Between Minnie Ears, Disney Store Keys, plushies, and more, there are a lot of Disney souvenirs made to be collected by fans. But there’s one item that has become the most popular to collect and trade — Disney Pins!
Every year Disney releases thousands of pins featuring almost anything you can imagine like resorts, rides, parks, characters, and more. And, while purchasing Disney pins to bring home with you to remind you of your trip is fun, there’s a lot more to them.
A whole tradition has been created by fans around these little collectibles known as Disney Pin Trading, and it can be a whole lot of fun! So, pack your pins and get ready – here’s everything you need to know about pin trading in Walt Disney World in Florida!
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LEARN THE DISNEY PIN TRADING LINGO
Disney pin trading is pretty simple and it’s a favorite activity for many Disney-goers. But, you’ll want to know a little bit of the pin trading lingo before you go to take things to the next level. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Hidden Mickey Pins – These pins are so much fun to hunt down because they feature a small Mickey head hidden somewhere in the pin designs. They’re not uncommon to come by, but you can’t buy them! You’ll have to trade pins with a Cast Member to secure one.
- Limited Edition Pins – Also known as Limited Release pins, these pins are more exclusive and can be harder to find. Disney only makes a certain number of each limited edition pin and you need to be shopping at just the right time to get your hands on one!
- Mystery Pins – As the name suggests, these pins are a mystery! To get these, you need to purchase one of the mystery boxes from a Disney gift shop. Disney sells a variety of different mystery pin collections so, depending on what box you choose, you’ll have a chance of getting one out of up to 12 different designs.
- Character Pins – These pins highlight Disney characters in all shapes and sizes! Whether you’re a fan of Stitch, princesses, or the Fab 5, you’re sure to find your favorite characters featured on at least one pin.
- Starter Packs – A pin starter set is the easiest way to begin your Disney pin trading journey. You can find these in Disney souvenir shops and they usually come in packs according to a theme. Pick one that has a few pins you know you’d want to keep and then trade the rest!
- Scrapper Pin – “Scrapper” is the word used for individual pins that had some sort of flaw in the production process but still ended up in circulation.
- Open Edition – These are the most common pins in Disney World. They are widely available and tend to be sold for years and years. They can be as small as a lapel pin all the way up to jumbo pins.
- Retro Disney Pins – These are generally regarded as very special pins because they feature characters, rides, movies, and more from Disney’s past. The retro Disney pins were usually only available for a limited time making them more valuable for trading.
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WHERE TO BUY PINS
The great thing about Disney trading pins is that you can find them almost anywhere! The biggest store dedicated to pin trading is Disney’s Pin Traders in Disney Springs. But, you can also find a wide selection at World of Disney in Disney Springs, merchandise stores in the Disney Parks, and even the Disney Store at the Orlando International Airport.
If you want to do your pin shopping before your Disney vacation, the best places to search for them is online with retailers like Amazon or shopDisney. Oftentimes you can purchase Disney pins at a fraction of the price on these sites, especially during seasonal sales or when free shipping is offered. To be sure that the pins you purchase online are real pins, look for the official Disney pin logo that is engraved into the back of the pins.
BUY PINS SPECIFICALLY FOR TRADING
Disney World has thousands of different pin designs for sale, and you’ll probably want to buy your favorites to add to your own pin collection.
If you also want to partake in pin trading, you’ll need to buy extra pins that you don’t mind giving away. Purchasing a starter pin set or inexpensive pins from the Disney gift shops is a great way to start!
BRING PINS FROM YOUR HOME COLLECTION TO TRADE
If you want to save some extra cash, look through your Disney pin collection at home before your trip and see if you’re willing to part with any of your own pins.
Even better, store the pins that you didn’t trade on your last trip in a zip-lock bag somewhere safe. Then, you’ll know exactly where to look when you’re packing.
CHOOSE THE PINS YOU TRADE WISELY
Disney pins are extremely popular collectors items that are sought out by thousands of Disney fans. Due to this, some pins can be worth some money in the future and you don’t want to trade those away! For example, Disney’s 2000 Millennium Celebration pins can be worth $100+ dollars nowadays.
It can be hard to determine what pins will appreciate in value over time, but a general rule of thumb is to hold onto any limited-edition pins you purchase or trade for. Also, be sure to keep any unique pins that you find. And, of course, don’t let go of your favorite pins even if you don’t think they’ll be worth anything in the long run.
KNOW DISNEY’S PIN TRADING RULES
Once you’ve got your trading pins picked out, it’s time to start trading and there are a few rules and pin trading tips that you should know.
Most of the time, you’ll be trading pins with Cast Members (more on pin trading locations and who you can trade with below!), but they don’t accept just any pin. Disney requires that you only trade Authentic Disney Pins and your pins must have pin backs.
Cast Members also don’t accept duplicates, so if they already have the pin you’re wanting to trade on their lanyard, you’ll need to choose another.
ALWAYS HAVE YOUR PINS WITH YOU
There are so many opportunities to trade pins across Disney property and you never know when you’ll find one that you’re searching for! There are a lot of different ways to carry your pins around the parks and resorts and keep them secure.
Wearing a pin lanyard filled with the pins you want to trade is one of the easiest ways to always have them on hand. Or, you can pin them to something you bring everywhere with you, like a hat or fanny pack.
LOOK FOR PIN TRADING CAST MEMBERS
Once you’ve picked the pins you’d like to trade from your collection, it’s time to get trading! And, a fun way to do that is by trading with Disney Cast Members (a.k.a. the employees).
You can usually find Cast Members wearing pin-trading lanyards in the gift shops at all the Disney theme parks. Choose any of the pins they have to trade for, or make it a bit more fun and opt for mystery trades. These mystery pins are usually pinned backward on the Cast Member’s lanyard so you can’t see exactly what design you trading for if you choose it!
KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED FOR PIN TRADING BOARDS
Take your pin trading to the next level and look for Disney’s massive pin trading boards in the parks and resorts! Instead of having only a few pins to choose from on a Cast Member lanyard, you’ll have many more to select from on the pin boards. These range in shape and size with some being Mickey-themed boards that are shaped like a Mickey Mouse silhouette, some being a simple square cork board, and some being the size of a trash can (yes, really – you can pin trade with a trash can in Disney World!).
Not sure exactly where to find a large pin board for trading? Here are a few hints I’ve heard about! The pin trading trash can is located near the entrance of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and you can even find a secret pin trading treasure chest near Aladdin’s Magic Carpets ride in Magic Kingdom.
Plus, if you want an extra special pin trading experience, head to Disney’s Pin Traders in Disney Springs and look for the mystery trading boxes. This pin trading board features 24 different boxes with one pin inside each. You’ll pick a numbered box and that will be the pin you have to trade for!
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK CAST MEMBERS ABOUT SECRET PIN-TRADING SPOTS
You never know what unique pin trading experiences you’re missing out on if you don’t ask!
For example, the Memento Mori store in Magic Kingdom has a Memento Mori Pin Book, but it’s not sitting out for just anyone to see it – you have to know to ask for it. This is often the cast at Disney hotel concierge desks too. You may have to put in a little more work to see these pin trading boards, but oftentimes you might encounter a magical moment and find a rare pin that you’ve been hunting for.
LOOK FOR GUESTS PIN TRADING IN THE PARKS AND ONLINE
If you’re pin trading in Disney World, you’ll be trading with Cast Members most of the time. But, sometimes you can find fellow guests who are willing to strike a pin trading deal too!
In the past, EPCOT has allowed Disney guests to bring their pin books from home to partake in some trading, but it’s become rare in recent years. But, if you happen to see a guest with a pin that you’d like to trade for walking around the park, go ahead and ask. You might end up experiencing an extra magical moment!
HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT PINS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR
While you certainly don’t need a strategy to pin trade, it can be helpful to have one so that you don’t end up with a bunch of random pins that you don’t really want. Instead of just winging it, have a game plan.
Is there a specific character that you want to focus on, like the Little Mermaid? A specific series that you want to collect? Are you only looking to trade for hidden Mickey pins? It can be a lot easier to find something if you know what you’re looking for.
ATTEND DISNEY WORLD’S ANNUAL PIN TRADING EVENT
Disney hosts a variety of special events every year and there’s one entirely dedicated to pin trading! Disney’s Official Pin Celebration event takes place every August in EPCOT (usually over a weekend in the middle of the month), and it is one of the biggest gatherings of Disney fans who love trading pins.
The event features special trading experiences, the opportunity to shop brand new pins that are exclusive to the event, and more. Just keep in mind that there is a cost associated with the pin celebration and pre-registration is encouraged.
BRING YOUR TRADING PINS ON ANY DISNEY VACATION – NOT JUST TO DISNEY WORLD
The Walt Disney World Resort isn’t the only place you can buy and trade Disney pins! Pin trading spans all aspects of the Walt Disney Company.
Whether you’re vacationing at Disneyland Resort, going on a cruise with the Disney Cruise Line, or going to an international park like Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, or Tokyo Disney Resort, it’s a good idea to have your pins on hand. You just never know when you’re going to find a pin that you want to trade for!
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