Pin Trading 201: Aloha, Aulani…With Pins!

I wasn’t expecting the pin trading bonanza that fell in my lap at Aulani.

Getting ready for our summer vacation in Hawaii, I had decided to leave my pins at home.  I hadn’t heard of much pin trading action at the Aulani resort so why use up valuable bag space for something I didn’t need? But then a week before leaving I found out about the Oahu Ohana Pin Traders.  Turns out they were hosting a pin trading event at the resort the Sunday we happened to be there! Leaving behind a few other things, 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.

When Sunday arrived I made my way down to the Disney Vacation Club Preview Center where the group was scheduled to meet. Kathy (one of the DVC cast members) was our host for the evening, and she was amazing!  She brought three lanyards of newly minted Hidden Mickey pins for us to trade with her and and I was able to shore up a couple of my collections.  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 the nicest group I’ve encountered.  There was one guy who only sold pins for profit, but everyone else stuck to normal pin trading rules.  The club hosts a gathering once a month in different places around the island, but apparently have stopped meeting at the resort itself.  Still if you can, go to one of their meet-ups and you’ll be treated like royalty.  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.”

Disney’s Aulani Resort in Oahu

There is pin trading at 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 (one of the gift shops at the resort).  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.  I haven’t been back since 2012 so if you know any new information, please let me know.  The resort does carry unique Aulani pins often limited edition you can only acquire at the hotel itself.  Kalepa was the place to go for these gems!

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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 pins pertaining specifically to Hawaii.  In fact, when I went 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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