I was first introduced to Disney Pins in March 2000 by an excited collector who e-mailed me about the latest idea at Disney which had become a collecting phenomenom, practically overnight.
Pin Station at the Magic Kingdom
I was pointed to Deb’s Unofficial Walt Disney World Information Guide for more details and a background (Deb’s site is a tremendous resource for people visiting Disney).Pin Trading was introduced in October 1999 as part of the Disney Millennium Celebration.
The idea was to offer collectible pins for sale and which could also be traded with cast members and Disney guests, and between guests themselves. “Now, instead of flying past that stranger to get to your next attraction, you catch a glint of metal in the shining sun and you stop to inquire about a trade. In the process, you learn a little about the person and maybe you’ll even find someone you’ve met on line (as I did). Even when folks find they have no items to trade, it’s great fun to look at pins and share in the experience.” (from Deb’s Unofficial Walt Disney World Information Guide)
Armed with my basic knowledge and a few answers from the WCN Disney Pins Group I visited Walt Disney World to learn more.The number of pins available is overwhelming, but luckily help was at hand from Disney Pin expert Scoop who provided a Seminar on Pin Collecting at the Magic Kingdom.
Scoop – talking pins
For the uniniated the Seminar is great and for the seasoned collector it is still full of insider tips and a view of Scoop’s own collection which includes many of the rarest pins available.Scoop went through the history of pins which had been available at Disney Parks for years in various varietys such as: cloisonne (which are powdered glass and fired at 800 degrees); semi-cloisonne which uses epoxy resin for wider colour range, and enamel. He then went on to talk about What to Collect?, How to Display? and Pin Etiquette.
Scoop getting down to business – trading
Finally he ended with a contest to win one of his rare pins. You had to count the number of Mickey Ears in his folder of pins. I will not give the answer but it is many more than you think. Not winning the contest I had a go and the mystery swap. You select a pin at random from Scoop’s lanyard. The great thing about this is that you can get a rare pin for any pin you want to swap. I got lucky and received a Limited Edition Graduation Mickey pin.
Now an expert I set out around the parks hunting for rare and hard to find pins.There are Official Pin Stations at all the WDW Parks, the main centre being at Epcot.Pin Station Central at Epcot.Although you can trade at any time with cast members or guests who want to participate, there are also trading events throughout the day at Pin Stations.
At the Epcot Pin Station Central there are people to trade with all day as well as Super Pin Traders – cast members with whole vests of pins.After many trades, meeting lots of people from I ended up with a lanyard of Limited Editions and pins relating to Peter Pan. It was quite exciting seeing a cast member with a rare pin and knowing you could swap your normal Piglet pin for something more interesting.
However, thousands of people all had the same idea so you had to be lucky to find the rare ones. If you cannot find one visit Scoop and try his Mystery Swap – or you might be lucky enough to visit when a Mystery pin appears – these appear without notice and are usually very limited.Although pin trading was meant to last until the end of the Millennium Celebrations in January 2001, it now looks to be a permanent feature of Walt Disney World and the other Disney Parks.