8 Things to Love About Pin Trading

By Cassie

Pin Trading began in Walt Disney World in October of 1999. Veteran pin traders are wearing one of the Disney lanyards with Disney pins on them. Once you start trading you will see them everywhere. Cast Members also wear black pin trading lanyards, belt pads, or green lanyards which signify they will only trade with children.  Guests can trade with Cast Members or other Guests. Ask the person if they would like to trade, naming the specific pin, and wait for them to answer. If they say yes, remove your pin and replace the Mickey back to it and exchange it hand to hand. If you want to share a story about how you came to have that pin, or about that character, go ahead! Thousands of people enter the parks trading pins every day, join the fun! There are starter sets for sale in the gift shops and some kiosks around the park that make it easy to get started.

8. Collecting the same pin-perhaps you are one of the unusual Disney Pin Traders that loves a particular character that you trade for every time? I know a collector that has over 90 of the same pin!

7. Collect pins from Disney parks all over the world. Walt Disney World is a place Disney fans from all over the world come to every day. You can find pins that they have traded on Cast Member lanyards, in pin books and boards in each park. If you have a favorite character you would like in a pin, do some research online to see what is out there. Look them over carefully. When you are in the parks you have that knowledge of what they look like which would help you spot them on a pin trading lanyard from a distance. Some characters are heavily featured in Disney parks overseas, that you just cannot find sold in the shops at Walt Disney World, but you still might find it in the trading opportunities at the WDW resort.

6. Finding a new set you love or finding the last pin of a set- imagine having only 5 of a set of pins that together form an image and then imagine finding that last pin that will pull them all together! If you don’t have time to research what the new Cast Member or box sets that have recently come out you may be very surprised seeing them on a CM lanyard and want to collect the set. You can quickly find out what the rest of them look like just by visiting the Pin Trader in Downtown Disney. Pin Trader is like pin central for Disney pins. You can see cases with special pins being sold, special Cast Member only sets, and boxed set pins, special pins for Disney Vacation Club Members, Disney Visa Cardholders, D23 Members and Annual Passholders.  From time to time they also have pin trading on one of their walls.

5. Finding a pin of an obscure character that you adore- you will most likely see pins of your favorite, or current set, you may be collecting during your Walt Disney World vacation.  We have seen pins from obscure films, such as Treasure Planet, and even Mulan’s little brother. It is exciting to find what you are looking for. It could be walking by on a custodial Cast Member, someone most people don’t realize they even have pins to trade. Sometimes they have very special ones. You may find your character featured in a pin from a different Disney park that traveled all the way there, just for you to find it on a lanyard!

4. Building your own pin board at home- after our first trip doing Disney pin trading, we had several pins that there was no room left for on our lanyards, so we got regular bulletin boards at Wal-Mart and made our own pin boards, like the ones we saw in the resort. You simple push the pin into the cork and keep a bag taped to the back that the Mickey Head Backs could be kept in. Then we put it on the wall in their room with a hook nearby that their lanyard could hang on. The board filled up pretty quickly over the course of a few years using Annual Passes. They have beautiful collections of pins that were both purchased or traded for. It was good training for Pin Trading nights that we now attend. They collect only the ones they really love, but have an understanding of the value in the pin trading market. Many of these pins carry special memories that are relived when looking at them, or sticking them onto the board. Tacking a pin and a great memory to a board you can look at every day is priceless!

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3. Cast Members like to trade with you.-This is a fun way to interact with Cast Members who are more than happy to trade with you. If they are wearing a green lanyard, that means they will only trade with children under 12. Sometimes they turn a pin around so it is facing away, this is a “mystery pin” that you can trade for, sight unseen. Each person can trade up to two pins per Cast Member.  Usually there is a friendly exchange of conversation with the Cast Member that may make the trade even more memorable. You can trade with other guests too. Sometimes they want to trade one of theirs for two of yours. Make sure you know what you have to trade, and what you want to trade for. The back of the pin will tell you how many were made. If it is a limited edition it is worth more than the Cast Lanyard traders.  Some guests have luck finding them in pin lots purchased on eBay. Some of the eBay shops will even ship the pin lots to your Disney resort if you are short on time. You don’t normally wear your pin lanyard at the water parks, but be sure to bring a couple with you because there are Cast Members there to trade with and they have had some of the most treasured pins we have! Remember the Disney merchandise Cast Members, including those at Downtown Disney and in your resort, are ready to trade!

2. The Designs are very cool-it is true that some of these pins are very valuable monetarily, but you have to look at the artistic excellence and humor built into some of these pins. Usually you can find more than one featuring your favorite character, but also the attractions have pins featuring them, and even the resorts have their own. Chip and Dale pin sets are always humorous, as playful as the little chipmunks are. The Princess pins really are beautiful, like the Princesses would expect to see.  Some of the pins have moving parts, some light up, some even have tiny pieces from an attraction that closed. There are pins that appeal to every age and surely there is at least one you would like! There are some I have collected that I will never trade away, how about you?

1. Walking into the park with not great pins on your lanyard and walking out with ones you love!-THIS is what makes pin trading the most fun for me. I rarely wear my favorite pins on my lanyard, because despite being very careful, they can fall off. So when I go in with pins that I have acquired, that are not my favorites, knowing I have all those to trade that day adds an exciting element to the hours ahead! I can’t tell you how excited my kids are to trade. They spot lanyards and look over them from great distances, or walking to the next attraction, deciding if they want any of those and are quick to make the trade. While we are in the attraction queues we look over the changes on each of our lanyards and talk about what pins they would they would like to find. There is a book of all past Disney Pins that is poured over in the long hours of the drive to Walt Disney World, while they make mental and sometimes written lists, of what they would like to find or finding out one they own is particularly rare.


About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.