Are you a collector? Do you love Disney? Disney Pin Trading may be the perfect activity for you! Here's our Beginner's Guide To Pin Trading at Disney World.
My girls wanted to start pin trading after seeing kids at the parks trading with cast members on our Disney vacation a few years ago, and they’ve been hooked ever since. To be completely honest, I am too.
What is Disney Pin Trading? Disney Pin Trading 101
Disney Pin Trading is the buying, trading, and collecting of collectible Disney pins featuring Disney characters, events, attractions, icons, and other elements. This post contains affiliate links.
History of Disney Pin Trading
Pins have always been a souvenir option at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. I have pins from my first trip to Walt Disney World resort in 1980. During the Millennium Celebration in 1999, the Art of Pin Trading was introduced. Since then, Disney Pin Trading has spread to most of the Disney parks across the world and is still a growing hobby.
Disney Pin Trading Etiquette
In order to participate in Disney Pin Trading, there are some basic guidelines set forth by Disney in a pamphlet that you’ll need to know and abide by in order to trade. Here are the basics:
• Pins must be official Disney pins bearing the “©Disney” mark.
• Guests can make up to 2 pin trades per cast member per day.
• Pins must be exchanged for pins only and nothing else.
• For safety, trade one pin at a time, from flat open hand to flat open hand with pin backs attached.
• Refrain from touching anyone’s pins or lanyards. Always ask for a closer look if needed.
• Pins should be in good condition and undamaged.
• Have fun!
Cast members will always trade pins. Guests can and will trade, but they can also say no.
What Do I Need to Start Disney Pin Trading?
The Disney Store has some pin starter sets that come with pins and lanyards that will have you up and trading in no time. Lanyards are the mode of display for most traders, but some serious traders with loads of pins will bring them in binders to the parks for better safe-keeping and viewing.
Where Do I Buy Pins for Disney Pin Trading?
In addition to buying pins on shopDisney or the Disney Store (which gives you pins for your vacation ready to go before you get there), there are numerous other options for buying pins.
Pin trading can be expensive. Pins usually start at about $9 and just go up depending on the exclusivity and detail.
Pins are available at several different retailers, some of which have more exclusive pins than others. Pins of all levels of exclusivity can be found everywhere—from the Parks to shopDisney to your neighborhood Disney Store.
Your local Disney Store Outlet is a great place to pick up inexpensive pins to use as trader pins.
There are myriad sellers on eBay and Amazon that offer bundles and set of pins for about $1.00 or less a pin. When comparing these prices to the starter packs at Disney Parks, you’ll be saving around $8.00 a pin. However, buy with caution. Many of these pins aren’t pins that you’ll want to keep for your collection. Often, there are fakes in the bundles, as well, so read the reviews. Many are worn/damaged, but some are just average pins so they may be perfect for little kids starter starting out trading just for fun.
PRO TIP: Pay attention to what you spend on pins. I always try to trade pins that are worth more than the ones I trade for. The value of a pin won’t be listed when trading, but even during your pin trading session or two, you’ll be able to tell which pins cost more.
Disney Pin Trading Terminology
Many Disney Pin Traders will use the following terminology when trading.
OE – Open Edition. This refers to pins that have several copies available.
LR – Limited Release. These pins are slightly harder to find.
LE – Limited Edition Size. These pins are very hard to find, with only a limited number made.
Grail – This is the pin that you’d love to get, but can’t seem to find. This usually refers to YOUR grail. YOUR grail may differ from someone else's.
How to Trade Disney Pins
Display your pins either on a lanyard or in a public space. When you see a guest with pins, approach the guest and ask to see their pins. If you like one of their pins, you can request a trade with that person. You can also trade pins with cast members. Cast members can only trade up to two pins with you. Cast members can’t say no. Guests can trade or not trade at their own discretion.
Where Can You Trade Disney Pins?
At Walt Disney World Resort you can trade with any cast member who is wearing a lanyard, in the parks, at the resorts, and at Disney Springs. Many of the shops have Pin Boards, as well. Epcot features a premiere pin trading station called Pin Central, and there is a large pin-trading hub at Disney Springs called Disney’s Pin Traders!
At Disneyland, you can trade with any cast member who is wearing a lanyard, in the parks, at the resorts, and at Downtown Disney. Many of the shops have Pin Boards, as well.
On the Disney Cruise line, you can trade the shops all have books or pinboards. On the last evening of the cruise, the officers will have a special trading time as well and you can trade with the officers, as they will all have their lanyards.
How to Display your Disney Pins
What you do with your pins is up to you. The pro traders will keep theirs in the binders for easy display/trading.
We collect them not for trading after the initial trade. We display them on giant cork boards. I’ve also seen some cool displays on Pinterest. In the parks, we’ve seen some unique displays, including vests, jackets, backpacks, and dresses.
What Disney Pins Should I Collect?
What you collect is entirely up to you! I like to collect some of my favorite characters (Cheshire Cat, Alice, Jack Skellington, Stitch) and also my favorite fandoms (Star Wars, Marvel), but I also like to collect some of the ride-themed pins (Haunted Mansion). I also collect event pins when I attend an event at one of the parks (MNSSHP, Food & Wine Festival, etc.). My kids are more about collecting themes sets (Tsum Tsums, Cruise Line emojis, etc.). There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s all about what YOU like and what YOU want to collect.
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