Pin trading has quickly become our favorite activity to partake in while vacationing at Walt Disney World. When we made our first trip as annual passholders in 2010, we really didn’t know a whole lot about pin trading and decided to purchase a few pins to trade after seeing cast members trading pins with guests. Today our collection has grown to nearly 4,000 pins. You could probably say we’re pretty serious traders, but we’re not the ‘walk into Epcot with suitcases full of pins’ serious traders. If you’re new to pin trading, be sure to read the rules and etiquette of pin trading before you begin your pin trading adventure. Over the years we’ve made mental notes of our favorite spots to trade pins, so here are our Top 10 places to trade pins at Walt Disney World.
10. Pin Drum (Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster gift shop, Hollywood Studios) – You’ll normally find cast members trading at all the gift shops attached to rides, but if you make your way to the ride photo purchasing area of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, ask a cast member if you can see the pin drum. They usually have it hidden in the back or under the counter. We’ve noticed on recent trips that they don’t replenish/replace pins at the end of the day like they use to, so it’s hit and miss on whether or not you’ll find great pins on the drum.
9. Restaurantosaurus Pin Board (Animal Kingdom) – We’ve caught this board out in different places around/in the restaurant during our visits to Animal Kingdom. The first time they had it in front of the restaurant and on our last trip, there was a cast member standing just inside the restaurant holding the board. They usually only have it out during the first hour or two of lunch hours and we’ve found some great hard-to-find pins on the board before.
8. D-Street (Downtown Disney) – We have a cast member at DisneyQuest to thank for pointing this one out to us during our last trip. D-Street has a pin book that has nothing but Vinylmation pins. If you’re as big of a collector as we are of Vinylmation pins, be sure to stop by the store to see if you spot one that you’re missing. The only caveat is that you can only trade a Vinylmation pin for a Vinylmation pin.
7.(Japan Pavilion, Epcot) – Not all World Showcase countries in Epcot participate in pin trading, but this huge store in Japan never disappoints with the pins they have available for trading. Unlike cast members in other parts of World Showcase, you won’t always see lanyards around the necks of those who are trading in the Japan Pavilion. If you walk towards the very back of the store, ask one of the cast members at the registers to see their pin lanyard. They usually have one or two tucked away into drawers near the registers and since most people don’t know about them, you can usually find newer pins on these lanyards.
6. Resort Pin Boards/Books – Every resort at Walt Disney World has a pin book and/or board. The pin boards are usually found in the resort gift shops and are only brought out at certain times, so be sure to ask a cast member what time they will be trading that day. Unfortunately, there is usually a limit of 1 pin trade per person on these boards instead of the normal 2 trades per person. Some resorts like POP Century or Art of Animation will often have a second pin board in the resort lobby that they bring out at random times and they are usually chock full of great pins. We’ve found that every check-in/concierge desk at the Deluxe resorts also have pin books, so be sure to ask them to view the book – but be sure to wait your turn in line, especially if you go during check-in/check-out.
5. World of Disney (Downtown Disney) – We easily spend 30 mins or more just walking through the store trading pins at the World of Disney store and often make a trip to Downtown Disney at the end of our stay just to trade pins. Every cast member in the store is required to wear a pin lanyard (but you will find the occasional cast member who doesn’t have one), so just imagine having 30+ people to trade with in one location. For those with small children, there are usually quite a few wearing green lanyards that only kids can trade with and my husband usually finds that those lanyards are the ones with the best pins!
4. Frontier Trading Post (Magic Kingdom) – Not only can you purchase great pins at this store, you can also find their unique displays used for pin trading. They have a pin washboard, a pin cowboy hat and even a bear wearing pins – all for your trading pleasure. And to make it even better, you can trade 2 pins on each of these items. The hardest part is usually picking only two…
3. Animal Kingdom Pin Stroller (Stroller Rental) – For the longest time, this was our favorite place to trade pins, as most guests didn’t know it was there. They never have the pin stroller out unless someone else just happens to be viewing pins on the stroller while you’re walking by. You have to ask a cast member to view the pin stroller and the cast member will then go to the back and retrieve the stroller. They usually won’t bring it out if they are super busy though, so be sure you only visit this location late-morning/early afternoon – times when there isn’t a long line of people waiting to rent a stroller. Much like trading at the Frontier Trading Post, the hard part here is picking just two pins to trade.
2. Disney Pin Traders (Downtown Disney) – A pin store is obviously a great place to trade pins, but this one makes it to the top of the list because of one thing – their HUGE pin board. When you walk into the store from the ‘Once Upon a Toy’ area, look to your left and the pin board is hanging on the wall. You probably won’t know it’s a pin board though, as they have it closed and the pin trading logo is on the front of the doors. But if you happen to walk in and catch it open, be sure to jump in line right away. The line often gets long and they will close it off pretty quickly. You’re also limited to only a minute or two to trade, so you really have to start looking for which pins you want to trade for right away and be ready to trade as soon as it is your turn. They do a pretty good job of sorting the pins into different sets so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for (if you’re looking for something in particular). The bad part is that they only have it open a few times a day and they won’t tell you when that is. We’ve usually caught it open sometime between 5-7 p.m. So if you catch it open, consider yourself lucky!
1. Magic Kingdom Bus Area – We discovered this glorious pin board last December as we were walking to our resort bus. They actually had two boards sitting on a bench before you make it to the first bus stop (and close to where the ferry traffic splits off from those walking to the buses). Of course, the location can change and it’s not always out, but just ask a bus driver if you happen to see one standing around helping direct people to their bus. This pin board was so great because it was full of hard-to-find Hidden Mickey’s and many other neat pins that you rarely see on lanyards or other boards. We completed some Hidden Mickey sets after finding this board, so that makes it a winner for us.
There are many places to trade pins around Walt Disney World and of course this list doesn’t include all of those places. What are some of your favorite locations to trade pins?
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