What the Heck is Disney Pin Trading?

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I have looked for dozens of items related to Disney or Disneyland throughout the interweb. Every time I searched for a particular word or phrase, I always had to slog my way through several dozen pin trading entries. When we took our Disney cruise, some friends turned me on to just what pin trading was. You should check it out!

One of the best reasons to start pin trading is that it’s cheap! No really! Okay, if you do it the official Disney way it’s not, but there are ways around that, which I’ll get to in a minute.

We started our pin trading when our friends gave my kids, Geek Spawn and The Nerdling, each a lanyard with a few pins on it before our cruise. Here’s how it works. You take your pin up to a Disney cast member that you notice also has a lanyard full of pins. You ask them to trade one of their pins for one of yours. That’s it!

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You can make collections of some of your Disney favorites. Maybe you want all the pins in a particular set. Or maybe you want nothing but Tinker Bell pins. My son has a good sized Donald Duck collection going. My daughter loves the cute ones that look like baby Mickey and the gang. Whatever you like, you can collect and make it your very own!

In addition to the cast members in the parks, you can also trade with cast members in the Disney store, on Disney cruises, at Disney resorts and in pin trading booths at Downtown Disney. You can even trade with other collectors!

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How valuable are they? Not very. To buy an average pin new is about $5-$10. To get a starter set with a lanyard and 4 pins, you’re looking at about $27. But I mentioned there was a more cost-efficient way to do it: eBay! Pins are sold in bulk on eBay. Buy a box of 25-100 pins for about 60 cents each; keep the ones you like, trade the rest!

Of course, there are a few that are very valuable. But those aren’t typically traded by the cast members. Don’t get in it to make money. Just have fun making collections of the your Disney favorites. There are so many designs, ranging from the average (Winnie the Pooh) to the obscure (Disney character topiary). Meet new people, work on your confidence and communication, make fun sets, and enjoy your own very personal Disney souvenirs!

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A few tips:

  • Cast members can each trade two pins per person per day.
  • You don’t have to trade. If they don’t have one you like, just tell them, “No, thanks.”
  • Don’t touch the cast member’s lanyard. Ask them to show you.
  • You can only trade official Disney pins. But there are thousands of different designs!
  • Some pins have Hidden Mickey heads on them. They’re not worth any more than the rest.
  • Be polite!

This is a great way too have some additional fun on your next Disney trip! But plan ahead. Order a stash from eBay and hit the parks prepared! We brought our pins this week and had a blast getting our favorites!

Have you done any pin trading? How did it work out for you? What did you collect?

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