This post is about as long as A Tale of Two Cities. I present you with an epic tale about the origin of Disney pin trading and even if you think an idea is stupid, Disney is an evil, mastermind genius, and they will prevail. (I'm sure this is how Darth Vader feels every time he sees a depiction of himself with Mickey ears on)
Since I've been doing so much running, I've been doing way too much thinking. Mark my words: it won't be long until you can have a Netflix chip implanted directly into your brain. Then I won't have to do any thinking at all. I will be able to just beam old episodes of Parks and Rec (someone help me out- should that be italicized? Underlined? Does anyone even care?) directly into my brain and trot happily along, not a real thought getting in the way of my Amy Poehler time. Or Ron Swanson time, whom I have a wee crush on, despite his being my polar opposite.
But I digress. I mentioned in my last post that I freaked out on a run because there was a possibly that I forgot to order the commemorative pin for Tinkerbell Half this year. Gasp! Mind you, I am not a crazy pin trader, and pretty much could not give two shits about the Disney pins. I don't collect them and I don't trade them. Since I started running, I've gone to both Disneyland and Disney World a bunch of times and never have I just bought a pin at one of the parks for a keepsake. Ever. Somehow, the race pins are different. I must have them. This is all part of Disney's master plan for world domination. They will get you, eventually.
I didn't decide to run Tinkerbell until Wine & Dine weekend. The night of the half, I met up with friends that I love to see at races and had a blast with them as I always do. They were all heading to Tink and Abby offered to let me bunk with her and her sister. All of the Tink races were sold out, including the Pixie Dust challenge, but the half itself was still open. The next morning, I signed up. Since I signed up from my phone during breakfast, I couldn't remember if I had ordered the pin. Well, you can all relax because *spoiler alert* I did, in fact, order the pin. I may or may not have actually checked my confirmation in the middle of my run. That information is classified, however, so I guess you'll never know the truth.
Disneyland Half 2010 was my very first race ever. Back then, the expo was a normal, semi quiet affair. People didn't mob the merchandise section like crazed Black Friday Shoppers at Best Buy. I was so scared I wouldn't finish that first half, that I refrained from buying any souvenirs. I was petrified that I would jinx myself and since I was a rookie, I assumed that I could just buy a souvenir after the race was over. So, so naive, I was.
|My first race pin. Disneyland Half 2010.|
Luckily, I had preordered that first race pin. I managed to find a really ugly men's half marathon jacket after the race in downtown Disney. I bought it, but I have never once worn it. I also found a key chain.
|Most of my Disneyland race pins|
Ever since then, I automatically have ordered the pin when I sign up of a runDisney race. If I signed up for the challenge, I get the pins for the individual races and the challenge pin. Even though I seriously cringe at the price, somehow I can't stop ordering them. I have a preordered pin (and sometimes an additional pin from the expo) for every Disney race that I've done. The only exception being the Marathon Relay in 2012 because there weren't any even produced.
|Goofy Challenge 2013|
It's like this love/hate/resentful thing I do during every registration. I can't break the chain but those pins are like $15 a pop. Damn you, Disney!! *shakes fist*
|My favorite of all of my race pins|
Anyway, as I was trotting around the park, secure in the knowledge that the coveted pin would be added to my collection, I was also grumbling about the amount of money of have invested in those stupid pins and I'm not even a pin collector. Don't judge, my dear readers, I have a sneaking suspicion that there are a few of you out there in the same boat as me.
And then, as I was finishing up the last mile of my run, I remembered the story of the origin of Disney pin trading.
Growing up in Arizona, I went on tons of road trips to Disneyland. Family trips, school trips, friend trips. Pretty much every year we ended up at Disneyland at some point. At no point, did I recall seeing a bunch of pins in the gift shops.
|Spaceship Earth dressed up for the Millennium Celebration. That is a picture of a picture from our trip.|
In 2000, my family took a vacation to the Disney World Resort. My dad and step mom must have booked through a Disney travel agent because when we met at their house in the wee hours of the morning to leave on our trip, my dad handed all of us the standard complimentary Disney luggage tag and keepsake pin from the Disney travel company. I didn't think much about it, but for some reason, I kept that pin.
|My first Disney pin|
Upon arrival at The Boardwalk (a hotel I adore but can only afford if I'm with a parental unit and not actually paying for it), we were greeted by a cast member. I believe we were staying on the concierge level (also something I can not afford on my own). When you stay at a nicer hotel, especially when you're on the concierge level, the cast members take their time explaining everything to you and giving you tips and pointers to ensure that you have the most magical time possible.
Part of this magical experience hinged on taking part in a new Disney past time ("Disney past time" loosely translates as "ways you can spend even more money at Disney, despite the second mortgage you have on your house just to afford this trip in the first place") of pin trading.
She then handed everyone a special pin to "start our very own collection". She explained that pin collecting and trading was new, but that if we saw a cast member with a pin on, we could trade our pin for one of the cast member's pins. If we bought a pin, we could trade that pin, too.
|And so it begins|
I remember her telling us that this was going to be a huge thing in the future. Everyone would be pin trading like trading baseball cards in the past.
You know what I remember the most clearly about all of this? All I could think is that pin trading is the dumbest thing ever and there's no way it was going to be successful. No one cares enough about pins for it to be traded on a mass scale.
Well, we all know how wrong I was about that. Never doubt the Mouse. Oh, the irony. I'm now almost 40 and I had a minor panic attack that I would be missing a pin from from collection, had I forgotten to order it.
|A Tale Of Two Pins. The End.|
Well played, Disney. Well played.
I decided to Google original Disney pin trading (after I wrote all of this because, of course, it didn't occur to me to check it our beforehand. D'oh.), just to make sure I didn't make all of this up in my own mind. I think it's entirely possible that Disney is capable of implanting false memories into our brains while on property, but my story checks out. Disney introduced pin trading as part of the Millennium Celebration.
I have to take a moment to thank my research assistant, Bruiser, because he was oh so helpful.