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|Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor|
|World of Pins: "Million Dollar Mickey," More! - 8/17/01|
I was standing at the security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport last week, trying to convince the woman behind the security scanner that I was not carrying a shrapnel bomb. Apparently my carry-on bag, and the 45 pounds of pins inside of it, looked pretty suspicious to the X-ray machine. "I'm going to a pin event," I explained, "at Walt Disney World".
The guard looked at me strangely, and asked to examine the contents of my bag. After convincing her that I had nothing more dangerous than a few hundred pin tacks in the bag, I was allowed to proceed to the gate. From the stories I heard later that weekend, I was only one of several hundred people to confuse airport employees, as thousands of pin collectors from all over the world descended on Orlando for the "Pins Around our World" event at Epcot.
For the 500 lucky guests who bought tickets to a kickoff breakfast, the event began at 7:00 a.m. on August 9, inside the former Millennium Village (now called the World Showplace) at Epcot. In addition to breakfast, each guest received a personalized lanyard, as well as the opportunity to buy a limited edition Winnie the Pooh pin and have it signed by the artist who designed it. Breakfast guests were also given the first opportunity to purchase some event merchandise before the general public.
When Epcot opened at 9 a.m., visitors not attending the breakfast lined up to register for the event and turn in their Random Selection Process (RSP) form for the first day's limited edition pins. On each day of the event, five Limited Edition pins were made available to the guests. These pins had edition sizes between 500 and 5000 pins each. Guests who wished to purchase these pins each day had to submit a RSP sheet by 2:00 p.m. each afternoon . A computer would randomly choose the guests who would be able to buy each pin.
At 11:00 a.m., the Village opened to the public. I allowed myself to be swept inside with the crowd and landed inside the event store. Two display walls held pins from Walt Disney World, a third offered a large selection of pins from Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. Two impulse fixtures were located in the middle of the floor. One was filled with the event logo spinner pin and the other piled with the remaining Millennium Village Cast Member pins from last year's celebration. The crowds were unbelievable. Guests stood 4 and 5 deep around every fixture, grabbing for anything they could reach. Once they had a handful of something, they would push their way out of the crowd to examine their prizes, then it was back into the fray for another try. Fortunately, this behavior wasn't repeated on the following days.
A selection of event merchandise was available, including hats, shirts, small pin bags, lanyards, and the greatest pin backpack. (Note to Disneyland - WHEN are we getting our own version?) When you were ready to pay for your items, 24 cash registers were available to make short work of the lines. In the 4 days of the event, the longest line I experienced was just over one half-hour. Considering the sheer number of guests at the event, thirty minutes was amazingly quick.
You could even have your items personalized at a nearby kiosk. For an extra charge, you could have a name added to your polo shirt, bag, backpack, or even lanyard.
A stage was set at the front of the room, along with audience seating. Throughout the event, Disney Design Group (DDG) artists were on-hand to talk about pins they had designed, and what goes into a successful pin design. There was a make-a-pin workshop, where guests could watch a video to learn how pins are made. Six lucky guests even got to make their own pin.
Becky Carter and Jim Durgan from the Disneyland Resort brought a display of current and future Disneyland resort pins to tempt the local Florida traders. (Check back next Friday for a sneak peek at the pins to be released this fall at the Disneyland Resort). Representatives from Disneyland Paris (DLP) were on hand to tell everyone about the start of pin trading in Paris on October 6th, as well as show off some of the 140 styles they will be offering. I'll be bringing you more information in September about the start of DLP pin trading.
The Disney Design Group had a display of the new "Disney's Magical Moments Pins." This is a line of 5 interactive "smart pins" that will be sold throughout the 100 Years of Magic celebration at WDW. The pins can detect certain signals transmitted during parades, fireworks, and during some attractions, causing the pins to light up on cue. There are five pins in all - one for each park, and one 100 Years of Magic Celebration event pin.
There was also a preview of the new Photo pins, which will be offered first at WDW during the 100 Years of Magic celebration.
These pins use green- screen technology to insert your image in front of a park landmark. That image in transformed into a sticker, and placed on the pin.
Look for these pins to appear at Disney's California Adventure (DCA) in the near future. I learned that the process necessary to get the background artwork approved for these pins is rather complicated. Since similar artwork for DCA was already approved for another project, DCA pins will be available before Disneyland pins.
The closing day auction is one of the most popular parts of WDW's merchandise events. On Sunday, collectors had the opportunity to bid on prototype pins, pre-production samples, rare collections, and never-released designs. These lots were on display during the first three days of the event, so prospective bidders could examine the items more closely. A $10.00 fee was required just to attend the event, and phone bids were accepted. As always, the bidding reached astronomical levels. Said one guest, "Take the estimate from the auction catalogue, and multiply by 7 - that's what everything went for!"
Over 2000 people registered for the event and participated in the daily RSP process. Hundreds more came for just a day or two just to trade, meet on-line friends, or a little of both. A huge trading lounge was created inside the showplace, with space for traders to spread out and show of their collections. When the number of traders exceeded the available table space, people made do with a fixture top, chair, or even a spot on the ground.
When folks needed a break from trading, they had to look no further than the wandering atmosphere entertainment. Several of Disney MGM Studios' best and brightest were on hand to provide a much-needed break from high- pressure pin trading. Scoop had a game called "I Feel your Pin", which was a real hit. Guests would give Scoop a pin, and then reach into his bag and pull out another pin, also encased in a small velvet pouch. They got to keep this new pin, and their pin was placed into the small pouch and dropped back into the bag. Some guests were incredibly lucky, and walked away with some highly coveted pins.
Beginning at 4 p.m., people were allowed to pick up their RSP assignment sheets and learn which pins they were eligible to buy. Then it was into another line to buy their pins. Most people were able to get everything they wanted on the first day. As the week went on, and more guests participated in the daily RSP, it became more likely that you would miss a pin you wanted. However, any pins that were unsold on one day were again offered on the RSP form the following day. If you still did not get the pin you wanted, you could always trade for it.
Despite my best intentions, I managed to spend most of the first day inside the showplace. On Friday, I was ready to see more of Epcot. I got to Epcot early that morning, joined the RSP line, and an hour later had a sheet confirming my RSP requests for the day. Then I met up with friends and went to complete the Pin Pursuit.
The pursuit was quite simple. Armed with a map, you set out to eight locations around the Epcot World Showcase. Your goal was to earn a stamp at each location. In order to earn your stamp, you could answer a question, or trade a pin with a CM there. Some of the CMs were really having a great time with the guests - our hostess in the Italy pavilion made us answer the question in Italian. Each location also had a pin for sale, representing one of the eight Disney parks. This event marked the first time that the newly announced Hong Kong Disneyland park was represented on merchandise.
Once you had completed the trek around the lagoon and earned all eight stamps, you could redeem your map for a free event pin. Of course, once you add up the lunch we had in France, the iced drink in Morocco, the soda in Mexico and the roasted nuts on the way to Canada, that pin was anything but free. When we got back to the showplace, we found a little table that was doing brisk business in framing the completed pin sets, in a special frame that allowed both the pins on the front, and the stamps on the back, to be viewed.
By Saturday, we thought we had the hang of the event. Drop off the RSP forms in the morning, race to get out of the showplace before we got trapped by other traders, and try to visit a park with rides. Then it was back to the showplace at 4:00 to pick up our pins, and then try to escape the trading in time to have dinner and see a show. That had to be the most common complaint I heard about the event: It was hard to leave once you were there. Epcot is not the most convenient park to get to and from, which made it difficult to go to another park and still be where you were supposed to be in order to reserve and buy your pins. This was not a problem for the Florida locals, but many out-of-town guests who were trying to enjoy a vacation around the event found that they did not get to do as much as they wanted.
Despite a few glitches, and a most uncooperative weather system, most people I talked to had a great time at the event. For me, it was a chance to meet a lot of people I have only communicated with online. I enjoyed meeting MousePlanet readers and MouseShoppe customers alike, as well as finally seeing my pin-pals from www.DizPins.com. I bought a WDW Annual Pass, and we will be bringing you more event information from the World in the coming months.
As for the next pin event... let's hope for something at Disneyland. In February. When it's cold!
This weekend at Disneyland:
Mickey's Top Secret Mission
Join Secret Agent MM as he takes on
My spies tell me that this event is NOT like the easy little walks in the park we have grown accustomed to from prior events. In fact, early intelligence indicates that the successful secret agent will need to use all their skills and training to complete the six missions and earn their event pin.
A reliable source, known only as "little bird", suggests that any agent wishing to tackle this assignment should make plans to do so on Saturday, to avoid disappointment. There's always the chance that quicker agents might beat you to the prize.
Have you heard about the "Million Dollar Mickey"?
In honor and celebration of Walt Disney's 100th Birthday a "Celebration Mickey" will be cast from an original sculpture of Mickey Mouse. This one-of- a- kind sculpture will stand nearly 24 inches tall and have a weight of approximately 1,500 troy ounces of 24kt gold.
Disney in association with The Great Western Mint is producing this precious metal "Celebration Mickey" sculpture to be part of many festivities planned for Walt Disney's Centennial Celebration. At the 2001 Official Disneyana Convention's special auction event in September, the "Celebration Mickey" will be auctioned to the highest bidder. A portion of the proceeds for the "Celebration Mickey" will be donated to a nonprofit charity. For more information or questions, please call 407.827.7600; fax 407.566.1387; or e-mail WDW.Disneyana.Convention@disney.com
Size: 24" Tall Approximately.
Do you know a Cast Member?
If so, get them to take you to the Company D Super Sale this weekend. Why? How about 75% off DCA clothing and accessories? How about $1.00 and $2.00 bean bag plush? How about getting all of your Holiday shopping done in August? It is a great sale, featuring the DCA merchandise that just isn't moving fast enough in the parks. If you don't know a CM, never fear - this same merchandise will probably make it's way to an outlet center near you soon.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here.
Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix is the super-shopper behind MouseShoppe, your personal and unofficial shopping service for the Disneyland Resort, and the owner of CharmingShoppe, a Disney collectibles store located in Anaheim.
In addition to scouring the park to find you the latest and greatest merchandise, she keeps you updated on all of the merchandise events happening in the parks.
If you want to talk to her about this column, merchandise, or events, contact her here.
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