Pin trading is a popular activity for kids and adults to do when visiting Disney’s theme parks, resorts, and even those cruising with Disney.
Collecting and trading Disney pins can be a budget-friendly souvenir when you’re on a Disney vacation, but you’ll need to know how to do it right. Keep reading to learn more about the Disney pin trading process and tips to make it fun for the entire family.
What Are Disney Pins?
They’re small metal Disney themed lapel pins. You’ll find the artwork revolves around Disney parks, resorts, movies, characters and holidays.
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Disney pins attach to your clothing, bag, or pin lanyard with a Mickey Mouse-shaped rubber backing.
Where Can You Buy Disney Pins?
Pins can be purchased at almost every retail store on Disney property as well as at some Disney stores around the country. You’ll also find them for sale on all Disney Cruise Line ships, Castaway Cay and Disney Springs.
There is a fairly large selection of pins and pin trading accessories on shopDisney.com.
There are several different types of pins sold at each of the locations mentioned above. The more expensive ones are sold individually and are priced anywhere from $10 to $20 each because of their size, pin design or their “Limited Edition” status.
If you opt for a simpler design or smaller pin, you’ll find them for less than $10 each. We’ve found Disney pins on clearance at Disney World resort hotels as well as inside the Disney World theme parks.
Smaller pins are also available in sets (normally called “Starter Sets”) and have 4 or more pins. These sets start at $20 and normally revolve a certain theme.
Is There a Way to Get Cheaper Disney Pins?
There’s a large resale market for Disney pins on eBay, Kijiji, Amazon and similar sites. Sellers often sell Disney pins in “pin lots” – groups of 10, 20, 50, 100 etc. They are priced very competitively and often equate to less than a dollar per pin.
Unfortunately, with the popularity of Disney pins, some eBay sellers have made a business out of taking advantage of naive Disney fans looking to buy pins. Some of these sellers acquire “scrapper pins” which are made of cheaper materials and design defects. These are not allowed to be traded at Disney parks or any Disney property.
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When you are choosing a to buy from a reseller, check their ratings/reviews carefully. Look at any negative reviews the seller may have received (even if they have a high satisfaction percentage), and steer clear of any sellers whose reviews mention scrapper pins.
When you get your pins, carefully look at the back of each pin. Official Disney pins are all stamped with the Disney logo and say the words “Official Pin Trading.”
How Does Pin Trading Work?
Whenever you visit a Disney property – theme parks, resort hotels, cruise ships, or Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas), you’ll see Disney staff (called “cast members”) with either a lanyard or small pin pouch attached to their belt loop with several pins on them.
All of the pins cast members have are available if you want to trade.
Say, for instance, that you see a cast member with a Mickey Mouse pin that you want instead of the Donald Duck pin that you currently have.
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You can walk up to them, politely ask if you can see their pins, and then point out to them which pin you would like to trade. They will then take the pin you want off of their lanyard, you will give them the pin you want to trade, and your pin trade is complete.
Cast members must always agree to pin trade with you so you don’t have to worry about them saying no.
When our kids first started trading, they were scared cast members would say no to their proposed trades but those worries quickly went away as they were engaged in lengthy conversations about their pin collection with cast members. 🙂
As you become a more advanced pin trader, you will begin to notice different types of pins as well as pins that are arranged into sets. Some pins are marked with a small hidden Mickey head somewhere on their front. The swan pin and Duffy the Disney Bear are examples of pins with a hidden Mickey on them.
This symbol denotes that this pin was never available for sale at the stores and can only be acquired from trading with a cast member.
Similarly, you will notice that there are sets of pins that revolve around a certain character, park, movie, or attraction. You can decide which of these you would like to collect and try to complete your sets.
Can You Pin Trade with Other People?
Absolutely! Unlike cast members, however, other guests have no obligation to accept your trade.
You may find that some people only collect rare, limited edition pins and will be unlikely to want to trade them for the pins you have to offer.
Other guests also don’t have to abide by the rule that you can only trade one pin for one other pin. They might want you to trade several pins for one of theirs, so you should always proceed with caution when you decide to trade with someone who isn’t a cast member.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
That’s basically all the information you need in order to start your Disney pin collection and begin pin trading. You will quickly discover how much fun it is to trade for pins featuring your favorite characters or films.
Be prepared for pin trading to be quite addictive, but as long as you go about it in the right way, you can start building a great new pin collection without spending too much money.