Aloha! – Pin Trading at Aulani Resort

Getting ready for our family summer vacation in Hawaii, I felt like this was going to be a light trip.  Didn’t need to bring a lot of pins and hadn’t heard of much pin trading action at the Aulani resort. I was going to bring a small bag of “traders” (pins I have no emotional attachment to) in case some of the cast members had some pins to trade, but that was about it.  And then about a week before leaving I accidentally ran into this Facebook page – Oahu Ohana Pin Traders.  Turns out they were hosting a pin trading event at Aulani the Sunday we happened to be at the resort!  Suddenly, I had to chuck a few books, get rid of some excess clothing and make room for at least one pin bag.  I wasn’t sure how serious the trading was going to be so I packed a variety of things – Hidden Mickeys,  Disney Soda Fountain pins, miscellaneous LE, cast exclusive, and some Disneyland Resort stuff.  In went my pin bag with my carry-on luggage (totally willing to risk all my clothes, but no way was I going to trust my pins to airport security).

Disney's Aulani Resort in Oahu
Disney’s Aulani Resort in Oahu

When Sunday arrived I made my way down to the Disney Vacation Club Preview Center where Kathy (one of the DVC cast members) was our host for the evening, and what an amazing host she was!  She brought three lanyards of newly minted Hidden Mickey pins for us to trade with her and she was so incredibly gracious about it embodying the spirit of a true Disney cast member.  People began showing up in spurts during the first hour and the trading was serious but friendly.  The whole Oahu Ohana Pin Traders Club were such nice people.  They were kind and fair traders with some pretty extensive collections.  I got some GREAT pins including some wonderful LE Aulani ones that I couldn’t have found otherwise.  It seemed the most popular pins I had were Stitch pins from DLR and DSF, cast exclusive pins, and Hidden Mickey Completer pins.  The club hosts a gathering once a month in different places around the island so just “like” their Facebook page to find out the next meeting place.  But don’t be surprised by their graciousness and friendliness!  These are genuinely wonderful people.  I loved the Hawaiian traditional greeting of kissing on the cheek between men and women.  What a touch of “aloha.”

Other than that, you can trade with cast members all around the resort.  Five different locations have “pin books” if you just ask for it – the concierge desk, the DVC Preview Center, the Lava Shack (near the pool), Aunty’s Beach House, and Kalepa.  The best location for me was the DVC Preview Center.  Usually three different cast members each have lanyards and they refresh often.  I was able to get quite a few Hidden Mickey pins that have been hard for me to collect.  The other locations didn’t refresh the entire time I was at the resort, but I appreciated that they even had pin books.

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One other location that had pins for sale (not for trade) was the Disney Store in the Ala Moana Center.  This Disney Store like the one in New York and on the Walt Disney Studios campus has unique merchandise pertaining specifically to Hawaii.  In fact, they just released and sold out of a Stitch and Lilo pin set while I was there.  I should’ve picked it up!  But it’s worth it to go and check out this store and perhaps you’ll come across some exclusive merchandise you’ll want to take home.  Overall, it was great.  I had a very successful pin trading vacation and I hadn’t expected any success at all.  If you go to Aulani, do your best to meet up with the Oahu Ohana Pin Trading Club, get yourself over to the Ala Moana Center, and make sure to visit with the DVC cast members.  You’ll have a GREAT time!

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