Disney Pin Collecting & Trading 101

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There are many ways to “plus” your Disney vacation with collectible items. These souvenirs can be a great way to remember and relive your memories made in the theme parks. One of our favorite ways to expand the magic of a Disney vacation is by collecting and trading Disney pins. The pins come in a vast variety of characters, attractions, special events, and more and are usually only offered for a limited time. These tiny bits of memorabilia have become so popular with guests over the years, that they’ve spawned their own Disney-approved hobby of pin trading. Let’s take a look at all of the basics for newcomers to the Disney pin world, and how to get started trading and collecting yourself!

Disney Pin Collecting and Trading

Disney pins come in a plethora of styles and designs. Pins can range in price from $10 for standard releases, to $35 or more for special editions. These special pins can have moving parts, light-up elements, and even small pieces of real items used in the parks. Pins can be found at most retail locations as well as certain pin kiosks.

Disney Pin Collecting and Trading

If you’re just getting started in the pin collecting and trading game, you can purchase a starter lanyard. These lanyards come in many different styles and usually offer four pins from a series. These lanyards are perfect for anyone wanting to start collecting, but not knowing where to start, and give you a convenient way to carry and show off your collection. Once you’ve amassed a large variety of pins, you can purchase bags that can hold a large number of pins for easy carrying.

Disney Pin Collecting and Trading

Many of the variations have their own definitions that might be confusing to new collectors. Here are a few terms you should know before collecting:

  • Cloisonné: French for “partitioned.” It refers to the pin’s surface decoration being set in designated sections, by color. It also refers to the pigments used to create the coloring.
  • Hard Enamel: Created in much the same way as cloisonné, but hand polished to give a smooth finish.
  • Soft Enamel: These pins have the design pressed into the metal. They are then filled with enamel colors and baked for durability, with a clear dome cover.
  • Chaser: Rare or difficult to find pins. Sometimes variants of other existing pins. 
  • Scrapper Pin: These are unauthorized, bootleg pins. There are many ways these fake pins are created, but they are not accepted in Disney pin trading.
Disney Pin Collecting and Trading

Once you’ve got a few pins on your lanyard, you can take part in the fun hobby of trading! Disney pin trading is allowed throughout Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, and Disney Cruise Line ships. Guests are encouraged to bring their pins with them and trade with other guests and even Cast Members. All you have to do is keep an eye out for a Cast Member with a collection of pins on display, and ask them to trade. While you’re taking your chances trading with another guest, Cast Members are willingly able to trade any pin they have for any pin you offer. It’s always a good idea to stop and see what the Cast Member has. My family has found a few surprisingly rare pins on their boards.

Currently, the process for pin trading with a Disney Cast Member is a bit different due to physical distancing guidelines set by the resort during its reopening. You will still find pins available to trade with Cast Members, only now you are asked to choose the pain you would like from the board, without touching it. The Cast Member will then remove the pin and place it down for the guest to retrieve and replace it with the pin they are trading.

Disney Pin Collecting and Trading

If you want to get into the trading game, there are a few guidelines Disney has set to ensure that the process is easy and enjoyable for all guests.

  • Pins should be cloisonné, semi-cloisonné, or hard enamel metal Disney pin or acceptable operating participant pin that represents a specific Disney event, place, or location, character, or icon.
  • Pins from other business units of the Walt Disney Company such as ESPN, ABC, etc. are acceptable.
  • Counterfeit and lower quality pins (e.g. non-metal pins) will not be accepted for trading
  • Pins should be in good, undamaged, tradable condition.
  • Trade one pin at a time, with the back attached
  • Refrain from touching another person’s pin or lanyard. If you need a closer look, ask them to bring the lanyard closer.
  • Certain pin sets must be traded as sets. If a single pin from the set does not complete the intended picture or statement alone, all pins in the set must be traded as one.
  • When trading with Cast Members, you should offer a pin that is not already displayed on the Cast Member’s lanyard.
  • Monies or gifts may not be exchanged or used in trade for a pin.
  • You may only trade one pin of the same style with a Cast Member.

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