One of Disney’s oldest traditions is the pin trade. Though official Disney pins were only introduced in 2000, it took off quickly and is now a staple of every die-hard Disney fan’s vacation. There are thousands of pins being traded every day, so if you’re looking to add a little extra magic to your trip or want a unique souvenir, it’s time to begin your pin collection.
How it Works
In order to begin trading, you first need to have official Disney trading pins. You can buy a starter kit in the Disney parks or order a huge bundle off of E-bay (this is what I always do before a Disney trip to save money and time while in the parks). Don’t worry about choosing the cutest pins because you’re just going to trade them away! As long as you’ve purchased official Disney pins from a reputable seller you’re ready to trade.
Once you’re in the park, find a cast member wearing a pin lanyard around their neck or on their hip and ask to trade! Pick out which pin you’d like, and then hand over one of yours. Cast members will never say no to a trade (unless you try to give them a non-Disney pin).
Every once in a while a cast member will have a mystery pin, or a pin that’s been put on backwards so you can’t see the front. In my experience, the mystery pins tend to be more rare, so always go for the mystery! You can trade for up to two pins at once.
Where to Find Pins
In the parks, not all cast members have pin lanyards (it’s voluntary!). Always be sure to ask cast members in stores and gift shops if they have a pin board. It’s usually hidden out of sight and features more pins than a lanyard can hold. This traffic cone pin board in Carsland at Disneyland is one of my favorites.
One of the most fun parts of pin trading is looking for the perfect pin to complete a collection. Disney has released tons of collections from common to super rare. Some Disney locations have an entire book of all Disney pin collections, or you can get inspired here.
Meet-Ups and Events
There are many pin trades organized throughout the year in the parks and hotels. Check the dates you’ll be in Disney to see if you can catch any!
Disney announces several pin release dates ahead of time, so keep an eye out if there’s a certain pin of character you’re on the hunt for.