Disney Pin Trading: Guide to Pin Trading at Disneyland + Disney World

Disney Pin Trading is a popular hobby in Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Parks around the globe.  It’s a fun way to build a collection of little pieces of Disney art while meeting Cast Members and Guests in a friendly environment.

This guide to Disney pin trading is a guest post written by our friend Herb over at World of Walt.

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About Disney Pin TradingCollage of Disney pins

It is simple and easy to get started with pin trading, but like any hobby, over time you might enjoy it more as you learn more about the history and ins-and-outs of pins.

There are several different types of pins featuring a variety of Disney interests like characters, attractions, icons, special events, backstage tours, and more.

Some pins are open release, meaning there is no limit on the number of pins of that style the company might manufacture, while others are limited edition, meaning that the company will only create a limited number of that design.  Disney frequently releases pins at special events, movie premiers, opening days, and during monthly regular releases.

Pin trading is very affordable, but as with other hobbies, it can get expensive with limited-edition pins can cost up to $17.99, jumbo pins between $20 and $35, and super jumbo pins over $100.

Let’s take a look at the history and the now of Disney Pin Trading! You just might be surprised at how it all started!

The History of Pin Trading: How it BeganPin trading logo on background with logos for Disney Parks

You might be surprised to find out that Disney didn’t start pin trading!

Disney pin trading first took place on Disney property in 1998 at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports during an Odyssey of the Mind function. Odyssey of the Mind is an annual creative problem-solving program with abbreviated events for kids as young as kindergarten and age-appropriate programs for students starting in 3rd grade and continuing through college. Teams work together to solve problems and present a solution. During the competition, problem pins representing the year’s problems plus pin towels to display them on are available for purchase. These pins are not the ones that are typically traded, though; instead, teams bring pins from their home state or country, and these are the ones that other teams are really interested in.

Disney observed the pin trading and wanted to get in on the fun, so in 1999 as part of the Millennium Celebration, Disney started their own pin trading in Walt Disney World. Pin trading expanded to Disneyland in 2000 and has since expanded to all Disney-owned properties around the world and the Disney Cruise Line.

Disney Pin Trading Now

Pin trading currently occurs at all Disney-owned locations including the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the Disneyland Resort in California, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani in Hawaii, and the Disney Cruise Line. Each location has its own themed pins and traditions.

The largest pin trading event is held annually in September at EPCOT. Hong Kong Disneyland also has annual events on Easter Weekend. Disneyland holds occasional events, and Disneyland Paris has more frequent events happening semi-annually.

Pin trading has become a significant hobby, and some hobbyists even meet at unofficial events they put on themselves, which are not associated with the Disney Company.

Trading With Cast MembersTwo girls trade pins with a cast member

Until recently, most Disney Cast Members wore lanyards or belt packs displaying their pins for trade.  One notable exception is Cast Members who operate attractions, who are prohibited from trading pins for safety reasons.

Cast Members must trade with Guests if they are presented with a Disney pin.  They cannot decline a trade if the pin the guest presents is acceptable – meaning the pin depicts a Disney character, park, attraction, or other Disney icon, has the Disney copyright on the back, and has a pin back post (a straight post covered by a rubber backer, not a locking mechanism like a safety pin).  Also, the pin can’t be a duplicate of a pin the Cast Member already has. Finally, the pin can’t be damaged or excessively worn or damaged.

In normal times, Pin trading etiquette rules include holding the pins you want to trade in your open hand for the Cast Member to pick up.  They will do the same for you.

Cast Members get exclusive pins every year to encourage Cast Member to trade pins with Guests! The release was formerly called Walt Disney World Cast Lanyard Collection but was officially changed to the Hidden Mickey Collection in 2007 with the fifth series release, which included some of the most popular early designs reissued. The Hidden Mickey collection features a Hidden Mickey on the pin so traders could easily recognize it as a Cast Member exclusive; this was actually put into place with the third series release. New Cast Member pins are previewed at Epcot’s September event and pins are released a few weeks later.

Disney is constantly expanding their Trading Pin options not only for pins but also for ways to wear the pins! There is a lanyard for everyone and even pouches and bags to wear pins and lots more ways to display your collection at home.

Pin trading is great for all ages and is a fun in-park pastime that offers affordable souvenirs and Disney fun at home for a couple of different reasons. There are a number of awesome ways to display your Disney pins at home to bring the magic back with you.

Coronavirus Changes to Disney Pin Trading

The Disney World closure (the longest closure in WDW history) for the Coronavirus prompted the company to change the pin trading process upon reopening as part of safety changes to ensure social distancing. This change is part of a wide sweeping effort to ensure guest safety while the theme parks are reopening during COVID-19.

Disney Cast Members no longer carried pins to trade hand-to-hand with guests.  Instead, Disney had a limited number of pin trading boards open for business.  These boards take on various shapes and sizes, but each allows a Guest to browse a large selection of pins, and then trade up to two of their own pins for up to two on the board.

Disney operated pin trading boards in the past, but while social distancing rules are in place, these boards became the only way to trade pins on Disney property.

Disney Pin of the Month ClubRed banner with Mickey Mouse

If you love Disney or pin trading, check out the World of Walt Pin of the Month Club.  It’s a fun way to get a little Disney fun delivered to your home every month, with different subscription levels based on your interests and priorities.

The Pin of the Month Club is a great way to get brand new, authentic Disney trading pins.  You also get exclusive content in the Pinsider Newsletter and automatic entry into the monthly giveaways including more Disney trading pins and genuine Disney merchandise.

Your monthly subscription also includes a donation to support adoption, uniting children who need homes with families who will love them.

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Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

About Lindsay Brookshier

Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the content director of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and Disney Dose- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Visit Anaheim, Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.

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2 comments add your comment

  1. Hi, I have a question about pin trading at Disney World. My 12-year-old daughter and my wife and I will be spending 5 days at Disney this May. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for our family and we won’t be returning in the foreseeable future, so is it worth it to do pin trading — or is pin trading more for people who return to Disney World on a more regular basis? Your articles have been very helpful, but I don’t see this question addressed anywhere. What do you think?

    • It depends on how much money you’re willing to invest! Some people do pin trading as a one time thing and then display the pins when they get home… they make great souvenirs! Anyone can do pin trading if they want to participate!

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