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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on March 28th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

I’d like to say thank you again to everyone who shared their favorite Disney Parks thrill ride (and lists of faves) here on the blog and on Facebook this week. If you missed the original post, we went into the parks to get an idea of what you were thinking.

Here are a few more of the week’s most popular posts.

Springtime in Tomorrowland — Paul Hiffmeyer does it again, this time blending horticulture with futuristic architecture in his latest photo.

Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular
— As one of the longest running Broadway-style shows in the country, there will have been approximately 7,500 total performances and nearly 9.5 million guests will have seen this fantastic show. Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie will make their last appearance on stage in this entertaining show on August 15.

Endangered Sea Turtles Rescued — To help the turtles, the Disney’s Animal Programs team took part in a massive effort by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to rescue more than 4,500 sea turtles impacted by the record cold temperatures.

Extra Time to Dine at Epcot? — Do you like the idea of an extra hour for dining in the evening at Epcot? Give it a try from March 28 through April 10, and let us know what you think — you can book your “extra hour” table at Coral Reef Restaurant, Garden Grill or Le Cellier Steakhouse.

The Mechanical Kingdom — Great news Steampunk fans! On April 1, you can meet Mike Sullivan, the Disney artist behind The Mechanical Kingdom, and have your pins signed at Disney’s Pin Traders from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This store is located in the Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort. Steampunk goggles are optional.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on March 20th, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Fess Parker, as Davy Crockett, receives a tribute window

This week, the Disney Parks family mourned the loss of a legend — Fess Parker. In his role as Davy Crockett, Fess Parker not only helped promote and open Disneyland Park but he also became a hero to many of us, including Walt Disney Company President and CEO, Robert Iger. Blog author and Walt Disney World photographer Gene Duncan also shared a unique photo and touching story.

We also visited the office of artist Don “Ducky” Williams and watched as he created an exceptional Disney character in minutes. For Don, the characters are more than drawings, they’re living, breathing personalities and creating the art “is a way of life.”

Here are a few more of the week’s most popular posts.

Rush HourGarth Vaughan showed us what rush hour looks like at the Magic Kingdom.

Pin Trading Outside the Parks — Did you know you don’t have to go into the parks to trade pins?

Main Street Electrical Parade – 1999 — We found this one-of-a-kind video of the Main Street Electrical Parade road test from 1999.

First Kid to Run Through Sleeping Beauty Castle Now Guards the ResortDisneyland Security Officer Robb Fischle shared his memories of watching Disneyland as it was built and being one of the first children to run through Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Balloon with a View — Paul Hiffmeyer showed a new perspective on Mickey Mouse balloons.

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Pin Trading Outside the Parks

posted on March 15th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

As most of you know, pin trading is one of the most popular interactive activities between guests and cast members. Steven Miller, a frequent contributor on the Blog, often writes about new and soon-to-be-released pins as well as the ever popular Hidden Mickey Collection, but did you know that you don’t actually have to go into the parks to pin trade?

Janet Knox, general manager of merchandise operations for Disney’s California Adventure park, Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels, gave us some tips on pin trading outside the parks.

Can you tell us about some places to pin trade outside the parks?

Janet: We have quite a few places throughout the Resort hotels and Downtown Disney where you can find guests trading. Our cast members at the front desk and Guest Services area of the hotels often wear lanyards, and you can find others at the Resort hotel stores, like the Fantasia Shop, Mickey’s in Paradise and Acorns Gifts and Goods. If you are visiting Downtown Disney, then World of Disney and Disney’s Pin Trader are definitely stops you’ll want to make. One of the main places, though, is at our monthly Pin Trading Nights at the hotels. Dates and times vary each month so check out the entire list of upcoming Pin Trading Nights on

Tip: The next Pin Trading Night will take place Friday, March 26 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. It’s free to any guest.

Can you give some tips to our novice pin traders on how they can get started?

Janet: As you may or may not know, we are actually celebrating the 10th anniversary of Disney Pin Trading this year, I still can’t believe it’s been that long. The easiest way to get started is to find a cast member. Look at their lanyard and find that special pin that really means something to you. I found that many guests will typically choose a pin based on a favorite character, attraction or icon. Next, take a pin that you have (whether on a lanyard or off), and ask if they’d like to trade. And just like that, you’ve made your first trade.

Tip: Kids 3-12 are the only ones allowed to trade off of teal lanyards worn by cast members.

Disney 'Divas' Pins

Do you have a favorite pin or pin series?

Janet: I love our Disney Villains, in particular the “Divas.” So I would have to say that the jeweled Villains pins are probably my absolute favorite. What girl, “good or bad” doesn’t love a little sparkle. Another fun collection of pins is the “Bad News” series, which were released each month last year. The pins were so comical, and the mock magazine “Bad News” pins would bring you the latest and greatest news reports from the many worlds of our infamous Disney villains.

If you’ve never tried pin trading before, it’s a great way to interact with cast members and other guests. With thousands of unique Disney pins that have been created over the years, you should be able to find favorite pins to create your very own Disney Pin Collection.

Do you have story about pin trading outside the parks that you would like to share?

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Best of 2009 – Disney Pins Edition

posted on December 31st, 2009 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

As 2009 draws to a close, I asked my fellow Cast Members in product development, Disney Design Group, planning, merchandise marketing and operations to select their favorite Disney Pin released this past calendar year. For some, this request was like me asking them to pick their favorite child (okay maybe that was only a challenge for me).

The pins they selected were about as varied as their corresponding reasons. I’ve chosen several pins to spotlight here. For the complete “Best of 2009” recap, please visit the What’s HapPINing? Blog on on December 31.

Without further ado, let the trip down memory lane begin!
Have a Disney Day Pin

Julie Young – Product Developer for Open Edition pins and Accessories
“I selected the ‘Have a Disney Day’ pin. It features a simple design and wonderful message. I think everyone should have a Disney day! What’s more fun than that?”
Read the rest of this entry »

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What Is the Most Popular Disney Pin?

posted on October 19th, 2009 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

One of the more challenging questions I’m often asked is, “What is the most popular Disney pin?” The question isn’t necessarily a challenge to answer but getting consensus on an answer is a different story. If I asked 50 people this same question, I would get 50 different answers (at this point something about beauty, eye and beholder comes to mind). In the merchandise division, we use historical sales record to determine popularity. Sales records are an easy and efficient method to identify popular pins, but they are lacking one thing – storytelling.

Telling stories is an essential part of trading or collecting Disney pins, and I’ve heard a lot of them over the years! One common thread is people define popularity as the most cherished pin in their collection (which is not necessarily based on perceived value or sales record). One Guest told me that he loved an open edition Mickey Mouse pin because it was the first pin he was given. Another Guest took great pride explaining what it took to trade for a complete set of 10, red Doombuggies from Disney Summer Pin Festival 2009. Both Guests have popular pins – Mickey Mouse is a popular fellow, and there are only 40 complete red Doombuggy sets in the world.

For our 10th Anniversary of Disney Pin Trading, we wanted a pin collection that featured popular pins released during the past ten years. Thus, unique Tribute Collections were created for the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. When choosing the pins for the collections, I turned to the stories I’ve heard during my time as Trading Manager (sorry Pin of the Day, you didn’t make the cut). My hope is that Guests will showcase the original pins next to their newer cousins, the Tribute pins.

Some pins were easy to identify such as Flubber 2000 (who doesn’t want to wait in the rain for pins?). Another popular favorite was Wet Paint – a much discussed surprise pin from the early days. One pin I thought was a must was released on January 1, 2004 – the monorail surprise pin. The pin contains the one and only Spanish sentence that I know (say it with me) – “Por Favor Mantengase Alejado De Las Puertas.” Other pins selected included the Fantasmic! Hidden Mickey pin (just how difficult was it to trade for that pin?), and the gorgeous jumbo-sized pin designed by Disney Design Group artist Monty Maldovan titled “Celebration Surprise.” The latter was released in February 2006 for the Happiest Celebration On Earth. All of the pins selected for these collections have great stories attached.

So now it is your turn. What is the most popular Disney pin?

For more information about these pins and other things related to the 10th Anniversary of Disney Pin Trading, visit

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Celebrating a Decade of Magical Trades

posted on October 1st, 2009 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

Hi, I’m Steven Miller, project manager for Disney Trading. I regularly look for things to celebrate. October 1, 2009 is one of those special celebratory days for me. It’s not my birthday but (cue confetti), it’s the tenth birthday for Disney Pin Trading! I can’t believe it’s been 10 years! The funny thing about trading is that it was planned to only last through the end of 2000.
The official logo for the 10th Anniversary of Disney Pin Trading

Trading was considered the perfect compliment to the “Celebrate the Future Hand-in-Hand” marketing theme for the Millennium Celebration. What better way to bring people together than by exchanging pins, hand-to-hand? The hope was that through trading pins folks would connect, share stories and make friends. I guess the plan worked as you are currently reading this story 10 years later.
Concept artwork for the visual display coming to Disney’s Pin Traders in Florida

I’m particularly excited to start our bi-coastal, 10th birthday celebration for Disney Pin Trading – a celebration we have been planning for the past year. The “Decade of Magical Trades” celebration will run from October 1, 2009 through October 10, 2010 (or 10/10/10 for those numerology fans). Though the official 10th anniversary of Disneyland Resort Pin Trading isn’t until February 17, 2010, we wanted to celebrate at both locations starting on October 1 (you know, it takes two to make a trade).
Limited Edition 100 pin pictured left; Tribute Collection pin pictured right

For the celebration, we made some incredibly fun pins that I think Guests will love – from the “Limited Edition 100s,” only 100 of each design were made and will be released on the 10th of each month from January to October 2010, to the limited edition “Tribute Collection” that spotlights highly desired or frequently traded pins we have released since the start of Disney Pin Trading.
Original concept sketch for a Cast Member trading lanyard

Speaking of trading, did you know the original Cast Member trading concept called for only one Cast Member to be the “pin trader of the day” in select locations? She or he would have worn a Millennium Celebration lanyard and only traded pins with Guests during that designated day. Can you imagine how popular that Cast Member would have been?

Make sure you visit Disney’s Pin Traders at the Downtown Disney areas on either coast (which is the official headquarters for the celebration), or visit to see more about this year-long event.

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