Beginners Guide to Disney Pin Trading

You see them everywhere at Disney: Disney Pins of all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, designs, and patterns. They commemorate events, parks, hotels, rides and attractions, characters and holidays. They come in sets and individually, and can range from inexpensive little fun ones to very expensive collectors’ sets. They are, of course, Disney pins…and if you haven’t yet gotten involved in pin trading, be warned: it is very fun…and more than a little addictive.

Pin collecting can all be a little overwhelming at first though, so if all those brightly colored little pieces of metal are calling your name, here are a few things to know so that you can have fun with pin trading…but not spend a fortune in the process.

First of all, pin collecting can give some wonderful and fairly inexpensive souvenirs(if you don’t get carried away), and if you decide to do some trading, it is a great activity for kids! But, it doesn’t have to involve trading if you don’t want to trade! For our family of 3 adults, it is more of a collection thing now: we typically choose 2-3 per trip that are especially meaningful, and we hold on to them…no trading them away!

But if you want to trade, jump right in and have fun! Pin trading is especially popular with children and I always love seeing kids bravely ask cast members to trade a pin with them….and then be delighted when they do!

Now you do want to be careful if you are on a budget, because yes, this CAN be an expensive hobby if you are not careful! While the cost of pins can start as low as maybe $6-8 each, they can go up to $20+ for some very elaborate limited editions. And Disney sells pin sets too, so if you like that idea, you can spend even more.

So if this all sounds like a fun and rewarding hobby and activity, well it is! To get started then, keep in mind the following:

  1. If you have kids, arrive at Disney with a dozen or so cheap pins for your kids to trade with. You can find some on eBay, at DisneyStore.com, and even Amazon. The idea here is to trade these for others your kids will like more.
  2. Set a limit of so many per day, or per trip, or a cost limit…and then stick to it. It is easy once you start looking at them, to get carried away!
  3. It is easier, in my opinion, to do this if you are collecting with a theme in mind…..which can be just about anything. Maybe the resorts, or characters, or villains, or princesses. You name it, Disney’s got a pin for it. For us, we tend to now  buy our pins around dated events, as they are a great reminder of when we went and when we got the pin: such as New Years Eve 2005.
  4. Make a conscious decision: collect for fun, collect to trade, or collect seriously. If you have kids who are going to trade everything away, you won’t spend a lot on them, or especially care about what they look like. But if you want to make this a serious collection, you can buy only Limited Editions, for example, to increase the value of your collection. If this appeals to you, there are some great books out there that can give you more information.
  5. Think about how you are going to keep them when you get home! Don’t go to all this trouble to buy all these pins and just keep them in a shoebox! Some people frame the lanyards and pins. Some put their pins in a shadow box. We were given the suggestion, to create binders with foam sheets in between to protect the pins, and that is what we do. And I have to say, it is fun to go back and look at the binders years later and relive the fun we had collecting them!
  6. Check out the “Official Disney Pin Trading Site, a great site filled with all kinds of helpful information for anyone who is interested in pin collecting and trading at the Disney Parks. It even provides some “pin trading etiquette”. For example:

IS IT TRUE DISNEY CAST MEMBERS HAVE TO TRADE THEIR PINS?
Yes. Cast Members at our Theme Parks and Resorts have to trade their pins displayed on their Company issued lanyards. Guests can make up to two (2) trades per “lanyard,” per Cast Member, per day. When trading with Cast Members, Guests should offer a pin that is not already displayed on the Cast Member’s lanyard.

WHY ARE SOME CAST MEMBERS WEARING GREEN/TEAL LANYARDS?
Disney Pin Trading is fun for people of all ages. However, kids, ages 3-12, get an extra trading treat. Look for Kids Only lanyards – Disneyland® Resort uses “teal” lanyards and Walt Disney World® Resort uses “green” lanyards. This means that Kids are the only Guests allowed to trade from these special lanyards. Kids can also trade from Cast Members wearing blue lanyards.

(Information courtesy Official Disney Pin Trading)

Pin collecting and trading can be a fun and rewarding hobby and a relatively inexpensive one if you are careful. Have a great time finding your favorites, and watching your collection grow!

 The classic article comes to us from Nancy of The Affordable Mouse.


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Chip and Co Past Writers and Friends

2 thoughts on “Beginners Guide to Disney Pin Trading

  1. We’re lapel pin manufacturer, if anyone wanna make lapel pin, maybe I can help you!
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  2. My family bought a “lot” of pins of ebay. The lot came with around 20 pins for $15, the sender randomly picked what would be in your package. The pins were sorted between 3 kids and were then later traded for better pins in the parks.

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