Lanyard of Pins

Disney Pin Trading Secrets and Tips

Pin trading was something completely new to me this trip, but made the whole thing so much more fun and got me out of my comfort zone. As an introvert, I’m not one to talk with a random stranger. This includes the park staff.

In the year’s blogging, I’ve started to break out of my shell a little more. When my husband told me about pin Trading at Disney, I thought he was crazy. But it actually became a lot of fun. Here are all the Disney pin trading secrets and tips for your next trip.

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What is Pin Trading?

During the Millennium Celebration in 1999 Disney introduced the idea of pin trading around the park. Guests would buy the set pins and trade them with cast members.

Cast Members are any of the people working in the park. The idea was so much fun, it has been going ever since. There are hundreds of different pins to trade around the park. It has expanded to all the parks and Disney cruises.

Pin Trading Secrets

How do Identify Pin Traders

Any cast member wearing a pin can make a trade. You can trade up to two pins with anyone. The only exception is those with green lanyards. Those people will only trade with kids.

The most obvious place cast members have pins is on a lanyard around their neck. They can also have them on a hip sash or hidden elsewhere. The most common people to have them are in retail stores.

My first trades were going up to the counter and asking people if they’d like to trade. Cast members cannot say no to a trade.

You can also trade with other guests. This takes a little more courage as they don’t always want to trade their special pins.

My daughter struck up a deal with a girl in line at one of the parks. This is a great distraction during character meet and greets and other lines.

Disney Pins on Cast

Where to find Dinsey World Pin Boards

There are also pinboards. These are secret places that have loads of them all in one location. Most of them are managed by people.

We found them on parking cones as we left, up in a treasure box by the register, and on pizza boxes. These were a lot of fun to spot.

The serious traders all go to Epcot. There you’ll find pinboards of massive sizes, including entire collections of pins.

Disney Pin Trading locations
Disney Pins on Life Preserver

How to Display Your Pins?

Backpacks, lanyards, visors, fanny packs, or anywhere you want really. There are a couple of things we found most successful. First the lanyards. They are out front and easy to access.

Others will keep theirs in bags or their pockets. I recommend having them easy access but a place where they can get snagged and fall off.

My son was having an allergic reaction to either his lanyard or the Magic Band, so we decided to manage both for him.

We started off having his lanyard balled up in the backpack, but it became annoying to pull out each time he wanted to trade.

The pins also got caught and fell off. Then I decided to loop it through a couple of loops of my belt loop. This became easy for him to access.

Disney Pin Trading Lanerd
Displaying Disney Pins

What Pins to Collect?

Pins come in different collections. Usually, they have 4-6 in a set. I found it fun to try and build a collection of a specific type of pin. You don’t have to go that route. You can also get all your favorite characters.

My husband’s entire goal was to find a Muppet pin. They were nowhere to be found.

On our last day in the parks, around 4 pm I spotted one on a lanyard of a cast member. She was on a mission hauling something from point A to B. I felt horrible about it, but I stopped her in her tracks to trade.

I apologies profusely and could see she was a little annoyed but played it off as no big deal as all Disney employees are trained to do.

Where to get Disney Pins to Trade?

Before you can start trading pins, you need to collect a few first. Disney sells official pins in the park and online. They average about $5 each.

There are also a few reputable pin packages on Amazon that sell them for around $1 each. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of it, these packages may not contain 100% official pins.

There is a lot of smack talk about counterfeit pins and how to identify them. I truly apologies if I contributed to a counterfeit pin problem at Disney.

When it comes down to it, most people were trading just for fun. It wasn’t about having a valuable pin. With so many pins changing hands in the park, it’s impossible to know. The cast members really don’t care.

In order to trade pins at the parks, they must be in good condition. It will have the Disney Logo on the back. The back has Mickey’s ears. It has a copyright symbol on it.

If it has all of these things, it will be fine to trade. I actually traded one of mine for a pin that was chipped and cracked. I quickly traded it off without any problems.

Mickey and Goofy Pin
Disney Pin Trading Backs

Tips for Trading

  • If there is something you like, don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Sometimes you may find yourself eyeing up the cast members in weird places just to get a look at their pins. I really hope I didn’t creep anyone out.
  • When you are in-between fast passes, or in a long line, pull your kid out to look for other traders. It was a great alternative to board kids in line.
  • Consider the weight of the pins. Loading up your lanyard with 15 pins may sound like a good idea until you realize how much extra weight that it. Consider leaving a few keepers at the hotel room.
  • Consider buying your lanyards online or at the nearest Walgreens to the park. They are about half the price.

Would I do it again?

We went a little crazy with the pin trading at Disney World. After we got our first package of 25 pins in the mail, we went back for two more. It ended up being one of the highlights of the trip.

We each had about 15 pins to trade around and everyone had a blast getting to pick out their favorites. Forget trying to find hidden Mickeys in the park, find the hidden pins. With these pin trading secrets and tips, you’ll be enjoying the parks a whole new way.

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