Disney Pin Trading is a fun, interactive experience where Disney Guests can trade specially-marked Disney pins with Cast Members and fellow Guests. Kids and adults alike can partake in the fun, collecting pins of their favorite characters, attractions, and parks!
While collectible Disney pins have existed throughout the park's history, Disney Pin Trading originated in 1999 during the Millennium Celebration at Walt Disney World. The pin-trading frenzy spread to Disneyland shortly after, and it has been hugely popular ever since!
There are several locations where you can participate in the magic of Disney 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.
In this guide to Disney Pin Trading, we will cover how to trade Disney pins, where to find them, the different types of pins, and tips for the ultimate pin-trading experience at Disneyland and Disney World.
In this article:
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Tip #1: Know How to Trade Pins With Cast Members
Once you’re at one of these locations, locate a Cast Member. Disney Pin Trading Cast Members will be wearing a lanyard or carrying a pin board, and are always happy to see what you have to trade. Some cast members will have specially colored lanyards that indicate they only trade with kids—these are teal at Disneyland and green at Disney World. These traders tend to have a better selection of pins because they don't trade with as many guests.
To trade with a cast member, find a pin on them that you want and exchange it for one of your pins. Remember to respect the cast member's personal space—never reach out and grab a lanyard for a closer look! Always ask the cast member to present the pin you want to look at. Cast Members are required to trade Disney pins with guests, so this is the most reliable way to a new pin to add to your collection.
The rule is that Cast Members may only trade one pin from their lanyard or pad, but this is sometimes bent for polite guests. Name pins, or a single pin out of a set that completes a phrase or picture, may not be traded.
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. We'll share pin locations across Disneyland and Disney World in this guide.
Tip #2: Trade Pins with Other Guests
You can also trade pins with other guests at the parks. This tends to be a bit more difficult than trading with a Cast Member, as guests can decide whether or not you have anything they want and are not required to trade. If they do want to trade, there is no limit to the amount of pins you can exchange! Trading with guests is a great opportunity to strike up a conversation about your favorite Disney characters or attractions.
Sometimes a fellow guest may have a pin on their lanyard that is no longer available for purchase, but you just don’t have anything they want on your lanyard. If this happens, try offering to buy them a current pin that they want in exchange. You may have to buy a higher value pin for them, but if it gets you that out-of-circulation pin you have your eye on, it’s a deal worth making!
Of course, courtesy and caution must be exercised, and you should never push to trade with another guest if they don't want to or if it's an inconvenient time for them. Remember that Disney Pin Trading intended 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!
Tip #3: Get Pins for the Best Value
Pins from Disney
You can buy pins at the Disneyland website, stores at the Disney parks, Disney outlets, or other online sources. Pins are usually rather expensive at the Disney stores, but starter packs and pin sets tend to have the best value for more pins. For example, this 4-piece Winnie the Pooh starter set is available for $34.99, at a little under $9 per pin, and this Mickey Mouse and Friends set goes for $29.99 (at about $5 per pin).
Disney releases new pins on a regular bases, including limited release pins that are available until they sell out. These are largely what you will find on the Disney website, with 2023 prices for single limited release pins and pairs generally ranging from $14.99-17.99. These prices can drop as low as $5.98 on sale, and special pins can appear at various higher price points.
In stores, the pricing for Disney pins is split into three color-coded tiers:
- Silver ($11.99)
- Yellow ($14.99)
- Pink ($14.99)
Keep in mind that you're able to trade silver-tier pins for yellow and pink tier!
Online Sellers for Disney Pins
For a cheaper option to get Disney pins in bulk for trading, you can buy them from Amazon or eBay from trusted sellers that have extra pins they are offering for purchase. After buying these, you can sort through them to see if there are any you might want to keep before designating the rest as trading pins. However, you do want to watch out for fake pins if you do this—we'll talk more about this below. When buying pins from Amazon, you want to make sure that the seller is trusted and has a high rating like this one for $34.99. Usually, sellers like these will offer between 25-30 pins.
Tip #4: Watch Out for Real vs. Fake Pins
When collecting Disney pins, there is a risk that you can come across counterfeit pins. Real Disney pins will have the official Disney Mickey Mouse ear backing, be brightly colored, and have a smooth finish. The material will be cloisonné, semi-cloisonné, or hard enamel metal. Fake pins, on the other hand, will look discolored or faded, have rough edges, and feel lighter than real ones. They are generally made from plastic, rubber, or other non-metal materials. ESPN and ABC pins are also tradable!
The only way to dodge the risk of obtaining counterfeit pins is to buy directly from a Disney site or location, and this can be quite an expensive ordeal. While fake pins are a frustrating issue for pin-collecting enthusiasts, Disney does not have an official stance on these. When you trade with Cast Members, they will accept “scrappers” for trade, and you'll often see these on their boards.
Tip #5: Know the Types of Disney Trading Pins
As you start your collection, you will find Disney pins based on characters, rides, parks, holidays, Disney movies, or holidays. There are various categories for Disney Pin Trading, and you can decide if you're interested in one particular type or want to collect a little bit of each one:
- Hidden Mickeys, which have a silver Mickey hidden on the pin (only available via cast members)
- Limited Release pins (these, as discussed earlier, will only be available for a limited time until they sell out)
- Limited Edition pins (there is a set release amount for these and they usually are not traded)
- Rack or Open Edition Pins (these are available until discontinued and can run for several years)
- Series pins that are part of a larger set
- Retro Disney pins from years' past
Tip #6: Know the Locations for Disney Pin Trading
Pins are available at kiosks, carts, and stores across Disneyland and Disney World. See the list below of all pin locations, and keep an eye out for additional carts and kiosks with pin boards!
- Disneyana on Main Street
- 20th Century Music Company on Main Street
- Emporium on Main Street
- Disney Showcase on Main Street
- The Star Trader in Tomorrowland
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Fantasyland
- Westward Ho Trading Company in Frontierland
- The Briar Patch in Critter County
- Pooh Corner in Critter County
- Droid Depot in Galaxy's Edge
- First Order Cargo in Galaxy's Edge
- Resistance Supply in Galaxy's Edge
- Disney's Coronado Springs Resort's Panchito's Gifts and Sundries
Disney California Adventure
- Julius Katz & Sons on Buena Vista Street
- Seaside Souvenirs in Paradise Gardens Park
- Elias & Co. on Buena Vista Street
- Rushin' River Outfitters in Grizzly Peak
- Bing Bong's Sweet Stuff in Pixar Pier
- The Collector's Warehouse in Avenger's Campus
- Off the Page in Hollywood Land
- Super Store in Avenger's Campus
- WEB Suppliers in Avenger's Campus
- World of Disney
- Disney Home
- WonderGround Gallery
- Disney's Pin Traders
- Grand Californian's Acorns Gifts & Goods
- Disneyland Hotel's Disney Fantasia Shop
- Paradise Pier's Mickey in Paradise
Disney World BoardWalk, Disney Springs, and Disney World Resorts
- Disney's Character Carnival
- Screen Door General Store
- Thimbles and Threads
- Disney's Pin Traders
- Super Hero Headquarters
Disney World Resorts
- Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa's The Artist’s Palette
- Disney Beach Club Resort’s Beach Club Marketplace
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort’s BouTiki
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort’s Calypso Trading Post
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort’s Conch Flats General Store
- Walt Disney World's Dolphin Hotel's Disney Sundries and Gifts
- Disney's All-Star Movie Resort's Donald's Double Feature
- Disney's Pop Century Resort's Everything POP Shopping and Dining
- Disney Contemporary Resort's Fantasia
- Disney's Port Orlean's Resort-Riverside's Fulton's General Store
- Disney's Port Orlean's Resort-French Quarter's Jackson Square Gifts and Desires
- Disney's Art of Animation Resort's Ink & Paint Shop
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas' Johari Treasures
- Disney's Riviera's Resort's La Boutique
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa's M. Mouse Mercantile
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa's Sandy Cove Gifts and Sundries
- Disney All-Star Music Resort's Maestro Mickey's
- The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort's Meadow Trading Post
- The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort's Settlement Trading Post
- Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park's Shade Shack
- Disney's All Star Sports Resort's Sport Goofy Gifts and Sundries
- Disney's Wilderness Lodge's Wilderness Lodge Mercantile
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge's Zawadi Marketplace
Disney World Parks
- Beverly Sunset Boutique on Sunset Boulevard
- Celebrity 5&10 on Hollywood Boulevard
- Crossroads of the World
- Mickey's of Hollywood in Hollywood Boulevard
- Resistance Supply in Galaxy's Edge
- First Order Cargo in Galaxy's Edge
- Tatooine Traders in Galaxy's Edge
- Rock Around the Shop on Sunset Boulevard
- Stage 1 Company Store in GrandAvenue (temporarily unavailable)
- Tower Hotel Gifts on Sunset Boulevard
- Tower Photo
- Der Teddybar in World Showcase
- Imageworks in World Celebration
- La Bottega Italiana in World Showcase
- Mission: SPACE Cargo Bay in World Discovery
- Northwest Mercantile
- Pin Traders-Camera Center in World Celebration
- SeaBase Gift Shop in World Nature
- Sunset Ranch Pins and Souvenirs
- Test Track SIMporium in World Discovery
- Village Traders in World Showcase
- World Traveler
- Chester&Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures in DinoLand U.S.A.
- Discovery Trading Company
- Island Mercantile
- Kilimanjaro Safaris Cart in Africa
- Mariya's Souvenirs in Africa
- The Outpost Shop (temporarily unavailable)
- Riverside Depot in Discovery Island
- Serka Zong Bazaar in Asia
- Tiffin's Cart (temporarily unavailable)
- Windtraders in Pandora
- Big Top Souvenirs in Fantasyland
- Fantasy Faire
- Frontier Trading Post in Frontierland
- Hundred Acre Goods in Fantasyland
- Newsstand (temporarily unavailable)
- Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar in Adventureland
- Ursa's Major Minor Cart in Tomorrowland
Tip #7: Collect more valuable pins and hold onto these!
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:
Another thing to keep in mind are the special-release pins for Annual Passholders. Simply ask any Cast Member about these at designated locations, and you will be shown a small selection of pins only available for APHs, like this one from 2006:
Tip #8: Decide How to Display Your Disney Pins
Once you have obtained your pins, here are some ideas on what to do with them once you get home:
- Buy an official Disney Pin Trading book to store your pins in. These come in a variety of sizes to suit the size of your collection! A Disney Pin Trading book will keep all of your pins in one easy to access place and even make it easier to display and trade later.
- Display the pins you plan to keep on a special jacket or hat, then wear these when at the Parks or around town!
- Display your pins on a wall. 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. 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 symbolizing 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.
Why Start Disney Pin Trading?
Disney 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 lot of cash in the beginning, and a little can go a long way for your first venture into Disney Pin Trading.
Disney pin trading is fun for all ages, and it's a fantastic way to build those Disney memories. You will likely remember when and where you received each pin—especially your favorites!
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