I have what you might call a bit of an addictive personality. If ever a trend comes up that involves collecting in any way I tend to get hooked. Initially it was Pogs which was followed by Crazy Bones then Warhammer, Guitars, Posters, Programmes, Shot glasses and so the list continues. Some of these I still collect today, some I still own but don't collect as much and others have been left in the past. (I'm hoping it will be obvious which ones I don't have any more but just in case it isn't...I no longer own or collect Pogs, Crazy Bones or Warhammer.)
What does this have to do with Disney? Well let me tell you.
Back in 1999 Disney launched Pin Trading as part of its Millennium Celebration. I say launched because while Disney had always sold pins 1999 brought about the significant changes that have made pin trading at Disney World what it is today. This is when cast members started wearing lanyards and the pin trading stations opened around Disney World (most significantly in Epcot).
Here are some of the original pins that were part of the Millennium Celebration.
I think during that initial period I bought 1 pin. Just 1 and I didn't even buy it at WDW, I bought it at Disney's Vero Beach Resort. WDW's tagline for that 18 months was "Celebrate the Future Hand in Hand".
I can still remember the tune they gave it and to this day I think it is my favourite Disney tagline. Hence I bought the pin that demonstrated that tagline. they have since rereleased it but just in case you don't believe I bought it way back in 2000, here's a photo of the back of the pin (the newer version has a different inscription on the reverse).
For me pin trading really exploded in 2001 during the 100 Years of Magic celebration. Since then I have amassed a collection of between 250 and 300 pins (this is a guesstimate because they aren't all located in one place). I have pins from WDW, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, the El Capitan, Celebration and the Disney Store. Some commemorate a specific place, film or event, others have character and attraction theming. One personal highlight of my collection is the series of pins that I won for participating in Who Wants to Be a Millionnaire: Play It! at what was Disney-MGM Studios.
One retired element of the pin craze from 2001 is the interactive pins. These were much bigger than the regular pins and would light-up either when you pressed them or when you entered a particular attraction or show. One pin was made for each park plus there was also a more generic pin. (Apologies for the photo quality on the picture below. The Fantasmic pin lights up but is not interactive like the others).
My collection is not limited to Disney pins and includes pins from Universal Studios, New York, Red Nose Day and more. More photos of my collection can be found here.
This year I got to experience pin trading as a cast member at WDW which took the experience to a completely different level. I also began collecting Vinylmation.
Vinylmation is fast gaining in popularity and adds a degree of mystery to the proceedings (you don't now exactly which one you get until after you've bought it). Unfortunately I didn't manage to complete a series of Vinylmation (mostly because the series I was collecting was new and had seemingly limited stock) but I did form a nice little collection of the Mickey statuettes.