Have you ever noticed people wearing pin lanyards and trading pins with cast members in the parks? If you’re ready to give this popular activity a try, check out the following steps to help you get the most out of this incredibly fun and social activity!
1. Gather some pins to trade
There are several ways to get your hands on your very first pins. Buying pins one at a time in gift shops can get pricey. Another option is to purchase pin sets, and then break them up for trading. They might be costly in the parks ($15-$30), but if you look online before you go, you can find sets for sale on eBay and other sites. Look for sealed sets, so you know you are getting genuine Disney pins. When buying online, be wary of “pin lots”, or larger quantities of pins sold for less than $1-$2 per pins. Pins this cheap are very likely “scrappers.” Read on to find out more about them.
2. Learn a little about different types and values of pins
There are different types of pins- Hidden Mickeys, Limited Edition, general pins sold in gift shops, etc. You don’t really need to know anything about pins to trade and collect them, though. If you like a pin, trade for it! Unless you are going to become a serious collector, pin value isn’t something you need to worry about. However, it would be a shame to trade away a special event or limited edition pin for something very common. Be careful with any “special” pins before trading them away!
A commonly sought after type of pin is the “Hidden Mickey.” Hidden Mickey pins, named as such because of the tiny Mickey head on each pin, are distributed to Cast Members, so the only way to get them in the parks is to trade for them. Twice a year, several sets of Hidden Mickeys are released in the parks. Each set is composed of several pins and a silver colored pin called a “chaser.
3. Understand what “scrappers” are
“Scrappers” are unauthorized, lesser quality pins that have been created from Disney pin molds. They usually feel lighter than their real counterparts and sometimes have missing details or coloring that is incorrect. Some scrappers are obvious, and some look great. Knowingly buying scrappers and then trading them in the parks is not good trading etiquette, so I don’t recommend it! However, you should be aware as you begin trading that the parks are full of scrappers. You will probably end up getting a few in your trades, but try not to obsess about it. If you like a pin, scrapper or not, add it to your collection!
4. Know how to do a trade
Other park guests may or may not accept your trade offer (though it doesn’t hurt to ask!). Cast Members, on the other hand, will accept all trade requests (unless your pin isn’t a Disney pin). Initiate a trade by greeting the Cast Member and asking to see his or her pins. Don’t touch the pins; if you see one you like, offer your pin for trade and indicate which pin you would like. Generally, you can trade up to 2 pins with each Cast Member. Cast Members wearing green lanyards will trade with children only.
5. Know where to trade
Pin trading is alive and well anywhere on Disney property. Bulletin boards covered in pins can be found at resort front desks and gift shops, and you can trade off the boards just as you trade from a Cast Member’s lanyard. Make sure to also check out Pin Traders at Downtown Disney, a store devoted exclusively to pin trading. The World of Disney Store, also at Downtown Disney, is a goldmine in terms of pin trading as well simply because there are so many Cast Members working there.
6. Decide what to collect
You can trade for anything you like. Some people collect special event pins, attraction pins, or pins representing certain favorite characters. Having a few ideas will help you decide what to trade for. If you change your mind, you can always trade away the pins you’ve previously traded for.
7. Remember that pin trading is meant to be social and fun!
Pin trading in the parks and resorts is not likely to result in you finding super-rare, valuable pins. Don’t get hung up on finding particular pins during your trades; being on the lookout for certain pins is fine, but be realistic and know that you might not find them. Pin trading is also a great excuse to talk to Cast Members and other park guests.
8. Enjoy your collection
If you want to get the most out of your pin trading hobby, make sure you display your pins so you can enjoy them at home, too! Whether you hang your lanyards or create your own pin album or board, try to place them somewhere you’ll enjoy them. You may also like “Disney Pin Trading – 6 Ways To Get More Bang For Your Buck.”
For more tips and info about Disney pin trading, consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!