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Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor
Pin Trading Starts at Disneyland Paris - 10/19/01

Let's start with some good news: Last week we told you that the Disney Gallery in New Orleans Square would be closed Monday through Thursday until further notice. Consider this your further notice. It seems that the decision to close the Gallery on weekdays was reversed last Friday.

Gallery CMs learned the good news Friday afternoon, and the store returned to its normal operating schedule this week. Geppetto's, the Premier Shop and the Villains store are still on the weekends- only schedule.


The Gallery is now open


Disneyland Paris finally joined the other three Disney resorts in offering a pin-trading program to visitors, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 6th. MousePlanet contributor Ian Parkinson was on hand for the festivities, and sent these photos back for our readers.

The new pin assortment contains about 150 pins and boxed sets. 20 stores within the Disneyland Paris resort now sell pins and related accessories. There are now two designated pin trading stations, complete with tables for trading. When the Disney Studios opens next to Disneyland Paris in April, 2002, a third pin trading station will be introduced.

To generate excitement for the Disneyland Paris pin trading program, the manager of pin trading for the park visited the Epcot "Pins around our World" event in August, and displayed a selection of new Paris pins. Some of these pins are exclusive to Disneyland Paris, while a great many are either the same, or slightly modified versions of, pins previously available at other Disney parks. In fact, many of the pins appear to be overstock Disneyland and Walt Disney World pins, just placed on a new Disneyland Paris backing.

Collectors also noticed that the Paris pins are generally smaller that current Disneyland and Walt Disney World pins, and that many of them are soft- enamel or epoxy like the earlier Tokyo Disneyland pins. While these types of pins are also sold at the other Disney parks, the Disneyland Resort recently implemented a policy which prevents them from being traded to CMs.

Most of the new pins released at Tokyo Disneyland meet the Disneyland Resort trading guidelines, and Walt Disney World is expected to adopt a similar policy in the near future. This will make many of the Disneyland Paris pins non-tradeable to CMs. While collectors will still be allowed to trade them with one another, this can hurt the desirability of the non-tradeable Paris pins.

Each Disney park has released a Pin Trading pin to commemorate the start of their trading program. Disneyland Paris offered a new twist on that tradition. Rather than selling the pins, they were distributed onto Cast Member lanyards throughout the park. Collectors could only obtain this pin by trading with a Cast Member. Some saw this as a sign that the Disneyland Paris merchants were not learning from mistakes already made at sister parks.

One collector wrote to me with concerns about the distribution of the pin trading pin, (PTP). "Can you believe this? They aren't going to sell the PTP, they are going to dump them on CM lanyards. So the gates will open, and the first pin trading experience any of the CMs are going to have will be hundreds of pin sharks knocking each other down in an effort to find the elusive PTP. And once they find the pin, what will they do? Be in a rude hurry to trade for it so they can go grab another one. Charles (the manager of pin trading for Disneyland Paris), thinks this is a great idea, but he has no idea what he's setting his CMs up for. They are going to hate pin trading after the very first hour"

I did not hear any stories of customers being trampled in the search for the pin trading pin, but the pin proved very difficult to find. Pin sales were brisk the first day, as collectors stocked up on the park exclusive and limited edition pins. Among the most popular pins released were the Halloween pins, which sold out within the first weekend. Additional holiday pins are expected in the coming weeks.

Disneyland Paris is also the only Disney park to allow customers to buy pins online. Although the system is anything but user- friendly, collectors who are willing to spend a little time may be able to get the pins they want shipped directly to them. A list of available pins, and their SKU numbers, can be found at the DizPins website. Photos of most pins are hosted at PinPics. Another DizPins page gives all the ordering instructions.

Customers will need to send an e-mail to Disneyland Paris with the list of pins they want, credit card information and shipping address. The pins will be mailed in about 10 days, and the recipient is responsible for any customs duties or taxes.

Collectors who attended the opening celebration reported that CMs seemed to be enthused about the new program. Certainly the park is placing a large amount of time and effort into enticing pin traders to visit, and in making it possible for those who can not visit to buy pins online. Many traders wonder if Disneyland Paris really wants to promote pin trading as an ongoing program, or if they are just looking for a share of the cash cow the other Disney parks enjoyed.

A recent poll at the DizPins site revealed that over 50% of the respondents felt that Disney pin trading had already reached its peak, and the hobby was heading for a crash. With the pending demise of the pin trading program in Tokyo, and the current apathy among pin traders in the US, Disneyland Paris may find that it jumped on the bandwagon a bit too late to enjoy the ride.


Paris in the Pin Time

ABOUT THE EDITOR

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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