The Pin Trading 411
Everything you need to know to become a pro-pin trader.
What is pin trading?
Disney pin trading is an easy, extra magical activity where guests can trade Disney pins with cast members and even other guests. Disney has always had collectible pins as part of their souvenirs, but introduced the notion of pin trading in 1999 as part of the Millennium Celebration in Epcot for the dawn of the 21st Century.
What are pin boards?
Pin boards are cork boards or some other form that pins are placed on for guests to look at. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, cast members used to wear belts or lanyards that held pins. But since the pandemic, Disney has fully switched over to boards to maintain more of a distance between cast members and guests. Also with COVID-19 precautions in mind, all pins are sanitized during trading.
Who can pin trade?
Anyone of any age! This is an easy and cheap way to start a collection and take home souvenirs from a trip! The act of trading is completely free, so you just have to purchase your initial pins to trade. (Hint: purchase cheap, but authentic, trading pins on Ebay prior to your trip. You could end up with pins worth triple the amount you paid for your original pins!)
How do you pin trade?
Any guest can walk up to a pin board, look at the board full of tradable pins, ask the cast member to trade, hand the cast member one of their pins they’d like to give up, and then receive a new pin. Each guest can trade up to two pins at a time. If you don’t see one you want to trade for, no worries! Just say thank you, but you’ll pass this time.
What can you trade?
Guests can trade any Disney pin they own for their desired pin on the board. The pin must be an authentic Disney pin and in good condition (not broken). To check to see if it is an authentic pin, flip it over and look for the copyright logo and Mickey Mouse head backing.
Where can you pin trade?
There are pin boards located in all four parks, Disney Springs, and most of the resorts.
How to get started?
There are a few options to get started pin trading:
Order a bundle of trading pins on Ebay. This is your cheapest way to pin trade. The only risk is receiving inauthentic pins. Make sure to look at the pictures and check the reviews to make sure they are a reliable seller. Typically, you can buy groups of 10, 15, 25, 50, and 100 pins for a good rate. It’s a ton of fun to receive this in the mail and get to open all the pins and see what you got! I recommend taking them all with you to Disney in a Ziploc bag so it’s easy to pull out and trade. Plus, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll find a pin you like even better.
Order a pin trading pack from shopDisney. These are typically about $20 and include three to four trading pins. Some packs even come with a lanyard.
Speaking of lanyards, stop in a gift shop on your trip to find a lanyard to wear your pins on! It’s also an easy way to hang and display your pins when you get home.
You can also wait until you are there and buy new pins in the parks to trade.
What should you look for?
This is a tough question to answer because there is no right or wrong way to pin trade. Find any pin that you like! Here’s some tips if you’re looking to start a collection:
Look for a small, silver Mickey. That means it is a part of the hidden mickey series and is typically authentic.
Look at the back of a pin. If it is a part of a series, it will tell you what number of the series it is and how many are in that series. That way, you can try to collect them all!
Pick a theme. Maybe this trip you want to look for just princess pins because the last trip you looked for just villain pins.
Look for larger pins with characters or rides featured on them. Sometimes you’ll luck out and find a $20 pin on the pin board.
Want to become a pro? Watch some pin trading videos on YouTube and you’ll start to get a feel for what other people look for and what pins are valuable or rare. Pin trading has become increasingly popular and there are plenty of Disney bloggers and vloggers who focus on just pins. Check out their social media platforms and watch their episodes on YouTube to learn even more.
At the end of the day, pin trading is an extra, fun way to add some Disney magic to your trip and collect souvenirs! Don’t feel stressed about trading for the best pin, just pick what you like best! Maybe that’s your favorite princess or an icon that will remind you of your trip.