Collecting at WDW

I am behind, so behind, on listening to the three podcasts I haven’t abandoned because…time. So, this is a response to a month old WDWRadio podcast about things to collect at Walt Disney World. I am a collector, less so now than when I was a kid. As a kid, I may have been more a borderline hoarder. I am more selective these days but the collections I still have almost all have a Disney tie. Exhibits A-D:


A recent snapshot of my WDW pin collection; still have room to grow!

1) Pins. Let’s start with the obvious one when it comes to me. Mom and Dad had no idea what they were starting when they brought me that first lanyard with four tiny little pins from each park back in 2000. I outgrew the lanyards a long time ago and display my collection on a pegboard now. I know, I know. You’re supposed to wear and trade them but I put a lot of thought into my pins. I pick characters or movies to hunt out each trip or buy pins to commemorate certain events I attend in the parks or even certain trips. These are touchstones for me, not something to trade away. I bought a Cinderella pin the year I did WDW with my best friend from high school and that’s her favorite character. I hunted an entire trip to find a Hunchback of Notre Dame pin one year (I finally hunted it up in the Animation store at DHS – I really miss that store). I have pins from all the festivals I’ve gotten to (Flower & Garden, Food & Wine). Each party I’ve gotten to attend has a pin; I have pins for things that don’t exist anymore (Osborne Spectacular of Lights is one of my favorite pins). I expanded my collection to include Disneyland pins for my first trip back to the original parks in 2012 and then for my trip last year in 2016. I love looking on my board and remembering where all the pins came from and which trip they belong to.

2) Maps. In re-organizing my giant memory chest a year or so ago, I found I’d stopped collecting these (I hadn’t really realized I was collecting them). I meant to start back up this year but I rely so much on the app now, I never think to grab a map as a souvenir. I’ll go again at least once this year so I need to get maps! As a kid though, I was religious in keeping a map from each park for each trip and they are a blast to look through now. To watch the parks grow and change over time is a true Disney Nerd moment.


I am especially proud of that bottom middle one! RIP Discovery Island

3) Postcards. These are something else I often buy but don’t think that I’m collecting them per say. However, I have postcards everywhere – whether it’s a postcard of the parks or a postcard version of a piece of art I couldn’t afford – I have tons of these, some out for display but most stored away. I always had in the back of my mind I would frame and display all these eventually. Maybe someday I will. I really should just go for a “Disney Wall” some place in my apartment and see what I end up with.



Apparently, I really liked that one that I bought it twice LOL


4) Books. Disney, hear me out. Give me a bookstore in Disney Springs already. Just take my money! I will give it to you. I have to hunt for books in the parks these days. There used to be some guarantee go-to spots to find them but even most of those are gone now (The Writer’s Stop, The Animation Shop (we lost so much when this went away clearly), the book wall in World of Disney). As a bookworm, I love to pick up books when I travel. As a kid, I collected the Disney history books in the parks including the coveted Since the World Began by Jeff Kurtti which I lugged all over the Magic Kingdom one trip (I just had to buy it early in the day). These days I pick up books wherever I can find them on property. The gift shop tucked back in Fantasyland often has some of the Beauty and the Beast books being published (though not all of them, Belle is disappointed in you Disney). You can also usually hunt out the Figment comics in the gift shop after the ride and, oddly enough, I have good luck finding them at the Contemporary Resort. I may have swooned on my last Disneyland trip when I found an ENTIRE WALL of books in the shop attached to their Animation area. Seriously Disney, take all the books (your publishing arm pushes out enough of them) and put them in a small shop in Disney Springs. I could probably single-handedly keep it open for you.


Now for something different

I realize I am a bit book-heavy on this blog. I haven’t even talked about movies in depth in awhile. Mostly because, other than seeing Tron: Legacy while I was home, I haven’t seen a new movie in awhile. I’ve been digging into TV shows. I got Castle for Christmas, Veronica Mars on my Netflix instant watch list and have been watching movies I got for Christmas (Sherlock Holmes, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) which I’ve actually already seen and love hence why I was gifted them.

But I wanted to take a minute to share a hobby with you all. I collect pins. And not just any pins. Disney pins, specifically the pins that you can find in abundance in the parks and have been able to since the pin trading hook was introduced back during Walt Disney World’s Millennium Celebration. Mom and Dad brought my sister and I back identical lanyards with identical pins (sisters – you have to make sure it doesn’t look like you are favoring one). The lanyards had a pin for each park: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios and the Animal Kingdom. Honestly, I thought it was cool but wasn’t too into them. Until I went down myself. There were pins for everything! Parks, hotels, rides, characters, movies…the list goes on and on. I was hooked.

But, well, I liked to collect them. The idea was you were supposed to trade them. This baffled me. I bought a pin that I liked, with my money. I wasn’t going to trade it! Trading was an odd concept to me anyway. My sticker collection was carefully curated and organized. It was to be looked at, not traded people. Sheesh. My pin collection has developed the same way. I have careful chosen and picked most of the pins I’ve personally bought. My parents and sister have continued over the years to get pins for me every time they go down to the World, much more often than I get there anymore. Often, I send them looking for a pin pertaining to a certain character or movie. I can hear their curses from here. It seems I very often send them on a wild goose chase…

Don’t ask for a favorite. Writing this, I took down each lanyard for pictures (until I realized hanging, I could get better shots)and remembered some hard earned pins and even ones that hark back to a Walt Disney World that no longer exists. One of my first pins is the Earful Tower emblazoned with Disney-MGM Studios.  My Dixie Landings pin was one of the first I ever personally bought; the resort is now called Port Orleans Riverside.

I have a Belle pin that came from Europe; my parents couldn’t find one in the States at the time.  I have pins with my favorite characters (Belle, Stitch, Chip and Dale, Tinkerbell, Figment), my favorite rides (Big Thunder Mountain, Mission: Space, Soarin’). I like the quirky ones too. I have a Mickey wearing a Mickey poncho, a pin with Stitch hanging from the chandelier as Beast and Belle glare up at him, and a Mickey emulating Gene Kelly in Singin’ In The Rain. I always make a point to pick up the latest conservation one at Animal Kingdom, usually with Jiminy Cricket. Special events are marked with a pin: My one and only times attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, taking the Backstage Magic tour, finally going to Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. I have pins from my favorite countries in Epcot and new movies on their opening days. One pin even has a picture of me from my trip in the fall of 2002, Senior Year with the Mouse as me and my friend called it. I even have the set of pins you had to pre-order Up to get. I may have pre-ordered the movie just for the pins…

Perhaps more than pictures, my pin collection marks my trips to my home away from home these days. It is a unique collection and I always look forward to growing it. But if you’re looking for a trade, look somewhere else!