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2002: Disney Pin Traders Opens at Downtown Disney

Editor’s Note: This post is part 32 in a forty-part blog series in celebration of Walt Disney World Resort’s upcoming 40th Anniversary.   Please welcome to The Window Seat Deborah Bowen, Walt Disney World Moms Panel Guest Author.

In 2002, a new merchandise location featuring collectible pins from the theme parks helped launch one of the most popular souvenir trends ever seen at The World: pin trading. But this “hidden gem” is only one of many that guests may stumble on upon a second glance across the Vacation Kingdom.

Disney Imagineers are famous for adhering to the idea that “design is in the details.” Hidden visual puns (like the famous Hidden Mickeys!) and in-jokes abound throughout the Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts. But these hidden treats are not only on the design side. Every Disney fan can list off some little-known aspects of Walt Disney World, whether a food item found only in one spot, or a special little corner somewhere.

Please allow me to share, in the spirit of “Four Parks, One World,” one hidden gem from each of the parks that might make your next trip a little more special.

In Magic Kingdom, you’ll want to visit the popular Haunted Mansion. After your time in the stretching chamber, hang back for a minute and listen closely. You’ll be surrounded by the sounds of fluttering bats and the eerie whispers of some of the 999 happy haunts that inhabit the stately manor. This creepy touch has quickly become one of my favorite “hey, look!” moments to share with guests; it’s just the sort of detail that completes the “fit and finish” of an attraction.

Kids of all ages will love Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure at Epcot. Explorers are provided with real cell phones, loaded with video “clues” and help modules. Following a variety of randomized paths, enthusiastic detectives will fight with their grownups for possession of the gadgets as they all solve a mystery and/or solve a crime, all the while learning about the country of location (but don’t tell them!).

If you’re feeling hungry at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, visit the Writer’s Stop, adjacent to the ABC Commissary. This quiet bakery/café welcomes guests with large club chairs, the smell of fresh-brewed coffee and the unfathomably delicious carrot cake cookie. Two large moist rounds of carrot cake bookend a generous portion of decadent cream cheese frosting. The cookie is served chilled from the cold case and does travel (and freeze) reasonably well. Trust me, I know.

Finally, the lush landscaping of Animal Kingdom hides a perfect spot to rest weary feet. Just off the main bridge into the park, there’s a quiet nook – big enough for a couple of strollers – offering a few wide wooden benches, surrounded on three sides by greenery and a view of the Florida sky. Somehow, this little oasis off the beaten path manages to stay reasonably calm and cool.

When you take your next visit to Walt Disney World Resort, take a few moments to look around you. Incredible delights are all over the World, both immediately visible – and hidden away, marvelous rewards to those who wish to take the time to find them. You’ll be sure that your sense of wonder will never be left lacking – and your imagination never out of shape, digging and searching for these hidden gems.




2001: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (The Window Seat)

2000: Pirates of the Caribbean – Battle for Buccaneer Gold Attraction (DisneyQuest) (The Window Seat)

1999: Disney’s FASTPASS Service Introduced (The Window Seat)



From time to time, the Window Seat publishes articles and blog posts written by guest authors to give you a fresh perspective on the world of travel.

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