I’m Back! And I’m Here to Talk Pin Trading

It’s been quite some time since I’ve hopped on the blogging train. There’s been a lot going on in the Disney universe, and I have been admittedly distracted. What could possibly distract me from blogging about my favorite place in the entire world? Pin trading.

For those of you who don’t know, pin trading is a real experience for Disney lovers. Disney creates a LOT of different pins. Limited Edition, Limited Release, Mystery Collections, Box Sets, you name it, Disney has probably released it. And the best thing about Disney pins is that you have the ability to trade them with other pin traders. If there’s a pin you don’t like or a pin that you already have, there may be (and probably are) others out there searching for that exact pin to complete their collection or sets.

If you’ve never pin traded before, here’s a little background. In the parks, most cast members in the shops and around the parks will have a little lanyard or apron where they hold a handful of pins. These are pins you can trade for if you have a certified Disney Trading pin to trade with. The benefit of trading with cast members is they have to say yes to any trade you want to make, even if they don’t want the pin that you’re interested in trading. Trading with cast members is a really good way to find pins you like to add to your collection.

If you want a little more of an experience, you can also find other guests who are interested in pin trading. There are certain areas of the parks where pin traders typically meet to trade, but you can also reach out to someone if you see them wearing a lanyard with pins on it. Now, with other guests, they do NOT have to say yes to your trade. You are a lot more likely to get shot down in these situations because pin traders can be very particular about what they want/need. Most pin traders are looking to complete pin sets or they have a certain interested in one character or movie and they only want pins that fit those categories. But, you never know what you can find or what pins you may have that may spark an interest from a fellow pin trading guest.

Now, if you’re like me, you may not live near Disney or be able to visit as often as you wish you could. When you only visit Disney once a year or so, you may be itching to pin trade in your day to day life. Don’t be discouraged, because you can! How you choose to online pin trade is really up to you. For me, I was able to join a pin trading group on Facebook. The biggest up side to these groups is that they are usually monitored by hosts and moderators. If for some reason you don’t receive a pin you traded for or if it comes bent or in a different condition than the picture you received, you can reach out to the page hosts to try to get the situation rectified. Most members of these groups do NOT want to risk getting kicked out of the group, and they will get the situation handled in order to prevent that.

If you don’t want to join a group, you are obviously welcome to pin trade via social media. For me, I have a Disney dedicated Instagram page (@all.about.the.ears if you’re interested!) If I wanted to, I could easily post my traders (pins I want to trade) to my Instagram Story or post it on my feed to see if any of my followers are interested in the pins I have up for trade. You can reach a lot of people this way, but you also don’t have any moderators if a trade goes wrong.

If you’re interested in the pin trading world, step 1 is obviously getting some pins! Again, if you can’t make it to Disney do not be alarmed. You can purchase pins online. There are a variety of different websites where pins can be purchased. Obviously Shop Disney is a very easy go to. They will have mystery sets, exclusive pins, and much more available to purchase! However, do your research. There are some reputable websites and sellers where you can purchase some pin sets for a cheaper price than you will find on Shop Disney. Make sure you do A LOT of research, though. If you are finding a seller who is selling a pin lot of unpackaged pins for a small amount of money, there is a good chance those pins are not authentic. However, you are usually safe if you find a seller with good feedback who is selling pins that are packaged and, while cheaper, not ridiculously and unbelievably cheap.

I’m biased to mystery collections. There is something so exciting about not knowing the pins that you are about to receive. And the work it entails to complete a mystery collection is a lot of fun. This also can make building your trader collection easier, as well. If you’re always purchasing pins that you KNOW you will like and don’t have, your trader collection will never grow. Purchasing multiple mystery packs will likely lead to some duplicates, and that’s the best way to grow a collection of traders.

If you’re interested in pin trading, get yourself started! Join a group, purchase some pins, pick what you want to collect, and have yourself a ball! Everyone needs a little Disney magic and fun in their daily life, and pin trading is a great way to do so!

Extra, Extra Magic Hours

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that Disney World is planning to introduce Extra, Extra Magic Hours this fall to accommodate the large numbers of visitors they are expecting. At the end of August, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This brand new, highly anticipated land is likely going to come with huge crowds this fall. In order to plan for that, Extra, Extra Magic Hours have been announced.

If you have not heard about this yet, let’s start with explaining what Extra Magic Hours are. If you stay at a Disney World Resort Hotel, Disney World offers Extra Magic Hours. These are additional hours that Resort guests are able to stay out at the parks after they are closed to regular day guests. Typically, parks will open an hour or two early or close an hour or two later to allow the Disney World Resort guests some time in the parks with a lesser crowd. Now, Extra Magic Hour crowds aren’t what they used to be. With more and more hotels and more people visiting and staying on property, Extra Magic Hours are still extremely popular. However, it is still much better than the regular day crowd that you experience when you visit a Disney World park. Usually, there is one park each day that offers the Extra Magic Hours either in the morning or at night. Rarely is there an overlap in Extra Magic Hours.

This Fall, Disney World is going to have Extra, Extra Magic Hours. This means that every day from the end of August through the beginning of November, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios will offer morning Magic Hours. This means that every single day, three of Disney World’s four parks will have Extra Magic Hours that Resort guests can take advantage of. At Hollywood Studios, in particular, the Extra, Extra Magic Hours will take place from 6:00 am – 9:00 am every day. That is three full hours each morning to experience the brand new Star Wars land, and that is going to be a HUGE advantage for the Resort guests. Staying on Disney World property already comes with its advantages like the Magical Express, Disney Transportation, the close proximity to the parks, and much more. Now, Resort guests also get hours upon hours of extra time to spend at the parks with lesser crowds.

You may have noticed that EPCOT was not a park of the Disney Extra, Extra Magic Hours. I’m not 100% sure why this doesn’t apply to EPCOT, to be honest. However, don’t be alarmed. EPCOT will still have its standard Extra Magic Hours like it usually does. Typically, that includes nighttime hours on Tuesdays and morning hours on Thursdays. That being said, every single Tuesday and Thursday for the few months that Extra, Extra Magic Hours take place, each of the four Disney parks will have Extra Magic Hours.

Do you have any thoughts about this new experience Disney World is offering up to its Resort guests? Comment!

Endgame Instant Reaction: Spoiler Free

I just got back from seeing Avengers: Endgame and I decided the best thing to do was to try to put my thoughts and feelings into words here. For those of you that don’t care at all about the MCU, feel free to not read this. For those of you that do care, please come along on this journey with me.

I cannot remember when EVER I have seen a movie that makes me laugh, cry, cheer, smile, and more all at once. I am not lying when I say that I had tears in my eyes while I was laughing at some points. That movie was the PERFECT culmination of so many years and movies in the MCU. The Russo brothers played that absolutely perfectly. The way that this story weaves in to the overall universe was incredible.

I know that tickets are hard to come by. I know that going to see movies in theater isn’t exactly the cheapest way to spend your money. I know that sometimes it’s a pain. But if you are an MCU fan, if you are an Avengers fan, if you are a Superhero fan, you NEED to see this movie in theaters.. The experience of watching this film with a large group of people who are feeling your same emotions is such a powerful thing.

This is quite a short blog, because I really don’t want to spoil anything for those who did not get as lucky as I did to find tickets for today. If it makes you feel better, though, my seat did NOT recline because it was broken. In about a week (or so) I’ll be making a FULL recap blog of everything that happened and how I felt about all of it. For now, I will leave you with this… This is the end of a cinematic era and sometimes the end is the very best part.

#DontSpoilTheEndgame

If you’ve been on the internet at all lately, I’m sure you know what this hashtag means. Somehow, someway, Avengers: Endgame footage has been leaked and is flying it’s way around the internet. From what I’ve heard, the footage was leaked by some employee that was involved in the movie. That could mean a LOT of different things, so I have no further details on that front. However, you can imagine that whoever that person is does not have a job anymore. Not a great look to leak footage from a highly guarded film.

The leak itself is enough to ruffle the feathers of die-hard MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) fans, but the further sharing of the footage is what has a lot of fans (myself included) worried. I know not every person in the world is a big Avengers or MCU fan. But what I do believe is that most people have some sort of show or movie that they are a HUGE fan of. They have something that they would be super bummed about if they saw a spoiler. That alone should stop people from over-sharing this leaked footage. But, apparently it’s not.

I’m a fan of the movies. I have my tickets for me and my boyfriend for 6:00 pm next Thursday. I have muted words on twitter and prevented it from showing me unwanted pictures/videos as I scroll through my timeline. I do not want to be spoiled because of people who are going out of their way to ruin it for everyone else. I have been on the edge of my seat when it comes to this movie ever since the first trailer was released. I have watched every single trailer more than once. I have Avengers: Endgame hype seeping through my pores as I watch/rewatch movies this week. What I absolutely, positively do not want is to have this excitement spoiled for me by people who want to just ruin it for others.

DON’T be that person. Not for me, but for the hundreds of people who spend years of their life creating the MCU. Writers, costume design, set decorators, producers, directors, actors, editors, and so many more people have worked to create this universe for the past 11 years. Their hard work shouldn’t be dismissed by people who are deciding that sharing spoilers is “fun.” If you don’t care about the movie and don’t want to hear about it, mute the words on twitter. Unfollow those who talk about it. But don’t go out of your way to ruin it for the people who care. You know there is something you have in your life that you wouldn’t want to be spoiled, so don’t do that for others.

#DontSpoilTheEndgame. Seriously.

Goodbye River Country

Times are changing, and Disney World is finally expanding onto parts of their property that have sat vacant for over a decade. Located on Bay Lake, near the current property for Fort Wilderness, once sat Disney’s first ever water park on property.

Disney’s River Country was the first water park that Disney World ventured into creating. At the beginning of it’s time, River Country was very popular. In the heat of Florida, you can imagine that an already popular Disney World was thriving from opening a water park. The park would be packed and even hit capacity. Oddly enough, the booming popularity of River Country would end up being it’s own demise.

My guess is that, due to the high demand in River Country, Disney World decided to expand and build another water park to capture more guests. In the late 80’s, Typhoon Lagoon opened, and in the mid 90’s, Blizzard Beach opened. With two, much newer, water parks that were much larger in size and included some more exciting attractions, River Country began to fall off.

Once River Country finally closed, the property was left vacant and abandoned for years and years. The craziest part? The property was located right off Bay Lake and some Fort Wilderness trails even led up to it. You could basically, without breaking any rules, walk right up to the surrounding fencing and possibly peek through. The only other abandoned Disney World location is Discovery Island, and it’s pretty clear that visiting over there is VERY off limits. So it’s pretty crazy to me that River Country was left without that many limitations to visiting it’s grounds.

All that being said, it was recently announced that the property where River Country was once located will soon be home to a brand new hotel. It seems as if construction on site has already begun. My dreams of visiting Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and exploring what was once River Country have shattered. A little piece of Disney World history has disappeared. The bright side? If I am every lucky enough to stay at the fancy new resort on the former River Country property, I will ensure that I take the time out to glance over Bay Lake at the only other abandoned Disney World park; Discovery Island.

Villains After Dark

If you haven’t year heard about the new Villains After Dark event being offered at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, I’m here to help fill you in, give my opinion, and let you know if I think it’ll be worth it.

Last week, Disney Parks Blog announced a brand new, After Hours type event that will be hosted at the Magic Kingdom this summer. Villains After Dark is a play on the current Disney After Hours events that are currently taking place at Magic Kingdom. After Hours, not to be confused with Extra Magic Hours, is a separately ticketed event that takes place on scheduled days. The event begins at 7:00 pm and extends until 3 hours past the closing time at Magic Kingdom. With limited numbers of tickets sold to these After Hours events, guests get the opportunity to have the park virtually empty. Most, if not all, of the major rides are open and wait times are significantly lower across the board.

My boyfriend, James, and I went to our first After Hours event in January at Magic Kingdom. The amount of rides we were able to hit between 7:00-11:00 was crazy. The only ride we really had a wait for was Seven Dwarfs, which is to be expected. However, even that was only about a 10 minute wait and we managed to get on it twice. If you want to hear my overall opinions on After Hours, check here for the blog I wrote breaking it down!

Villains After Dark sounds like it will be your standard After Hours event, just with a twist. There will be a special stage show hosted by my very favorite Disney villain, Hades. Our favorite Festival of Fantasy parade dweller will also be around. Maleficent the Dragon will be unleashed and roam around the park during the course of the event. You never know where you might spot her. This event will also offer it’s own unique merchandise, food, and beverage options. Disney Parks Blog also informed us that Space Mountain and Pirates will have some overlays that are “Disney villain” themed.

With all that being said, the price for Villains After Dark will be slightly higher than that of your standard After Hours event. After Hours at Magic Kingdom will cost you $125 per adult, while Villains After Dark will top that at $139 per. It’s now up to guests to decide if the unique qualities of this event are worth the additional $14 that it costs. For me, it’s basically a no brainer. Magic Kingdom will likely not be offering a separate After Hours event throughout the summer, so Villains After Dark will be the only opportunity for an After Hours event. Also, After Hours prices did go up after one year of events, so the price increase for these specially ticketed events kind of comes with the territory. There’s every chance in the world that once the fall/winter comes along, standard After Hours events at Magic Kingdom will run in that $139 range, so you may as well take advantage of the prices and get a unique experience with it!

The one thing I could see with this event is how the little ones may feel about it. I love the Disney villains, and I think a special stage show involving them is going to be awesome. However, your little ones may feel differently than I do. When I was little, I can’t say I would have loved the idea of watching the “bad guys” and seeing a spooky, fire-breathing dragon wandering around the park, sneaking up on me. With the darkness surrounding you in the late, nighttime hours, it could be a scene that is just too scary for some little kids to enjoy.

If you’re heading to Disney World this Summer on an adults only trip, or you know that your kids will enjoy the event, I think it’s definitely worth looking into if it can fit in your budget. Summer is a hard time to visit Disney World as the parks can get super crowded and that Florida heat/sun can be unbearable. If you can, check out this event to avoid some of those crowds and be able to enjoy Magic Kingdom in the coolness of the night.

Kicking Back & Relaxing in Disney World

None of us want to admit it, but we all need a way to relax during our busy Disney World theme park days. Every time I plan a trip, I tell myself that I won’t need to take many breaks and I can be go, go, go the whole time. Good one, Megan. Taking breaks doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy something great that the park has to offer, though. There are definitely ways to enjoy the park without having to be on your feet.

Find a show to go to. Every single park has them. From the Indiana Jones stunt show to Country Bear Jamboree, there are more than enough in-park shows that you can sit back and enjoy. Plus, some of these shows are quintessential Disney. I seriously cannot take a trip to the Magic Kingdom without parking my butt at the Carousel of Progress. It just wouldn’t be a real Disney World trip if I didn’t. The shows that are offered in Disney World are a truly great way to get out of the sun (or rain), sit down, and relax while still feeling fully immersed in that Disney magic that we all know and love.

Stop and have a drink or a snack. The parks are full of options. Plus, a small snack or quick drink requires a lot less planning and waiting than going to a quick service or table service meal. A nice, cold Dole Whip always hits the spot, and you can feel like you have a good excuse to sit down and relax. It seems really silly, but it’s hard to take a seat in the parks when you feel like you don’t really have a “reason” to do so. Having a quick snack or sipping on a cold drink is a GREAT reason to want to pop a squat and relax somewhere.

Take full advantage of the rides that take a long time. I love Rock ‘n Roller Coaster as much as the next person. But you’re on and off in what feels like 60 seconds. Whereas you can hang out with Br’er Fox, Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear, and all of the Briar Patch pals over at Splash Mountain for a solid 15 minutes. When you really need to feel rejuvenated, but you don’t want to waste your time, head over to one of the attractions where you know the wait will lead to a nice, long ride. Those 10-15 minutes can really help your feet.

If you’re on Disney World property, take a midday break at your resort. This was really hard for me to grasp on our recent trip. We only have 3 park days and I wanted to get as much as possible out of every single moment. Looking back, though, I don’t think I could have survived if we didn’t take those midday breaks at our resort. For Disney World Resort guests, there are so many other theme park perks that taking a couple hours to go back and relax in your room, hang by the pool, and just get off your feet is so worth it. Think of it this way, if you have Extra Magic Hours that day, you potentially have upwards of 13 hours to spend at the parks. Even if you go back to your resort for a full 3 hours, you still have 10 hours of park time each day. You can get a lot done in 10 hours.

The most important thing, of all, is just to remind yourself that you don’t want to burn out. It’s really easy on the first couple days to be very all-go, no-stop. You’re so excited to be back in the most magical place on earth that you don’t want to stop. However, if you keep that up, you’re going to end up burning yourself out by the third or fourth day. Take time to find ways to relax. There’s definitely ways to do so without wasting your precious Disney World time.