Park Pack #2 Unboxing

I just received the latest Park Pack box set (the second in the set).  I was definitely Halloween themed this time, with the same line up as last month – 1 Limited Edition/Park Pack Exclusive pin, and 2 open edition, but not-yet-released park pins.

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Remember, you can only order these Park Pack pin boxes from disneystore.com, on the 1st Thursday of each month.  I didn’t expect this to arrive until around the 4th of July, but it showed up on June 16th, just shortly after the first box was sent out.  I’m not sure how long I’ll continue with these, as they retail at roughly $44 per box with tax, but I am hoping to get an Inside Out pin before long.  *fingers crossed*

Disney Park Pack Pins

My son has been into things like Loot Crate and Geek Fuel lately, so when I heard that Disney was doing a similar type of pin box, I knew I had to try and sign up.

Unfortunately, I’m not the best with dates.  BUT, I do have insomnia, so while browsing Facebook on my phone at 6 am, I saw someone post about this appearing on the Disney Store website.

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It said Backorder, so I wasn’t sure if I’d actually get the item, since the main pin is limited edition, but I gave it a try.  I really didn’t see or hear anything again until I got the shipping notification yesterday.

The box arrived today, so, without further ado, lets take a peek!

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The pins are a Minnie Bow with an American Flag Pattern (open edition, but not yet released), Frozen with an exclusive Park Pack cardboard (limited edition of 500), and Dopey holding gems to his eyes (open edition, but not yet released).

Here’s a close up of the Frozen pin:

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Now, before anyone goes nuts – I’m sure Disney did a limited Frozen pin this time to encourage jealous among collectors (since everything Frozen still has a lot of popularity around it).  I’ve also heard rumor that there are four different colors of boarders for the Frozen pin, meaning there were 2,000 total made (just 500 of each color).  There is little to no chance that the next box, or really any other box for a year or more, will have a Frozen pin in it again.  If that is your only interest, and you are not a pin collector, I’d save the cash, personally.

The other two pins are open editions, as the online description foretold.  They are not yet released in the parks, though, so that is a fun bonus.  The back of the Dopey cardboard is labeled for the Silver level, the Minnie pin is not labeled at all, but I assume it’s in the same price bracket since there’s no elaborate or moving parts.

For those of you who haven’t gone pin shopping at a Disney park/resort – they list the pins by colors.  So, when you look at the price, it will say Blue, Red/Silver, Green, Yellow, or Pink on the back.  That way, when Disney raises prices, they only have to change out the price key instead of remarking all of the pins.  So, Silver would be the second-to-cheapest pins they offer, and, if memory serves, that would be the $9 color.  I’d also guesstimate that the Frozen pin, being limited, heavy, and having two layers (the pin image and the metal pin framing) that it would be about $16 for initial retail.  So, $9 + $9 + $16 = $34, but, I imagine the value of the Frozen pin is going to greatly increase soon.  So, even though, retail wise, the box comes up a bit short, the collectible value more than compensates for that.

But, side note – I’m not a scalper!  I do not buy things that I don’t want just to resell them for a profit.  It’s nice to have things appreciate in value in case you ever get in a pinch for money or are working on a fair trade for another item, but I personally detest the people who purposefully clear the shelves so that other people who actually want these items can’t get them for a fair price when they’re released.

My daughter also found where I put the box all back together and asked to do an unboxing video – so here’s that:

Everything You Wanted to Know on Scrapper Pins

If you’re going to Disney World with kids, chances are they will notice and covet some of the Disney pins at some point.  You can’t blame them, heck I covet some of them myself, and they can be hard to resist when every Cast Member in the park has a trading lanyard, and every shop and kiosk has plenty of pins for sale.

With “clearance” pins running about $2 new, and others going up to $20+ a piece, pin trading can easily become a bank buster.  So what do you do?

Many people end up on eBay for pins that are around $0.50 each, and those pins are typically very used and beat up, or scrappers.  Scrappers are counterfeit Disney pins that have been created in a number of different ways.  Sometimes a person buys pins, then ships them to factories to get molds made and starts to get pins duplicated that way.  Other times a factory may be under orders to destroy an official Disney pin mold – but they don’t, and start selling the pins to non-Disney parties, or the factory may have pre-made back stock to sell off.  Because of the varying methods of production, the quality of a scrapper may be terrible, it may be slightly different from the original, or it may be identical to the Disney authorized pins, but the bottom line with scrappers is that it cuts Disney out of the profit margin.

Let me go over the 4 different classifications I have for scrappers, using images I snatched from Google.

The Ugly/Poor Quality ones:
This scrapper pin looks like Aurora got beat up!  Her face is dirty, her mouth and eyes are off, her tiara is eating her poofy bangs, and even a part of her hair isn’t colored in yellow!  If you see a pin that looks this bad, it’s not a manufacturer error or a defective pin, it’s a cheap knock-off.  These types of pins may also have rough edges/sides and backs that do not look very nice.
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The Nearly Identical Ones:
They are very similar to the official pins, and are often made to the same kind of quality, but, they often have some kind of color difference.  The problem being, if you don’t know which pin is the authentic one, or you’ve never seen the officially produced pin, you might never guess that you’re looking at a scrapper.  The differences in the pins edges (scrappers are usually rough or uneven) and backsides can also be noticeable if you train yourself on what to look for.
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The Identical Ones:
These pins are often over stock in a factory or made from the original molds given by Disney, so a comparison picture won’t help because both pins look alike!  There may be small details that set them apart, but most people will not notice the differences at all.

 

Be Aware of Plastics:
I didn’t realize these were a thing until my kids started trading this past visit, but my son found a “Looking for Hidden Mickeys” pin, and I noticed it was in pretty bad shape as we walked away.  I showed it to my husband and he said “this is plastic!  It’s fake!”  So there are plastic pins out there that look pretty identical to the real metal pins.  I’m sure there are also plastic pins that look bad or nearly identical too, so it’s just important to be aware that they are out there.

 

I won’t debate the merits or problems with using scrappers, because at the end of the day you are going to decide what kind of pins to buy, and an adult collector is going to have different motives and perspectives than a family who just wants to get pins for their kids to trade around on a whim.  But, I will caution you that the cheap eBay scrappers are all over the park, and even many trading boards and cast members have them and are trading/accepting them without even realizing it.  Usually they are the identical/nearly identical pins that no one can even tell the difference in that are traded around, the cheapest, bad looking scrappers will likely get rejected by Cast Members, but, it does making trading with official pins more difficult and costly (costly because you’re trading a $5 pin, on average, for a $0.50 one).  I’ve heard more than one parents complain that they purchased loads of pins in the park shops for their children to trade, and when they tried to research the traded pins at home, they found the vast majority of them were forgeries with no value.

So, how do you know if an add on eBay or Craigslist is for scrapper pins?  Well, you can try to ask the seller and hope they’ll be honest, but usually they’ll word things vaguely like “these are the same pins being traded in the parks” or “they are stamped trading pins.”  Of course, that’s not a lie, but that doesn’t mean the pins aren’t scrappers.  That being the case, it’s unlikely you’ll ever know for sure, and many eBay sellers will mix in common, but authentic, pins to leave you guessing.

Another big problem in the pin trading community is that so many people call themselves experts when they can’t be one.  Sure, you can have common knowledge and spot a poorly constructed pin, maybe even notice something is off on a nearly identical pin, but very few can verify for certain if an identical scrapper is real or not.  If you call one of the Disney numbers and speak with someone about where to find or how to become a pin expert, they will tell you there’s no such thing.  In fact, even Disney can’t guarantee the authenticity of all of their pins for the simple fact that they’ve been making pins since before World War II, and have not always put (c) Disney on pins.

When considering that piece of information, how can so many people buying pins be sure they’re getting or not getting scrappers?  Unless it’s a low quality product, they will never know for certain in most cases.  So what does that mean if you’re a pin trader who does not want scrappers?  Basically, you have to purchase your pins new, at Disney official stores or events, and that’s your only option to be 100% certain of the authenticity.  Even some Disney-made pins have appeared with low quality features lately – like bad edges around the pin – and most of the pins made for locations outside of the US (Euro Disney, Disney Hong Kong, Japanese Disney, etc) are noted as being poorly made, even though they’re bought in a Disney facility and are new out of the package when purchased.

This is all food for thought, I just want people to be aware of the issues before they start trading pins and investing small fortunes in them.

Spotting Fake Pins

My kids and I have recently gotten into Disney Pins and pin trading.  What I’ve been looking up most is how to tell if a pin is fake, and here are the main points I’ve learned:

1)  Many fake pins are magnetized and will stick to a magnet or magnetic surface.

2)  The coloring is usually off on the pin.  The problem is, though, unless you have the real version of the pin, you will probably never notice the color differences.

3)  The edges are rough, jagged, or otherwise not very neat in appearance.  This isn’t always 100% though, as I’ve seen pins in the store have less than perfect edges too.

4)  Many times they look and/or feel very cheap, have bad posts, or other clues to let you know it’s not up to Disney quality.

5)  If the pins come in individual baggies, that’s usually a sign that they were mass produced outside of Disney authorization.

 

A lot of the fake pins, sometimes called scrappers, can be impossible to distinguish from the original.  Sometimes the factories are supposed to destroy molds for pins, but instead the keep producing them and sell them on this kind of black market.  This means that even if a pin says “(c) Disney” or “Official Trading Pin” on the back, it may not be.  Most of the time, you can still trade those pins, but if they don’t look very good you may get questioned on their authenticity a lot, or have people refuse to trade with you.

So, buy with caution, and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.