Disney pin trading and collecting is a hobby that has become more popular in recent years. Kids who travel to the Disney parks or resorts will find a variety of pin trading opportunities. Many Disney stores and all of the Disney parks and resorts carry Disney pins and Disney Cast Members (employees) often wear the traditional pin lanyard for trading.
Pin trading can be a fun hobby for kids, as they travel throughout the Disney parks to trade pins with Disney Cast Members wearing pin lanyards. All Disney Cast Members are required to make any trade that is asked of them, as long as they are not wearing an identical pin. Each Cast Member may make up to two trades per pin trader.
Disney pins are required for pin trading and generic or “fake” Disney pins are strongly discouraged, as well as against pin trading rules. On occasion, however, there may be some Cast Members wearing unoficial or generic pins that they may have inadvertantly traded with someone.
Kids may trade with any Cast Member wearing a lanyard. There are some Disney Cast Members that wear green lanyards, which are only for children 12 years of age and younger to trade from. Kids should be on the lookout for the green lanyards because there are often some unique pins available on them for trading.
Where to Buy Disney Pins
The biggest mistake to make if kids are going to spend some time pin trading, is to purchase individual pins off the racks at Disney stores. The individual pins cost between $7.95 and $10.95 generally, while some special edition pins can cost much more. Trading pins are best purchased in lots or sets. The best value at the Disney parks are the 7 pin set of Disney mini pins ($25) or the 4 pack of pins for $22.
If kids are serious about doing multiple pin trades at Disney parks, ebay often has large pin lots for sale at prices well below the prices at Disney parks. On ebay, many pin lots are sold as auctions, so bidding is necessary. I have been able to purchase pin lots on ebay from some of the most reputable sellers for about $2 per pin plus shipping costs. That is a huge savings for kids who want to enjoy pin trading at Disney. If purchasing pins on ebay, avoid any of the generic pins, Sesdema pins, and those shipped from overseas. Many of these pin lots are not authentic Disney pins. Look for a seller with good feedback that offers pictures of the pins on the auction listing.
Tips of the Trade
Every serious pin trader needs a pin lanyard to wear while pin trading. Lanyards are available online and at Disney parks for about $5-8 each. As pin collections grow, kids might consider purchasing a pin book to keep their pins secure and safe for display. Disney sells pin books (8 x 11 inches, approximately) with a carry handle, for about $20. Other pin trading gear can be found at Disney shops. Pin fanny packs, backpacks, albums, and bags are all available in kid-friendly character designs, as well as the basic black with pin trading logo design.
There are a few special tips that can also help kids to make the most of their pin trading adventures. The first tip is to look for Disney managers who are wearing pin lanyards. The store, park, and resort managers often have some of the best pins on their lanyards for trading. Kids who visit the Disney Pin Store in Downtown Disney in Florida will find the largest variety of pins.
One of the best kept Disney secrets for pin trading is that many of the resort shops keep a special pin board that kids can request to trade off of once each day. The pin boards are often stocked with some harder to find pins and each child can make two trades off of the pin board each day. The Disney Pin Store in Downtown Disney also has a very large pin board, but the times are random when it is opened up for trading.
Occasionally, special pin events are held for pin trading. In the past, All Star Sports Resort offered a two hour pin event for kids to trade at each Thursday evening, while the Contemporary offered a Friday night event. Check Disney information to find out about current pin trading events.
Which Pins to Collect?
There are many different approaches to pin collecting. Younger kids may enjoy collecting a certain theme or character pins such as the Disney princesses or Disney attraction pins. Older children and teens may prefer to collect the special Cast Member pins that are only available from Disney Cast Members at the Disney parks and resorts. These pins used to be called “lanyard pins,” but they are also known as cast exclusives or cast member pins. The newest pins in this collection will be marked with a hidden mickey on the pin. Each year Disney announces new collections of Cast Lanyard pins and each pin is marked on the back of the pin with this distinction.
Limited edition pins are also fun for kids who plan to collect Disney pins for a long time. Many of the limited edition pins are only sold for a short period of time at Disney and each limited edition pin has a corresponding number to show how many of the pins were produced. A Limited Edition 750 pin means that only 750 pins will be available in that particular collection.
Best Places to Trade
The best spots for kids to trade Disney pins are at the Disney parks and resorts. Magic Kingdom is often a favorite pin trading location, though all the Disney parks have Cast Members who are there to trade pins with. Designated pin carts at the parks are also good choices for pin trading.
Pin trading can be an adventure for kids and most kids who enjoy pin trading will soon learn that they often run out of trading pins rather quickly while trading. The best plans for pin trading should overestimate the number of pins that children will need for pin trading at Disney. Many kids have a difficult time trading favorite pins, so purchasing extra traders ahead of time is often the best way to ensure having enough pins to trade.