Pin Trading Events – What are they like? What can I expect? – Pin Trading Nights (Part 1 of 3)

The 50th Anniversary Enchanted Tiki Room pin trading event is coming up in June and if tickets are still available, I would suggest going if you love pin trading.  If it’s anything like the Sci-Fi Academy held two years ago, it’ll be well worth your time.  This event encompasses more than just pin trading and is really a complete homage to the rich history of the Enchanted Tiki Room.  As one of Disneyland’s oldest attractions, it has surprisingly lasted the test of time along with other attractions like Jungle Cruise and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, although I have to wonder if perhaps just a little of that is because of the famous Dole Whip.  But one thing you must know, just because something is called a “pin trading event” doesn’t really tell you what to expect.  Each one is different depending on where it’s located, who’s hosting it, and how the event is structured.  Some are great and some … are not as good.  I’ll share with you some of my experiences and give you some hints and tips to make your experience the best it can be.  This first post will be about the pin trading nights, but we will cover pin trading events at the Disney Soda Fountain and the events like Tiki Room event coming up in a future post.

Beautiful hinged pin for Pin Trading Nights.  This year's pins (2013) feature a spinner.
Beautiful hinged pin for Pin Trading Nights. This year’s pins (2013) feature a spinner.

Pin Trading Nights
Pin trading nights are hosted about quarterly at the Disneyland resort and are admittedly my least favorite of the pin trading events.  The space is far too crowded, the people are pretty pushy, and the atmosphere is not the one of collegiality I’m used to with most pin traders.  Having to share the space with Vinylmation traders who take up an enormous amount of room for very little product (in comparison to the much smaller pins), every corner of the room as well as out in the hallway adjacent to the room is taken up with people all over.  Generally, you’d think this was a good thing, but the room is so crowded that you are often bumped and jostled and you can pretty much forget about finding a good space to put your stuff down unless you camp out early and rush in.  Even if you make it in the room and look around, it’s not easy to see other people’s pins because of the crowding.  The tables are not ideal for pin traders who would benefit from long rectangular tables instead of the huge circular tables used at the event.  And it’s been my experience the two times I’ve gone that most people are very picky pin traders and don’t have the same congenial spirit as the traders in the park have.  There are no pins available at the event site either to commemorate pin trading nights.  To get one, you have to go to Downtown Disney and buy them.  I recommend going early in the day BEFORE the event as these can sell out (being usually a fairly low LE and available to anyone – attendance at the event is not required).  I brought my daughter, Emma, with me to the first one I went to and what a mistake.  She was bumped, jostled, elbowed, and nobody would trade with her.  It was hot, crowded, and pretty miserable for a child who loves collecting pins.  That’s my experience.  I would love to hear if it’s gotten any better.

I know I opened with a less positive experience of a pin trading event, but most of them are not like this and I still think pin trading is one of the best hobbies I’ve had (ask my wife – I’ve dabbled in quite a few).  The people are nice for the most part, honest, and fun to be around.  The quality of the product is generally great and you can’t beat the subject of the pins – Disney!  In addition to the events we’ll be covering in this series, I’ve already written about pin release events at Mickey’s of Glendale and how great that is as well as pin trading at Aulani and on the cruises.  All great experiences so find your niche and enjoy!

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