If you’ve been to a Disney park, chances are you’ve seen them – the lanyard-wearing pin collectors, the stands of pins for sale and even cast members wearing pins. If you are new to the art of Disney pin trading, then this post is perfect to help you join in on the fun, avoid some etiquette mistakes, and start collecting your own Disney pins.
What is Disney Pin Trading?
Disney Pin Trading is as iconic that it’s almost a sub-culture between the more serious Disney pin collectors and those just having fun buying, trading, and collecting Disney pins. These “pins” are collectibles featuring characters, attractions, special events and more. Some pins are more common, while others are rare (or almost impossible) to acquire unless you have special access or are able to procure from reseller online.
Where Did Disney Pin Trading Originate From?
Disney pins have always been one of the purchasable souvenirs at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. In 1999, during the Millennium Celebration, the Art of Pin Trading was introduced by Disney Parks. It took off and has become a common occurrence at Disney Parks around the world.
How to Follow Disney Pin Trading Etiquette?
When participating in Disney Pin Trading, there are some basic etiquette guidelines that are expected across the pin trading community. Here are some of the basics you’ll need to abide by in order to trade:
- Trade Official Pins: Pins must be official Disney pins bearing the “©Disney” mark.
- Quality: Pins should be in good condition and undamaged.
- Pin Trading with Cast Members: Guests can make up to 2 pin trades per cast member per day. Cast members will always trade pins.
- Lanyards: Refrain from touching anyone’s pins or lanyards. Always ask for a closer look if needed.
- Exchange Pin-to-Pin: Pins must be exchanged for pins only and nothing else.
- One Pin Trade: For safety, trade one pin at a time, from flat open hand to flat open hand with pin backs attached.
- Guest Trading: Guests can and will trade, but they can also say no and that should be respected. It’s okay to wear non-tradable pins, but it’s helpful to let other guests know before engaging in trades.
Common Disney Pin Trading Acronyms
Disney is full of acronyms (here’s a few you’ll want to know) and pin trading has its own special language that you’ll want to know to make trading lingo a little easier:
- OE – Open Edition: This refers to pins that have several copies available.
- LR – Limited Release: These pins are slightly harder to find.
- LE – Limited Edition Size: These pins are very hard to find, with only a limited number made.
- Grail: This is the pin that you’d love to get, but can’t seem to find. Think “holy grail” of pins, which is where the term stems from.
Supplies You Need to Start Pin Trading
Picking up a pin starter kit at The Disney Store is a great way to get started. Sets come with pins and lanyards that will have you up and trading in no time. Lanyards are the mode of display for most traders, but it’s not uncommon for serious pin collectors and traders to carry around a display binder to make it easier to showcase their pins for trade.
Where to Buy Disney Pins?
There are a lot of places where you can find Disney Trading Pins, but some of them tend to be better than others. Here are a few places and a few notes about pin buying that you’ll want to observe:
Official Disney Shops
An excellent (and safe) place to buy pins is at the official Disney merchandise locations such as The Disney Store, online at shopDisney, or in the shops on Disney property.
Online eBay and Amazon
There are many online sellers online that offer bundles and set of pins for prices that sometimes seems too good to be true. However, buy with caution. Many of these pins aren’t pins that you’ll want to keep for your collection and include fakes or damaged pins in the bundles. Be certain to read the reviews on the seller and their return policies.
Social Media Trading Groups
You can find groups on Facebook and other social networks where pin trading or selling is common or allowed. The same rules apply for any online non-Disney seller, check the product and buyer out to ensure you are not getting fakes or damaged pins.
Where & How to Trade Disney Pins?
Now that you’ve got your first bundle of pins, a lanyard, and excitement, here’s how to start trading your pins.
Where to Start Pin Trading?
- Walt Disney World Resort: Any Cast member who is wearing pins in the park, Disney Springs or at one of the resort properties. Many of the shops have Pin Boards and Epcot even features a premiere pin trading area called Pin Central. If you are in Disney Spring’s there’s a great location to meet other traders called Disney’s Pin Traders.
- Disneyland: Any Cast member who is wearing pins in the parks, Downtown Disney or at one of the resort properties. Many of the shops in both parks and Downtown Disney have Pin Boards, as well.
- Disney Cruise Line: You can trade the shops via their books or pinboards. On the last evening of the cruise, the officers will have a special trading time so make sure you don’t miss out and look for the officers wearing their special lanyards.
How to Start Pin Trading?
- Pin Trading (Cast Members): This is the easiest way to get started with pin trading, you simply approach and ask. Most Cast members will even make sure their pins are visible when they see you have a lanyard full of pins on. Just don’t forget etiquette and remember that Cast members can only trade up to two pins with you and can’t say no if you offer a trade with them.
- Pin Trading (Guests): You’ll want to make sure you can be seen. Wear your lanyard openly in a public space within the parks. When you see a guest with pins, ask if they would be interested in trading pins. If you like one of their pins, you can request a trade with that person.
Ready to Start Disney Pin Trading?
Good! We hope that this guide was helpful in getting you brought up to speed. There’s no limit to what fandom you can collect so have fun and find creative ways to display your favorite pins at home.
What is your favorite Disney pin?
Leave a comment below and let us know.