The first time I visited Disney World was about 12 years ago. Fiddledaddy brought me across the country to honeymoon in Florida, and a year or so later, we moved here. One of the things he promised me if I agreed to move, was season passes to Disney World. He also promised me a tan, but I have yet to see that come to fruition.
Since moving to Florida, and the addition of three Mouseketeers to our Season Passes, we visit the happiest place on earth every chance we get. Which is actually a lot, since we homeschool and can justify visits as field trips. AND the best time to go is during the week during the school year.
I get a good number of e-mails asking for Disney advice from moms who are planning a family vacation to Disney World. And I love to answer those questions to the best of my ability.
And I answer questions that haven’t even been asked. Yes, the toilet seat covers turn into paper mache when you are hot and sweaty. And if you’re not careful, you will be spotted wearing it outside of your clothing for the remainder of your visit.
Really, it’s a wonder the people at Disney haven’t asked me to be an official tour guide.
I’m learning something new nearly every time I visit the theme park. Just last year I was introduced to pin trading. I had seen people wearing lanyards about their neck bejeweled with all manner of sparkly decorations, but frankly, they just looked like they would make you more HOT and SWEATY.
Menopause, you do like to play cat and mouse with me.
But alas, my daughters began spotting other park patrons wearing PRINCESS PINS on their lanyards, and they began campaigning to begin their own pin collection. We asked for advice about this whole pin phenomenon, and some very nice cast members (aka Disney employees) helped us navigate the pin trading protocol.
First of all, if you want to begin a pin collection, you can buy a set of less expensive pins (usually 5 or 6) for about $29.00. Gulp. The lanyard is generally included in the price. Then you look for cast members wearing lanyards and you can “trade up.” That is, if you see a more desirable rhinestone Sleeping Beauty pin, you can trade it for your less desirable Alvin & the Chipmunks pin.
Before you know it, you’ve got a nice pin collection started.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. There are a few rules you must abide by. The pins must be official Disney pins (not old earrings out of your grandmother’s jewelry box) and if you see a cast member wearing a green lanyard, he/she can ONLY trade with children 12 and under. This gives the little guys a chance to score some nice pins. Because evidently there are adults out that get serious about the pin trading business.
Not me. Did I mention, HOT & SWEATY. Occasionally I have to wear Jensen’s lanyard while he goes to the bathroom because HE HAS TO RENDER HIMSELF COMPLETELY NAKED and frankly, I can live without the whole pin trading lanyard around my neck. Forever.
Another issue we’ve faced is that sometimes the pins fall off and certain children of mine don’t notice until much later and a good deal of sadness ensues. We’ve bought a package of the “locking backs” but nearly lost a beloved Troy of Highschool Musical pin. So Fiddledaddy did some online research and found a GREAT website all about Disney info and tips called Allears.net. From there he learned a few tricks to keeping the pin backs in place.
For example, “as you start to put the black rubber back on, push the “handle” part of the back to the side, so that the “stem” pushes through at an angle, and sticks out the side of the handle part of the back. This really locks them into place.” We tried it and it seems to work.
Also, sometimes if I’m bored at WDW, I’ll make a game out of looking at the ground to see if I can spot any extra black rubber pin backings (they are shaped like Mickey ears). I’ve never seen a stray pin on the ground, but I have found at least 6 or so pin backings so I have extra on hand.
This is where you might be thinking that I need to get a life. And you would be right.
Okay, there’s one more pin trading recommendation that we recently tried. Pins can be pricey. But just recently we bought a larger group of Disney pins on e-Bay. We ended up paying less than a dollar a pin. And we’ll dole them out to the offspring a little at a time. They should be arriving any time, so I’ll take a picture and let you know how that purchase turned out.
I’m a little excited about that! Not enough to wear a lanyard around my own neck, but excited for my kids who forget all about turning themselves inside out with shyness when it comes to pin trading. They are learning to speak up with a nice polite voice and ask to see cast members pins.
Any budding pin traders out there? And if so, what has been your very favorite find?
And for more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head over to Kristen’s at We Are That Family!