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Brian Bennett

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Pin Trading

Pin Trading, a take off of the practice of Olympic athletes to trade national pins (it became really big with the public during the Atlanta games in 1996, but was popular with the athletes for several Olympiads prior to that), is a fad that The Disney Company is encouraging.  Pins can be purchased all over Walt Disney World, and can be traded with other guests -- or cast members.

Here is a press release, and some personal experiences:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- To help "celebrate the future hand in hand" during Walt Disney World Resort's 15-month Millennium Celebration, millions of Disney collectible pins will be sold and traded throughout the Vacation Kingdom.

At interactive millennium "pin stations" located throughout the four Disney theme parks, Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, Downtown Disney and Disney's BoardWalk, guests will be able to purchase hundreds of colorful pins, trade pins with other guests, and even trade with designated Disney cast members who will be wearing pins on special lanyards.

"Pin collecting has become a phenomenon," says Linda Conrad, general manager of Epcot Merchandise. "During the millennium, we will be adding Disney magic, taking the pin craze to a new level."

Each pin depicts images of Disney film characters. When the pins are put together for an entire month, they form a pictorial mosaic of an Epcot image. This "photomosaic" effect is the creation of artist Robert Silvers, author of several books on the subject, including one devoted to Disney images.

For each day of the 459-day Millennium Celebration, a limited number of unique pins will be available as a gift-with-purchase of a commemorative poster at designated Epcot retail locations.

Disney's limited-edition millennium pins for purchase will be created using the cloisonné process, which are colored with powdered glass and fired at 800 degrees, as well as semi-cloisonné, using epoxy resin for a wider color range, and enamel, in which all the colors are applied simultaneously. "Pin of the Day" pins will use the photo process, offering reproduction with vivid details.

Guests who want to be sure of collecting every "Pin of the Day" pin can join the Millennium Pin Club. Each month of the 15 months of the Millennium Celebration, members receive a framed photomosaic pin set depicting images of Epcot. Membership, available to the first 2,000 guests who sign up, costs $3,000, includes the home-delivered pin sets, a special gift and a certificate signed by Robert Silvers.

For information about the Walt Disney World Pin Celebration, guests can call 407/363-6200.

Amy Lynn Johnson (amy@pressroom.com) posted this information on pin trading.  I include it here with her permission:

I loved pin trading! It was really a lot of fun! I started out with 5 pins, 4 I bought at the Disney store and one Magic Music Days pin I had to trade. I ended with 13 pins in the end with the ones I bought there but none of the pins I had at the end were ones I bought. Every time we passed the pin stands I had to stop and look at the pins and look for traders. A lot of people had these camera straps that I kept thinking were pins on the straps. I did get some good trades from cast members but most really didn't have much of a selection. A lot of them had these pins from a Tarzan set or name pins. It was fun meeting cast members and guests with pins though. Some guests had some really great pins but they weren't trading and then others with great pins were. Here are the pins I ended up with.

  1. Pooh-just because I like him

  2. Piglet-see above

  3. Black nosed Tigger

  4. Sleeveless Sleeping Beauty -- Supposed mistakes but I'm not sure how rare they were. I saw lots for sale at the pin stands

  5. Cast member safari with Mickey and Goofy

  6. Cast member safari with Pooh and Tigger

  7. Disney Vacation club 2000

  8. Adventureland

  9. A jungle cruise pin that doesn't say Jungle cruise but just has a picture of a boat and the areas around it (eg, Mekong, Nile, etc) -- Does anyone know anything more about this pin?

  10. A blue square pin that says Disney 75 years, Part of the Magic, October 16, 1998. -- The guy I traded it with said it was from Burbank. Does anyone know anymore about this date?

  11. Disneyland Main Street I really wanted a pin from Disneyland so I was happy when I traded for this one.

  12. A small gold square pin that says Fed Ex on the bottom with a picture of Space Mountain -- I found this on a CM in the AK. Someone told me that it's given out at the VIP lounge at Space Mountain. Anyone have any more info?

  13. Tron -- I traded with a CM for this one. Jason wanted this one so I gave it to him.

Amy's whole trip report can be read in the trip report section.  It's a "Holiday 1999" report from December.

Steve Pyles (sonny@icarus.net) posted this information on pin trading.  I include it here with his permission:

I read in RADP about the experiences of others doing the pin trading, yet I had to experience it for myself. This past weekend, I had just that opportunity, and wow - what an experience that was!

I've been collecting Disney pins for a few years, odds and ends of whatever caught my fancy - and free ones along the way. The past year or so before the beginning of pin trading, I noticed that pins were freely given out at resorts, the DCL, and some shops in the parks (and TDS). With the odd Cast Member pins here and there, it all sort of rounded out to a nice set.

Armed with DCL, TDS, and some older park pins (okay, I'm still a chicken - I've only been trading in what I have in duplicates!), I spent Saturday - Tuesday doing some fun and educational pin trading. What I learned are 3 good concepts: 1) If you don't want to do a trade, it's OK! Be polite, though! 2) People collect different things - your 'junk' pin may be a treasure to another pin trader. 3) Have fun!

My favorite pins happen to be Limited Editions, Cast Member Exclusives, "Historical" Pins (like from a by-gone attraction, event, or other dated pin), and personal favorite characters. OK, so it may be what others are also looking for, but, not in all cases (for instance, Steamboat Willie from TDS for a CM Exclusive Cruise Line Pin - for me, a great trade, for them, a great trade). Other trades were a 10th Anniversary Grand Floridian Pin for a Mouse Gear CM Pin, a #101 Walt/Mickey for a Cast Member Safari (AK) Pin, a TDS pin for a Space Mountain/FedEx pin (it was on a lanyard of a pin trader who didn't know what it was!), Cruise Line (Inaugural) pin for an AP Pin, a Limited Edition MM (4 park dangle) pin for another Cruise Line CM pin, a Davy Crockett Mistake Pin for a Company D Pin, and a Figment pin for a Teddy Bear/Doll Convention pin.

For the most part, it was also a great way of meeting some great people. Pin trading is a real icebreaker for those that don't normally get in touch with other guests outside of their personal sphere (family, friends, whatnot). It really does help guests notice other guests, and increase the interaction. For me, I'm the guy that talks to young kids, adults, teens, whoever - because I'm normally an outgoing person at the parks. It was good to see people just come up to me to see my pins. Being the person that I am, I didn't mind that at all (*grins*).

Notes: Limited editions are just that, limited. Outside of exclusives and limited edition pins (maybe even 'mistake' pins), things in production can be found with a little bit of looking. All exclusive pins (yet not all CM pins!) are imprinted with that on the back. Same goes for the "Limited Edition" pins. What may be hard to find at one park may be unpopular at another park. Case in point being the Monorail Pin. Epcot - it's a great seller, but at MGM - they don't sell as much, and is easily findable (Monorail park may have something to do with it...hmm).

TDS pins and Character Warehouse pins can make a good start at the parks. With a lot of people seeing pin trading for the first time when they get to the parks, they begin and purchase the $6+ pins for trading. TDS Pins are $4 (less with MKC/CM discounts - if applicable or valid anymore!), and are still not as visible in the parks (and a little more popular - especially pins like Walt/Mickey, Steamboat Willie, Davy Crockett, and whichever is hyped on EBay). These can be traded for the more expensive pins (the pins at the park start at around $6), which can then be traded for other pins, ad nauseam. Instead of purchasing a Baloo, Tigger, Pooh, and whatnot, why not trade for them? It's fun! Keep in mind - Disney Pins only (copyright by Disney) are valid for trading.

Stores put out new pins on what seems to be a non-set schedule. For the most part, they do not know what they will get, and put new pins out as they get them (or the day they get them). For instance, I found 2 Limited Edition pins (Alice in Wonderland 3 set and MM 4 park dangle pin) in 2 shops - Mouse Gear in Epcot and a kiosk in the American Pavilion. What is limited will usually sell out quick, so if you see it, get it. It will probably be your only opportunity. I went back 2 hours later to find more MM 4 Park pins, and they were sold out!

I definitely cannot wait until January 2000 when I will be there again. Loaded with pins and more pins, I'll have a week! Watch out! :-)

Good luck with your pin trades!

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