Posted in Disney, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Pin Trading, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Pins – March, 2019 Update (part 1)

If you know me, you know that I am a huge fan of all things Mouse. One of my favorite pastimes is collecting pins from my visits to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and hopefully someday, the other Disney parks across the world.

20190303_173628.jpgWhen we moved into this new house, I told Jim I wanted to put some Disney up in our bedroom. Sometimes I can be a bit extra, so he helps me contain my insanity. But, in this case, he thought it would be cool if I displayed it artistically on my side of the room.

I made this corner kinda kitschy (in a positive way) Mickey-centric. It’s definitely eclectic. Not only did I display the pins, I also used some of my favorite Mickey artwork and put them in frames.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the specific pin collections, read on. If you’re not – well, you clicked on this blog post. So… what up with that? 😉

First visit to a Disney park, EVER. Summer of 2000 at Walt Disney World.

My first ever trip to Walt Disney World was in the Summer of 2000, with my Mom, Dad, and sister, Stacy. It was an awesome trip. We had never been before, and I was IN LOVE with Disney.  I still remember to this day my mom encouraging me to buy the name-pin with the 2000 logo. This is way before I ever knew I would fall in love with pins. But it is my original first purchase.

Later on, I eBay-ed the other two pins from that time period to complete a 2000 set.  I decided that I wanted to have a pin with the year of the visit, and one of the special theme or celebration that was going on during that visit. Hence the “Celebrate the Future Hand in Hand” pin.

Since these year 2000 pins were the first, they have earned a special spot on my wall.

Visits to WDW 2002, 2004, and 2006.

After that initial 2000 visit, my family and I returned to Walt Disney World in the Summer of 2002.  WDW was celebrating “100 Years of Magic” and I purchased pins to celebrate that time period.

Then, in 2004, I was a cast member as a participant in the Disney College Program, and I purchased the year pin, the Olympic pin, “Magical Gatherings”, and the bottom three are cast member pins. The hurricane pin is a pretty awesome part of my collection.

2006, I returned to WDW. This time with Jim, and even though the 50th celebration of Disneyland was in 2005, WDW was still celebrating (all the parks were) into 2006.

Also, in 2006 I made my first visit to the Disneyland Resort in California.  My parents, and sister, took me on vacation after I graduated college. It was an incredible vacation!

Like I said, even though Disneyland celebrated the 50th anniversary in 2005, they continued the celebration through 2006, and I purchased pins to commemorate that.

(Later, Jim and I moved to Los Angeles, in 2009. I completed my Disneyland set with pins from those visits in 2009 and 2010. I put it all together in this frame to create a small Disneyland set.)

Visits to Disneyland Resort, in Anaheim, CA

Last, by certainly not least, on this corner of my bedroom are two square cork boards. They feature some of my very favorite Disney pins.

20190304_200852_HDRAt left are some of my favorite pin sets.

Obviously, I really like classic Mickey poses, as there are four sets featured in each corner of this board.

The set at top left and top right are my favorites. I dream of creating some kind of tattoo in that style.

Top center are the 8-bit character collection, one of my newest sets from our visit to Walt Disney World in February, 2019.

Also, bottom center may not look like much, but I love those three characters so much. They are the “newer” drawing style of the classic characters featured in Disney Mickey Mouse Short Cartoons. If you haven’t checked the cartoon shorts out yet, I highly recommend you do.  They are awesome. (

I really like the Disney music series middle left. The orange Mickey with the headphones is one of my ultimate favorites. Who knew that a cartoon mouse could have so much personality?

20190304_200906The second board features some other favorites. They tend to speak for themselves, but there’s just cool little sets within this board. I love the black and white Mickey, his crazy poses, and also I fell in love with the Mickey and Minnie “exclamations” sets featured center right.

Again, bottom left I featured a couple of pins featuring Mickey and Donald in the “new” style from the Mickey Short Cartoons.

What do you think? Do you want to see more? I plan to show off two more sections of my pin collection. So – Am I boring? Crazy? Interesting? A mix of all of the above? Let me know what you think in the comments 🙂

Posted in Bows, Christmas, Christmas Decor, Christmas Tree, Collection, Department 56, Disney, DIY, Holidays, Home, Home Decor, Homo-made, Jim, Make Your Own Bow, Ornaments, Reflections, Ribbon, Tips

How to PERFECTLY Decorate Your Christmas Tree!

Finished Christmas TreeEvery fall, as the holiday season approaches, I become more and more excited to decorate my home for Christmas! No, Scrooge, it’s not because of the commercialization of Christmas; rather, it’s because of the joy I get from opening, inspecting, and placing each of my decorations around the home. It adds a special warmth, a glow, and a happiness to my home each Christmas season, something that you just can’t describe. It’s a feeling that escapes words… a feeling of happiness and joy, remembrances of fond memories, promise of new memories & excitement, plus a dash of holiday magic.

I hear so many people complain as Christmas approaches “Oh God… I have to set up my tree”, or “It takes forevvveeerrr”, “I have to make time to decorate…”, etc. I decided to show a step by step guide to decorating my tree, my way. If you don’t like it my way, obviously, go seek out the thousands of other Christmas tree tutorials, but if you’re interested, read on to see how I do Christmas the Brad way.

Step 1:

Plain tree with white lights
I use an artificial tree for many reasons. We’ve had a real tree in the past, but it’s just kind of messy. I’ve found using an artificial tree is just a lot simpler. There are so, so, so many different kinds of artificial trees on the market, some very expensive and elaborate, and some simple. I live in a small apartment with limited space, so I chose an inexpensive ($50!) 6 foot tree.  It’s not pre-lit, but that’s ok with me because I’d rather light it myself and control all aspects. Think like bakers and cooks: It’s the equivalent of using unsalted butter. It just helps you control the final outcome better.

Once you open the tree, take the time to shape each branch. Pro tip: Put on some thin winter gloves to protect your hands if your skin gets dry in the winter. Once the tree is shaped how you’d like, add lights. I only used white this year, but use whichever color you love. Stand back from the tree and look for unlit spots. Make sure you light the tree as evenly as possible.

Step 2:
Add your Angel, Star, or Bow FIRST.

This is probably a controversial opinion. But, like I said, this is my way. Once my tree is shaped and the lights are added, I add my topper. If you choose a star, or an angel, put it on now. It helps you keep the tree organized, full, and helps you know exactly where to place each ornament. I like to place ornaments close to the topper, so when I’m adding them near the end, I won’t have to do any guess work. For my topper this year, I decided to make a bow out of some burlap ribbon. You don’t know how to make a bow? It’s easier than you think.

  1. First, use wire edged ribbon. It doesn’t have to be an expensive ribbon, but the cheaper stuff is a little harder to form into nice shape. I say go middle ground.
  2. Allow 3 or 4 inches of the ribbon to be the tail, and pinch the ribbon to gather it into a bunch like in pic 2.
  3. Create a loop at your desired length above the pinch and then add the end of the loop to the pinch spot held by your thumb and finger like in pic 3.
  4. Repeat step 3 again, as many times as you’d like, always gathering the pinch at the same place. Work slowly and if you mess up, it’s ok! It’s just ribbon. Pics 4 & 5.
  5. Then, use a zip tie. Lie it flat on your workspace (my couch, haha!) and place the bow over it. Pull tight with your other hand.
  6. Once the bow is held together tightly, adjust and shape each loop.

My bow this year was made out of the burlap ribbon, and I added a little classic red in to give it an extra pop.

Burlap Bow

Step 3:
Add your Garland or Ribbon.


Probably the second of my controversial opinions – I add the garland or ribbon before ornaments. I think adding it first gives the ribbon or garland some room to breathe, and you can adjust it when adding ornaments if needed.

I used the same ribbon from the bow, and cut three tree lengths. Since my tree is small and in a corner, I ran one ribbon streamer down the front center, and one on each side. You can easily fasten the tops of the streamers to the tree with bent wire ornament hangers.

The secret is to gently tuck the ribbon into the tree branches naturally, and let it fall. I fastened when necessary with a bent ornament hanger. Don’t let it look too forced, and don’t keep it taught across the top of the tree. Weave it in and out. It’s part of the tree!

Step 4:
Add your Filler Ornaments.

Once the ribbon or garland is how you’d like it, then you add your filler ornaments. These are inexpensive ornaments that really “fill” up the tree, hide the blank spots, and make it look like a million bucks.

I use 8 larger ornaments and hang them from the inside of the tree or on the far edges, to make it look a lot fuller than it does. And then I add 40-50 smaller globe ornaments. I use a large selection of shiny, dull, and glittery to add a lot of dimension.


As you add the filler ornaments, the tree begins to really get full and have an attractive shape. *I added a LOT more than this, but I’m missing the second photo. Sorry!*

Step 5:
Add your Theme Ornaments.

These are the ornaments that take your tree from looking like a department store tree to looking like your family’s tree. Use your favorite characters, your Hallmark ornaments, sentimental pieces passed down from family members that are gone, and any and every thing you find fun, interesting, or exciting for your tree.

I use TONS of Disney ornaments, plus Jim has a large selection of Simpsons and Christmas Vacation ornaments. We have ornaments for the 13 years we’ve been together with the year from each year, homemade ornaments from family members, and mementos from trips we’ve taken. Check out a selection below:

After filling the tree, next to it, I added filler ornaments to a glass bowl, and placed a few decorative items on a shelf. I displayed my classic Lenox Mickey ornaments Jim’s grandmother started (and his mom continued after Tutu passed). I also placed the wooden reindeer and snowman my parents made when I was a child, and Jim’s collection of snow globes he started with his grandmother.

And here is the final product. After a lot of work and planning, I’m incredibly proud of my Christmas tree for 2018. I think it makes our home incredibly warm and happy, and I think Jim really likes it, too.


I hope you learned something in reading this blog post. Please let me know in the comments below what you do each year, and what you think!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone reading!

Posted in Christmas, Christmas Decor, Department 56, Disney, DIY, Holidays, Home, Home Decor, Homo-made, Tips

My 2018 Christmas Village

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Black Friday, as many people rush out early for door-busters, I continue my time honored tradition of setting up my North Pole & Disney Christmas Village.

It takes an entire day. This year I started at 9AM, and worked on it until 10PM, with a few brief interruptions. It takes a lot of time, but setting up the display is something I absolutely love doing.

It’s really challenging to photograph a village display in a way that allows the glow to show without the colors being too dark. In my opinion, the flash ruins the beauty. So, here in gallery form, is the entire village above my kitchen cabinets, at night, with no flash, from left to right. Plus, it starts with one panoramic view. Enjoy!

I put a tremedous amount of thought into my houses. If you’re interested in my process, read on:

My village consists primarily of the Department 56 North Pole Collection. I’ve mentioned my parents started me on the village. If you want to read about this, click here, here, and here. I have Disney houses from Mickey’s Christmas Village, also produced by Department 56, mixed in.

This year, I allowed my village to go double-decker and take over the entire top of my kitchen cabinets. I purchased 3 shelves from Menards to add height, and also to allow me to display all 57(!) of my lit houses. This new design allowed me to feature all of the Disney houses, together, on one side of the U shape.


On another shelf, the “main” shelf that you can primarily see from the living room, I feature the classics. I started with the North Pole Palace, featuring Mr. and Mrs. Claus, The Elf Bunkhouse, Sleigh and 8 Tiny Reindeer, the Reindeer Barn, Rudolph’s Reindeer Stable featuring Rudolph and Clarice from the classic Rankin/Bass stop-motion cartoon, and Santa’s lookout tower. Those 5 lit houses and accessories seemed appropriate to feature on the main shelf. *Those of you with a keen eye may notice the two visitors next to the tower. They don’t match the wardrobe of the rest of the North Pole. When my grandmother passed away I took that little accessory from her hodge-podge village collection, and now it brings me comfort to think that my grandparents are watching over me, especially at Christmas. Is it silly, yes, but I just don’t care. I’m a sentimental man.*

Beneath the main shelf are other North pole “must haves” Santa’s Rooming House, The Hall of Records, The Glass Ornament Factory, The Weather Observatory, The Elfin Forge & Assembly Shop, and of course, the classic North Pole gate.


I’m incredibly proud of my collection. Others may think it’s silly or childish, but to me, it feels incredibly rewarding. It does take an immense amount of money (I’ve collected for YEARS), time, effort, and planning, but the reward is immeasurable. The warm glow of my village can be seen from my living room, and from outside my main window for the random passerby.

I’ve included some other photos because I just couldn’t help myself:

At top left, Mr. and Mrs. Claus greet visitors. Top right, Santa checks his list in front of the Hall of Records. Middle right are two of my very favorite Mickey pieces. The first came from my parents and was my very first Department 56 house.

Bottom left shows the awesome glow the bubble light factory leaves on the ceiling. Bottom left center are two pieces from the Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Next is a beautiful winter scene with some classics, and the last, at bottom right, is the classic North Pole Gate with Mickey and Minnie in their Christmas best welcoming you to this magical land.

I could show hundreds of photos, but you get the idea. I’ve featured the best I could.

As I said, the display takes an entire day. Yes, it can be overwhelming. But, the important thing is to go in steps. You have to go slowly, and plan your way.

The first thing I do is clear the space where the houses are going. Then, I open each house and ready them.

Awaiting Placement

Then, I started with some of my risers for the scenes.


After I am ready to get started, I place each house in it’s future home. I also add in random Christmas boxes and cookie tins for risers.

As you can see, it doesn’t start out looking beautiful. But, you start placing houses and setting the “story.”  I move them around, create collections, clusters, and then I move one again, and again, and again. If someone watched me, they’d think I was insane, but I want the “story” to be just right. It’s fun to pretend.

Then, you start plugging in each house. Yes, cords will be everywhere. Yes, it can be daunting, but just go with it. Luckily, a friend gave me a 20-bulb strand, and I had a couple of 6 bulb strands. But, I had to use many, many single lightbulbs. That’s a lot of plugs! But, once they are all in place and the lights are working, you just cover everything with batting to make it look like snow. Batting fixes everything! My hubbie set it up with a TP-Link Kasa Wi-Fi enabled outlet, so I can control the entire power strip from my phone, or through voice command on Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Isn’t technology great?! No need to get up and down from the cabinets to turn on a power strip.

Work in Progress

Once the batting is in place and all cords are hidden, I place my people and my trees. Most of my people/accessories have logical places, but some are more generic and I place them wherever works in my mind, and on my canvas. I use the trees to add height, dimension, and color. I have a variety of types, from inexpensive bottle brush style, to cold cast ceramic and hand painted. I even use some non-Department 56 trees, like some glass ones Jim picked up for me at Costco years ago. And I have 3 flat silhouette style cutouts of winter trees with glittery snow on them that I put at the back of each shelf. The variety adds a level of realness to the village.

It’s hard to believe it sounds so simple that it only takes a couple of paragraphs to explain. But, yes, I started at 9AM and put the finishing touches on at 10PM. Here’s the final product one more time:

The Finished Product

Do you collect a village? I’d love to hear about it. Comment below!

Posted in Collection, Disney, Disney California Adventure, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Geek, Magic Kingdom, Music, Park Audio, Park Maps, Pin Trading, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Collection

I’m a huge fan of Disney Parks. If you know anything about me, you know that.

Both Walt Disney World Resort, in Florida, and Disneyland Resort, in California. I think there are both amazing places to visit, and I believe every.single.person should experience them, at least once in their life.

There’s just something about Disney that can’t compete with any other theme park in the world. The theming is beyond spectacular. The individual areas of the park paint a picture for you, the visitor. You actually feel like you’re in the jungle, on a mountain, in a specific country, or even in the fantasy world where your favorite animated characters are real. They achieve this through endless techniques – forced perspective for buildings, scents near restaurants and shops, background music to establish time period and walking pace, carefully planned sight lines to hide buildings, pathways with hidden turns, and so much more. All of the techniques Disney Imaginears utilize treat your eyes and ears to the fantasy that unfolds in front of you.

The most common question I hear from my friends is “which resort do you prefer?” There are hundreds of blogs, articles, and opinions ad nauseam over which resort is better, but frankly, I don’t give a damn. I love both resorts, including all 6 parks. There are pros and cons, for sure, but I’d love to be in any of the 6 parks at any given moment, rather than living my regular life.

*Side note: I haven’t visited any of the international parks, yet. Some day.

Obviously, I can’t live at Disney ALL the time, so that’s where my Disney collection comes in. I have so many items that have allowed me to bring a piece of the Disney experience home.

I just have a true collector’s personality. For me, it’s part of the chase. My husband says I’m a hoarder, but I vehemently disagree. It’s that I love having in my physical possession reminders of the things I’ve done, experienced, and the memories I’ve made. It just feels good. And, like I’ve mentioned with Christmas houses, my collection allows me tangible connection to moments in my life that I have cherished.

When it comes to Disney, it can be expensive. I’ve shared previously that I collect Disney pins. But, my collection is so much more than that. I collect some expensive items, many inexpensive items, and lots of free things – whatever speaks to me and helps me remember the experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have in my life.

Follow these links to check out mini blog posts about the different aspects of my collection, Disney PinsPark Maps, and Park Audio.

Do you want to read about more? Let me know in the comment section!

Posted in Collection, Disney, Disney California Adventure, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Park Maps, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Collection: Maps

This mini blog post is a stub from my Disney Park Collection Post. Check it out here.

My first, and perhaps favorite, Disney souvenir are the park maps. Yes, like I mentioned before, these “souvenirs” are free. And free is good. Let’s face it, Disney is expensive. I’m not complaining, and I do think it’s “worth it”, but yes; the fact is Disney is expensive. Park maps are free when you walk into the park. They are full color, fold open brochures with attraction highlights, evening entertainment schedules, and the best part – the map.

I have Disney park maps from every park I’ve visited from the summer of 2000 through today. And what’s really cool, when my friends visit the parks, they bring me back maps, too. It’s a free souvenir that means a lot to me.

I love to see the way the parks have changed over time. Since the maps are animated, the changes in the park over time are really interesting. When an attraction closes or a path is re-routed, the map is updated and it’s as if the attraction/path/activity never existed.

An awesome example is the expansion of Fantasyland. When Disney decided to expand Fantasyland, they demolished Mickey’s Tooontown Fair. Today, Mickey’s Toontown Fair is completely gone from the map – as if it never existed.

Another awesome example is from Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Formerly Disney-MGM Studios)

This one is a little harder to see. *cough* the maps got wayyyy smaller over time *cough*. I snapped the newer one upside down so you could see the changes in the park more easily. You may click the link to open the picture in its full size if you’d like. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has had way more than a name change – the back of the park is entirely different! I also like how “Rock’n Roller Coaster” says “coming soon.” Hard to imagine the park without that attraction, isn’t it?

For this reason, I love keeping my collection of park maps. Like I said, it’s free, they are small, I keep them in a small box on a bookshelf and can reference them whenever the Disney geek within me wants to play. 🙂

Do you like the maps? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

Posted in Collection, Disney, Disney California Adventure, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Geek, Magic Kingdom, Music, Park Audio, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Collection: Audio

This mini blog post is a stub from my Disney Park Collection Post. Check it out here.

A hugely important aspect of Disney’s legendary theming is music. As you walk into each area of the park, your mind is taken somewhere else. To a certain time period, a location, a country, or an intangible idea. And music helps make that illusion all the more real.

Disney has been hit or miss when it comes to releasing the audio they feature in the parks. Sometimes, it’s unavailable in the “real” world altogether. Other times, they feature some on their sporadic park official soundtrack releases. I have a small collection, but here it is:

Since I suffer from a tiny bit of OCD, the releases are organized by the date I purchased them, starting at the bottom. The first CD I purchased was the official soundtrack to the “Main Street Electrical Parade”. I saw the parade during my first visit to the park, and I just had to own that infectious song.

Each year, and visit I made to the parks, I would always check and see if there was a new release. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the timing, but when they came out, I purchased them. They have a sense of exclusivity to them – you can’t just purchase tracks on iTunes, or through Google. Most times, these tracks are only available on the disc for purchase inside the park.

Frustratingly, but understandably, the official soundtrack is often filled with repeat music and 4-5 new tracks. Of course, collectors and park aficionados like me want all new, but Disney has to appeal to the casual or first time visitor.

Thankfully, there are special releases like the 40th Anniversary Haunted Mansion release which has a new ride-through. Or the Event Party album which features the awesome Happy Hallowishes audio. They also released a standalone album of the now-retired Wishes fireworks show. It holds a special place in my heart because that’s the regular show that played when I worked there during my Disney College Program days. Sigh.

Some of my favorites are the highlights of the “Main Street USA” background music, Soarin’s musical score, Cinderella Castle Medley, Epcot’s Illuminations soundtrack, Space Mountain soundtrack, fireworks and other evening entertainment score… the list goes on, and it just feels good to listen to. Sometimes, my coworkers come by my desk and they give me that look that says “what the hell are you listening to?” as I just smile, bobbing my head happily.

Yes, Disney parks soundtracks are mixed in with the “normal” music I play regularly. Am I weird? Yes. Do I care? No. Weird people are cool.

Posted in Christmas, Department 56, Disney

Mickey at the North Pole: What happens When 2 Passions Collide?

I remember Dad purchasing Mom a new North Pole lit piece for her village every year. It became a regular occurrence, and it was so exciting to figure out what Mom liked, and which piece was going to join the growing collection each year. The early years were completing the basics, like I discussed in this post: Department 56 North Pole Collection, and then after that it became about which house or scene caught mom and the family’s interest, or seemed to go with the existing pieces she had.

At this time, Department 56 was immensely popular, and was featured in lots of stores. You could find Department 56 in Hallmark, many department stores, and in lots of stand-alone collector shops. So we would browse all the time, even when Christmas was far away we were on the lookout for what we should add to the set next.

In 2004 I participated in the Walt Disney World College Program. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. In September, 2004 my program ended and I returned to my parent’s home with a more intense interest in Disney than ever. That Fall, during a North Pole scouting trip, we discovered one of my favorite lit houses of all time. “Mickey’s North Pole Holiday House”. It had been released in 2003, and there were still some on the shelves of stores, along with it’s accessory piece “Mickey Builds a Snowman.”


Fresh out of the Disney College Program, hopped up on 9 months of Disney indoctrination, I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this gorgeous piece. We were just checking out the new pieces as usual and there it was. I couldn’t believe it – Department 56 had actually licensed Mickey for the North Pole Village! I was speechless. Of course, my parents knew this was the one I wanted. It wasn’t always my choice, of course, but we all gave input, and they knew how much I loved the mouse.

I remember the scene like yesterday. The lit house itself was really expensive. (Of course, they had to pay for that licensing fee.) Mom and Dad didn’t think they could get the house at that time, and we all knew that it was not a “new” piece any longer, so unfortunately, if it sold out it might be gone for good. But they did get the adorable accessory, “Mickey Builds a Snowman” that coordinates with it, for placement in the Christmas village. I was so happy to be able to bring Mickey home to the North Pole set, even if it wasn’t with his lit house.


The Mickey Mouse accessory pictured above became part of the village every year.

Fast forward to 2006. I met Jim and moved in with him to our own home. That year for Christmas, my parents gave me the Mickey accessory from their own village. I didn’t even have any lit houses of my own yet, but I was so excited to open that beloved accessory. Then, the next box I opened was the real deal, the Mack Daddy of them all, the crème de la crème… Mickey’s North Pole Holiday House. It had been retired by then, but they found it, and gave it to me for Christmas. I was so happy.

The village pieces aren’t just ceramic, plastic, and paint to me. They mean so much more. I knew this was going to be the start of something awesome. (Poor Jim.)

My first piece was the beginning of a beautiful collection. Since then, the North Pole Village has had many Mickey official pieces, including “Mickey’s Watch Factory” along with “Mickey Approved”, and even a spin-off village of his own “Mickey’s Christmas Village” also by Department 56. I mix my favorite pieces from both sets together every year. Mickey’s North Pole Holiday house is one of my very favorites, along with the three pieces I mentioned in my first North Pole blog.

“Mickey’s Ski & Skate” is one of my favorite lit houses from “Mickey’s Christmas Village” and features “Goofy Takes a Tumble” (think Goofy’s “Yaaaaaaa-hoo-hoo-hoo-hooey!” from the old school cartoons) and “Mickey & Minnie Go Skating.”

Which piece is your favorite? Do you collect any Christmas villages? I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Disney, Disney California Adventure, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Pin Trading, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Pins

This blog post is a stub from my Disney Park Collection Post. Check it out here.

If you know anything about me, you know that I love Disneyland and Walt Disney World. There are pros and cons to both resorts, and I’ll probably cover those on a blog post someday in the future. One thing both resorts have in common, though, is pin trading. Pin trading is huge. HUGE.

My first visit to Walt Disney World with my family was in the Summer of 2000. Pin trading was heavily promoted as part of Epcot’s Millennium Celebration. Even though there was such a heavy focus, I just didn’t get that into it. I did purchase a pin with my name on it as a souvenir, but the interest stopped there.

Fast forward 3.5 years to when I worked at Walt Disney World as part of the Disney College Program. Living on Disney property with tons of other college-aged cast members, working in the resort making magic for guests daily, and visiting the theme parks as a guest for free was an absolute dream come true. Some of my happiest memories were of working at Walt Disney World. As a cast member, I wore a pin lanyard and traded pins with many guests. (If you didn’t know, any guest can trade a Disney pin for any Disney pin a cast member is wearing on his or her lanyard. Those pins are part of your costume, not your personal collection, and it is a delightful way to spur interaction with guests. ) As a cast member, I was given pins you couldn’t buy, ones that only can be obtained by trading. As a collector, that started the gears in my head turning. I also started noticing the pins guests collected. There wasn’t a huge pattern to it. Some people collected cats, favorite movies, a certain attraction, only Halloween… etc. It was so specific to each person’s personality… and suddenly, on a park visit as a guest, I started purchasing. I was hooked.

I started small. My first “theme” if you will, was the dated year pins. Since this was 2004, I decided to work backward in time (via some Ebay assistance) to obtain pins from every year and visit I had made to WDW.


Starting top left, these are the pins that fall into the date category for all visits to Walt Disney World.

At top left, is my previously mentioned 2000 Brad pin. I located the other 2000 pins, the 100 Years of Magic, and the 2002 pins on Ebay in late 2004. The rest were purchased by me during every visit from that point forward. I also have the 2004 hurricanes cast member exclusive pins (hurricane Charlie hit when I was working there.) Visits from 2006 Disney’s “Happiest Celebration” and “Happiest Homecoming on Earth”, Magic Kingdom’s 40 Years of Magic, and 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2018 visits. I had the distinct pleasure of taking my sister and my nephew Jonah to Walt Disney World earlier this year. I hope I instilled in him some of the wonder, excitement, and passion for Disney that I feel. I even helped him with his first trades.

My collection has since grown far beyond that original theme.

I’m a big fan of collections, and Disney has this down to a science. In the 3 above images, guests can purchase the entire collection from pin stores. But the only way to get the final pin in each series is to find a cast member wearing it and trade for it. That was a challenge I was willing to take, and I worked hard to obtain the complete sets of each series. I love the Warhol inspired set at left, and hope to use it as an artwork inspiration for a tattoo someday.

Jim and I also moved to Los Angeles, and I started visiting Disneyland regularly. I had to complete my plan and purchase or trade for every pin from every year I visited the California counterpart. Here is the much smaller collection of those pins:


And lastly, probably my favorite pins of all are from Epcot (my favorite park!). My sister and I went to Florida together for Epcot’s 30th anniversary in October, 2002. To me, it was a big deal. I was so excited to wait in line to get into Epcot on the actual 30th anniversary. They had a retro theme park map, and large 30th anniversary buttons. My sister even stuck an extra one in her purse so she’d make sure I’d get one for my collection. That’s what makes her so awesome. That morning, my heart was racing, as we looked around. I felt so much excitement seeing all of the other Disney/Epcot enthusiasts, and I felt like I was really part of something special.

Of course, never one to miss a sales opportunity, Disney had specially created Epcot 30th anniversary pins. I dragged my poor sister into a line that lasted OVER THREE HOURS just to get to a cashier and purchase the 8 pins below. (5 years later I found the 35th anniversary to add to the collection.) To many, they are just pins. Plastic and metal decorations. To me, they are so much more. They signify experiences, special dates in my memory, and they also serve as a badge of honor. I’m proud to have an “I was there” pin for that special day.


My collection has grown to so many sub-categories of Disney pins. I have them proudly displayed in my home on 2 large bulletin boards as artwork. How Jim puts up with me, I’ll never know.;)

Here are some more of my favorites:

Do you collect Disney pins? Do you have any favorites? I’d love to hear about them!