To Trade or Not To [Pin] Trade

Your Comprehensive Guide to Pin Trading at Walt Disney World

If you’ve ever been to Disney World odds are you have seen people walking around with lanyards draped around their neck adorned with Disney character and attraction pins. Pin trading at Walt Disney World is a classic pastime that young and old park goers enjoy. While pins have always been available for purchase it wasn’t until 1999 during the Millennium Celebration that the actual act of pin trading was introduced. Today thousands of pins are traded each day at Disney Theme Parks.

For those unfamiliar with pin trading, it is exactly as you would think; the trading of different Disney themed pins. Trading pins can be a leisure activity or an intense hobby if you want to be a serious collector.  However don’t be fooled, you don’t have to be a serious collector to land a few limited edition pins. There are plenty of kids closets filled with rare pieces.



Now, if you’re thinking about pin trading or letting your little human(s) pin trade on your next Disney vacation there are some key points you need to know.

1. Buy bulk pins before you go:

If you look online at places like or Ebay odds are you can find a bulk set of pins for cheap. This gives you and/or your kids a lot of pins to trade and pins you won’t mind giving away. Check out KraftyCatzSupplies over at Etsy, her shop offers 40 random pins for $39. If 40 is too many try a set of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 pins. You can even request certain characters, movies, and types of pins.


2. Buy packs of pins at the park to trade:

If you look at any kiosk around the park that sells pins they will have packs of about 5 pins. This is your best option for trading; you get a good amount of pins for a decent amount of money. If you try to buy pins individually (to trade not to collect) you will spend a lot more money. Also, if you look on the back of each pin pack you can find the entire collection if you wanted to collect them all.

Disney Doughnut Collection- Sold in Pack of 5

3. Pins are color coded by price:

If you look on the back of each pin it will have a color on it which determines the price of the pin. This is an easy way to let kids pick out their own pins. If you cannot see what the prices are they are as follows:



 4. Just as there are hidden Mickey’s in the park there are Hidden Mickey’s on pins:

Most often hidden Mickey pins will have a tiny silver Mickey head somewhere on the pin. 90% of the time they are easily found.


5. Trade with cast members:

Cast members are required to trade their pins if someone asks and they have to give you the pin you ask for. This is a great opportunity to get rare pins and to complete collections. For example, some pins are only given to cast members and the only way to get one is to trade with them. Keep in mind it has to be an official Disney pin and must be handed over with the rubber Mickey Head backing.

Your pin must have the rubber black Mickey head back in order to trade with a Cast Member.
Your pin must have the rubber black Mickey head back in order to trade with a Cast Member.

6. Decide on a pin budget before your trip:

If you allot a certain amount of money for pins before you go it makes it easier to decide what pins to buy once you get to the parks. This also avoids spending hundreds of dollars on pins (it’s easier than you think to do that). Setting a budget is also a great opportunity to teach the littles about making decisions and using money.


7. Pin collections make great home pieces:

There are many things you can do with your pins. My personal favorite is creating a shadow box with a cutout of a certain character and filling it with pins of that character. If you happen to love Toy Story trade for as many pins as you can and then put them in a shadow box when you get home and hang it on the wall. Click on the picture for a great youtube tutorial on how to make your own!


8. If there is a collection you absolutely love, buy it:

It is hard to ever get a whole collection filled in one trip. Therefore if you find a collection you can’t live without pick it up at one of the stores. However if you can stand the wait it is also fun to complete a collection by trading for it. I thoroughly enjoy Pixar’s Cars and Star Wars, on my last trip I picked up these beauties:


9. Be Polite:

Not everyone you ask to trade will want to trade pins with you. Even if you decide to trade with a Cast Member remember to ask politely to see their pins. Do not grab them off their lanyard, satchel, or whatever is displaying their pins. Pin Trading is a great way to meet people on your trip, but people don’t want to be friends with the Grinch.


10. Ask Ask Ask:

More often then not Cast Members have pins to trade. Ask anyone and everyone if they have pins to trade, some places even have pin chests with a plethora of pins to choose from. An example of an unassuming place is stroller rentals. You will probably have to ask to see their pin board, but it is well worth it because they don’t get many people asking to see their pins.






Have a fun pin trading story? Did these tips help you at all? Comment and let us know!

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