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Kim's Corner
Page 1 of 7

by Kim Petersen (archives)
February 27, 2003
Kim looks at Disneyland's first Pin Trading Night.

Bringing Back the "Golden Days�
Pin Trading Nights come to the DLR

It's almost always fun when you're surprised - and WOW! were the members of the Merchandise/Merchandise Special Events/Pin Initiative Team (boy does the Disney Company love titles or what?) - surprised by the turn out for the first "Official� DLR Pin Trading Night - hosted Friday February 21st. I have to admit that even I - jaded as I am - was surprised at the size of the crowd as we stepped into the lobby of the Disneyland Hotel's Bonita Tower 30-minutes before the doors were scheduled to open to be greeted by nearly 150 traders - some were already trading at the tables and some waiting patiently in line - it was great to see the support for the Resort's pin trading initiative was still there. By the end of the evening more than 400 traders would pass through the lobby.

The rap against the DLR's pin traders has been that there weren't enough "core� or "local� traders - those within a 30-minute drive of the DLR - to make bringing the very popular WDW event to the Resort feasible - that the support for pin trading had faded over the last year to the point at which only a few dozen "hard-core� fans of the just-over-two-year-old promotion were left. To the extent that we - yeah, I'm a DLR pin trader - couldn't support a three day a week promotion as is run at the different resorts at WDW is probably true - but, we could easily pack a monthly event. I'd even go to bi-monthly - or even weekly if there was some cross promotion to the Resort Hotel guests - in the summertime.

If the crowd for this night is any indication - it was so crowded that some came in, took one look around, and then left without even opening their pin bags. I'd say that it's definitely doable at the DLR. I understand that the first event in any continuing promotion is always the most heavily attended - especially at the DLR as the trust between the pin traders/collectors/buyers and the Merchandise/Merchandise Special Events team has yet to be regained - but if the advertisements for next month's Pin Trading Night expand from the Resort's pin locations to the Resort's hotels - as well as the web's Disney, fan and pin sites - a whole new circle of traders and potential traders can be rather easily - and relatively inexpensively - brought into the promotion. It's a no-brainer - honestly - the only thing stopping it will be the amount of red-Disney-tape involved when Division A deals with Department B that makes so many DLR events tougher than they need to be. But, I have hope.

The event drew a really broad cross-section of collector's - the wide-eyed-slightly-over-whelmed-brand-new-to-the-hobby traders were there - the casual, social, friendly, more-talk-than-trading traders were there - the curious Disneyland Hotel guest "Just-stopped-by- to-take-a-look� traders were there - the hard-core-take-no-prisoners traders were there - the e-Bay merchandisers and secondary-marketeers were there - even a few of the DLR sharks were there. Add the kids and it was a good - if a bit odd - mix as tables were filled with pins, pin trades and pin gossip. From the tables and couches of the lobby through the Garden Room and into the Kid's Zone and out onto the patio the traders were at full-tilt-trading within moments of the opening.

There was an excitement in the room and a buzz about the event - I haven't seen this much enthusiasm in the fan base since the first "Golden Days� of the promotion. At this point in my pin collecting - a more than 20 year infatuation with Disney cloisonne - I consider myself to be a recovering hard-core pin collector and before this event I couldn't even remember the last time I had taken my pin bag or worn my lanyard to the Resort. I've taken to doing almost all of my pin trading via the pinpics.com trade assistant and the USPS - it was fun to actually meet two traders that I've only known by their e-mail addresses though. I'd almost forgotten how much I liked face-to-face trading and the fun of hanging out with my pin pals and gossiping about any and everything. It's fun again.

Or - maybe it's that I'm having fun again. It's good to know that my favorite collectable promotion won't be leaving the DLR without a fight. There have been rumors that pin trading was on the way out and the market indicators have been pointing in that direction since last summer. As another of my pin pals pointed out - when paper collectables get hot again the current fad is on the way out. It happened with Disney mini-bean-bag plush - it happened with non-sports cards - it happened with collectable coins - it happened with figurines - it happened with dimensional art - and it can happen with pins. All you need to do is peruse e-Bay to see that Disney-themed paper items are gaining in popularity - and profitability - again.

We stayed until they had to turn the lights off to get us out of the room and I managed to add about 8 pins to my collection - and even traded for a few for friends. Was this the perfect pin event? - Nope. It was the first step into a larger pin world for the DLR - for the most part a learning experience and the team is ahead of the curve. Sure, the room was much too small, and much too warm - and the patio was much too dark and much too cold - and the Pin-Powers-That-Be completely mis-judged the response - again - all pretty much as I expected as they still have no clue to the depth of their audience. Hey, there was an ice-water station set up for us - so that leads me to believe that someone was thinking. Is there room for improvement? - Sure. Will improvements be made? - I hope so.

Rather - I know so. Pins still = cash and in this economy - and with the uncertainty of the Disneyana collectables marketplace - that still makes the work worth the receipts. I have to admit to being very much surprised that there was no pin cart available for the event as there were trades that went unmade because those involved didn't want to give up their table space to walk across the hotel property to the Fantasia shop - so the company lost money that would have been spent if the opportunity to do so had been there. As I used to say to a friend in the merchandise division, "If I come with money and I leave with money, then someone in your division didn't do their job.� Maybe next time.

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