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 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.

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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:

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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.

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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!