Updated 7/21/18. Disney Pin Trading is a fun, interactive experience where Disney Guests can trade specially-marked Disney pins with Cast Members and fellow Guests. The great thing about Pin Trading is that there is no age limit, so the whole family can participate in this activity together. Disney would love everyone to become a ‘Pin Pal’ by buying and trading pins for life!
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Enjoy our complete guide to Disney pin trading. In this long article we have overviews of how to trade and a large pin graphic.
Guide to Disney Pin Trading
There are several ways to participate and experience the magic of Pin Trading. You can visit Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort in California, Disneyland Paris, anywhere Disney Vacation Club units are sold, and possibly some Disney Stores in your local Mall. It’s rare, but I have seen some Disney Store Cast Members sporting a lanyard, such as at the Disney Store in Times Square, New York.
Once you’re at one of these locations, you need to locate a Cast Member. Pin Trading Cast Member’s will be wearing a lanyard and are always happy to see what you have to trade. All you have to do is find a pin that they have that you want and exchange it for one of your pins. But never reach out and grab a lanyard for a closer look! Always ask the CM to present the pin you want to see for a closer look. A CM will never say ‘No’ and so you’ll soon have a new pin to add to your collection!
Just remember that the pin you want to trade should not already be on the Cast Member’s lanyard. While at a merchandise location, if you don’t see a Cast Member with a pin lanyard, ask at the checkout instead. Sometimes they will have a pad under the counter with a selection of pins for trading. You can follow the same process to obtain one of these. And I do mean ‘one’. It’s generally the rule to trade only one pin from a Cast Member's lanyard or pad, although some Cast Members who aren’t too busy may bend this friendly rule for a polite Guest. I have heard this rule bent often and some Cast Members that I have talked to.
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Here is that info graphic we were talking about.
Disney Pin Trading Info Graphic
Here’s a tip or two:
Pins come in various price ranges grouped by color. Each Pin Trading location will list the prices for each color, but as of 2018, they are: Green ($9.99) Silver ($9.99) Blue ($12.99) Yellow ($12.99) Pink ($14.99) but some special pins can sell for much higher (like name pins, which are not tradable anyway). Lanyard sets and ‘puzzle’ pins (where two or more pins fit together to form one picture or word/saying, which must be traded as a complete pin set) are also higher in price.
And that brings us to…
Tip One: If you want to trade, buy green pins and trade them with CM’s for more expensive colors. You aren’t limited to trading in color groups only.
Tip Two: Buy pin starter kits that contain a lanyard and an assortment of pins, usually in a theme like Tinker Bell or Monsters Inc., etc. Don’t worry if you don’t want all of the pins in the set; simply trade them for ones you do want. It works out that each pin in the set costs less than the equivalent amount of green pins, so you can’t lose financially! Check at the bottom of this post for a chance to win a starter lanyard.
Lanyards and pin sets can also be won or obtained through a promotional giveaway by any of the Disney affiliates, like the ones below. But you likely won't want to trade these away:
You may also find a special pin in a Disney DVD release, like these ones from the Zorro Season One and Season Two collector tins:
Tip Three: Beware of the counterfeit pins out there. Be wary of eBay or other auction sites that offer incredible deals for large pin lot amounts. Many of these auctions are legitimate, but some are not, and you could end up with fake pins that you can’t trade. I do recommend checking out Mouse Pins Online for a great place to buy a large amount of official Disney parks pins to take with you to trade in the parks in order to avoid paying high Disney Parks prices.
Cast Members may refuse to trade if your pin is not part of the Pin Trading program. Pins that qualify should be a cloisonné, semi-cloisonné, or of hard-enamel or an acceptable operating participant pin that represents a specific Disney event, place or location, character or icon. ESPN and ABC pins are also tradable. But remember: The Cast Member will make a final decision, which it is only good trading etiquette to accept! No arguing, please. Below is an example of an approved Event Pin:
Another thing to keep in mind are the special-release pins for Annual Passholders. Simply ask at designated locations (ask any Cast Member about these) and you will be shown a small selection of pins only available for APH’s. Like this one from 2006:
Pin Trading isn’t limited to between Cast Members and Guests. Guests can approach each other and offer to trade at any time. But obviously courtesy and caution must be exercised. No matter how much you might want a pin from another Guests lanyard, you should never push to trade if it’s a bad or inconvenient time for them!
Differences in Disney Pin Trading
There are two main differences between trading with Cast Members and other Guests. Cast Member’s will always agree to a trade, no matter what you offer (as long as it’s an approved pin). But another Guest can refuse to trade with you if you don’t have anything they want.
My Fourth Tip may help you here: Sometimes a fellow guest may have a pin on his/her lanyard that is no longer available for purchase, but you just don’t have anything they want on your lanyard. Try offering to buy them a current pin that they want in exchange. You may have to buy a Pink color level for them, but if it gets you that out-of-circulation pin, it’s a deal worth making!
The second difference is that you can trade as many pins with another Guest as you want, as long as the other Guest is willing to take the time and sees that you have more pins that they want as well. Again, just remember that Pin Trading was created by Disney to create a fun and interactive activity between traders, so always be polite and understanding to the needs and limitations of other traders. If they’ve had enough, be sure to thank them and send them on their way with a big smile!
Displaying Your Disney Pins
And with that last sentence in mind, just what will you do with all those traded pins when you get home? Here are some ideas:
Idea One: You can buy an official Pin Trading book to store your pins in. These come in a variety of sizes to suit the size of your collection. This will keep all of your pins in one easy to access place, and even make it easier to display and trade later.
Idea Two: Many like to display the pins they plan to keep on a special jacket or hat that they then wear when at the Parks, or around town for the more fanatical Disney fan!
Idea Three: Others, like myself, display their pins on a wall in some way. The most common technique is to use a board that you then frame, making your display of pins a work of art on the wall. But for my wife and I, we like to display our pins on belts that we then hang on our bedroom wall. Each belt contains 13 pins (to commemorate our wedding anniversary on the 13th) each of which symbolizes a significant part of our yearly Disney vacation. For example, this year was our first time visiting Disneyland in California, and the new attraction Cars Land. So we bought a Cars Land pin and added it to our 2013 Pin Belt. You can see it below:
No doubt you’ll find your own way to display or store your Pin collection!
Have a super fun time pin trading when you are on your Disney vacation and if anyone else that you know would benefit from the information above please share it with them.
Here's the Next Step
While you are planning, the best way to set up for your trip is to know the locations of the best Disney pin trading spots. I wrote a BONUS guide to the best Disney pin trading locations at Disneyland.
Download the Bonus: Check out our complete guide to the best locations to pin trade in Disneyland.
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Why Pin Trade?
Well, the first response to that is why NOT? In all seriousness, pin trading can be a really fun hobby for any Disney enthusiast. It's also a great way to meet other people and make great memories at the parks. You don't need to invest a ton of cash in the beginning, a little can go a long way for your first venture into pin trading.
The Official Disney Pin Trading site has this to say:
The fun of Disney Pin Trading is in the amazing variety. Find YOUR FAVORITE pins to personalize your Disney experience. Guests of all ages can hunt for favorite characters, attractions and features. Whether it's the Little Mermaid or Mickey Mouse you seek, pin hunting is guaranteed to add thrills to your Disney adventure. Go find the pins you want and make some new friends! It is all up to you! Have fun! Disney Pin Trading is a great way to share the magic and bring home wonderful Disney memories.
Our editor from Mickey Visit has this memory to share of her son's first day at Disneyland:
My son's experience with pin trading happened on his very first trip to Disneyland. We made sure we were one of the first people in line at the gates an hour prior to opening. There were two nice ladies in front of us with two lanyards full of Disney trading pins. This was long before I even knew what pin trading was and neither did my son. When I told them this was going to be my son's very first day at Disneyland, they instantly became overjoyed to be a part of that experience. They began explaining pin trading to me and my son and gave him over 10 pins to start his pin trading collection with! This sweet moment of generosity is what always makes pin trading stick out in my mind. My son wore those pins proudly throughout the parks that first day and jumped right into the fun. What a great memory and introduction to pin trading for us both!
Pin trading is fun for all ages and it's a great way to build those Disney memories. You will likely remember when and where you received each pin- especially your favorites!
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