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Best of Both Worlds at Disneyland Resort

posted on June 23rd, 2011 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

I know many of you are Star Wars fans, and above all, Disney fans! So what do you get when those two things come together? Two very special Sci-Fi Academy-themed pin release and signings are taking place this summer at the Disneyland Resort.

In one of my recent posts about Disney Pins, I gave you a heads up to “mark your calendars” for July 9 and August 6. Here’s a glimpse at some of the pins that will be released at each event.

Pin Featuring Darth Vader and the Planet Alderaan

First up, A Piece of Alderaan History. What does that mean exactly? Well, any Star Wars fan will tell you, that Alderaan was once home to Princess Leia, a peaceful planet that met its untimely demise when Grand Moff Tarkin demonstrated the power of the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. Our product development team cleverly created a pin featuring Darth Vader that contains a representation of the planet Alderaan.

Rocket to the Moon Pin Invasion of the Flying Saucers Pin

What else do we have “in store” for you for during the July release and signing with artist Casey Jones? How about Disneyland Resort attraction-themed postcard and pin sets featuring some of your favorite characters, like nutty Chip ‘n’ Dale in Rocket to the Moon or Pluto and the Flying Saucers. You can also look forward to a special limited edition set of four pins which comes complete in what is being called The New Century Compendium of the Extraordinary – Volume I.

Tip: Online wristbands for the opportunity to purchase these pins is taking place now through June 29.

Darth Vader 'Star Wars' Quote Pin Yoda 'Star Wars' Quote Pin

Too much PINformation, or are you ready for more? How about a quick look at some of the pins that will be released at the August event, which feature memorable quotes and images from iconic Star Wars films. Here’s a special note: We just learned that Artist and Global Creativity & Innovation Director Chris Chapman will be on hand for a special appearance and signing on August 6.

Tip: The online wristband opportunity to purchase these Star Wars quotes pins begins July 15.

So now you’re in the know for all events this summer related to pins. And if you’re looking for other fun places to trade during your visit to the Resort, Come Out and Trade takes place daily from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Westward Ho Trading Co. in Frontierland at Disneyland park. Or you can jet over to Fly ‘n’ Buy in Disney California Adventure park where there is a special area for you to trade stories and pins with fellow fans.

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Be ‘Part of Her World’ and Travel ‘Out of This World’ with Disney Pins

posted on June 8th, 2011 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

There has been so much happening around the Disneyland Resort lately, it’s hard to keep up. Show of hands: how many of you have had the opportunity to experience The Little Mermaid~Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Star Tours attractions? Aren’t they amazing? If you haven’t visited the park yet, I have to ask, what are you waiting for? We have two new attractions and a brand new parade at Disneyland park, that I hear is “Soundsational.” While I could go on and on about the new attractions and entertainment at the Resort, I better get down to business and fill you in on the merchandise offers and pin releases you won’t want to miss! Listen up, pin aficionados – the news I’m about to share with you is sure to be the “pin”nacle of your day.

Did you know that in celebration of the opening of The Little Mermaid~Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, a variety of pins themed to the attraction and some of your favorite Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” characters have been released? So if you’re a Little Mermaid fan and have to add these to your collection, they’re going fast. So visit Embarcadero Gifts or Greetings From California in Disney California Adventure park today.

’The Little Mermaid’ Character Pins

In true commercial format, this is probably the section where I should say “now a word from our sponsor.” So here it goes. It’s the last chance to sign up for the Sci-Fi Academy Trading Event on June 24, 2011. The event will feature trading boards, special pins, artist signings and so much more. You don’t want to miss out! Looking for more information on Sci-Fi Academy? Check out for all the details and get a look at all the pins that have been created especially for the event.

And now I return you to our regularly scheduled Disney Parks Blog post…

Sticking to the Pin Trading theme, mark your calendars for two special pin signings at the Disneyland Resort! Save the date for July 9, followed by another August 6, for out-of-this-world Sci-Fi Academy pins themed to ever-popular Disney Parks attractions and memorable quotes from the iconic Star Wars films.

So whether you’re an avid pin trader or novice pin collector, consider yourself in the know and don’t miss out on these special releases!

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Show and Tell: The Florida Project at Walt Disney World

posted on May 3rd, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication

I was on my way back from a meeting the other day when I ran into Disney Design Group Artist Quynh Kimball. Something you should know about Quynh is that he loves show and tell. He’s always showcasing new concept art or the latest sample of one of the newest items he’s created. He always has something in his hands that he can’t wait to show off. My last run-in with Quynh was no different than any other, except this particular encounter had me flashing back to my childhood when I saw him carrying a vintage tin Disney lunchbox. I was quick to ask Quynh all about the vintage lunchbox to find out more.

Disney Lunchbox and Pins

“The classic lunchbox concept was created especially for The Florida Project,” said Quynh. “Not only is it a fully-functioning, vintage-inspired, tin lunchbox, but it also contains a limited-edition, four-pin set that is based off the artwork on the lunchbox.”

Members of the Disney Design Group Discuss Concepts for the Disney Lunchbox

Wanting to know more about how Quynh came up with such an imaginative idea, I took a stroll with him back to the Disney Design Group Offices to sit down with him and the rest of the team that worked on the Disney Lunchbox concept for the upcoming trading event. “When we first started brain storming concepts for The Florida Project, we all brought in Disney memorabilia and keepsakes from our past to help generate ideas for the event,” said Quynh.

Vintage-Inspired Disney Lunchbox

“The concept was based off of a lunch box that Monty Maldovan had when he was a kid,” explained Quynh. “Seeing Monty’s Disney lunchbox made me reminisce on my childhood and the Disney lunchbox I had was younger. I started doing research around the office and what I discovered is that almost everyone I spoke to remembered carrying a Disney lunchbox to school when they were young, so I couldn’t help but think that a Disney lunchbox themed pin set was a perfect fit for the nostalgic and vintage themed Florida Project event,” said Quynh.

Vintage-Inspired Disney Lunchbox

The Disney Design Group Team spent countless hours recreating the original artwork from the lunchbox making sure to capture the retro 70s feel and to ensure that every detail from the coloration to the characters were just right. The end result is a faithful re-creation of the Disney lunchbox that so many of us remember carrying to school each day when we were kids.

For those of you who have not yet registered for The Florida Project at Walt Disney World, it’s not too late! There is still space left and if you book before Friday, May 6, you can still sign-up in time to receive the early booking discount! To see the entire assortment for The Florida Project and to register for The Florida Project, please visit

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The Florida Project at Walt Disney World – Registration Opens Today!

posted on April 6th, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication

The Florida Project at Walt Disney World

Are you ready to take a trip back to the past? It seems like not so long ago, Walt Disney World was just a dream, on its way to becoming a reality. Forty years later, I look around to see four major theme parks, two water parks, world-class accommodations, award-winning restaurants, sports, recreation and some of the best shopping opportunities you’ll ever have and all I can say is, “Wow!” How many of you remember being at the Magic Kingdom on opening day?

The Florida Project Preview Center Jumbo Pin

On September 9-11, 2011, we plan on helping to kick off Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary celebration with The Florida Project Trading Event. This nostalgic and retrospective-filled event will take you back to the beginning of what is now called the Walt Disney World Resort.

For those of you who might not know, the storyline for The Florida Project revolves around an alternate Preview Center that we uncovered. It was never used because the official Preview Center opened on Buena Vista Drive. Numerous artists have been hard at work, or in this case they have taken the opportunity to “go back” to the drawing board to create commemorative collections of pins and Vinylmation that represent the past, present and future. One of my personal favorites from The Florida Project Collection is the Preview Center Jumbo Pin. Not only do I love the early 1970s character designs, but it also features a retro color palette that’s synonymous with the 70s.

The Florida Project Vinylmation Figure Artwork

Of course, Vinylmation fans, we have a special Florida Project Vinylmation Showcase taking place just for you on Sunday, September 11, 2011. In keeping with the theme of The Florida Project, the Vinylmation assortment will feature original attractions, classic characters with vintage styling and nostalgic touches that take you back to Opening Day at the Magic Kingdom.

The Florida Project Limited-Edition Passholder Pin

And P.S., Passholders we haven’t forgotten about you! We’ve unearthed a very special, limited-edition assortment of Florida Project pins that have been designed exclusively for you.

Registration for this celebratory event will begin today, Wednesday, April 6, 2011, at 2 p.m. EST at This is definitely a “don’t miss” event! Of course, I can’t showcase all of the 1970s inspired merchandise from The Florida Project, but when you visit, you can get a sneak peek at some of the nostalgic products that we’ve created just for the event. Keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks as I reveal more of the assortment from The Florida Project along with Disney Design Group Artist insight into all of the details of The Florida Project.

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Sci-Fi Academy at Disneyland Resort

posted on February 24th, 2011 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort

OK, Disney Parks Blog followers, I received a very important data transmission this morning about a Sci-Fi Academy merchandise pin-trading event taking place on June 24 at the Disneyland Resort. Commander Mickey asked me to share this with as many recruits as possible. So of course, I came to you first!

Sci-Fi Academy at Disneyland Resort

Attention Recruits:

Commander Mickey here! I’m in need of your assistance. The Sci-Fi Adventure Corps and I have gathered a cosmic amount of strange galactic artifacts and worldly keepsakes from various journeys and Sci-Fi explorations.

My trusty communicator device, R.A.L.F (Reality Alterer with Language Functions) has shared that there are other fascinating worlds and galaxies out there, at our fingertips, containing important information and data from various eras of Sci-Fi movies, books, games and television. The artifacts must be collected, catalogued, traded and studied in order for us to move into other alternate realities from your favorite Sci-Fi adventures and understand the strange alien languages that exist.

Reach for the stars,
Commander Mickey

Recruits interested in attending the Sci-Fi Academy merchandise pin-trading event can join the ranks of Commander Mickey beginning March 1 via for an out of this world pin-trading and collecting experience.

Are you planning to join the Sci-Fi Academy ranks?

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New Hidden Mickey Pins for Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 20th, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

Orange Bird Hidden Mickey Pins Coming to Walt Disney World Resort

I recently gave you a sneak preview of the 2011 Hidden Mickey pins for Disneyland Resort. Now it is time to turn the spotlight on Walt Disney World Resort. I’ve been involved with the development of the Florida pins since 2004. Again, it is bittersweet that this will be my final collection (yet I had lots of fun with the designs). Don’t worry, Julie Young, one of our pin developers, will assume development of the 2012 collections. Like the Disneyland Resort collection, there will be two different waves of about 30 pins each.

The image at the top of this article is one of my favorite collections (besides the boot from Horizons that I showed in the recent EPCOT Center blog post). The artwork came from the 33 ½-long playing record I have featuring the Orange Bird. Like many of you, I love the Orange Bird! This collection seemed like the perfect fit to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. My favorite pin – the Orange Bird relaxing in the sun (ah, how I wish I was on the sands at Disney’s Polynesian Resort right now enjoying a Dole Whip).

Classic Disney 'D' Character Hidden Mickey Pins Coming to Walt Disney World Resort

Speaking of the 40th Anniversary, another wave one series features Disney characters in the classic Disney “D.” The artwork for this series was originally created for a mystery pin collection. I commandeered the artwork from Julie (Shhh! Please don’t tell her). The second wave of Hidden Mickey pins coming later this year will feature different characters that complement the first wave pictured above.

Yeti Hidden Mickey Pin Series Coming to Walt Disney World Resort

I was inspired for the series pictured above after walking through Serka Zong Bazaar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The location had several tee-shirts with artwork called “cute yeti.” I immediately thought they would make great pins – come on, he is super adorable! My favorite pin is “scary yeti” (though I don’t know how something so cute can be that scary).

Hidden Mickey 'Chaser' Pins Coming to Walt Disney World Resort

One new thing this year is having “chaser” pins in the Hidden Mickey pin series for Florida. I would have done the same for California but I instead created the alphabet series. We have featured chaser pins in various retail pin sets during the past few years. Basically, there will be a select number of “chaser” pins in wave one. There will not be a chaser pin for every style; I only selected a handful of designs. You’ll immediately recognize them as they will be silver colored. I can’t say how many chaser pins were created for each of the designs selected. I can say they will be slightly rarer. So if you find one, you can do the “happy pin dance” (I can show you those moves later).

Again, look for these pins coming to Cast Members’ lanyards in Florida in late January/early February. Happy Trading!

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Merchandise Memories on the Disney Dream

posted on January 13th, 2011 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication

It’s hard to believe that the Disney Dream is almost a reality. With the Maiden Voyage just a few days away, I can’t help but think of the amazing memories that Guests will be making with their families and friends on the newest Disney Ship.

At Disney Theme Park Merchandise, it’s our job to turn your magical moments and memories on Disney Cruise Line into keepsakes that will last a lifetime. With the help of our talented Disney Design Group Artists, we have created new merchandise especially for the Maiden and Inaugural Voyages of the Disney Dream to help make your family’s vacation even more memorable. While there are too many new items to show you, I wanted to share a few of my personal favorites – I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

AquaDuck Three-Dimensional Picture Frame

Like all of you, I can hardly wait to set sail on the Disney Dream (my family and I have already booked our trip). The number one thing we’re excited for: the AquaDuck. We are already guessing who’s going to be screaming the loudest when we fly out of the new water coaster. When I saw the AquaDuck Three-Dimensional Picture Frame, I immediately knew that this would be the perfect way to crown the winner of our family scream contest. Not only does the frame have space for a 3” x 4” picture, but it represents one of the icons that make the Disney Dream so spectacular. We haven’t even set sail yet, but I’ve already cleared a spot on the mantle for the AquaDuck Picture Frame.

Limited Edition Disney Dream Pins

Disney Pins are such a big part of Guests memories in Disney Parks and on Disney Cruise Line, so we couldn’t launch the Disney Dream without a special compilation of limited edition Disney Pins. In keeping with the spirit and tradition of Disney Pin Trading, our talented Disney Design Group has created a colorful assortment of Disney Dream Trading Pins that embody the spirit of the Disney Dream. The new collection of pins feature beloved Disney Characters and experiences that are truly unique to the Disney Dream.

Disney Dream Vinylmation Figures

And of course, the shops wouldn’t be complete without Disney Dream Exclusive Vinylmation. For the Inaugural Voyages, we have created an assortment that includes a limited edition of 1,000 3” Vinylmation 2-pack that features Admiral Donald, plus a Vinylmation Jr. Also be on the lookout for 9” Disney Dream Vinylmation that draws inspiration from the hull of the Dream.

I wish that I could show you all of the new and unique items that we have created just for the upcoming Disney Dream Voyages – there’s so much to see! If you want to see an even bigger sampling of the commemorative pieces that have been created especially for the Inaugural Voyages of the Disney Dream, take a look at And don’t forget, if you’re sailing on the Maiden Voyage of the Disney Dream, make sure you submit the Random Selection Process Form to sign up for these special commemorative pieces!

How do you commemorate your Disney Cruise Line vacations? Do you have a special keepsake from one your past voyages? Share it with us in the comments.

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Disney Trading – New Hidden Mickey Pins for Disneyland Resort

posted on January 11th, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

New Tee-Shirt Hidden Mickey Pins

When are Hidden Mickey pins being released? It is a question asked by many guests and cast members at the start of a calendar year. For those unfamiliar, the Hidden Mickey pin program was introduced several years ago to encourage trading between cast members and guests. Trading Hidden Mickey pins is now a popular activity for many visiting Disney Parks. Today, I’m giving you a sneak preview of new pins for Disneyland Resort in 2011. This is bittersweet for me as I have transitioned to a new role as Merchandise Communications Manager (you may have noticed this from other articles on the Disney Parks Blog). These pins are some of the final pins I worked on for trading; I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

New Alphabet Series Hidden Mickey Pins for Disneyland Resort

Many fans will be excited to hear a new Alphabet series is coming to California. This series will be different than the first Alphabet series released in Florida. I love the simplicity of this collection as it is super easy to collect (come on, only 26 letters to get!). Here is a cool story about the first set of Alphabet pins – a guest traded for letters to spell “Will You Marry Me” on a lanyard then proposed to his now fiancé. That’s magic!

Another series I wanted to introduce last year was the Casey Jr. Circus Train. Due to tight development timelines, I couldn’t create the set last year. I’m thrilled that this year fans can collect the classic Fantasyland attraction (which I always love to ride – monkey car or wild animals car?).

New Hidden Mickey Pins Featuring Some Favorite Disneyland Icons

In recent years, I have drawn inspiration for pins from various icons found in Disney Parks. A set in the 2011 collection will feature some of my favorite icons from Disneyland park (including the mint julep from New Orleans Square!). Can you identify the other icons?

New Disneyland Monorail Hidden Mickey Pins for Disneyland Resort

For the first time, we are featuring a collection of Disneyland Monorail pins. These pins complement monorail pins created for Walt Disney World a few years ago. Does anyone else ever dream of riding a monorail to work? I do every day!

One change this year was based on guest and cast member feedback. The 2011 Hidden Mickey collection will have two different waves. Coming in late January or early February, the first wave will contain about 30 pins. These pins will be traded until around summer when a second wave with different pins will be released. I basically split the collection in half wanting to spark trading all year long.

Another thing we are trying are the tee-shirt pins pictured at the top of this article. There will be a series of tee-shirt pins released in California. A series featuring different characters will be released in Florida. I love when guests trade between the coasts and the entire set looks so awesome.

As mentioned, look for the first wave of the 2011 pins coming to cast members’ lanyards in late January or early February. Happy Trading!

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Disney Pins – ‘TRON: Legacy’

posted on December 6th, 2010 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

'TRON: Legacy' Pins

Greetings, Programs! I just finished playing “Space Paranoids” and thought I would give you an update about some pins we have created for “TRON: Legacy.” I spoke with Julie Young, developer for open and limited edition pins, about some of these new items. But before I get to those items, we must return to the past. This isn’t the first time we’ve created Tron-themed pins. I dug into my personal collection for a brief look back.

A Look Back at Tron-themed Pins

Since the release of “Tron” on July 9, 1982, there have only been a handful of Tron pins made (making collecting Tron pins somewhat easier than steering a Recognizer). Some of the first pins date from the early 1980s and were mostly promotional or jewelry-style pins (think brooch or plastic pins). With the introduction of Pin Trading in 1999, the number of Tron pins has grown. Pictured above are examples of pins created by Disney Parks, Disney Stores and the former Disney Catalog. There have also been pins created by the former Disney Auctions as well as Walt Disney Imagineering. There was even a “Space Paranoids” pin given to guests attending an ENCOM press event in April 2010. Sadly, I do not have any of the latter mentioned pins (and I am sad).

But I’m happy to see some new Tron pins on the Game Grid. Julie shared details behind the open edition Mickey Mouse as Tron pin.

“I like having Mickey Mouse play different roles for the pins I create,” said Julie. “I wanted the line work on his suit to glow in the dark. Unfortunately, I learned that the blue color featured on the pin doesn’t have a glow in the dark option.”

Tron-themed Pins

Julie, however, made some pins from the “TRON: Legacy” limited release mystery set glow. There are 20 different pins in this set – 10 that are full color and 10 chaser pins created in a different base metal color. I opted not to show those “chaser” pins as it would defeat the purpose of the game.

One of my favorite new pins features the Tron-orail. I recall the day in March when I saw the photos of it on the Disney Parks Blog. I immediately ran down to the product developer’s office pleading to have a Tron-orail pin. It took several art concepts including one that placed the Tron-orail in front of the Magic Kingdom (?!). The first sample of the pin was much smaller than the final version pictured at the top. During a recent visit to Epcot, there was nothing sweeter to my ears than hearing my son scream, “Dad, it’s the Tron-orail” as it glided through Future World. I think I did the same when I saw the final pin (just ask Julie).

'TRON: Legacy' Boxed Pin Set Coming to the 2011 Sci-Fi Academy Event

The last item I have to share today is also pretty sweet. Chris Chapman from Disney Design Group stopped by my office to share this first mock-up. The image above is a boxed pin set coming to the Sci-Fi Academy event on June 24, 2011, at Disneyland Resort. The packaging is incredible and the identity disks…well, they are “nice!” End of line.

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Disney Trading – Trick or Trade

posted on October 21st, 2010 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

Mummy Mickey and Pumpkin Pin

I’ve mentioned before how much I like Halloween. Okay, I’ll admit – it’s the candy (who’s with me?). It’s my second favorite holiday, after my birthday, which has presents (I’m seeing a theme here). With that spirit of giving in mind, I dug into the Disney Pin Vault to take a look back at some of my favorite Halloween pins.

Halloween Pins From the Past

Over the years, we’ve released a variety of limited edition pins celebrating this holiday. One of my favorites is the Chip and Dale pin that was released on October 31, 2003. It features the mischievous chipmunks dressed as astronauts (I love the 1950s rocket in the background). This pin was part of a “Trick or Treat” collection where different pins were released at different locations at Walt Disney World. I also like the Disney Cruise Line pin from 2004. Donald’s nephews remind me of the classic cartoon short, “Trick or Treat” from 1952. As a child, I recall watching that short on a slide projector in my basement (who uses those things anymore?).

Halloween Pins

Each year, we create pins for the special Halloween events at Disney Theme Parks. I chose the Hades pin from Mickey’s Halloween Treat in 2007 (now known as Mickey’s Halloween Party) as a favorite. Why? Because Hades rules! New this year to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom in Florida is a limited edition pin (above right) that will only be released on October 31 (a popular night from what I have heard). This pin was created based on guest feedback from previous years. We thought this retail pin was a great way to offer something unique for those attending the Halloween night party. Cool part – it glows in the dark (all together, “Oooo!”).

Halloween Pins

Julie Young, our long-time developer for open edition pins, helped me with the final selections. I chose the candy corn with mouse ears. I love simple designs, and this one screams (ha) Halloween. Julie chose a new open edition pin featuring Tinker Bell. She really liked her festive dress (something not often seen on Ms. Bell). Julie also raved about a new lanyard that features sublimated printing. The image used on this lanyard was from a Halloween style guide that was created for usage at Disney Parks around the world (something of a first for us). A style guide gives reference material, character designs, backgrounds and more that are used to achieve a consistent look in all the merchandise created. If you aren’t the dressing-up type or you are looking for a simple costume, this lanyard should work for you.

The only other pin not represented is a chocolate one that I could devour. Wouldn’t that be yummy? Sadly, we haven’t created a pin like that yet (but feel free to send any chocolate my way). Do you have a favorite Halloween pin in your collection? Please share, and Happy Trick or Trading…er, Treating.

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