You're all right. I'm wrong. Disney should, when you think about it, set up a swap meet in the Esplanade.
Years ago, Disney let slip its prohibition on outside food. Now I literally see families set up with picnics on the ground in the hub and along the parade routes. People come JUST to set up shop to wait all day to see Fantasmic. They spend all day trading pins.
THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY WRONG WITH THESE ACTIVITIES. The sensitive-types are completely misreading my initial comments.
But Disneyland is supposed to be idealized, is supposed to be perfect, is supposed to be squeaky clean, is supposed to be a place that allows me respite from the outside world, is supposed to be a place where the outside world doesn't intrude.
Personally (and apparently I am in the minority) I don't like the look of a bunch of people gathered in a corner with plastic bags strewn on the ground as they basically do everything but shout out, "Pin trading here! Pin trading here!" It feels cheap and trashy and completely out of character for Disneyland.
But the great irony is that as Disneyland has raised its prices further and further and relied ever more on the annual pass program, it has turned the park into exactly the sort of locals-only carnival-type attraction that Disneyland was never supposed to be, staffed in large part by insouciant employees who, through NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN (I believe that, I truly do) have lost all sense of raising the bar of quality at Disneyland.
I'm off my high horse now. But I do think that those pin traders who think this is totally OK would be less happy about it if Disneyland was a twice-a-year treat for them rather than a once-a-week or once-a-month occurrence. I miss those days of feeling Disneyland was really special, and I guess the presence of people who just sit there and trade pins surrounded by trash (and I've NEVER NOT seen them surrounded by trash, I swear) just underscores for me how much Disneyland has really, truly changed.
I agree with everything you say.