The Future of Disney Pin Trading?…Vending Machines

Disney pins loungefly pumpkin
Credit: Disney

If you’re a frequent Disney Park visitor, chances are you’ve heard of Disney pin trading (if not participated in it a great deal). This Disney fan phenomenon allows guests to trade their Disney pins with other guests or cast members and has become a favorite tradition among the Disney community.

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Disney trading pins

Credit: D23

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Disney Pin Past

It began in the early 1990s and quickly grew in popularity. They come in various shapes, styles, and themes, including characters, attractions, theme parks, and special events. But one of people’s favorite aspects is searching for hard-to-find pins or special editions cast members have on as part of their costumes. However, many pin trading boards have been taken down through Walt Disney World Resort lately. This has caused many to speculate that Disney may be looking to do away with pin trading or significantly reduce its accessibility.

Disney trading pins at Toy Story land

Credit: Disney

Rise of the Machines?

This past week, Walt Disney World Resort hosted the 2023 Magic Hap-Pins pin trading event. At this special event, it was reported that Disney had set up eight vending machines (similar to gachapon machines in Japan) to trade Disney pins.

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After a guest swipes their card, the machine dispenses a plastic ball with a mystery Disney pin inside. Although this particular offering was only available to guests who attended the event, it raised the question – could this be the future of Disney trading pins at the theme parks?

pin trading logo

Credit: Disney

It would take the burden of Disney pin trading out of cast members‘ hands. However, it would cause the experience to lose the human element – which is part of what makes the interaction so unique and special.

RELATED: Is Disney Trying to End Pin Trading at the Parks?

Even if Disney doesn’t move forward with permanently installing these vending machines in the theme parks, it seems like it’s something on the horizon. Even if that only means setting them up in hotel lobbies or at the Main Street, U.S.A. Emporium.

Main Street Emporium Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)