Have you ever walked around a Disney theme park and saw people with a necklace full of pins? They’re Disney pins traders!
Disney pins are sold at many Disney stores inside the parks and Downtown Disney stores as well. They are sold individually and in sets, but the fun part comes with the trading!
How We Got Started
For our Honeymoon, we were able to take a day to go to Disneyland Paris. That is where his addiction started. He saw some people wearing lanyards, and he saw some pins sold in the stores. What initially started off as curiosity and an attempt to make a little extra money, turned into an all out addiction.
He thought we could get a couple starter sets with the “Disneyland Paris” logo on it, bring it back to the States, and sell it on eBay for a higher price. Easy profit. What I didn’t realize was that while we were on a little snack break, he opened up one of the packs and put the lanyard on “just to try it on.” He examined the little pins and their little details. Then he thought he would make a trade with a cast member “just for fun.”
One of his first trades was for Genie’s Magic Lamp. I thought it was a good trade. I don’t remember what he traded it for, but it was cute. And we also got a Mickey Waffle Pin with a little melted butter square.
Those first few pins now turned into a hundred few pins! EJ loves pin trading a lot more than I do, but I admit it’s fun to search for pins to complete a set. It’s like a little game, or we make it that day’s mission to add a little twist to our park visit.
Some pin trading etiquette:
- Cast Members usually only trade up to two pins per person.
- Cast Members with bluish/greenish lanyards (or pouches) only trade pins with kids.
- You can’t trade a pin that’s already on the Cast Member’s lanyard (duplicates), unless they don’t mind.
Some pin trading tips:
- We prefer trading with Cast Members over other guests. Some guests have unfair intentions and we don’t like getting caught up with that.
- Don’t touch a Cast Member’s lanyard or pins without asking. They DO NOT like it.
- Talk to the Cast Members and ask them if the pin you’re eyeing has a story. Cast Members are friendly and they usually have interesting stories to tell!
- If you want to save money, purchase a large amount of pins from eBay before your trip. Separate the pins you like from the ones you don’t and load up your lanyards with pins to trade before hitting the parks. Trade as the day goes by! AND DON’T FORGET to bring extra trading pins in a baggie for when your lanyard runs out of trading pins!
- Ask ANY Cast Member with a lanyard if you can see their pins. The ones you would not expect are usually the ones with the best pins. Our favorites are the janitors and the older Cast Members!
(EDIT: The eBay person that EJ always orders from is at dizzney4pins. The more pins you order, the cheaper each pin gets.)
Pin Trading Story from the Disney Cruise (Dream)
By the time we went on the Disney Cruise in January 2014, we pretty much had a collection already. We also had a bag of new eBay pins and were ready to trade.
The Disney Dream has three main merchandise stores: White Caps, Mickey’s Mainsail, and Sea Treasure. Whenever we had free time, we would go into those stores and ask if they had any new pins that people traded in. We made some Cast Member friends that started to recognize us because we came in so often!
On our last night, there was a Captain’s Pin Trading event where all the captains gather in front of the stores with their own lanyard and pin trade with the guests. A lot of them had nice pins, some Disney Cruise exclusives ones too. It was a nice way to interact with the Officers and the staff.
We made two main Cast Member friends that worked in the shops: Oksana from the Ukraine (working in Sea Treasures) and and Chris from Britain (working in Whitecaps). They were really nice and we found a lot of nice pins in their stores.
(left: Us with Oksana; Right: me, Chris, and Jacob)
Oksana was the first Cast Member friend we met. She is super nice! She said she would wait for us to come in and ask for pins. She would point out pins that guests traded in before we got there. She was also the one that awarded us with this really cool certificate and these most amazing pins! We were originally planning on cruising again for my birthday and were looking forward to seeing her again, but we had a change of plans. I hope to run into her again one day, but I’m glad we took a picture with her on that last night!
Jacob isn’t a Cast Member haha. EJ and I actually met him because he and his husband, Ryan, were seated at our dinner table. Ironic enough, we made friends with them over pin trading! They were new to the business and we talked a lot about it over dinner. They had lots of questions and we tried to give our best tips.
If I remember correctly, they said they got interested in pin trading when they saw people in the parks and on the ship with lanyards and pins, so they bought some while on the cruise. Many of their pins were really nice. Too nice to trade. As we got to know them better, we just ended up giving them some of our trading pins so that they didn’t have to trade their nicer pins! That was we deemed the trading pins as the “garbage pins” we wouldn’t mind trading away for something better, and the acronym “GP” was born! (I need to write a separate post about the Disney Cruise! That’s still being drafted at the moment!)
The ship released this Disney Anchor pins set a couple weeks before we got on the cruise and they had a promotion that if you spend a certain amount, these pins were only about $3, BUT the catch was that they were wrapped in black plastic so you wouldn’t be able to tell which pin you were getting, basically it was a $3 mystery pin.
Jacob and Ryan bought ten thinking if would be a good chance they were at least more than one character, and they told us all ten were Minnie anchors LOL. We met Chris when Jacob vented our his frustrations and Chris helped us find the anchors pins to complete our set by mixing the pins better and bringing out more from a different pile. I think all ten Minnie pins were from the same pile with no mixing. Chris just helped us increase our chances, and luckily enough, I was able to complete a set too! This was one of my favorite parts of the cruise!
My reasons for loving to pin trade in no particular order (…which might be different from EJ’s reasons):
- A lot of the pins are super cute!
- They’re great conversation starters
- Great way to pass time in lines for a ride or at a store
- Make a day at the parks a lot more interesting in search of specific pins
- We’ve made friends through it!
- I think it’s super cute when EJ gets excited about it. Like a little boy! But not so cute when his addiction takes over haha