Disney Pin Trading and the Magic Disney Cast Members Bring to the Parks
Disney Parks are full of magical experiences, each and every day. More importantly, masks can't hide the joy and delight guests feel when they feel that magic ooze out of the Cast Members that make each park so special. Almost as amazing is to see that magic returned back to Cast Members.
I remember once as a kid being at the EPCOT monorail station with my family (all of us not gifted with height) and seeing the Cast Member working at the station who was 7 feet tall. Making my family feel like a family more at home in Snow White than the Incredibles, we were talking and my mother commented on his height and asked him how tall he was. His answer was, "I'm five feet, 24 inches". Humorous and said in a way that made his height seems more in line with us, it's an experience I remember 35 years later.
Whether it was a surprise refrigerator at no cost in my room, a side substitution during a meal, replacement Mickey bar, or a family friend telling a story and breaking into tears sharing that her hearing impaired daughter walked up to Mickey Mouse and started using sign language only to have Mickey sign back at her, anyone who has spent time in a Disney park have moments like this that are unforgettable.
One of the most common magical moments that occurs on a daily basis is when you see introverted kids (and adults for that matter) open up when they nervously approach a Cast Member to trade a pin and they find a special one that brings them a release of pure joy that instantly gets them to open up and start talking freely.
Disney Pin Trading was originally set-up as a fun add-on experience as part of the Millennium Celebrations at EPCOT which has grown into a big business (and even bigger fun). For many new guests to the parks, it's also one of the first interactions they have with a Cast Member. Surprisingly to those who have this experience, it starts a passion for Disney and Disney pins that last a lifetime.
Those who have never been to park don't understand what YouTuber Michael Kay calls the "waves of Disney" BUT for those who do, they get it. The waves of Disney hit when they see Spaceship Earth, a monorail, Main Street USA, or the Castle. DVC members feel it when they hear "welcome home" at check-in. A first Hidden Mickey trade and the search for the pins in that Hidden Mickey set is what makes magic for many park guests.
One of the most well-known Disney mantras is that "it all started with a Mouse" which is definitely a Disney truth. However, equally worth noting is that the magic continues to this day with Cast Member pin trade.
To all Cast Members, whether furloughed on on shift, thank you for the work you do and for bringing the magic to so many of us.