If you haven’t been to the Disney Studio Store and Ghirardelli Soda Fountain you need to go.
Especially if you’re a Disney pin fan. Not only do they feature Ghirardelli chocolate everywhere (including their famous hot fudge sundaes), but the Studio Store itself is known for their eclectic and often hard-to-get pins. They literally run out almost as soon as they go on sale. Almost all of their pin offerings are LE 500 or LOWER. They specialize in more unique characters – Jessica Rabbit, Stitch, UP, Tangled, Pooh, and Cheshire Cat just to name a few. Follow them on Facebook to see what new releases are coming out. They have a two planned releases a month.
My Jessica collection over the years
If you do decide to go, make sure you go EARLY! Now that the studio store is known for their beautiful pins (and they are beautiful), everyone is trying to get their hands on them. At first, it was really chaotic, but the distribution process has become much more fair. It obviously favors locals who can go twice a month, but in the past people would be sleeping overnight just for the chance of getting a pin. There would be “unofficial” official lines waiting on odd street corners. It wasn’t safe and often there would be arguments and pushing and it was getting out of hand. Finally, the store revamped the way they gave out pins and now it is far better. Right before a release they distribute the rules on their Facebook page so just be sure to check it out before you go. Is it worth it? If you get a low number in the lottery, it most certainly is. Otherwise you are relegated to eBay and paying at least two to three times the price – or more.
They also have a PIn Traders Delight Sundae. If you order it, you get an exclusive LE pin of a Disney character while supplies last. But if they have a character you like, get it right away! They don’t last long. They used to release them constantly until they ran out of supply and so there would be pin hawks and fanatic pin collectors who would loiter around the store just waiting for a new set to come out. Now, they only release new Pin Traders Delight Sundaes randomly and again have a much better process of giving them out. They are low Limited Edition pins (usually 300 or lower) AND feature very hard to find characters who normally don’t get pins like Arthur from Sword in the Stone or minor characters like Mr. Tibbs from 101 Dalmatians. If there is major character, like Rapunzel or Jessica Rabbit, they often have slightly higher release numbers (somewhere around 400 to 500). You are currently limited to two different pins per day (can’t get two of the same).
The Disney Studio Store now features a nice selection of open edition pins, too. So if you’re just coming to visit, you can be sure of getting some nice pins for your collection even if they are out of the other limited edition variety. Every once in a while they do have Pin Events (see our post on those awesome soirees), but they are few and far between and very costly. They do have the benefit of having guaranteed pins and great pin trading opportunities though!
So pros and cons. Pros – some of the best pins anywhere. Plus, they are always low-numbered limited edition releases. And hard-to-find characters! Cons – Long lines and it’s a lottery so it doesn’t matter how dedicated you are, you have a pretty good chance of not getting any pins. And the Pin Trader Delight Sundaes run out of pins quickly, too. Overall, the experience at the new Disney Studio Store is a good one but with a lot of risk. However, if you get the pins you want, you’ll be so happy! It still means waking up early and trekking to Hollywood, but at least it is fair, fun, and friendly. So if you’re thinking about attending a pin release, be aware of the caveats, or try and attend one of the special pin events. If you’re really into Disney pin collecting, you’ll be glad you did!