
Breakfast in World ShowPlace.

Breakfast fare

It isn't about the food, although it was pretty good this year, it’s about getting in line for the pin boards that extra hour and a half with fewer people. I was able to get through 2 lines before the doors opened to the rest of the guests. You also did not have to use any of your tabs during the breakfast.

Another change this year was the event pins that are usually on the boards; this year everyone received a full set at registration, so there was no need to hunt for them.

Event pins
It was a relief that we didn't have to search the boards for these pins!

This was a good change for me; it allowed me to focus on other pins on the boards instead of just looking for the event pins. I was able to get some really nice limited edition pins for my collection. There were lots of Artist Proof pins and Pre-Production pins as well.

The day consisted of standing in line, taking a break for lunch at Rose & Crown and then standing in line again. There was a box lunch option that could be ordered at registration, but I like to leave the building for an hour.

The hall was nicely decorated
This is a sample of the decor in World Showplace.

GenEARation D Oswald pin
This is the pin that mirrors the decor pictured above!

Each line’s wait for the board averaged 1 ½ hours. I also did a bit of trading in the back room. While we were in line, at 11 a.m., Jeanne Lewis and Erin Cantalano took the stage to talk us through a presentation featuring the up and coming pins for 2016.

Jeanne Lewis and Erin Cantalano
Jeanne and Erin

This is always an exciting presentation as we get to see our favourite characters up on the big screen, displayed in a new pin.

New pins

New pins

This is also when they announce the theme for the next year’s event and for 2016 it will be “Pixar Party - It's a Celebration.”

Pixar Party - It's a Celebration

We left the event at 6 p.m. and walked back to the Beach Club where we dropped off our bags and then hopped in the car. We had dinner at Sweet Tomatoes then made a quick stop at D-Street so that I could pick up the Halloween Eachez Vinylmation. I bought 2 and got one of each. Successful mission! Then it was back to the room; we were both ready for bed.

Saturday Sept 12th
We didn't have to get up quite so early! We left the room at 8:30, got in line for the security check and then entered EPCOT to get in the line for the event that opened at 9:30 a.m.

Another sniffer dog
Rowdy at work again.

As soon as we got through the door we went directly to a line. After we got though the first line we wandered around looking at the displays and silent auction items.

The displays this year were Pin Trading Disney Parks, Pin Trading Disneyland Paris and Pin Trading Disney Hollywood Soda Fountain. Each of the groups had displays set up that included upcoming pins for the remainder of 2015 and into 2016.

Disneyland Paris Pin Display
The Disneyland Paris display.

The silent auction items are amazing and include framed sets of Artist Proof and Pre-Production pins.

Auction items
Items for the Silent Auction.

A framed pin set
A Framed Pin Set in the Silent Auction.

When the winners are announced they do not divulge the winning bid but I know several of them were in the thousands of dollars range.

Pin signing

Pin Artists
The Pin Artists were on hand to sign their pins!

After our little tour of the rooms we got back in line for one more trade off the boards before we went to lunch at the Rose & Crown. While we were in line we did some trading, by this time of the day everyone has some very nice pins from the boards and you can easily trade for pins that you want for your collection. I was able to complete the Mystery Box Alphabet series.


As I mentioned earlier, the final GenEARation D pin was available through the RSP process and the first pin of next years Pixar Party - It’s a Celebration event was also available by RSP. I was able to purchase one Olaf pin and one Pixar pin, so I completed my GenEARation D series and started the next year’s series.


Here is another example of the decor.

GenEARation D Passholder pin
And here is the corresponding pin.

More decor.

GenEARation D Figment pin
And another matching pin.

We spent the rest of the afternoon using our final 2 tabs for the trade boards and visiting and talking with friends. We also picked up our exit gift. We thought about leaving once our tabs were used but there was a draw for some grand prize's and the you had to be present to win. Neither of us won but our good friend John Rick did so we were very excited for him.

The Trading Room
The Trading room.

We walked back to the Beach Club and dropped our bags off; neither one of us wanted to go anywhere in the car so we walked back to EPCOT and had a delicious dinner in France at the Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie. We then walked over to Mouse Gear and the Art of Animation before returning to the room.

Sunday Sept 13th
In previous years the event has always carried over to the Sunday however this year there was nothing. That's where our good friends Janis Lavender and John Rick from Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders stepped in; they organized a pin meet at the Yacht Club Convention Center. It started at noon so after a leisurely morning of coffee and pastries we walked over with our trade bags. We spent a fun couple of hours wandering around looking at pins, chatting and trading. I was able to make some good trades. We left about 3 p.m. and walked back to our room to drop off our bags. We had decided to go to the Polynesian Resort for dinner at Kona Café; we were able to get a 5 p.m. reservation.

After an excellent meal and a huge portion of 'Ohana bread pudding we hopped on the monorail and went to the Magic Kingdom. We wandered down Main Street but it was so hot that we decided to go into Philharmagic to watch the show and cool down. When we came out it wasn't any cooler; we decided it was just too uncomfortable so we got back on the monorail and got off at the Contemporary Resort to wander through the shops. Then it was back on the monorail to the Polynesian Resort and to the car. It felt good to be back in the room and out of the heat, plus we had to pack for the trip home the next day.

Monday Sept 14th
After my coffee I walked my bags over to the airline check in desk, checked my luggage and got my boarding pass. I went back to the room to meet Carrie and we gathered up our carry-ons and headed to the car. We drove over to Animal Kingdom and met our friends Susan and Allison at the entrance to The Festival of the Lion King.

Animal Kingdom

After the show we walked over to Yak & Yeti and had a late lunch before heading off to the airport.

Both of our flights were on time, Carrie's to Toronto and mine to Syracuse. Home we went, another successful event behind us. Can't wait to do it again!

October 5, 2014

EPCOT Trade Celebration 2014

Carol Cruise banner

When I last wrote it was after the annual EPCOT Trade Celebration of 2013, Disney had announced the theme of the 2014 event but not the dates. Well the dates were announced earlier this year and registration opened April 22, 2014. The dates were September 5th, 6th and 7th and the event was described by Disney as:
"Make an entrance when you arrive in style at our award-worthy Imagination Gala - A Magic Carpet event! Join us as we honor our 'bests' in Disney films, storytelling, characters and attractions with an Imagination Award, represented by none other than a Golden Figment."

Imagination Gala Logo

The usual pre-event activities occurred; I sat at my computer on registration day, waiting for the clock to strike 1:00 p.m. E.S.T. when the link to the registration form opened on the site. I signed up for all the event options. The breakfast options sell out so you have to be quick. This is what was available:

Event Packages
(Click on the image for a clearer view)

Tuesday September 2nd
My adventure began very early as I headed off to my 10th EPCOT Pin Event - 3 o'clock - in the dark early. I had a 7:30 a.m. flight out of Syracuse which was great since it got me into Orlando by 10:00 a.m. and I had a whole day to play with my friends from Canada who had arrived earlier, on the weekend. Everything went smoothly, I picked up my rental car and texted my "roomie" Carrie that I had landed. Gabe drove her over to the All Star Movie Resort to meet me just as I finished checking us in.

All Star Movies lobby

We dropped our stuff off in the room then went to the food court for a quick bite and checked out the store. After that we hopped in the car and headed over to the Magic Kingdom, it was about 2:00 p.m. and we wanted to see the 3 o'clock parade.

Monorail sign

We met up with Susan and Allison in front of the Trading Post in Frontierland and had a great view; the only problem was the heat. Oh my goodness is was hot!

Daisy & Donald

Parade Dragon

After the parade we all went to the Sunshine Tree Terrace for a Citrus Swirl, it was so refreshing and gave us the strength to move on. Carrie and I wanted to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train so we got in the line and waited about an hour for the ride. It is very cute but I wouldn't wait an hour for it again. We then made our way down Main Street and over to Downtown Disney where we had dinner at Earl of Sandwich.

Earl of Sandwich

A quick trip to the Character Outlet and Publix finished off the evening.

Wednesday September 3rd
I got up and strolled over to the food court to get coffee for Carrie and myself. After our coffee we packed up and loaded the car and drove over to the Beach Club Villas to check in for the rest of the week. It was another very hot day and we had decided to spend it enjoying the pool and relaxing in preparation for the marathon of trading that would start the next day.

Our room was ready so we were able to unpack and settle in; once that was accomplished we headed to the pool, stopping at Beaches & Cream for lunch first.

Beaches & Cream

After a great lunch we wandered around the pool scouting out a good spot to set up for the rest of the afternoon. We swam and even went down the water slide; it was great fun and a wonderful relaxing afternoon.

Beach Club pool

We had dinner plans, so after getting cleaned up we started making our way to Olivia's at Old Key West, but first I had to make a quick stop at the Meadows Trading Post in Fort Wilderness to pick up a couple of new Fort pins that you could only get there. We met our friends by 6:00 p.m. and had the best dinner and an enjoyable time talking and laughing with Susan, Allison, Gabe, Sandy, Jenn, Ann, Mike and Carrie.

So much fun that I forgot to take a picture of our group. After dinner we went back to Board Walk Villas, had a quick swim and got ready for the next day.

Thursday September 4th
The day started very early, we had to be at Hollywood Studios for 8:30 a.m. to meet up with the breakfast club. This was the 4th Annual Artist Breakfast that is organized by Janis Lavender and John Rick from Central Jersey Disney Pin Trading. It is not a Disney event but the guests of honor are design artists from the Disney Design Group. I have attended this breakfast every year and I have to say that this was the best one yet.

The breakfast gang

CJDPT Breakfast Group

We all met just outside the gates, then a cast member came and escorted us into and through the park to our special venue. This year the breakfast was held in the Backstage Prop Shop. It was so interesting, sitting there among the props and remembering where we had seen them in use years ago.

The Prop Shop

The Prop Shop

The food was very good and there was lots of it, more than we could eat. The artists entertained us with stories of their experiences and answered questions from all of us. All too soon it was time to move on.

Organizers & Pin_Artists
The organizers and artists: Left to right - Ron Cohee, David & Janis Lavender, Derek Lesinski, Alex Maher, Quynh Kimbell, Sheila & John Rick

Carrie and I decided to spend a little time at the Studios before going to registration.

Oaken's Frozen Funland

We wandered through Oaken's Frozen Funland and Trading Post, rode Toy Story Midway Mania, and saw the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.

Anna & Elsa

After that we made a quick stop in the Art of Animation store where I had a little visit with Ink and Paint artist David Rippberger and ended up buying another cel.

Event Itinerary
(click on the agenda)

The early registration for the event was held at Coronado Springs and we were receiving texts that the line to pick up your merchandise was up to 2 hours, so we were in no hurry to get there. The registration opened at 10:00 a.m. and would stay open until 7:00 p.m. We arrived around 2:00 p.m. and the line wasn't too bad; we only waited about and hour to get our merchandise.

Welcome Gifts
These are the welcome gifts I received when I registered. The Figment vinylmation is a Limited Edition and the pin is a Limited Edition of 1100.

Aimee & her buttons
This is Aimee with the buttons she made for our group, depicting the "Supporting Actors" from Disney animated films.

Everyone was disappointed this year about the mystery boxes not arriving on time. Apparently there was a mix up with the shipping instructions and they did not get to the event on time. The Mystery Boxes are always a fun part of the trading process. Each box contains 2 pins; one pin is a limited release and the other pin may be a mystery chaser, Limited Edition 250. When everyone has opened their boxes the trading begins and you try to complete the set.

The Trading Room

Half of the conference room was set up with tables for trading and there were lots of traders there, with both pins and vinylmations. This year the trading room was only open to registered guests, no public hours, and it closed at 7 p.m., earlier than previous years. For me, I liked the change. After the trading our group headed to Downtown Disney for a tasty dinner at Earl of Sandwich.

Friday September 5th
We hit the ground running. It was a quick walk to the International Gateway and our breakfast started at 8:00 a.m. We thought that if we got to the line around 7:30 a.m. all would be good. No so; as we came down the hill to the entrance people were lined up and not moving. There was no security and the cast members were not letting anybody in. I would say there were about 250 very unhappy people in this line.

The line didn't move

Eventually security and the sniffer dog showed up and they started letting us enter the park.

Security dog

Once through the security and ticket area we headed towards World Show Place where the event is always held. We expected to be able to get in a single line that would take us through the gates and on to breakfast, instead we hit a mob, trying to get by 4 cast members with clipboards manually ticking off our names.

Another line

Tricia & Eric from Cleveland
I ran into a couple I had met the previous year, Trish & Eric, from Ohio. They had enjoyed themselves so much last year that they brought some friends along to join in the fun.

Early morning mob

Whatever happened to technology? Why couldn't we just show the credentials that we had to wear?

Pin Event Credentials

Eventually we got into the venue and they announced that they would extend the breakfast and event by 15 minutes to compensate for the disorder that we had endured.

Breakfast Gift Pin
Everyone at the breakfast received this special pin, a Limited Edition of 500.

The breakfast was okay, but the main benefit of going to the breakfast is to get an early start at the trade boards. We all do this to get the special "event pins" that you can only find on the boards - they are not sold anywhere.

Board Pins
These are the six special "event pins". Each one is a Limited Edition of 1000.

We always spend a lot of time standing in lines! Once you have all the special pins, there were six this year, then you can concentrate on looking for pins that fit into your collection. There were plenty of great pins this year, many Artist Proofs and Pre-productions pins to be found.

After the special breakfast ended at 9:45 a.m. the doors opened to the remainder of the registered guests. The lines grew longer and the average wait to get to the boards was 2 hours.

Some of the decor - Figment

More decor

More decor - Mickey

A pin trading board

We left the event at 6:00 p.m. and wandered back to Beach Club Villas. We dropped our stuff off and decided that since it was raining and miserable out we would just go over to Sweet Tomatoes for some dinner and call it an early night.

Saturday September 6th
Saturday was much like Friday; the only difference was that the event didn't start until 9:30 a.m. so we got to sleep in a bit.

Saturday morning line
The line prior to opening stretched from the rose garden all the way to the World Showplace entrance, between Canada and the United Kingdom.

Pin displays

The displays pictured above and below showcased some upcoming pins and vinylmations from Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Hong Kong, Walt Disney World and the Disney Soda Fountain.

Vinylmation displays

We met Alice on our way to lunch
We met Alice on our way to lunch at Rose & Crown.

Lunch at The Rose & Crown
Carrie, Kelly and I took a break and had a wonderful lunch at Rose & Crown


Jeanne Lewis
Jeanne Lewis took the stage to announce what was coming in 2015!

The pin portion of the Trade Celebration concluded at 6:00 p.m. Overall it was a successful event although the lines were much too long and I am not sure that will ever change.

Parting Gift
Our parting gift for the Pin Event was this 4 Pin Boxed Set, a Limited Edition of 1100.

I was disappointed in the décor, it was less elaborate than previous years. Also, in years past there were groups of entertainers who wandered the floor interacting with traders. There was no interaction with characters this year; all of the entertainment took place on the stage and that got tiresome after the first hour of the first day. It seemed like they had a couple of hours worth of material and they just repeated it over and over and over again during the three day event. It quickly went from entertaining to annoying!

I really liked the surprise pins this year, better than previous events and I found that the boards had a much better selection of pins. The merchandise was good, although the mystery pin debacle was disappointing. The food at the breakfast was better than previous years. As in past years there were good things and not so good things that happened but it was still a fun time and an opportunity to spend a couple of days with good friends who share my interest in pin trading. I am already planning my return next year.

We finished the day off by going to Hollywood Studios for a quick bite at Min & Bill's Dockside Diner. We shopped a bit and then watched the Frozen Fireworks display. It was wonderful! I hope that they keep them going for a while; I would love Gary to be able to see them in October when we are back.

Sunday Sept 7th
This day was the vinylmation portion of the Trade Event, my favourite part. I admit it; I have fallen in love with these little guys and prefer trading and collecting them, for me it's more fun than pins.

Vinylmation Event Credentials

We were signed up for the breakfast so we got to the entrance about 7:30 a.m. There was a line but the dog and security officers were on duty and things were moving. We were manually checked into World Show Place and immediately proceeded to a trading line.

Breakfast Vinylmation Gift
Everyone at the breakfast received a gift, this Limited Edition Minnie vinylmation.

There were several lines set up, most had a mystery box and an open box and you could trade one from each. There were 2 lines that had spinner boxes where you could trade only one. We stuck to the "double trade" lines.

Vinylmation trading

Vinylmation display

The big challenge this year was to find the surprise cast chasers; there were four. Blue Hat Chip & Dale were the easier chaser to find while the Orange Hat Chip & Dale were rarer. The lines were not too bad during the breakfast hour and a half but at 9:30 a.m. when the rest of the registered guests arrived they got a bit longer, on average about a one hour wait (better than the pin boards).

While we were in line they announced some special releases. A Figment eachez and a Clarice eachez. What "eachez" means is that the vinylmation release is limited, they are in a blind box, and 1 in 10 will be a variant. Of course everyone wants the variant but sometimes I think the regular vinylmation is better looking. Carrie and I decided to stay in the lines while about 1000 people opted to go get in the merchandise line to try and buy one of the special releases. This allowed our lines to move faster and we were both successful in getting our chasers.

Event Vinylmations
The four Chip & Dale vinylmations are surprise cast chasers, Clarice is an echez.

Once we had achieved the goal of getting our chasers we continued trading in the lines. If we got lucky enough to be close to the box when they did a refresh we were pretty much guaranteed to get a good trade. They refreshed the boxes about every 25 to 35 minutes. Once I got a few good pulls from the box I headed into the back room to see what I could trade for. This is where you can actually trade for vinylmations that you want to add to your collection.

Thomas Scott
Thomas Scott, Graphic Designer, took the stage to announce new vinylmations we could expect in 2015!





The event closed at 6:00 p.m. and I walked away a happy camper. I got lots of good vinylmations to add to my collection; I was able to trade for one of the special release vinylmations, Clarice (Limited Edition 1000). I got one of the 900 regular version not one of the 100 variants. I wasn't able to get a Figment.

My thoughts on this portion of the event are the same as the pin portion of the event, the entertainment was lacking. It was actually the same as the previous 2 days so by day three it was very annoying. The food was good and the cast members were great but the lines were long and it would be nice if they did a few more refreshes of the boxes. I really liked the surprise chasers and that there were four, in previous years there was only one. Overall it was a good event and I look forward doing it again.

2015 Theme - genEARation D
The theme for the 2015 event was announced - genEARation D ! No dates yet!

Steamboat Willie
There will be a "genEARation D" pin released each month leading up to next year's event. Steamboat Willie was the first of the series, released at the event, a Limited Edition of 500.

Carrie and I were both tired and had to go pack so we said our goodbyes to the gang and slowly walked back to the Beach Club. We dropped our stuff off and went down to Beaches & Cream for dinner. We finished off the evening with ice cream.

Beaches & Cream

Monday September 8th
We were moving slow; we had time to enjoy a coffee and then finish off the packing. Carrie was catching the Magical Express so we said our goodbyes. I had the day to hang around so I took my luggage over to check-in for my flight and then decided I would walk over to EPCOT.

World Showcase

I wandered around a bit but it was very hot so I decided to go to Downtown Disney and have lunch at Earls. After lunch, I wandered around for a while and decided I might as well head to the airport and sit there.

My flight home was uneventful; Gary was waiting in Syracuse to pick me up. Another event come and gone, time to start planning next years - as soon as they announce the dates!!

October 6, 2013

EPCOT Trade Celebration 2013 – Part 2

Carol Cruise banner

To conclude my report on the annual EPCOT 2013 Trade Celebration I want to share some photos of the gifts and merchandise that I brought home from the event. If you missed Part 1, you can read it HERE.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, this year started last September with the first pin of the month being released at the 2012 event. I purchased the broken mirror pin that had the picture of Cruella in the background. At that time I was undecided whether I would keep the pin or trade it based on the fact that I didn't think I could get all 13 pins and I wasn't a particularly villainous fan. However, with the help of some friends, a few trades and purchases of my own I did end up with all 13-Refections of Evil pins. The last pin was made available on the event Random Selection Process. The "RSP" is a sort of lottery used to allocate Limited Edition pins which are sold in small edition sizes.


I was lucky this year and got all the pins that I put on my Random Selection Process order.


Every year there are mystery pins and this year was no different. Each attendee could purchase up to 6 boxes. Each box contained 2 mystery pins and if you were lucky one of those pins could be a chaser. The Villains are limited release and the chasers, bricks to go with each Villain, are all limited editions of 213. I got a chaser in every one of my boxes.



When you picked up your goods on registration day you also got the items from the Vinylmation Random Selection Process.



There were also registration gifts for each event.



On Friday, the "Club 13" Day, I spent most of my time looking on the pin boards and in Vinylmation boxes for the event Vinylmation chasers and the event Mystery Pin mirror shards. I was able to find them all.



There was a merchandise store with Limited Edition items specific to the event or items released early to event attendees. There were also a few items left over items from the Random Selection Process and a 13- Reflections of Evil completer pin, a Limited Edition of 500.



During the event they brought in cases of the not yet released Nightmare Before Christmas 2 Vinylmation Series. Registered guests could purchase these before they went on sale to the public. I bought 2 boxes and I got the chaser . . . lucky me! This series is scheduled to be released at D Street in late October, just in time for Halloween.


We received our lunch in this nice insulated lunch bag.


At the conclusion of the Club 13 Trade Day (Friday) we received a parting gift, the Reflection of Evil mirror and a pin.



The Saturday Villainous Breakfast gift pin.


I purchased a mat from the merchandise store that I can display my pins on.


At then end of the pin trading event we were all given a boxed pin set that contained Villain prospects from Pixar.


The Sunday morning Villainous Breakfast gift is one of my favourites, the Evil Daisy Duck.


I mentioned in my blog that I was able to make some good trades with the chasers I got from the blind box, this is my favourite. It is the chaser from the Vinylmations Classic Collection, released November 12, 2012.


That pretty much summarizes why my suitcase was almost overweight on my flight home!

September 29, 2013

Epcot Trade Celebration 2013

Carol Cruise

It was a beautiful day as I drove over the 1000 Island International Bridge; my destination was the Syracuse Airport where I had a 4 p.m. flight to Orlando. It was the start of my annual trip to Walt Disney World to partake in the Epcot Trade Celebration. I really enjoy this opportunity to spend time with friends who share my interests and I always enjoy the spoils of a Disney event.

The Event logo!

I had lots of time so I had lunch at the Destiny Mall and wandered through a couple of the shops. I then headed over to the airport, found a parking spot in the covered parking garage and proceeded to check in for my flight. Everything was on schedule and I arrived on time in Orlando. When I got to the main terminal I went directly to the car rental station and got my paper work done. There was no one in the line; everyone was still waiting for their luggage. I back-tracked to the baggage claim area just as my suitcase was coming down the belt. I was doing my best to save time since my friends were waiting for me at The Earl of Sandwich. The "Canadian Contingent" had all arrived at different times and this was our meet-up spot. I texted them as I was about to leave the airport. There was no traffic and I actually arrived at Earls just as they were about to reach the counter. We all enjoyed a delicious sandwich and got caught up. After dinner we wandered through some of the shops, I went to Guest Services to pick up my MNSSHP ticket and get my Premier AP fitted with the RFID technology. All went well so then Carrie, my roommate and I headed to our home for the week, Old Key West.

Since this blog is mainly to focus on the "Event" I will quickly summarize my activities for Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday we went to Typhoon Lagoon, Carrie had never been before so this was a first for her.


After we had enjoyed enough sun and surf we went to the Character Outlet, and later to the Magic Kingdom to meet up with the Canadian Contingent for dinner at The Plaza.


Carrie and I stopped at the Fire Station right at 4 p.m. and we were the first to receive the special MNSSHP Sorcerer Card.


After dinner we got in line to buy the first release of the Halloween Party pins. Once we had our pins we rode Haunted Mansion (the only ride I rode the entire week). We watched the parade, the fireworks, the castle show and we got lots of candy.



This year the popcorn bucket was a must have for me.


Wednesday was a lazy day relaxing at the resort until it was time to head over the Studios. We met up with a dozen or so of our pin trading friends and had a wonderfully fun dining experience at Prime Time Café. To finish the evening off we wandered through the Art of Animation and a few other shops.

Thursday was the day we hit the ground running, first up was the 3rd Annual Breakfast with the Artists.

The Canadian Contingent waiting to go to Norway

This is a non-Disney event organized by our friends from Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders. John & Sheila Rick and Janis & David Lavender have, for the last three years, hosted a breakfast that includes a panel discussion with artists from the Disney Design Group. This year we met at 8:30 outside of Epcot, then we were escorted through the empty park to the private upstairs room over Norway. We enjoyed a hot breakfast and then spent an hour or so asking the artist's all kinds of questions.

John, Sheila, Mike, David, Ron, Janis & Quynh

The panel included Ron Cohee, Mike Sullivan and Quynh Kimball. It was interesting to listen to them tell us how the pins and Vinylmations that we would be getting at the event were designed to tell the story of the 13-Reflections of Evil. The Evil Queen cast a spell and her mirror was the portal to evil; she summoned the Villains and the 13 of them gathered, then she broke the mirror into 13 pieces so there was no escape back through the portal. This plan was overheard by Figment and he went to Sorcerer Mickey; with the help of Mickey and his friends, the mirror pieces were found and good was restored.

After breakfast we immediately left Epcot and drove directly to Coronado Springs Resort, it was time for event registration.


The line was very long and actually flowed into another room, but it move quickly. It is a very well organized process by Disney.


Once I got to the registration table I was given my credentials and event gifts. I also received the merchandise that I had ordered through the RSP. I had registered for all 3 days so all 3 days "stuff" was in my package. This included coupons for gifts at the event, gift cards for lunch on Saturday and Sunday and my breakfast coupons for Saturday and Sunday. Friday was a special limited event this year called Club 13 and included a lunch that we could preorder when we signed up.

After I signed off that everything was in order I went over to the other side of the room where the tables were set up for trading. This year there was another change, only registered guests could enter the trading room and it would close at 7 p.m. In previous years at 7 p.m. the room opened up to the general public and trading carried on until 10 p.m.


Our group gathered at a table and started trading. On one trip out of the room I heard a voice ask, "Did you write a blog for AllEars?" I turned and introduced myself to Tricia and Erik from Cleveland. This was their first event and they told me that they had read my blog and it helped them decide to come.


I looked for them later in the weekend to ask what they thought of the event but there were so many people I didn't find them. I sure hope they enjoyed themselves.

At 7 o'clock Carrie and I left and headed to Downtown Disney for ice cream, then back to our room so that we could get organized for the morning.


Friday the doors to the event didn't open until 9:30 so we didn't have to rush.


We got to Epcot, had our bags sniffed by Tommy the sniffer dog and headed towards World ShowPlace; as we rounded the corner we could see that the line stretched all the way from Canada over to the bridge at International Gateway.


We got in line and when the doors opened proceeded into the fog-filled room where the Villains were waiting for us. The decorations and theming always amaze me and this time was no different. It was awesome!





The day was labelled "Club 13" and admittance was limited compared to the other two days. Other differences with Friday's event were that it included a lunch that was delivered in a nice take home lunch bag. Some of the trading lines were for pins and some were for Vinylmations. There was a stage show with the 13 Villains and then the villains wandered through the venue for several hours posing for pictures and mingling with the crowd.




The event store offered some select pieces of merchandise not available anywhere else. There was a silent auction and displays set up by the Disney Partners showing upcoming pins and Vinylmations that will be released from now until the end of the year.

Each year there is a mystery pin set and a chaser Vinylmation released that can only be found on the pin boards or in a Vinylmation trade box. This year there were six pins that, when put together like a puzzle, made a mirror. Each piece has a character holding a shard of the broken mirror. There was Chip & Dale, Donald, Mickey, Minnie, Figment, and Goofy. The chaser Vinylmation was black with the number 13 on its front. I was able to find all these items so that took the pressure off, now I could study the pin boards for limited edition or artist proof pins.


At the end of the day we all received a fairly large box that contained a framed mirror that reflected the "13". I personally would have preferred a boxed pin set or jumbo pin. Having to find space in my luggage for such a large piece was a bit of a problem. Since this whole day was a change from any previous Epcot Pin Celebration my expectations were pretty high when I arrived. I really enjoyed the day and all, but I didn't find it to be a whole lot different than other year's events. Am I complaining? - maybe a little. Will I go back again next year? - you bet!


We left the World Showplace at 5:30 with the plan to head over to the Studios for the Friday the 13th Limited Time Magic. As we made our way towards the Studios the traffic stopped and was backed up on every road. At first I thought there was an accident, then it sunk in, everyone was heading to the Studios. We were able to get out of the mob and decided to go to Downtown Disney then back to the resort for a relaxing swim. We made the right decision; we were able to get good nights sleep. We had to be back at Epcot early.


Saturday started with the Villainous Breakfast at 8:00 a.m., of course there was a long line to get into this too, but once the doors opened it moved quickly.


Everyone who purchased the limited breakfast did so, so they could get into the event an hour and half before the rest of the event participants. There was also a limited edition pin given to each of the breakfast attendee's. The lines for the pin trade boards filled quickly but you could get through them at least three times before the event opened at 9:30 a.m. There was a nice breakfast available for those that wanted to take the time to eat. Carrie and I did have a quick bite and it was very good.



Since I had already found the six mystery pins on Friday I spent my time looking for pins to add to my collection at home. I was pleased with the pins I found and I even got some good ones to put in my trader bag.

A Piece Of Disney Movies pins in the silent auction.

Carol and Madam Doomsday

The event offers you the opportunity to purchase a bagged lunch but Carrie and I opted to go across the way to the Rose and Crown for lunch. It is good to take a break from the event for an hour and a relief to sit down. Standing in lines for 12 hours takes its toll on my poor old legs. We didn't want to stay too long, at 1 p.m. Jeanne Lewis, Merchandiser Disney Pins, was going to be giving her presentation.


They requested that we not take pictures or videos so I can't show you what is in store, but there are some really awesome pins coming out in 2014.


There will be a "Nightmare Before Christmas in July" event at Disneyland and an Epcot Trade Celebration at Disney World, a date was not announced.

The rest of the day, for me, consisted of standing in lines for the pin boards, wandering around the back room looking at people's trade books and watching the stage shows and games.



The winners of the silent auction were announced and then it was time to pick up our event gift. This day's gift was a boxed set of potential villain prospects, all of which were Pixar characters. I was much happier with this gift than the mirror. At 6 p.m. they drew three names as winners of the three grand prizes, I didn't win. Before we knew it they were announcing that it was time to leave. It was another great day and I was very pleased with my pin finds.

Our group decided to walk over to The Land and have dinner at Sunshine Seasons; it was a great way to finish off the day. Good food and good friends. When we were finished Carrie and I dragged ourselves to the parking lot and headed back to Old Key West for a hot tub, swim and good nights sleep.


Sunday was Vinylmation day. Just as the day before, we arrived at Epcot for the 8 a.m. Villainous Vinylmations breakfast.



We stood in lines for the "blind box" and "open box" trades and ate some breakfast.


We all received a very nice limited edition Vinylmation for attending, and all of this occurred before the event opened to regular attendees at 9:30 a.m. I got a couple of really good pulls from the blind box, two variants and a chaser. That meant I had a good opportunity to go in the back trading room and trade for some Vinylmations that I really wanted. I made some trades and then went back to the lines.

Carrie, Allison and I went for lunch at Rose and Crown and enjoyed a nice break.


We returned just in time to listen to Thomas Scott, Team Leader for Disney Theme Parks Vinylmation line, tell us what was on the drawing boards for 2014.


There are going to be some really great Vinylmations come out in 2014 and I was pretty excited about some of them.


At the conclusion of Thomas Scott's presentation he announced the theme for next year's event, with dates not yet finalized.


I find myself enjoying the Vinylmation scene more and more. That's not to say that I am shifting away from pin collecting, but I have become much more selective in what pins I buy and want than I was a few years ago.

The day seemed to fly by and I was very happy with my finds and trades. All too soon 7 o'clock rolled around and it was time to say goodbye to everyone. Carrie and I had to go and pack since we were flying home on Monday. We stopped at Downtown Disney for our last dinner at Wolfgang Pucks, and then drove back to the resort. We managed to get everything packed and then had one last soak in the hot tub and a swim before calling it a night.

I was worried that my luggage would be over weight and I had my carry-on so full that I was afraid the zipper would split. I went to the airline check in at Old Key West to check my luggage and get my boarding pass. My suitcase weighed in at 50.5 lbs, the attendant laughed and said it was OK. He printed my boarding pass and then off we went to the airport. We made a quick stop on the way for a breakfast sandwich at Earl's and a final walk through the Pin Store.

So that concludes another annual event. I had a wonderful time and enjoyed the venue immensely. As always, I had a great fun with friends I seldom get to see and came home with lots of new pins and Vinylmations.

Did I decide to keep the Pins of the Month - 13 Reflections of Evil? Of course I did!

P.S. - Stay tuned for more - I'll be preparing another blog to showcase some of the special gifts and merchandise I received at this event!

August 18, 2013

Getting ready for the Annual EPCOT Trade Celebration

Carol Cruise banner

This year the annual Disney Trade Celebration is called "13 - Reflections of Evil"
It starts on Friday the 13th (spooky) this September.


There are several changes to the event and to event procedures this year that I will go in detail about below. But the one change that has put me in conflict is that one of the pin collections actually started at last year's event. In 2012, while we were lined up on Saturday morning waiting to enter World ShowPlace, a cast member came along and gave everyone a wristband. We didn't know what it was for but we were told to make sure we were in the building at 1 o'clock. As it turned out, when the Event organizers announced the 2013 event each wrist band recipient was allowed to purchase the first in a series of 13 pins. Each month from September 2012 to September 2013 a different pin would be released. Each monthly pin has a Villain on it and is limited to 750.


This is where the conflict for me comes in! Due to my CCD (Collector Compulsive Disorder) when there is a collection involved, I can't just go with a few of the series, I have to have all - or nothing. I left the event last year with my mind made up that I didn't want this set of pins; I am not a Villain fan; I don't collect bad guy pins; the Evil Queen scares me; it would be too hard to get every month's pin . . . and so on.

Well one thing led to another and with the help of friends who have either visited WDW, a friend who lives close by WDW, and my couple of trips down since the event, I have all the pins that have been released - with the exception of 2. My conflict is - 1) Do I really want them? or 2) Have I just collected them because I could? Should I take them with me to the event and try to complete the collection (I have 2 doubles to use as traders) or do I use them to trade for pins that I actually collect. Nice pins like Pluto and Daisy and Orange Bird, not the nasty mean villains.

Another change this year is in the event packages. In previous years you signed up and paid for the pin portion of the event that was held Friday and Saturday and you signed up for the Vinylmation portion that was held on Sunday. This year when they announced the event package information, the pin portion was split into two separate packages. If you read closely, the Friday event included "limited" in the wording. Registration for these packages opened up on the 13th hour of the 13th day of May. I had my alarm set; my calendar marked and had warned family and friends to stand clear when the time came to register. I got into the online registration system at about 1:15 p.m. and signed up for everything. I was in and I had confirmation numbers for all three days as well as the two special breakfasts. I have heard that the Friday "limited" Club 13 Event Package sold out in less than an hour, and since then all of the other packages, with the exception of the Sunday Vinylmation package, have sold out.




Another big change from previous years is the closing time. The events always started at 9:30 a.m. but they were over at 6:00 p.m., this year the closing time has been extended to 7:00 p.m.

The RSP (Random Selection Process) had changed this year. Instead of submitting one RSP that included all of your merchandise selections, the merchandise is divided into 3 categories. "Pin Trading", "Art & Collection" and "Vinylmation Trading" are the categories and depending on what event package you have purchased, you have different selection options.


New for this year is the "Purchase with Purchase" opportunity; this can be added to the end of your RSP form.


The 2013 event is shaping up to be a really villainous good time. I am so excited to be going! Many of my pins trading friends are going to be there and we have lots of interesting plans in the works. I have my flights booked, my pin bag organized and ready. My Vinylmation traders are sorted and my RSP has been submitted. The only thing left is the big decision, do I or do I not try to complete the 13 Evil Pins collection? I'll let you know the answer when I get back from the event!

While you wait for my blog about the 2013 event why don't you read a few of my previous trading blogs. Here are a few links:

Pin Trading University - 2008

The Museum of PIN-TIQUITIES - 2009

Trade City USA - 2010

Mickey's Circus - 2012

Vinylmations blog - 2012

Pin Trading Tips blog - 2008

See you again in September!

September 23, 2012

Mickey's Circus - 2012 Disney Trade Celebration


Earlier this month I enjoyed the annual Disney Trade Celebration at EPCOT. I first attended this event in 2005 and I had so much fun that I have not missed a year since. This was my eighth consecutive Trade Celebration at EPCOT.

2012 Event logo

The 2012 Disney Trade Celebration was called Mickey's Circus. The theme coincided with the newly renovated and expanded Fantasyland that will hold its grand opening in December. The pin event kicked off on Thursday with a pre-registration session and continued with all-day events Friday and Saturday. Sunday was set aside for the Vinylmation portion of the event. This year, for the first time, the Sunday event lasted all day. In previous years the doors to World ShowPlace were opened at 1 p.m. and any park guests could enter to trade pins and purchase any of the remaining event merchandise.

Pin Event Invitation
Vinylmation Event Invitation

My adventure began on Tuesday, I drove to Syracuse NY to board my flight to Orlando. I landed in Florida at 7 p.m. and once I had picked up my luggage and selected my rental car I was on my way to Disney. I went directly to Downtown Disney and met my pin trading friends at Earl of Sandwich.

Earl of Sandwich

After a great dinner and plenty of catching up with friends I hadn't seen for a while we wandered through a couple of the shops.

Pin Trading friends

Before we knew it, everything was closing down for the night. I still had not checked-in to the resort so my roomie and I headed over to All Star Movies. It was close to midnight by the time Carrie and I found the room. We were only staying the one night; we would move to the Boardwalk the next day so there was no need to unpack. Carrie is a Disney Vacation Club owner and had booked us a studio for the following five nights.

I was awake early and walked down to the food court to grab some coffee, wandered the grounds a bit and then went back to the room. We were ready to check-out and head over to Hollywood Studios by 8:30 a.m. We browsed a few of the shops and I looked at a recently released cel in the Animation Gallery.

Hollywood Studios

We stopped at Starring Rolls for a Danish and then meandered back to the gates. It was almost 10:30 so decided to see if our room was ready at the Boardwalk. It was, so we parked, unloaded everything and took time to get settled.


Soon we were headed to the Magic Kingdom to get our Sorcerer cards (both Carrie and I are collecting them) and meet our fellow Canadian pin traders for lunch. We ate at the Columbia Harbor House and then decided we needed a swim so back to Boardwalk we went.

Boardwalk pool

That evening we had dinner at Wolfgang Puck's in Downtown Disney's Westside. This was a chance for our group to spend some peaceful time together before the event took over our lives.

Pin Trading friends

Thursday morning was the start of the non-stop four days of Disney pins and Vinylmations. The first thing we did was drive over to Coronado Springs, where the pre-registration was being held, beginning at noon. Last year we had to park a long, long way from the convention centre and it was too far to carry our pin bags in and then later carry out all the new pins we were picking up. So this year we had a plan! Susan drove over early and parked her car there, close to the door with all our bags and trading goods in the trunk. That way if we had to park miles away at least our stuff would be close. Carrie and I picked up Susan and Allison in our car and they rode with us to EPCOT. We joined friends Ann and Mike at the gate. We were all attending a special breakfast with some of the Disney pin artists.

EPCOT breakfast group

This breakfast was held in the private lounge at the Norway pavilion and was hosted by Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders. It was the second annual breakfast with the Disney Design Group and the artists who joined us were Quynh Kimball, Caley Hicks and Monty Maldovan. At 8:30 we were greeted at the main gate by a Cast Member and escorted through Future World and around to Norway. When we entered there was a large table of really good food waiting for us and lots of piping hot coffee. Life was good!

Pin artists

We enjoyed our meal while chatting with our table mates for about 45 minutes, then John Rick of CJDPT introduced the featured artists. The format was very relaxed and informal. Questions from the floor to the artists flowed easily and the time flew past. It was hard to believe that 2 hours had already passed when it was announced that it was 11 o'clock and time to pack up! The breakfast was closed with a special raffle, drawing for some original sketches that the artists had brought along. At the very end Quynh Kimball announced that he had brought a very special button for everyone. It was going to be worn by the Cast Members at the event and we were all presented with one. We all left happy and full, what a great start to the weekend.

Naturally we made a short detour to the Magic Kingdom to pick up our daily allotment of Sorcerer Cards before going on to Coronado Springs.


Next stop - Coronado Springs for early registration and of course pin and Vinylmation trading. The standing in lines officially started!

Registration line

This year I have to say that the registration went the fastest ever. The Veracruz A Hall was divided in half, one half set up for registration the other half full of tables and chairs for traders. Once I received my credentials and event merchandise I was allowed to cross over into the trading area. This area was set aside for use by those registered for the event until 7 p.m. and then it was opened up for the regular monthly pin trading night that is normally held at the Contemporary Resort.

I found the table where my friends were gathering and we all started to go through our bags of goodies.

Opening goodies

Opening goodies

Everyone received a welcome gift.

Welcome gift

There was an Early Registration gift for the first 750 registrants.

Early bird gift

Everyone registered for the Vinylmation event received a Vinylmation Welcome gift as well.

Vinylmation Welcome gift in the box

Vinylmation Welcome gift

The next exciting thing we all did was open our Mystery Pin Boxes! Each box held 2 of the new pins. This year the mystery pins were Villains, each participating in a sinister circus side shows. There were 13 Villain pins that were limited release, and then there were 13 different ticket pins that were chasers and limited to 100 each. I was very lucky this year, I bought 5 boxes and got 5 chasers. Lots of people didn't get any! Of course the chasers were the big trading item and everybody wanted the ticket chaser to go with the Villain pin.

Opening goodies

Villains and Tickets

I was happy to get the 3 pins and chasers that I actually wanted and then have a few sets left over for trading.

Gabes pin trading board

Carrie and I stayed until about 8:30, trading and talking, our only break from the room was when we wandered over to the Pepper Mill to get some food to go. We drove one of our friends over to the Beach Club Resort so it seemed only fitting that we make a stop at Beaches and Cream before going to our own resort. A great way to finish off the day!

Beaches and Cream

Friday morning we hit the ground running, caught the boat to EPCOT, checked through security and found our place in line, waiting for the doors to World ShowPlace to open. They do a great job at security during this event; they have a special entry gate just for pin traders and Max, a sniffer dog, checks all the bags. There are all sorts of bags that get brought in, from small over the shoulder bags to large suitcases on wheels. This year was a first for this one, I saw a person coming through with a Costco Grocery Cart, full of boxes and books of pins!

Max the security dog

Friday morning line

The doors opened at 9:30 a.m. and we all rushed to find a spot in a line for the pin trading boards. The room was decorated like The Big Top; Mickey's Circus had come to town. Disney spares no expense when decorating, they really tap into Disney history to immerse you in the theme of the event. I always look forward to seeing what they have in store for us every year.

Ringmaster Mickey

Entrance decor

This year the "mystery pins" on the pin trading boards were circus elephants which linked together with magnets. Each person was allowed to trade 2 of their pins for 2 pins off the board. Each board holds a few hundred pins and you had 60 seconds to find what you wanted. Along with the elephant pins you could find AP pins (artist proof) PP pins (pre-production) and LE pins (limited edition). When your minute was up you went back to the end of the line and started all over again.

Pin board pins

When you got tired of the lines you could relax in the back room where the trading tables were set up. I spent a great deal of my day in line. There is plenty of chatter among the folks in the line and many trades completed while you wait to get to the pin boards. Pin traders are always anxious to complete their collections and most of them willingly try to help you complete yours as well. They are a very cooperative bunch!

Trading board

Trading board

During the day there were always activities going on, special announcements, merchandise for sale and some fun games.


The only break we took was when Carrie and I went over to The Rose & Crown and had a really good lunch; I love the Cottage Pie there.

When they made the announcement that it was 6 p.m. and we had to leave, we all gathered up our stuff and wandered out into EPCOT. Carrie and I walked to the International Gateway where we boarded the boat to the Boardwalk. The others walked to their cars. Next on the agenda was pin trading night at Port Orleans Riverside. This is another annual activity organized by Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders. As if we don't get enough pin trading during the day, we have to keep it going into the night!

Carrie and I picked up our friends Sandy and Mo on the way. When we got to Riverside we joined the rest of our group, had some dinner in the food court and checked out the pin books that everyone had set out. We stayed until about 9 p.m. when exhaustion started setting in, time to call it a night.

Port Orleans Riverside

The Saturday morning line outside World ShowPlace stretched all the way back to the Rose Garden.

Saturday morning line

Saturday was a repeat of Friday during the day. Lots of lines, the silent auction, pin trading in the back room, checking out the new products being released in the up coming months and artist signings.

Artist pin signing

At 1 p.m. Jeanne Lewis and Julie Young took to the stage for the Big Top Pin Talk.

Jeanne and Julie

They told us about the up coming pin releases, introduced the representatives from the other Disneyland Parks, and then the big announcement that everyone was waiting for. What would the theme be for next year and when will the event be held? There was a roar out of the crowd when they announced that the 13th annual event would be held on the weekend of Friday the 13th next September. The event is going to be called "Reflections of Evil 13" and the Villains will be the focus.

New pins

2013 Event logo

Even though I am not a big Villains fan it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement. It was also announced that a special pin was being release right then and there . . . as part of the future events collection. Of course that meant another line; this pin was limited to 750.

13 Cruella pin

After the event closed at 6 p.m. we wandered through EPCOT and hitched a ride with Susan and Allison to Downtown Disney. We had a bite at Wolfgang Puck's at the Market Place, where we sat and talked for quite a while before wandering through some of the stores. We all decided that we shouldn't be too late - the Vinylmation event was the next day - so Susan and Allison dropped us off at the Boardwalk and we all called it a night.

Sunday morning it was the same drill, catch the boat, go through security, stand in line, the only difference was that we were not dragging our pins - we had our Vinylmations. Just as we got to the line the skies decided to open up and the rain was really coming down. Thankfully Disney took pity on us and opened the doors to World ShowPlace early. We could go in and get in our lines but none of the trade boxes were open until 9:30 a.m.

Sunday morning line


The Vinylmation trading is similar to the pin trading, you stand in line until it is your turn at the trade box, you can trade 2 of your Vinylmation for 2 from the mystery box or open box. They do a refresh every 30 minutes and if you are in the right place at the right time you can get some great Vinylmations. There were lots of chasers and older rare vinyl's being pulled out of the boxes. This year the event mystery chaser was a clown, and of course everyone was trying to get these. I was lucky to get one.

Vinylmation chaser

The back room was full of traders, similar to the pin event. I wandered around a bit and made some good trades, but like Friday and Saturday I spent most of my time in the lines. Carrie and I escaped for an hour to the Rose and Crown again for lunch, but that was the only time we left the building until they closed down at 5:30 p.m. We caught the boat back to the Boardwalk to drop off our stuff before heading to the Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom

This was our last night and we wanted to walk Main Street and of course get our Sorcerer cards. We did a bit of card trading at Tortuga Tavern before heading back to the Boardwalk.

Trading Sorcerer cards

We had ice cream on the Boardwalk and savored our last evening there before we started packing.

Monday morning I checked my luggage at the resort, I was worried I might be over my weight limit but I was just under the 50 pounds so all was good. We had some time to kill before driving to the airport so we went to Downtown Disney for a breakfast sandwich at Earl of Sandwich and wandered through a couple shops. It was then time to hit the road, return the car and get checked in for our flights home. I was flying back to Syracuse and Carrie was flying into Toronto an hour later.

It was over . . another great time at another great Disney event, with a bunch of great friends. I can't wait until next year!

Read Carol's blog on Vinylmations here.

Read Carol's blog on the 2010 Pin Celebration here.

Read Carol's blog on the 2009 Pin Celebration here.

Read Carol's blogs on the 2008 Pin Celebration. Part 1 Part 2

March 9, 2012

Disney Vinylmations – I tried not to get hooked!


The first time I set eyes on a Vinylmation was December 2008; I was in the Art of Disney Store at Downtown Disney. There was a little white vinyl figure of Mickey standing on the shelf; there were actually quite a few of them. A young couple was admiring them and she announced that she just had to have one. Without trying to sound too "out of it" I asked the cast member what they were. The cast member shrugged, rolled her eyes and explained that it was a "Vinylmation". The 3 inch white Mickey was released November 7th at the Festival of the Masters and the objective was to paint or decorate your own Mickey. Hmmm - I didn't think I wanted to do that.


During December 2008 Disney released the first series of Vinylmations; it was called Park Series 1 and consisted of 12 different designs. The 3 inch figures were each in a blind box, you didn't know what you were getting, and they were sold from a case that contained 24 blind boxes. Each case had 2 times 10 of the designs, 3 times one of the designs and 1 of one design that was called a chaser. Of course the chaser was not only the rare item to find but also a mystery as the picture of the chaser was not on the outside of the box or case. The first series was a limited release and when they were gone of course another series would be available.

I didn't have any interest in these little guys at that time; I just didn't get it. Then in April of 2009 I was at the World of Disney store in NYC and they had cases of the Urban Series 1 Vinylmations. This series was also a blind box series and you know what they say about curiosity, well my curiosity got the better of me and I bought two boxes. That was the start of a new collecting obsession for me, I had taken a bite of the apple and I was hooked.

The first box I opened was a solid gold Mickey - how boring! The second box I opened was some weird design. Well I would just trade them for something I liked, not a problem. I almost traded that gold Mickey but for some reason decided to hang on to it. I later found out it was the chaser and was a grand prize to have.

With each series of 3 inch Vinylmations released there are also a couple of 9 inch characters released. The 9 inch Vinylmations are in window boxes so you can see what you are getting. Sometimes the 9 inch Vinylmation will also have a 3 inch companion Vinylmation in the box. I try not to look at these guys; I only own one 9 inch and I want to keep it that way.

I like the 3 inch Vinylmations for a few reasons. One, they are small and easy to display; second, they are not expensive. They started out at $9.95 and are now selling for $12.95. The third reason is that you can get designs that mean something to you. For example one of my favourite Vinylmations is the Annual Passholder Orange Bird; it brings memories of the earlier days at the Magic Kingdom when the Orange Bird used to hang out at the Sunshine Terrace. Fourth, I like that there are Vinylmations to commemorate different events at Disney, like the Totem from the Alaska cruise on Disney Cruise Line and the Toy Soldier from Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Last but not least they are tradable and I love meeting and trading with people; it's a fun way to get to know people who share the Disney spirit.


By the time Park Series 2 was released in 2009 Vinylmations were catching on big! It didn't take long for Disney to realize they had a good thing going and they started releasing more and more series. The Park and Urban series are up to number 8 now and there have been several other fun series such as Alice In Wonderland, Cutesters, Toy Story, The Muppets, Star Wars, Villains, Animations, Holiday, and Have a Laugh to name a few. These have all been blind box series and each with a coveted chaser.


There have also been several window or open box series, which means you know what you are getting when you buy it. These include Animal Kingdom, Nightmare Before Christmas, Flags, Occupations, Big Eyes, Nerds Rock and more. The open box is also used for special event Vinylmations such as the 40th WDW Anniversary series and Marathon Vinylmations and Flower and Garden, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and so on.


Vinylmations can be purchased in just about any shop at Disney but the place that has the widest variety and the newest releases is DStreet at Downtown Disney West Side. Here you can also buy other merchandise with Vinylmations designs such as shirts, purses, bags and hats.




You can also trade in the store. In most of the stores that sell Vinylmations you will find a mystery trade box and a clear trade box. The mystery trade box is black and has either 15 or 24 compartments, each holding a Vinylmation. You don't know what is behind the number so you blind trade by picking a number and exchanging your Vinylmation for the one that is in the box behind your number. The clear boxes hold 3 Vinylmations and you can see them. If there is something in the box you want you can simply swap it with one of your own.


I like to display my collection. I found that the Shot Glass Collection Case sold at Michaels Stores is the perfect size for Vinylmations. Some of the event Vinylmations come is special boxes that I don't open and some come in tins. I have shelves that I can display those on. But because Vinylmations are small you can tuck them away in lots of interesting spots.




I try to keep up with the different releases by following the Disney Blog

There is always something fun and new happening in the world of Vinylmations.

November 6, 2010

Trade City USA - Walt Disney World Pin Celebration

Guest Blogger Carol Cruise returns with a report from this year's Pin Celebration at Walt Disney World!


It has been just over a year since my last report about the Carol's 2009 Pin Event Blog">EPCOT Pin Celebration. Wow time does fly by quickly! This year the pin event was held in August and was a wee bit different than other years. I will touch on that a bit later!

The event was organized much the same as previous years; it was announced on the Disney events site, registration opened March 31st and if you registered early you were entitled to a $15 discount off the registration fee and the first 750 to register also received an early bird pin. Your RSP (Random Selection Process) request was due July 1st; this is when you list the pins you want from the merchandise catalog and hope that you get lucky when they run your choices through the random selection process. I think registrations must have been slower than previous years since they later extended the RSP date to July 5th and for the first time almost everyone I spoke to got everything they wanted on their RSP.


The theme for the Disney Pin Celebration 2010 was Trade City USA and all pin traders were invited to the 10th Anniversary "Founder's Day"� celebration which took place August 27 - 29, 2010 at EPCOT's World ShowPlace. It was a grand celebration of 10 years of Disney Pin Trading!


Once again this year I shared a room at All-Star Sports Resort with my friend Susan. We both flew in on Tuesday. She flew out of Buffalo and I started from Syracuse. Susan arrived first and caught Magical Express to the All-Star Sports Resort. I arrived a bit later, picked up a rental car and met her at Downtown Disney. We shopped a bit Tuesday and on Wednesday visited Hollywood Studios.

Thursday morning we were up early and ready to go! This was early registration day for the pin event. After doing a few chores and a bit of shopping we made our way to the Yacht & Beach Club Convention Centre for check in. This year was a bit different, first you had pick your registration time, so if you had not indicated on the entry form that you were coming on Thursday you had to wait until Friday to pickup your pins.


The registration line seemed to move very quickly compared to other years. Once you got your package with all your information and you got your pins you had to leave the big conference room and go out to the lobby. There was another queue set up in the lobby where you lined up in to get your event gifts.


This year the gifts included a T-Shirt and a book which included 2 pins and places to put several other pins. Some of the missing pins were in the mystery boxes that were purchased from the event catalog and the other eight pins were going to be released at the event and could be found on the trading boards. This was a bit disappointing for some, since they had not realized that the mystery pins were needed to complete the collection.

Another exciting addition this year was the Vinylmation event, being held Sunday morning. This was a separate registration for $25.00. If you registered for that event you got your free gift from this line as well. It included a mini Vinylmation key chain and a large Vinylmation pin. After I picked up all my loot I went back into the conference room. Half of the room was set up for registration and the other half was set up for pin trading. The pin trading room was full and remained that way until it closed at 10 p.m.


Our group found a table and we all started checking through our pin purchases and paper work. It felt good to sit down and the room was well air conditioned so I was happy to park myself there for the rest of the day. At one point my friend Susan and I decided to go for a leg-stretch and ended up at Beaches & Cream. It was a nice break in the day.

Friday morning we thought we were doing well and got to EPCOT by 9 a.m. We were able to use the special entry for pin traders, where they have a sniffer dog so you don't have to open all your bags. As we walked down through the rose garden to World ShowCase we could see the line, all the way to the edge of the rose garden, so much for getting there early (lol).


As we walked into World ShowPlace there was a huge statue of Mayor Mickey welcoming us to Trade City USA.


Inside the building the AC felt wonderful and once my eyes adjusted from the bright sun outside I could see that Disney once again outdid themselves with the decorations. It was magnificent! World ShowPlace was filled with building facades representing the buildings of Trade City USA and there were event pins which corresponded to most buildings.





There were several trading boards with roped queues that were already full of people. The queues 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 select two pins from the board. The catch, you had one minute to make your choice and there were hundreds of pins on the board.

This year I had already traded for all the Hidden Mickey pins, so I focused on the newly released Road Sign pins to complete my Trade City Gift Book. 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 finding those elusive new event pins.


There was also a large stage set up in the middle of the pin board area and there were numerous activities going on all day. Throughout the day there were visits from some of the Disney cast who entertained us, including the sheriff, a cowboy and a saloon girl. Of course Scoop Sanderson was there too!

In the back half of the room there were rows of tables and the traders were setting up their bags and books. It was fun to walk around and see everyone's traders. This year in addition to lots of pins there were also Vinylmations. I was actually more interested in trading my Vinylmations than I was my pins. I admit I am hooked on these little guys.

I met up with some of my friends and our group staked out a table and some chairs. We alternated between the table and the boards. I also took some time to walk around and look at the displays presented by Walt Disney World Pin Trading, Disneyland CA, Disneyland Paris Pin Trading and Vinylmations. Each of the booths displayed the upcoming designs for 2011.



We pretty much stayed inside all day with the exception lunch. We ran out for a quick bite which we brought back to the table to eat. It was way too hot for me to be anywhere that didn't have AC.

At 6 p.m. we packed up our stuff and headed out of the park. There was another pin trading gathering being held at Port Orleans Riverside. It was organized by Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders (CJDPT), founded by our friend John Rick. We dropped off our event gifts and pins at All-Star Sports and then hurried to the next pin event. We wanted to get there early so that we could have some dinner before the pin action started. I have to say that the food court at Riverside is very good; I really liked the pasta bar.

Soon the area that we were in started to fill with familiar faces and the pin trading began. For me it was more of a social event, I chatted with lots of people and did very little trading. It was a nice relaxing way to spend the evening. After a few hours we were all getting tired so the four of us headed back to our resorts. It was soon lights out for us.

Saturday was another beautiful sunny day, too bad it was just so darned hot! We arrived at EPCOT a little later this day, no need to rush. We made our way though the special entrance and sniffer dog Max gave us the go-ahead through security.


The entire day pretty much mirrored Friday, pin boards and more pin boards. When the event closed at 6 p.m. we all went to Sunshine Seasons for dinner, then at 7 p.m. Susan and I went back to the World ShowPlace for a special Illuminations Dessert party. This was something new this year and we both thought we would enjoy it. The dessert was very good. There were also some pin boards that were operational for trading but the lines were very long.


It was raining pretty hard so neither one of us was too fussy about going to watch Illuminations. We decided to track down the rest of our buddies. They were just going to go in to see Captain EO so we made our way over to Imagination and joined them. It was fun to watch this after so many years. By the time we got out of the show the park was closed and we were tired, so we trudged to the car and back to the resort. Another night where we just didn't have enough energy left to go to Downtown Disney.

Sunday we were excited and up early; this was the first Disney Vinylmation Event and we wanted to be there when the doors opened. It was exciting to be experiencing something new. We arrived at EPCOT and we could still enter through the special entrance for pin traders, there was a different sniffer dog today, Max must get Sunday off.


We got to World ShowPlace just as the doors were opening. There really wasn't anything different in the way the room was set up or the decorations. The pin boards were gone and in place of them were trading stations with Vinylmations. Some of the lines had flat boxes with about 20 Vinylmations in each box. You waited your turn and then basically swapped your Vinylmation for any of the ones in the box. There were also a couple of lines that had the mystery boxes. They were the same mystery boxes that you see out in the stores. There are 24 squares and you pick a number - whatever Vinylmation is behind that number is what you are trading for. The exciting part was that Disney had put lots of the older series out in the trading boxes. Park Series 1 & 2 and Urban Series 1 & 2 have been out of circulation for a while, so this gave you a chance to get some of the earliest and rarest Vinylmations. They also had lots of chasers in the boxes so the challenge was to be near the front of the line when the "refresh" was done. Each refreshed trading box they brought out had about 4 really hard to find Vinylmations.

It was a lot of fun and not too crowded; it seemed to go by too fast. Once the "official" event was over the room opened to the public. This was the chance for people who did not register for the pin or Vinylmation event to purchase items that were left over. This year there were only a few pins that sold out so there was a good selection.

Our gang was heading over to the Electric Umbrella for lunch but I still wanted to do a bit of Vinylmation trading so they left and I headed to the back room. I had an ace in my pocket! It was a chaser from the Urban Series 1 that I had been hanging onto. I knew it was a scarce item and there were a couple of older Vinylmations which I really wanted. After working the room and talking to several traders I was able to make a good trade, my Gold Chaser for three other Chasers, the prize for me was Pongo. (If you are new to Vinylmations, a "Chaser" is the rarest form of them. Since Chasers are scarce, they are highly sought after.)

I left the event a happy trader and I was still able to catch up with my friends at the Electric Umbrella. I had a quick lunch and then we all made our way over to the Magic Kingdom. It was very hot and we were moving slow. We wandered through the shops along Main Street and decided that we should have an ice cream. We went into the Bakery to eat our treat and cool down. When we were done we decided to go to Adventureland and ride Pirates of the Caribbean. There was no line and we had our own boat - it was great. From there we went over and rode the Haunted Mansion, again there was no line.

It was getting near dinnertime but after the ice cream we were not very hungry yet. Susan and I decided we would try and track down our Canadian friends Juanita and Carrie since we knew they were at the Magic Kingdom. We said our good byes to our friends Ann, Mike, Aimee and Donald and found Juanita sitting by the bakery waiting for Carrie. We went with them to the Columbia House and had a cold drink while they had their dinner, it was nice to just sit and chat for a while.

We left them and decided to go to Downtown Disney since it was our last night. By the time we got there we were both hungry so we went into The Earl of Sandwich and both had the BLT. It tasted so good! When we were done we made our way to the Pin Station and then over to D Street for one final check before we went back to the resort. It was 11 p.m. and everything was closing. We were tired!

It had been a fun few days with good friends but all too soon it was over. I had my suitcase packed before I went to bed so that when I got up I could just get in the car and go to the airport. In the morning I said goodbye to Susan, she had a late flight, and made my way to the airport. It was an easy drive, my plane was on time and I was walking in the door at home in time for dinner. I can't wait for next year! It's scheduled for September 9 - 11, 2011 and the theme is "The Florida Project"


Gary says we might take the motor home and make a longer trip of it! Yahoo!

Carol's 2009 Pin Event Blog

Carol's 2008 Pin Event Blog

July 12, 2009

The Museum of PIN-TIQUITIES: Disney Pin Celebration 2009

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

The Early Bird Pin

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.

Trading after pre-registration.

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.

Taz is sniffing the pin bags.

Bobby Pinback welcomed Susan and I to World ShowPlac

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.

T-Rex must have been 15 feet tall

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.

The full sized art on display was replicated in special pins available only at this event.

The full sized art on display was replicated in special pins available only at this event.

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.

Digger and Lovey

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.

Scoop Sanderson and Steven Miller

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.

The Pin Trading area was always busy - I made some good trades there!

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.

Mickey is a pin trader . . . so naturally he was there!

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 logo for next year's event.

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.

Gabe, Carol, Mike, Ann and Susan at the Hall of Presidents Passholder Preview

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:
Part 1
Part 2

October 20, 2008

Pin Celebrations Part 2

Pin Celebrations Part 2
By Guest Blogger Carol Cruise

In my first blog, I told you all about the annual Pin Celebrations that are in Walt Disney World each fall. Now I will share some tips with you.

Tips for First Timers:

Disney has a wonderful pin site, I suggest becoming familiar with it and if you are planning a trip to WDW checking it out for the new releases.

Collect pins that you like - I like to collect series or special event pins, also passholder pins. Also Pluto, Nightmare Before Christmas and Haunted Mansion pins.

Don't by shy about asking a CM if you can see their lanyard, the CM's don't have to wear a lanyard, they wear it because they like to trade.

Don't hesitate to ask a CM about a specific pin on their lanyard, most will be able to give you some info about it.

If you see pins on sale at a Disney store or Outlet, stock up on traders.

If you shop eBay for pins and it looks too good to be true, it probably is. You can only trade Disney © pins and there are scrappers out there.

If you are going to an event for the first time wear comfortable shoes (lol) you spend a lot of time standing in lines, the lines for the boards make the busiest day at Soarin' look good.

When you are at a trading board, with a time limit, start scanning the board up and down going from left to right, if you see a pin you think you might like, put your finger on it, keep scanning, if you see another pin put a finger on it. That way when they say times up, you know where they are, otherwise you won't find them again.

When you wear pins on your lanyard and you do not want to lose them, take one of the black plastic backing cards that the pins come on, cut it into little squares about 1/2" x 1/2", stick your pin through the lanyard, then through the little black square then put the pin back on. The pin will not fall off, this is a whole lot cheaper than buying the locking pin backs.

When trading expect to trade even, by that I mean LE 1000 pin for a LE 1000 pin, or Hidden Mickey for Hidden Mickey. The lower the edition size the more valuable the pin.

If you are trading outside a Pin Trading Station and a trader says "if you go and buy me this pin I will trade you the one you want" - that's not right :(

Like any collection, you need to be able to enjoy it so determine how to best display your collection. I have way too many pins to hang on a wall so I keep them in binders, labelled and categorized so I can sit and go through them easily. Lots of people display their pins in shadow boxes.

The best advise I can give is to have fun with it!

Pin Trading Etiquette:

October 19, 2008

Pin Celebrations Part 1

Disney Pin Celebrations Over the Years!
by Guest Blogger Carol Cruise

Once a year Disney has a Pin Celebration, it is usually the first weekend after Labor Day. Each year has a different theme and I have been lucky enough to attend the event the past four years. These weekend-long events are a wonderful time for avid pin traders and novices alike!

The first year I attended the theme was Disney's Pin Celebration 2005 - The Happiest Pin Celebration on Earth

Carol Cruise at Pin Celebration 2005

"Celebrate the happiest moments, memories and pins at the Happiest Pin Celebration On Earth. Tinker Bell and friends invite you to a magical, three-day pin trading experience at Epcot. From Princesses to Villains, everyone has something to celebrate"

This event sold out by August 2, 2005. I was so excited to be going to my first official pin event but I was new to the whole "pin trading thing" and very unsure as to what to expect. We flew to Orlando on the Thursday and the pre-registration took place that afternoon at the Yacht & Beach Club. The lines were long and we were both tired but the excitement kept me going. I met some familiar people in line, from Toronto, so it was nice to have someone to ask questions and look to for advice. These people would soon become very good friends and we have all attended many pin events together since that time.

Walking into that pin event was like walking into another world. The even is held every year in the World Showplace, located in EPCOT between Canada and the United Kingdom, in the old Millennium Village site. Disney spares no expense when decorating for the event; pictures do not do it justice. It is simply magnificent!

Pin Celebrations

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The second year that I attended was themed Disney's Pin Celebration 2006 - It All Started With Walt. "

Celebrate Walt Disney and all the ideas that his imagination continues to inspire at Disney's Pin Celebration 2006. "It All Started With ... Walt," is a spectacular three-day Disney Pin Trading Event that will take place at Epcot from September 8-10, 2006. Join your Friends for a magical tribute to Walt Disney's groundbreaking achievements in Animation, Live Action Film and Television and Disney Theme Parks...a legacy that continues to guide the Walt Disney Company today. "

It All Started With ..  Walt

This event also sold out just days before it started.

The only difference from the previous year was that pre-registration took place at the Contemporary Resort in the convention center room Fantasia H. This year we arrived at Disney the day before the event so we didn't have to rush so much and we beat the lines. Once again we met our friends from Toronto in line.


On the last day of the event the World Showplace is opened to the public at 11 a.m. and any unsold limited edition event pins are sold to unregistered guests at that time.


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2007 Pin Celebration

The theme for my third event was Disney's Pin Celebration 2007 - Where Dreams HapPin. I was particularly excited about this event, as the main character in the logo was one of my favorites, Figment!


"Step into a world of Disney Pin Dreams at Disney's Pin Celebration 2007 - Where Dreams HapPin. Immerse yourself in a world of endless possibilities where you can dream like Mickey Mouse or imagine like Figment. Enjoy trading opportunities, games and activities, and a "dream-tacular" collection of pins featuring your favorite Disney characters created especially for this event. So, pack your "dreamiest" pins and plan to attend this exciting event. After all, this is the place where pin dreams come true."

Lined up and anxious to get started despite the early morning.


As in previous years the pre-registration took place on the Thursday and this year it was back at the Yacht & Beach Club. I am always amazed at what Disney does to decorate the World Showplace; this year was no different. We arrived before the event opened and stood in line with our fellow pin traders waiting for the gates to World Showplace to open.


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2008 Pin Celebration

That brings us to this year's event. Disney's Pin Celebration 2008 - Pin Trading University.

"Graduate with highest trading honors at Disney's Pin Celebration 2008 - Pin Trading University. This three-day, Disney Pin event will be held September 5-7, 2008 at Epcot® - World ShowPlace.


Recall your school days with a "superlative" collection of Disney pins created especially for this event. Students will also enjoy games and activities, plenty of pin trading opportunities and "A Live Auction" presented by the drama club. "

I registered early so that I would be eligible for my "Early Registration" pin, I also only registered myself this year, in previous years both Gary and I registered. He would come to the event with me and help out with the trading boards and also get me the extra gift pins. This year we would be on the Disney Cruise and not arriving at the event until Saturday morning so it didn't make sense for him to register. Besides, he needed to look after the luggage and get us checked into POFQ while I high-tailed it to the event.

We had arranged for Quicksilver to pick us up at the cruise terminal and I had them drop me off directly at the Yacht and Beach Club, it would be the quickest route for me to get to the event. I said my goodbyes to everyone and started along the path towards EPCOT's International Gateway. As you all know, there is a bag check when entering the park and traveling with pin bags can sometimes be quite the exercise. Disney is prepared for this during the Pin event; they have a special entry point for pin traders and a sniffer dog that checks out the pin bags. It is very quick and efficient.


Once inside EPCOT the excitement builds.

When you approach the gates to World Showplace, it doesn't look like much until you actually walk through. You cannot get into the event without credentials; since I was on the cruise and missed the pre-registration a cast member escorted me to the registration desk inside so I could get my lanyard and credentials.

Once I reached the registration desk and gave them my name I was given my package which contained all the pins I had ordered plus all the event information and coupons. There are quite a few special items given to each participant. The registration is $100 and that seems like a lot but what you get back sure makes it worthwhile for an avid pin trader!


Opportunity to pre-purchase limited edition pins designed especially for this event.
"Purchase with Purchase" pin promotion for event Guests only featuring exclusive pins.
Trading activities and games at World ShowPlace located at Epcot.
Limited edition commemorative gifts.
Live and silent auctions of pre-production pins, artist proof pins and more.
"First Trading Opportunity" to collect brand new Hidden Mickey pins.
Opportunity to meet Disney Pin Partners from The Walt Disney Company.
Two (2) $15 Gift Cards redeemable at Epcot Food and Beverage locations.
Plus extra special surprises throughout the event.

I also received a letter to visit the Dean's office; this was a random thing that some guests got in their package. It gave you a specific time to go to the Dean's office and each group got a special gift. My time was 3:30 p.m. so I was lucky that I did not miss it by arriving late.

In the package there was a Passport. You had to take the passport to each of the Pin Partners and get it stamped. Once you had your passport stamped you handed it in and got a special limited edition pin from the partners. The Participating pin partners this year were Disneyland CA, Disneyland Resort Paris, Disneyland Hong Kong, Disney Soda Fountain & Studio Store and Walt Disney World.

I also had to pick up my Early Registration Pin, my gift pins that included a Jumbo Pin, a boxed set and a single limited edition registration pin. There were also my "purchase with purchase" pins that I was eligible for. You could get one pin for every $75 that you spent.

The package also included a voucher for a snack and drink. The snack was a Rice Krispie Mickey head and your choice of drink. Other information in the package included a list of the new Hidden Mickey pins that were being released at the event, an itinerary listing all the activities as well as information on both the silent and live auction.

Once I got myself organized I went in search of Susan, one of my friends. I had a lot of catching up to do. Susan actually found me and led me to the back area, where all the pin trading takes place.


Our group had a table staked out and there was someone there at any given time so you could leave you stuff there and not worry about it. I unloaded some of my bags and said hello to everyone. Susan had already found me most of the new Hidden Mickey pins so I only had a couple left to look for. The pin trading boards would be my next challenge.

I walked back into the main room and took it all in, there is a lot to absorb and I found that arriving late and missing the first couple of days set me back. There was so much to see and so little time left. I immediately got in a line and waited for my turn at the boards.

To explain the pin trading boards, lets see...

There is a queue set up in front of each board where everyone lines up to wait for their turn to trade. There are about twelve different boards in the room. Each board is set in a different themed area, the theme representing the event theme and fashioned after a pin from the event. The boards are large corkboards, each manned by a cast member. When you reach the board you give the cast member two of your pins in exchange for two pins you select from the board.

The catch is that you only have sixty seconds to find the pins you want. That may seem like a long time but there are hundreds of pins on the board and it is very hard to focus on any one specific pin. I was looking for three particular Hidden Mickey pins. When your minute is up, you take your two new pins and the CM puts your old pins on the board. The boards are refreshed every thirty minutes, so new pins come out and the old pins go into the back. It is very exciting when a board gets refreshed just before your turn . . . that means you have a good chance at getting the new pins.

After I had waited through a couple of lines I took some time to walk around and look at the decorations. Disney does a fantastic job decorating for the event; each of the areas represents or replicates a pin that was designed for the event. Everything ties into the theme.


Above you see an area decorated with a car from the old Mr. Toad ride and below it is the corresponding pin with Mr. Toad teaching Driver's Ed.



Above you see a scene depicting Roz from Monsters Inc. as the Lunch Lady. Beside it is the corresponding pin.


It was getting close to my appointment with the Dean so I just did a bit of wandering and had my snack. People were also starting to take seats for the live auction. When it got to be my turn to go into the dean's office my "reward" for being a good student was an opportunity to choose a Jumbo pin off a trading board that held about 50 large pins. I had exactly 30 seconds to make my choice. I frantically scanned the board. Since I had just gotten off the cruise I was looking for a cruise pin. Just as the cast member sounded times up I grabbed a large pin from Castaway Cay that had the Fab Five on it. I was very pleased with myself!

At 4 o'clock the live auction started. I have never participated in this, it is a bit too rich for my pocket book, but I do like to watch. The auction consists of one-of-a- kind pins, they may be artist proofs or even a pin that was designed but never released. There are also framed sets and pre-production pins. Some of these go for thousands of dollars!

Live Pin Auction

Live Pin Auction

After the auction is complete the last hour and a half was spent in line at the pin boards and chatting with fellow pin traders. I am not much for going around the back room trading, but I do enjoy trading while in line for the boards. It seems less formal and everyone likes to chat about his or her pins, it makes the wait go by a whole lot faster.

The event is open on Sunday morning for all registered guests until 11 o'clock and then opens to the general public. I usually don't return on the Sunday morning, I have had my fill by then and my legs are tired from all the standing. This year I was going to go since I had missed so much of the event but we had a chance to meet with some fellow cruisers at Hollywood Studios and ride Toy Story Mania and that won out.

Each year at the end of the event they announce the next years theme and dates, this year they announced the theme but no dates. There appears to be some conflict with a pin event being planned at Disneyland so we are all guessing it will be later in the fall, probably October.

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The theme next year - The Museum of Pin-tiquities - Search for the lost keys.


I hope to be there! Maybe I'll see you!

Carol Cruise

PS. Stay tuned for the 2nd part of this blog when I will share Tips for First Timers!

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About Carol Cruise

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in the Carol Cruise category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Andrew Rossi is the previous category.

Chuck Schmidt is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.