Ultimate Guide to Disney Pin Trading With Info Graphic

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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Exclusive Bonus: Download the complete guide to the best Disney pin trading locations that will help you take this guide to the next level.

Enjoy our complete guide to Disney pin trading. In this long article we have overviews of how to trade and a large pin graphic.

disneys-pin-traders_alt

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.

Exclusive Bonus: For the best locations for Disney pin trading, download the complete guide that I compiled for all of you.

Here is that info graphic we were talking about.

Disney Pin Trading Info Graphic

disney-pin-trading-infographic

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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:

Hanes Lanyard

Pixar Pin Set

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:

Pin Zorro First Season +

Pin Zorro Second Season +

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:

Pin EPCOT Butterfly +

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:

2006 APH Pin

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:

Disneyland Pin Belt

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.

Don't forget to subscribe to our other ultimate guide to saving money and losing stress at the Disney parks.

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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61 comments add yours

  1. Thanks for writing this awesome ultimate guide. Also, welcome back to writing at DisneyDose.com.

  2. I have a folder that has about 200 plus pins that I am looking to selling. How do I go about finding a good amount to ask for to sell?

    • Hi Terry,

      I would suggest messaging a seller on Ebay who sells Disney pins in bulk. Find someone who has a 100% customer service ranking and has been around for a good amount of time. Also contact Theme Park Connection and send them a note.

      The best of luck to you,

      Gavin

  3. This is a great article. However, wheather your pin is real or not, it’s still tradable. I bought a 25 piece lot off of ebay and all were fake, I went to Disney that night and traded all real pins. So it does not matter… real or fake.

    • The fake pins are NOT allowed. Regardless of whether Disney didn’t catch you that time, there are cases that they check. I had a CM find a fake in my bag (I didn’t know it was a fake) and refused to trade with me.

      • False. I bought a lot of 50 pins on ebay and traded all of them today. Nobody said anything to me. They don’t even bother to check.

        • I would think that the trading of false pins is like using counterfeit money. Just because your not caught, it does not make it right.

      • Just because a pin doesn’t have the words “Disney Pin Trading” on the back of it, DOESN’T mean its a fake pin. I have Disney Pins that have been given to me and some are from 1980’s and are verified off of http://www.pinpics.com. Disney Pin Trading didn’t even start until like 1999 according to Wikipedia so if anyone wants to call my pins fake, then I’ll tell them what to do with my pins and where to STICK IT! I trust http://www.pinpics.com, and the 8 I have from back in the day, are legit so 😛

        • Thanks for the comment. I am aware of these pins. While they are official pins created by the Walt Disney Company, these type of pins were not created as part of the Disney Parks and Resorts Pin Trading program. Regardless, these are a fantastic collectible.

  4. When shopping for pins in store, be sure to peek behind the what you may think are duplicate pins. If you are lucky you will come across a rare pin hidden by a cast member . My friend looked behind a layer and found a very rare Hades pin.

    ~Amanda~

    • Thanks for the tip Amanda! Next time I am visiting Disneyland I will be sure to look behind the stacks of pins. I know that I myself have hidden pins so that I could come back and buy them later.

  5. Thanks for this guide. it is really good and helpful. Been trading pins for awhile but can always learn something new. The trading of the pins is a lot of fun.

    • Hi all,

      I’m building a website to help disney pin collectors (like myself) track their pins. I’m eventually planning to build apps so we can track our collections in the parks. If anyone is interested in helping me create a great pin community site, please check it out at http://www.pinhoarder.com, and send me an email with any ideas or feedback you have!

  6. I am looking for the finding nemo pins. Cast lanyard series, 2006 I need nemo, and dori does any one have duplicates they would like to share?

  7. I just bought a pin with a “silver” color code on the back of it. What price range would this be in? Thanks for all of the great information.

  8. im reading the comment that one person left about being proud of trading fake pins! Omg !!!! I’m horrified! Unfortunately there are so many people at the park who do that, my heart breaks for the young kid who just got into trading and bought a legit pin and In return gets a fake one.. That just sucks.. Who ever that person is needs to grow up and realize it’s not about ripping people off

    • I agree! I mean honesty…that person you may have traded with could have spent 17.99 on a pin and just got given a fake one! It makes me sooooo mad!

      • Exactly! It makes me wonder, if I should allow my daughter to trade pins.

  9. new to collecting and trading. information was awesome. thank you. keep it up.

  10. Can you help me ID a cool looking pin I traded for? it is a Tinker Bell, it is all done in shades of gray, she is flying with a huge smile on her face.

    • Hello Tim,

      I would recommend Pin Pics or another website for that. I don’t have a specific knowledge of what each pin is.

      Enjoy,

      Gavin

      • Disney acts like they invented pin trading, will do not do so no way. I was trading, buying and or selling pins along time before Disneyland or any other part of theirs was even at wide spot in the road. No one else that I know of does not allow buying and selling on their property. Hard Rock does not, no Olympics that I know does not, in fact they encourage such being done. I just got back from a Hard Rock event (Pinsanity 11) in Las Vegas where such is allow along with trading. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles where in Pin Trading (and selling) got started per the Olympics got its start. Before that through the years pins were produced for each Olympics, no a lot of such was done. Why is Disney so hipper about anyone selling on their property? No one else That I know of has such limits. Why also is Disney turning out the same pin here In SoCal & at other parks at the same time? I now see the words DISNEY PARKS on most of the cards that pins are mounted on which tells me that they do not like pin trading! How am I going to trade pins with someone in Florida for example with the same pin coming out in California ? If I travel from SoCal to Florida with such existing? Why all this and again you act like to invented pin trading (and selling which should be part of things any way?

  11. where can i find what pins go with which sets? Is there a website that has all that info?

  12. Thanks for the helpful article. I went to the Mouse Pins Online site to check it out and was wondering: are the starter packs just a random assortment of pins that they send you? There wasn’t a choice other than the lanyard color. What is the difference between this and a grab bag? (do those just not come with a lanyard?

    Thanks for any info. Planning for my son’s first trip this year and going at Halloween time.

    • Maureen they are a separate website. I don’t really have information on their current offerings. Email their support team.

  13. I’ll be at WDW with my Mum in early December and will have a few hours here and there to devote to some fast paced pin trading (while she’s otherwise occupied).
    I’d love any suggestions of a good early morning pin trade route using the resort bus transport.
    I’ll be staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I figure I should plan resort – park/attraction – resort – P/A – R … pattern. As you can’t go from one resort to another directly. (Hmmm, except on the monorail… I hadn’t thought of that before)
    I figured my first stop might be Downtown Disney. But perhaps they would t be the earliest place open. (Sun. Dec 6). Right now, I’ve got from sunup until around 1-2pm.
    Would love a companion WDW best places to Pin Trade document. Maybe folks could suggest locations for this to you.
    Thanks for the great post!

  14. I learned a lot from taking time to read this posting about pin trading. Even though I have lived near Walt Disney World for 8 years, I am new to this, but already know about “Pin Sharks”. The Orlando area is full of them and since they are so easy to recognize, I avoid them at all cost.
    “Thank you”

    • Watch out for those pin sharks and never give in to purchasing a pin to trade.

  15. Any advice on a site I can use or a place at wdw to verify the authenticity of my pins and possibly the rarity?

    • Well I’m not so worried about the authenticity. My pins are all from 99 when it started to ’03. I’m more interested in their rarity. My sister and I have some neat ones.

  16. Bought a lot at Mouse Pins Online to start (And we love trading and collecting) but most if not all of the pins we received are in fact scrappers…just an FYI so you can make adjustments.

  17. Hey Gavin, any suggestions for a good gift to get a hardcore pin trader? He works at the Disneyland park and always gets the pins he wants….anything you’d recommend as a gift that isn’t a pin necessarily…maybe a badass display or something peripheral to the pins?

    Thanks!

  18. How can you tell the difference between an authentic pin and a fake? I compare my pins to photos on pinpics and they look the same, but reading comments that people are intentionally trading fake pins with CM’s makes me wonder about the pins I have in my collection.

  19. I bought a pin for 99 cents that another seller is selling for 350$(and it has not been bought yet) . Sure enough I looked on PinPics and the pin that I bought is the exact same and it is a LE 100.
    I feel very lucky, but do these pins actually sell or are they are they just overpriced?

    • That’s so lucky! If someone is attempting to complete a set, those pins do actually sell.

  20. This article has taught me a lot about trading pins. It was interesting to learn that pins can help you to remember special moments in your life. I hope this article can help us to know how to help my nieces to know how to remember special moments in their life.

  21. do you know where i would be able to find a complete list of all the hidden mickey pin sets?

  22. 1. I started with a grab bag, and most of my pins have the “Mickey with ‘Pin Trading’ banner” enclosed in a circle. There’s something written within the circle, but even with the magnifying glass, I haven’t been able to read it. Those pins have the years written in such tiny print (to fit between the bottom of the banner and the edge of the circle) that they are usually unreadable as well. What’s with the circle?
    2. How do you describe a pin that’s in the shape of Mickey’s head? There must be a word everyone uses to make it easy to describe a pin in that shape, but I haven’t been able to find it. “Mickey head” sounds like Mickey’s actual head . . . of which there are plenty of pins!

  23. We went DLP at Easter and was doing pin trading with a cast member, he did not refuse directly to trade but wanted 2 pins for his 1. I thought that was unfair on my daughter. We had a great time as it was the birthday celebration and was given badges for the event, was a great surprise.

  24. Is there a price guide for older pins? I don’t want to trade but am thinking ahead to splitting my collection between my grandchildren.

  25. I collect pins from disney, universal, and hard rock. I was wondering if removing the packaging and backing deterred the value. Or if it doesnt matter as long as the pin itself is in good condition.

  26. I see booster pins advertised all the time. what are disney booster pins?

  27. Just wondering what a misprinted Mickey pin would be worth? I found it from Disney and want to keep it, I like having one that’s different

  28. Thank you for answering all of my simple questions that I couldn’t find the answers to anywhere else. I’ve spent several days researching before finding your site. At least I found it before booking anything. I am so appreciative! We look forward to our Disneyland vacation now!

  29. I’m new to pin trading and I follow your recommendation to Mickey Pin online and bought a package of 10 pins $24 and guess what… All fake!!! If you want maybe you should check and maybe take from your site.

    Thank you

  30. Is mousepins online legit. Is a 25 pack enough to start. I love the classics. Will they be hard to obtain

  31. I’ve just started Pin collecting and want to start trading. I purchased a set of pins online and want to find out more about them before trading them. What is a good source of information on pins in general? Thanks.

    • PinPics.com is a great site with a lot of information, pictures, and info on what to look for in “scrappers” and fakes. I haven’t been trading for as long as some, but this site helps a lot! It does go down from time to time, but it seems to be working fine right now!

      Good luck!

  32. I am hoping someone can help me out with a question. After reading the guide to Disney pin trading. If I am reading it correctly, you can trade a hard enamel pin as long as it has the @disney logo. It does not have to be a Disney trading pin like they sell at the park? I have seen Disney pins in stores like Walmart for example in Orlando with the Disney logo. Would those qualify? They are hard enamel and have the Disney copyright. It’s a Disney licensed pin. We are trying to find a legitimate inexpensive way to trade pins for fun. Thank you in advance.

  33. I have access to a 50 year Disney employee service award pin. It is Mickey as Steamboat Willie in gold with the blue gemstone. Do you have anyone looking to buy this item?

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