So my wife and I with rugrat in tow decide to go to DL on Friday night on a quest for the elusive DLR 51st Anniversary pin and the not so elusive AP POTC Mickey Mouse pin!
We first stop by the small pin trading center in the middle of DTD. I walk up to the CM and inquire about the 51st pin and the AP pin. I get the standard response I was expecting, "Oh that hasn't come out yet" for the AP pin and "I don't know about that pin....all we have is....." for the 51st pin! Fine I can deal with that! I wasn't expecting much of a correct response from this small pin trading corner of the world. A polite thank you and the dreaded decision of having to enter the World of Disney store.
We enter the World of Disney store filled to the brim with locals and tourist alike (Sadako would have loved it). Many of the tourist were trying on hats, looking at toys, and towing screaming rugrats that wanted the toys! We head over to the bigger corner of the "pin trading" world and begin our search. After 10 minutes of searching we come up empty. Checking with the nearest CM answering questions on the floor we get the standard but more slightly upgraded responses, "Is it this one here?" for the 51st pin and "I don't know about that one" for the AP pin. A follow up response enlighted our so far crazy night "You could check with the register because they may know!" A polite thank you and it is off to stand in line with a sleeping rugrat that has now awaken to the pains of hunger!
Now frustration is beginning to set in. The CM behind the counter is greeted kindly and the same aforementioned question regarding the pins is asked. The response has now been downgraded to "I don't know about that pin" to the 51st pin and turning to another CM "Do you know about an Annual Passholder pin?" for the AP pin. My wife immediately chimes in "Often times they are in special boxes or in packaging marked with AP. Perhaps they are in the back area or in the cabinets behind you?" Child is now screaming at the top of his lungs! The CMs frantically search all the cabinets, another one is on the sales floor looking amongst the millions of pins for the AP pin (I figure why not let him work for his paycheck!) I pause to ask another Senior looking CM if he could call the pin trading store in the park for the aforementioned pins because perhaps they would know better. The Senior looking CM places a call and waits and waits and waits and waits! He hangs up and claims that they only have one telephone line and no one is answering! OK decision to be made! Do we enter the park with a screaming, hungry child or we cut our losses and depart the entire DLR experience?
Decision! Carry the kid, put a bottle in his mouth to calm him and enter the park! We venture through security with no problem (surprisingly the security CM didn't even want to inspect the diaper bag which is the size of a small carry-on......a new plot for terrorists to enter the park with diaper bags!?) Now we enter the DL at a very dreadful time of 9:30pm right after the fireworks conclusion and everyone is trying to leave! Here is where the "stupidity" factor increases. People are milling about talking with their groups (10 or more people) right in the middle of the exits. Add to it the massive exodus of people trying to leave right after the fireworks. No Bumblebees to direct traffic (our term for the CMs running around in the goofy yellow and black striped shirts carrying directional flashlights!). I bare down on the stroller and push my way through the crowds dodging locals and tourist alike all with screaming children that do not want to leave the park!
Dodging, spinning, bumping, and cursing under my breath (consider me to be one of those "stroller" people) we make our way through Main Street (with no directional trafficking whatsoever) make an immediate right into MananaLand! We enter the pin trading center in Mananaland and stand in line! To my right are foreigners trying to cut infront of me and to my left is some dad yelling at his kid that he can only pick one...just one pin! Like a child in a candy store the child starts to cry! I am third in line and the excitement is becoming overwhelming that I may actually see the elusive pins! I reach the counter and pose the aforementioned, aforementioned question! To my disgust I get a response "Oh the 51st pin sold out on Sunday July 16 the day before the actual 51st celebration" for the 51st pin and a "Yes we do have that AP pin...would you like one?" I responded with a "sold out?" and a rather loud "YES" for the second pin. She, the CM behind the counter stated that the 51st pin was limited to 1000 and sold within the first few hours of release. Darn! I whip out my Premium AP and Disney CC and pay for the single AP pin! I am somewhat happy!
It is now 10:15pm and my rugrat is still sleeping.....I can see the impatient look in my wife's eyes! All that hassle for one pin! She saves me from a future of sleeping on the couch by saying "Maybe they have the 51st pins at the pin trading center in Pioneer Mercantile!" In the past we have been able to find the difficult to find pins here....for some reason no one shops in that store! So it is off to do battle with the hordes of locals and tourists!
We once again weave our way through the masses and enter the Pioneer Mercantile store and walk straight up to the CM behind the register. He responds with a sorry response "Yes those did sell out on Sunday!" CONFIRMED! No more 51st pins! Possibly eBay here I come! Now the rugrat has awaken and that is our que to depart immediately from the park. We once again push our way out of the main hub and make our way down Main Street with a crying child! Married men...listen up! It is true what they say about a husband pushing a cute baby around in a stroller! Married wives...listen up! We are still cute even in our more mature years!
To end our adventure, we end up sitting in our favorite "living room away from home" the lobby of the Grand Californian to feed the child. Again more smiles from women walking by.....dad with baby works! (Married wives please see bold text above!) It is now 10:30pm, way past juniors bedtime and he is starving!
Moral of the story:
1. Disney please instruct your CMs on the fine points of pin trading and most of all inform them on the release of the more specialized pins so that they can provide well informed answers to guests.
2. Never go to Disneyland on a Friday night shortly after the fireworks show has concluded!
3. Give up Annual Passholder status so that we are no longer tempted to acquire AP Exclusive pins.
4. STOP COLLECTING PINS!