Day 1, Thursday September 8, 2005

This was our first experience flying out of Buffalo International Airport.  It was a wonderful experience, one we would not hesitate to repeat.  The Buffalo Airport is only a few minutes further away than our normal airport in Toronto, but we were able to book a much more reasonably priced flight than any available on Air Canada.  We spent the night before our flight at the Holiday Inn Express across from the airport and took advantage of their free "park and fly" service which included free shuttles to and from the airport.  We were very impressed with the service provided by Holiday Inn and Southwest Airlines.  We will definitely use them again.  

We arrived at the airport about 6 a.m., got checked in and sat waiting to board. While we were waiting we ran into another couple we had met in the spring, at a pin trading meet in Toronto.  Bob & Juanita were also going to the pin event at Walt Disney World.  Our flight out of Buffalo was on time leaving at 7:30 a.m., we were on our way to the Happiest Pin Celebration on Earth.  We arrived at the POP Century Resort about 11:30 a.m. and I was pleasantly surprised with the resort. It is very colorful and fun and the walk to the building we were in (1950’s) was quite short. Our room was ready; we stayed in room #3413 on the 4th floor overlooking the waterway with a view of the next phase of the resort.

Heading to "The Happiest Pin Celebration on Earth"

EPCOT - the entrance to World ShowPlace

We quickly dropped off our bags and headed to the bus stop.  We needed to get to the Yacht & Beach Club Resort to register and pick up the event pins, and it opened at 12 o’clock.  We took a bus to EPCOT and then walked through the park to the International Gateway and then on to the resort. It was very hot!  And humid!  We arrived at the Yacht & Beach Club Convention Centre about 12:30 p.m. and the line was already a mile long.  We waited in line for 2 ½ hours to pick up the pins I had pre-purchased and our registration package . . .  so that we would be free to trade pins non-stop over the next 2 days.  It wasn’t all bad though, we met Susan, a fellow pin trader from Toronto in the line, plus Bob and Juanita, the couple we flew down with. We also met some other very nice people, including a couple from San Diego, Jeff & Kim.

When the registration process was finally over and I got the artist’s to sign my pins we decided we needed food. We had a nice lunch at the Beach Club and then caught a bus to the Magic Kingdom.

In this line for 2 1/2 hours!  Ouch!

Cinderella's Castle with it's gold trimming

First stop was the pin shop on Main Street, after all this was a “Pin” weekend.  We then went directly to It's A Small World to check out the refurbished ride. It was very nice, we walked right on.  We were beginning to take notice that there were no people there! We had an Advanced Dining Reservation at Ohana’s so we walked back down Main Street and took the monorail over to the Polynesian Resort.  As usual, the meal was outstanding, some changes though – the rice has been replaced with a cheesy scalloped potato dish that is very good. The pineapple has been replaced with a bread pudding.  The pudding was very good but we did miss the pineapple with caramel sauce.  The bread pudding is not nearly as decadent!

Back to the Magic Kingdom after dinner, where we headed directly to Peter Pans Flight. What a surprise . . . in the 21 times I’ve been to Walt Disney World since 1977, I have never, never walked on to Peter Pan's Flight - but that's what happened.  When they say the week after Labor Day is slow, they really mean it.  There were no crowds and no lines anywhere (except the Pin Event).  We enjoyed Mickey's Philharmagic and then decided to go to Splash Mountain, it was so hot that if we got wet it wouldn’t matter, as a matter of fact, it would be a bonus!  We rode Splash Mountain twice without even getting off.  I decided I’d had enough but Gary went around one more time. It was then time to watch the Wishes fireworks show and catch a bus back to the resort. We still had to unpack and it was getting late.  After a long day . . . we were beat.

Day 2,Friday September 9, 2005

Entrance to World ShowPlace

We were up bright and early, had some breakfast at the resort and then caught the bus to EPCOT.  The pin event was held in the World ShowPlace building where the Millennium Celebration was held in 2000, between Canada and England. When we walked in it was quite stunning, the entrance was set up as a formal dining room, everything was in gold, very breath taking and elaborate. Disney spared no expense on this one!  All of the auction items were displayed in this area. You then walked further into the building and there were different areas set up, each with a queue to lineup in. Lineup is indeed the operative word for the event.  All of the Disney partners were represented and each one gave you a limited edition pin from their area. The partners were Disney Auctions, Disneyland California, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland . . . some very nice pins I must say.  There were also games to be played, each guest could play 4 games and each game gave out a pin as a prize, so more free pins . . . YAHOO!  Of course I got double of everything since Gary was participating . . . well . . . maybe not really participating, but taking instruction very well.

During the day we kept running into Susan, Bob and Juanita and late in the day we bumped into our friend Gabe and his wife.  Gabe is from Whitby and has organized several pin trading meets in Toronto.

After the games and passports to the partners were completed we moved on to the trading boards . . .  lined up for the boards I should say.  When it’s your turn, you get to trade one of your pins for one of the board pins. The board pins consist of Cast Member Lanyard Pins, lots of limited edition pins and of course the less desirable pins which those before you have traded. The tough part is that you only have 30 seconds to find the special pin you want from the board.  My brain does not work that fast!  I did eventually get better at this and was able to find some real neat pins.  Again, Gary was taking instruction well, but losing interest very quickly.  While I enjoy pin trading, it is just not his idea of fun!

Set for dinner at the palace - everything was gold!

Gary, Figment & Carol

We decided to go to the Land for lunch and try out the new Sunshine Seasons restaurant.  Our registration included vouchers for our lunches for two days.  Before we went for our food we picked up a FastPass for Soarin', it was only a short time ahead, the standby was only 10 minutes. We had a really yummy lunch.  The nice thing about Seasons is that you can go to the different food stands, pick and choose what you want and then pay for everything on your way out.  This is much better than the old set up where you had to pay separately at each food stand. By the time we ate it was time to go on Soarin' . . .  gosh it’s a great ride.  But it is a “Pin” weekend so we just had to get back to World ShowPlace and stand in line some more.

By about 5 p.m. we decided it had been a long day standing in lines so we left the event an hour early.   Gary went directly to Mission Space for a couple of consecutive rides while I walked down to the lockers to store my loot before we went to Chef’s de France for dinner. We met at Pin Central (where else) and caught to boat over to France.  My legs just didn't want to work anymore, they were paralyzed from all the standing. The dinner was awesome, I really love the atmosphere there and the Crème Brulé is the best.  Stuffed from dinner and tired from standing in lines, we just had to go back to the room. It was still so hot we decided to have a swim and to cool down before bed.  It was "lights out" at 10 p.m.  Have you ever heard of going to bed at Disney at 10 o’clock at night – that’s terrible but it had to be done so we could get up bright and early the next morning to go and stand in lines again. J

Day 3 Saturday September 10, 2005

Lined up at Canada waiting to enter World ShowPlace

We had a quick breakfast at the POP Century Resort again then caught the bus to EPCOT and went directly to the Pin Station on the way to the event . . . it is after all a “Pin” weekend. This day we were a bit early so I even got to stand in the line to wait to get into World ShowPlace. The doors opened at 9:30 and I proceeded to the nearest queue and stood in line to trade at the boards. This went on until lunchtime. We decided to go back to the Land for lunch and again had a very good meal. By this time Gary was starting to look pale, he was not taking instruction very well and was not at all enthused about standing in lines all afternoon. It was time to go our separate ways.

A display of Cast Lanyard Pins

Pluto playing the "Spin the Bottle" pin game

I headed back to the pin event and he went to enjoy some rides, we  agreed to meet for the auction that started at 4:30 p.m. in the event hall.  We both wanted to witness this, pins were actually auctioned for hundreds of dollars each, and besides we both wanted the Mickey Ears auction paddles as souvenirs. I got the ears and Gary got the white glove – cool!  We stayed until the close at 6 p.m.  Once again my legs were definitely rebelling but we made it to Japan for dinner at Tepanyaki.  It was a very nice meal and revived me to the point that I thought I could do a couple of rides.

We walked over to Test Track but it seemed to be having some problems so rather than wait in the line to be told it was down we went to Spaceship Earth . . . one of my favorites anyways. It was another very hot evening so we decided to beat the crowd out of the park and go for a swim. A good nights sleep was needed.

Day 4 Sunday September 11, 2005

We woke up to another beautiful sunny day and I decided that I had stood in enough lines even though it was a “Pin” weekend. Time for some R & R  - so off to Typhoon Lagoon we went. We arrived just before opening so we were among the first to enter the park.  We scouted out a good spot to park ourselves and then headed directly to the Crushin' Gusher.  Oh my they are fun . . . sort of a combination of a water slide and a roller coaster,  and the best part – no lines.  After 4 runs down the tubes we needed to rest. The better part of the day we spent in the wave pool or on the lounge chairs but we did swim with the sharks at Shark Reef twice.

Typhoon Lagoon

Before the wave pool opened

We left Typhoon Lagoon in mid-afternoon and went to Disney Studios where we had Advanced Dining Reservations at Prime Time Café.  First things first though, Gary rode the Rockin' Roller Coaster twice while I looked at pins. We then did the Movie Ride before dinner. I always enjoy the food and fun at Prime Time Café and I wasn’t disappointed this time. It was very good. The park was open extra hours for Disney Resort guests so we picked up our wristbands and then found a seat for Fantasmic.  After Fantasmic we went on Tower of Terror, then over to the Muppets 3D.  Gary then caught a ride on Star Tours (I don't like that one) before we went to see Little Mermaid, and finished off the evening with a walk through Animation. 

Lilo and Stitch in the afternoon parade at Disney Studios

Mickey & Minnie in the afternoon parade at Disney Studios

It was a fun day but it was late by this time and we needed to pack for the trip home.  I also needed to have our boarding passes printed at the front desk, so off we went to the Pop Century Resort.

Day 5 Monday September 12, 2005

POP Century Resort

We were up and checked out with 4 hours to go before our limo was scheduled to pick us up for our trip to the airport.  Animal Kingdom it is! I love this park! 

We took a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safari, then Gary ran the Kali River Rapids while I traded pins with Cast Members . . . it is after all a “Pin” weekend. We met up and headed over to the Flights of Wonder theatre, it’s a show we never tire of. After the show we grabbed a bite to eat at Tusker House and then finished off with It’s Tough to be a Bug.  By then it was time to go, but not without going through a few shops and of course doing some last minute trades with the Cast Members enroute.

Construction is progressing at Expedition Everest

It was a fun weekend for me; I love the trading and interaction with other people who share my pin obsession.  For Gary . . . well, it was an experience . . .  I'm not sure it's one that he wants to repeat, but he was a good sport and an excellent lanyard scout. It was my first Disney Pin Event and I was not sure what to expect, but I would certainly do it again, as a matter of fact, I am already planning next year’s event in my head. It’s not official until I put it on the calendar but it’s a definite maybe.