Happy Villaintine's Day
Pin Experience

A Villain Adventure Vacation
by Margaret Edmonds

Margaret Edmonds from XXXXXX and her family of villain (and princess) fans recently returned from WDW where they incorporated the Happy Villaintine's Day game with various villain adventures in the parks. They were unaware of the villain themed pin pursuit prior to their trip.

As they finalized their trip planning itinerary for our recent Disney vacation, my sons came up with the same list as their last trip two years ago.

"Yeah, we know, but those are the best things," is the reply that I received from Brian, age 9 and Kyle, age 7. Most people are surprised to hear that two children who haven't traveled to Disney World in over two years could create an agenda, but Brian and Kyle are Disney veterans who have already logged seven and eight trips respectively. They could easily have careers as Disney Travel consultants, although even they would send you to their younger sister, Amber, if you needed any "Princess info." Amber, who has now logged six Disney adventures, is the only one with more Disney trips than her age. Amber is 5.

"Well," I inform my Disney troop, "this time we should try a few different things." (I wanted to spend a day at Epcot).

"But, Mom", says Kyle, "all they have at Epcot is Test Track and Mission: SPACE. That won't take a whole day." "Yeah, and besides that there aren't any villains at Epcot," Brian adds. "Right", says Kyle, "it's bad enough that we have to do princess stuff, but no villains is just boring!"

At this point there is no sense in arguing. For those who know one, you know that Villain fans are the most intense of all Disney fans. They will defend these dynamic characters as Disney's greatest creations and will go to immense measures to find them and to obtain villain memorabilia. So we complete our Disney itinerary; villains, princesses and then Mom's boring stuff.

We arrive at our WDW resort on Wednesday and, after swimming, we head off to the Contemporary for our traditional first dinner at Chef Mickey's. To most people this wouldn't seem like a Villain activity, but my boys know that the Contemporary has one of the best pin stations and they want to start their vacation by seeing what new Villain pins are available. To their delight, Disney has exceeded their expectations. Not only are they able to find most Villains, there are now many different pins for the same character. Brian purchases an Evil Queen pin from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to add to his collection. Kyle purchases a Chernabog pin from Fantasia. Next, Amber wants to start a pin collection like her brothers so Dad buys her a lanyard, a pink princess lanyard with four pins. Amber decides that she will keep all her pins because Daddy bought them for her.

On Thursday, we head off to the Magic Kingdom. While the boys hit the rides, Mom and Amber get in some Princess time with breakfast at the castle. Of course, to keep the peace, Villain and Princess time is combined so we attend the first showing of the Cinderella's Surprise Celebration held at the Castle Forecourt stage. Then it's time for Villain autographs. When the show is over, the characters exit the stage into the crowd and proceed to various locations throughout the Magic Kingdom. My boys head off after Captain Hook, Smee and Jafar. If you're looking for Villains, Hook and Smee are at the entrance to Adventureland; Jafar is in Adventureland near the Aladdin ride; Governor Ratcliff is found between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland; Br'er Bear and Br'er Fox are at the exit of Splash Mountain; The Evil Queen is at the Toontown Hall of Fame Tent.

Once my kids complete their autographs and hit a few more rides, there is one more Villain adventure before leaving the Magic Kingdom: the "Share A Dream Come True Parade." The parade includes several Disney Villains on foot and even a villain snow globe. (Keep a keen eye on the Evil Queen as she transforms into the Old Hag.) After the parade, it's also a good time to get autographs, but my crew opts to head off to Disney-MGM Studios for some more Villain adventures. (Villain characters are found during the day in the Magic Kingdom, but won't be out during the castle show or parade. They appear at their designated location about 10 minutes after the parade is over.)

At the Studios, we head straight to The Beverly Sunset, also known as "The Villain Store." Here we purchase a multitude of Villain souvenirs: a shirt for Mom labeled "The Evil Queen," a pink shirt for Amber picturing the female Villains and the caption "It's better to look good than to be good," a "Bad Boys" tee shirt, and a Lion King Scar tee shirt. Brian also finds a pin lanyard to display his growing pin collection. He chooses a glow in the dark Nightmare Before Christmas lanyard and also adds a Jafar pin to his collection. We then proceed to Fantasmic to watch Mickey battle the Villains.

Mom and Dad are convinced that we've met our Villain quota. Of course we're proven wrong. The next day we spend the morning at Animal Kingdom and the boys learn more about pin trading. They decide that their new Villain adventure is to trade for more Villain pins.

Saturday arrives and our family hits Pin Central at Epcot. By this time, the kids have decided to include Mom in pin trading. They surprise Mom with her own lanyard complete with four identical Tinker Bell pins. Mom trades with a Cast Member for a pin of Jungle Book's Bagheera and gives the pin to Kyle who is not only a Villain fan, but also a cat fan. Meanwhile, Brian has found a display board that pictures eight new Disney pins. A Cast Member explains that this is "Happy Villaintine's Day."

"Happy Villaintine's Day" is a brand new pin collection of eight pins that was released on February 4. Each pin features a different villain and is labeled "Happy Villaintine's Day, February 2004, Walt Disney World." There is a catch to these pins, though. Seven of the eight pins can be purchased, but at seven different locations. The eighth pin is actually a complimentary pin that can only be obtained by completing a pin pursuit map, on which you receive a stamp from the seven locations. I look at three children with pleading eyes: "Can we do it, Mom?" I nod my head and each child gets a map.

The cardboard map contains a picture of each pin on the front. On the back, a list of seven questions and a Disney location for each question. In order to receive a stamp, each person must either trade a pin with the Cast Member or answer the trivia question. It turns out the answer to each question is a Disney Villain whose pin can be (but does not have to be) purchased at the location. Brian wants the Jafar pin that is at Animal Kingdom. Kyle wants the completion pin that is at the Contemporary Resort. While my husband discreetly purchases the Epcot pin, we asked the Cast Member to stamp each child's map and our first stop, Epcot, is complete on our pin pursuit. The Epcot pin features Hades, Pain and Panic from Walt Disney's Hercules. The pin contains a spinning wheel on the back that reads 2004 A.D.

By afternoon we head over to Magic Kingdom. Saturday is the only night that the SpectroMagic Parade is shown and my children wanted to see the Villain floats: Little Mermaid's Ursula the sea witch, and Fantasia's Chernabog. Before the parade, we stopped at Exposition Hall to get our next stamp on our pin pursuit. Here the featured pin is Merlin and Mim from Disney's The Sword in the Stone.

By Sunday morning, we're a very tired group. It's also cold, so we canceled our plans to visit a water park and decided to return to Disney-MGM Studios for some rides. To the boys' delight, they discover some unexpected Villain pins after riding on "Star Tours." Dad purchases a Darth Maul and a Jango Fett pin. Next, the kids are thrilled by the afternoon parade that includes Darth Vader, Hades and other Villains. Before leaving the park, the kids get their third stamp on the pin pursuit at the Sorcerer's Hat Shop. The featured pin is Maleficent from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

At this point we have four more pin stops and only one more day at Disney. We decided to combine dinner at one of our favorite restaurants with another stamp. We headed to the Beach Club Resort and the kids get their fourth stamp at the Atlantic Wear & Wardrobe Emporium. The pin features moving doors that open to reveal the Old Hag from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

After dinner, we decide that the best way back to our resort would also get us one more pin pursuit stamp. We take the bus to Downtown Disney and head to Disney's Pin Traders. The featured pin is Pete. We purchase some pins, trading with the pleasant Cast Members, then Amber claims all of Mom's latest pin acquisitions.

Finally it is Monday, our last day at Disney. We had requested a late checkout so the kids swim in the pool until noon. After a few more fun resort activities, a boat ride for the boys and a hair wrap for Amber, it was time to complete our pin pursuit. We take the bus to Animal Kingdom and head to the Outpost just outside the park. Here we purchase the Jafar pin from Aladdin in which Jafar is holding a red jewel.

Once we have all our stamps, we proceed to the final location of the pin pursuit. Ironically, this is also where we began our pin adventure, the Pin Station on the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort. The featured pin is Tinker Bell and Captain Hook from Disney's Peter Pan. Of course there is also the complimentary Villaintine's Day Pin with Chernabog from Disney's Fantasia. The kids are so excited that they reach the pin trading station ahead of Mom and Dad. The Cast Member gives each child their complimentary pin and discusses pin trading with them. My daughter explains to the Cast Member that she has decided not to pin trade. She just wants to do pin collecting. The Cast Member removes a pink elephant pin from her lanyard and gives it to my daughter. She tells her to use it to try some pin trading. She also gives one to each of my boys who immediately visit other Cast Members to pin trade. Amber decides that her pink elephant matches her princess pins so she will keep it.

It's now time to return to the resort for our ride to the airport. The kids are thrilled with their pin trading adventures and look forward to continued pin trading on their next trip. Of course, my Disney travel consultants have one more trick on their Disney tip list.

Before traveling to Disney, consult the official Disney Pin Trading web site: http://www.odpt.com. Select Walt Disney World as your desired location then "Pin Events" for information on upcoming new pin releases and other special activities.

Happy Pin Trading and Happy Villaintine's Day to all those Disney Villain Fans!