Fairy Tails Epcot Pin Event 2019

As soon as they announced last year that the theme of the 2019 EPCOT Pin Event was to be ‘Fairy Tails’ and the pins would feature all of Disney’s lovable animals, I was ready to pack my suitcase and go.

They always announce at the current event what the next years event will be, what they don’t tell you is when it will take place.  It wasn’t until April 5th that we found out the event would be held August 9th & 10th, with early registration and pin trading night on Thursday August 8th.

We then had to wait in anticipation for the merchandise catalogue which was posted April 25th… then we waited for the announcement of the registration date.

That was posted April 30th and told us that registration would open at 1 p.m. on May 7th.  So we continued to wait.  Pin traders do a lot of waiting!

This year Disney offered something new, a tiered level for participation.  There were 100 tickets sold as ‘Best in Show’ and the remaining 1150 tickets were Furry Friends.  The Furry Friends event ticket was $150 and the Best in Show was $250.  The registration link, when opened, would put you in a virtual queue so that you knew where you stood in the registration process.

On May 7th I was at my computer, signed in and waiting for the link to open, Carrie, my travel partner for pin events was sitting at her computer.  We also had other devices open; we were going to do everything we could to get the Best in Show package.

At exactly 1:00 p.m. the virtual queue opened and I nearly fell off my chair.  I was number six!

With shaking hands I messaged Carrie to let her know I was registering us for the VIP package.  Carefully and slowly I completed the registration, fearful that I would do something wrong and get booted out.  Finally I was able to hit the golden button – SUBMIT – and sigh with relief . . . I had a confirmation number.

Final Itinerary

This year the event sold out in under an hour; that has never happened in the 19 years Disney has been running this event.

The next part of the routine was to complete our Random Selection Process pin orders and submit them by July 1stThen we all waited until July 15th to find out what we were awarded from the first RSP.  One of the perks of being in the Best in Show category was that you were guaranteed everything on your 1st RSP.  That was not the case on the 2nd or 3rd RSP.

Fast forward to Tuesday August 6th . . . Gary drove my travel companion Sue and I to Syracuse New York.  We had a flight at ‘stupid o’clock’ in the morning so we were spending the night at the Best Western Hotel adjacent to the Syracuse Airport.

Wednesday August 7, 2019

Sue and I were up well before dawn and boarded our flight to Orlando as the sun appeared on the eastern horizon.  About 2 ½ hours later we touched down in Orlando.  Sue was rooming with one of our other friends Cheryl so, after I picked up a rental car, I took her to Disney’s Pop Century Resort where we were all staying.  Sue got checked in and headed to a theme park; Cheryl wasn’t arriving until late that night. 

Meanwhile, my roomie, Carrie, was on a flight from Buffalo so I headed back to the airport to pick her up.

By 1:00 p.m. Carrie and I were back in the car and heading toward The Boathouse, a restaurant in Disney Springs.  We met some friends for a wonderful lunch that lasted until about 5:00 p.m. when we said our goodbyes and parted ways.  

Carrie and I had to get back to Pop Century to unpack and get ready to go to Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground for dinner at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue with some other friends.  It was a great show, as always, and a wonderful evening with some very special people.  At the end of the day, Carrie and I were both tired and ready to turn in.

Fun with friends at the Hoop-Dee-Doo

Thursday August 8, 2019

Thursday morning we were up and running early!

We had to be at the Coronado Springs Convention Centre for the annual Breakfast with the Artists.  This popular event is organized by Janis Lavender and John Rick of the Central Jersey Disney Pin Trader group and it’s the perfect way to start the weekend.  This year it was held in the Monterrey room at Coronado Springs.

This was a great location as the registration for the pin event is also held at Coronado Springs so that meant we could go directly from the breakfast to the registration area without leaving the building.

Artist Breakfast

The food was great and the interaction with the artists was wonderful.  We were also each give a keepsake button.  Each year there are several artists who join us from the Disney Creative Group (formally called Disney Design Group).

 I really enjoy the opportunity to hear directly from the talented people who design the pins I collect!

When the breakfast concluded at 11:45 a.m. we headed down the hall of the convention centre to the event registration area.

The Registration Line

[caption width="480" id="attachment_32619" align="aligncenter"] Each attendee received a nice ‘Welcome Gift’

The $25.00 gift card was cute!

The special lanyard medallion for Best in Show – a Limited Edition of 100

Attendees could purchase a special Magic Band


It’s a tense time as we open our Mystery Boxes.  These mystery pins usually become the most coveted ones of the entire weekend.

This year the mystery box pins were lovely and I wanted them all.

There were 16 pins in total, 2 per box.  We were shown 8 of the pins and the other 8 were the “chasers”.

Mystery Box Revealed Pins

Mystery Box Chasers

The 8 ‘revealed’ pins are limited release and the 8 ‘chaser’ pins are Limited Edition pins with an Edition size of 450.  You can see where the challenge is.

I was lucky with my mystery boxes; I got several chasers and all of the revealed pins.  I was able to work my way around the trading room and get the complete set.

Carrie and I left the trade area a bit early and headed to the Beach Club for a 6:30 p.m. reservation at Beaches & Cream.  It was so good!  Afterwards it was back to the room to get good nights sleep so that would be ready for the big day Friday.

Beaches and Cream

Friday August 9, 2019 

Friday we arrived at EPCOT a bit early.  With all the construction going on at the security and bag-check area they did not have a special area for us to go through.  It was a slow process as the security agents have to check all the pin bags.  When we were finally through bag-check we were happy to see that there was a special entrance into the park for event attendees.

There Was A Special Entrance!

We did the fast and hot walk over to World ShowPlace, the large convention venue that is hidden behind a gate between Canada and England. 

Cheryl and Sue got in their long line and Carrie and I found the much shorter short VIP line for the ‘Best in Show’ registrants.  It was a wonderful perk to have.

Best In Show Credentials

When the doors opened at 9:30 a.m. we ran straight to a regular trading board.  We were able to get 2 pins each and they were great pins.  The boards were loaded with some pretty awesome pins this year.

Then we walked across the room to our Best in Show line; it was short and the pins were very good. 

Best in Show Line

We spent the morning wandering around and stood in one more pin line before lunch.

As always, the World ShowPlace Conference building was lavishly decorated and I really enjoyed this year’s theme.

There were classic scenes from many of Disney’s animated films and each scene depicted one or more memorable Disney animals who were featured on the event pins.

It has been my tradition for years to make an Advanced Dining Reservations for both days, at noon at the Rose & Crown.  It is nice to get away from the event for an hour or so, see daylight and have a good meal.  I make the ADR for eight people and whoever wants to join is welcome.

Rose & Crown lunch

When we received our credentials the day before, we got our trading tabs.  Similar to last year, we each received 4 trading tabs per day, however the Best in Show got an extra two for the special VIP line, so Carrie and I had to make up a bit of time!

We were happy to be able to get in a shorter line that led to some trade boxes.

An RSP pin

My ‘top wants’ from the RSP

We were both done our trade lines well before the end of the day. 

We were also given a scavenger hunt map that could be completed over the two days.  Carrie and I decided we would forgo doing the actual hunt and just handed in our tab for the pin set.  It was quite nice, a boxed set of Pascal pins, all in different colours.

As the first day of the event came to an end we decided to take the slow, hot walk to the parking lot and go for dinner at Sweet Tomatoes.  It’s an off-property favourite of ours.  Carrie and I also took some of our Canadian friends pin bags with us to the car so that they could go and spend the night playing in the parks.

Sweet Tomatoes

Saturday August 10, 2019 

Saturday was pretty much a repeat of Friday . . . lines to the trading boards, lunch at Rose & Crown, pictures of the decor, visiting with friends and trading pins as we stood in line.

There are always several games going on throughout the event and we had two fellow Canadians chosen to participate.  Congratulations Gwenn and Kevin.

During the afternoon there was a Disney Artist Panel where the artists answered questions that had been written out by guests earlier in the day.  There was an Artist Pin Signing table where you could have the artist that designed your pin sign it for you.

Through out the entire two days the Pin Partners had Product Previews set up showing the upcoming pins from Walt Disney World, Disneyland California, Shanghai Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Theme for 2020

More samples of the amazing decor!

During the Artist Panel the announcement was made that next year’s event will be called ‘2020 Celebrating 20 Years of Pin Trading’..  I will be interesting to see what the pins will be.  Maybe a highlighted pin from each of the previous 20 events? 

We also received a parting gift, a four pin boxed set of some really cute Disney pets.

Parting Gift

I was thrilled with the pins I got off the boards this year, plenty of limited editions and artist proofs.  Some will go into my collection and some will go into my trade bag.

Carrie and I left the event and headed back to Pop Century, we decided to try out the food court at our resort, get packed for our trip home Sunday and just relax.

No park visits during this trip!

Sunday August 11, 2019 

We had a leisurely morning and by 11:00 a.m. Carrie, Sue and I were at the Orlando airport waiting for our flights home.  Carrie was heading back to Buffalo while Sue and I were returning to Syracuse, with a lay-over at New York’s JFK airport along the way.  Gary was waiting to pick us up when our flight landed at 7:00 p.m.

The event was over for another year.  I give this years event high marks; I enjoyed the theme and decorations, I thought the photo-op setups were fun and the pins were great.  Having the Best in Show package was definitely worth the extra cost.  Depending on when the event is held next year, I hope to be there.

Carol Cruise

Carol Cruise

Carol is a retired banker who lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada with her husband Gary. She is a self-proclaimed certified Disney nut who visits the parks a number of times each year.  Carol is a collector who has a variety of collections that include Artist Teddy Bears, Music Boxes, Disney Memorabilia, Coffee & Tea Pots, Bird Houses, Hallmark Ornaments, Dept 56 Christmas Village, Stamps, Buttons and Disney Pins.  When she is not visiting a Disney destination, Carol enjoys gardening and spending time with her beloved dogs.

Disney Pin Trading In New Jersey

One of the highlights of Carol’s pin-trading year is the trip to New Jersey each Spring for the “Trade ‘Til You Fade” pin trading weekend hosted by Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders.  She just loves getting together with other traders and CJDPT always puts on a first class event!

The group was founded by John Rick in January 2002 and since then they have held regular pin trading meets.  The schedule of events is accessible on their web site at:  http://www.cjdpt.com   All of their meets are held at the Comfort Inn 255 Davidson Avenue, Somerset, NJ.  There are Friday evening events, Saturday afternoon events and two week-end-long events in the Spring and Fall each year.  John’s wife Sheila and their good friends Janis Lavender and her husband David are actively involved in all aspects of the group’s activities.

We normally travel to New Jersey with a group of Canadian pin traders, most of them from the Toronto area.  Even though I am not a pin trader, I have joined in a few times. The trip is an adventure for Carol and I.  Our travel day is usually Thursday and we often stop at the Syracuse NY Disney Store on the way; many of the Disney Stores in Canada have closed and we sure miss them! The store is conveniently located about two hours into our trek so we can stop and stretch our legs.  It’s a 364 mile trip from our home to the Comfort Inn but we have a bit of a head-start on our companions from the Toronto area who have to drive a little further, it’s about a 500 mile trip for them.

Missing pin on a milk carton

Pin trading is serious business – milk cartons showing the missing pins!

You might expect that we Canadians, since we are foreigners, travel furthest to get to New Jersey but that’s actually not the case. Folks drive from as far away as Miami FL – 1,270 miles but I think the overall the distance award has to go to the dedicated trader from Seattle WA who, a few years ago, flew 2,800 miles to trade pins!

Even though trading activities don’t officially start until Friday evening there are already some pin traders set up at the tables in the breakfast area adjacent to the lobby by the time we arrive Thursday evening.  We always stop and renew acquaintances but it’s normally a short night for us.  It has been a long drive and Carol needs a good night’s rest to get her ready for a gruelling week end!

We try to plan some other “Disney” activities for Friday morning.  This often involves a commuter-train ride to New York City’s Penn Station or a trip on the Staten Island Ferry to Battery Park in Lower Manhattan.  Over the years our adventures in The Big Apple have taken us on a couple of double-decker bus tours of Manhattan, to Times Square many times and to some fabulous NYC delicatessens for lunch.  We’ve browsed some amazing shops along 5thAvenue and taken a peaceful horse-drawn-carriage ride through Central Park.

Carriage ride in Central Park before the Disney Pin event

Carriage ride in Central Park before the pin trading event!

But, of course, we have to be back to the hotel in New Jersey by late afternoon!  The event kicks off Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. when the registration desk opens and folks line up to check-in, pick up their name-tags, goody bags and tickets for several random draws.  There are three trading areas, two hotel meeting rooms fill with traders first and once breakfast is over the trading activity spills over into the room where the complimentary breakfast is served each morning.  The Comfort Inn and their staff are extremely accommodating.  The hotel staff all join in the fun by wearing Disney themed clothing and they allow the group to post Disney posters and signs throughout the common areas of the hotel.  It is a very festive and fun filled place!  They even allow the group to bring in coolers filled with their own drinks on ice.  Most traders bring bottled water, sodas or juices to add to the communal drink coolers and there are also plenty of traders who contribute “snack-food” items which soon fill the counters in the breakfast area.  It quickly transforms from a complimentary breakfast into a veritable junk-food buffet!

The breakfast room

Carol always does her best trading on Friday nights. This year she traded from 7:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. and was delighted with the 20 pins she picked up.  Yes, pin traders are an oddly nocturnal group!  I have no idea what time things actually wound down but a friend reported that the crowd was thin when he left at 3:00 a.m.

Saturday morning we headed down for breakfast at 8:15. Many of the night-owls had returned, looking remarkably fresh and eager.  The two meeting rooms were open and trading was in full swing again but, of course, the breakfast room was set aside for breakfast.  Traders who want to set up in the breakfast room once the meal is done simply park their pin cases and pin bags along the wall in the corridor and establish their order in the line.  Then at 10:20 or 10:30, when the area has been cleaned up after breakfast, they are given the “all-clear” to file in.  Once they settle and get set up they are established for the day and trading resumes in earnest.

One of the meeting rooms

The traders who come to these events are not at all like some of the ones you used to meet at those tables outside Pin Central at Downtown Disney.  Many of them made their living trading pins and they could be very aggressive, sometimes ruthless.  Not so at CJDPT events.  The traders here are nice people who are anxious to help you complete your collection. Trading is easy, fun and free of stress. Carol really enjoys this week end; she looks forward to it every year.

This was probably about the 30th“overnight event” CJDPT has hosted and the hotel was fully booked by pin traders.  The organizers always negotiate reasonable group rates with the hotel; Carol and I had a two-room suite with a king bed and the rate was only $79.00 plus tax.  Our bill for two nights was only $181.10 including a complimentary breakfast each day!  Wow!

The Comfort Inn New Jersey Disney Pin Traders

The Comfort Inn welcomes us!

Registration fees for the pin trading event are quite reasonable as well.  Guests registered at the hotel pay a fee of $5.00 to register for all three days.  If you are not a hotel guest your fees for all three days will not be more than $18.00.  There were 97 people trading pins on Friday night and local traders who “drop in” for a few hours during the weekend swelled the total registration number to almost 200 people.  It’s a very popular event!

There are special games, activities, quizzes and raffles throughout each day and night with prizes for all the winners.  It’s non-stop trading and there is always a fun-filled diversion of some kind.  It’s not always about pins; people also trade vinylmations and other Disney collectibles!

Explaining the rules for the gift exchange

One of the highlights is the Saturday night gift exchange. It’s purely voluntary and not everyone participates but it’s always fun for those who do get involved.  It’s one of those exchanges where gifts can be “stolen” and folks can get quite aggressive and quite entertaining as they seek out their favourite gift! 

Sunday morning is generally very quiet; those who have travelled a distance are packing up and checking out to start the trip home.  We always have breakfast and yak a bit before saying our goodbyes.  We strive to be on the road by 10:30 so that we arrive home by about 6:00 p.m.   Many folks stay and continue trading until the event officially closes at noon.  Every year we see the plenty of familiar faces and several new ones.  Carol has always found the group easy to trade with and she always completes a few sets and comes home with some new treasures!

Raffle Prize

If you are a pin trader and you want experience a fun filled week end with your peers, New Jersey is the place for you.  Check out their web site at: http://www.cjdpt.com and make plans to join in a pin week end soon.

Gary Cruise

Gary Cruise

Gary is a retired banker who lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He first visited Walt Disney World in 1977 and has returned many, many times over the years. Since retiring he and his wife Carol enjoy the parks a number of times each year. They especially like staying at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground with their Shetland sheep dogs.

Here you can see Gary at the pin trading event manning the booth while Carol trades pins!