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What is Pin Trading?
At Disney destinations you can purchase pins inside any park or resort and trade them with guests or cast members. Generally, my kids trade with Disney Cast Members because most people are not interested in trading with others. Cast Members wear lanyards or square cloths with pins that hang down from their pants. You approach the cast member and ask if they will give you a specific pin you choose, then you can give them any of your Disney pins you want to give up. You can trade two pins with each cast member. Pins purchased at Disney are $7.95/pin and up depending on how intricate the pin happens to be. There are some pins that light up or have moving parts that are more expensive. There are holiday and special occasion pins as well. Some pins are collectible and more valuable. Serious pin traders are looking for pins with value and know which ones would sell at a high dollar amount on resale. However, most children that do pin trading are looking for favorite characters or themes. Many rides have a pin that accompanies their ride like Splash Mountain.
You can also buy a pin trading start up set at Disney that includes a lanyard and identical trading pins so that you can 'trade' them for what you want. While pin trading is not as prevalent on Disney Cruise ships you can go to guest services or the onboard stores to trade pins by asking to see their books of pins.
- This is a fun way to pass the time when waiting in a line. Kids can go to a nearby cast member and trade pins.
- Kids that are a little older feel they are on a scavenger hunt of sorts.
- Inexpensive if you plan ahead.
- A fun ongoing 'game' for families that visit Disney often. As my kids quit doing autograph books they began doing pin trading and continue to look forward to it.
- Expensive if you arrive at Disney then decide to be a pin trader
- It can be distracting if you have a child that doesn't take direction well. For instance, there are times we are in a hurry to get from one location to another, you do not want a distracted child looking at every cast member's lanyard along the way and walking at a snail's pace.
- One more thing to carry and manage while on the move.
- Buy your pins in advance on Ebay to avoid the ridiculous Disney pricing. You get random pins but it doesn't matter because you will trade them for what you want. For instance, you buy them in bulk and pay about $0.50/pin as opposed to $7.95/pin!!!
- Trade at trading boards at resorts. Go into the resort gift shop and ask themwhen you can come and trade. You can always trade with Cast Members but there are additional boards of pins they bring out for a specified pin trading time each day. Fort Wilderness has enormous boards that are only open certain hours but have hundreds of boards. Each resort has pin trading boards and open them a couple of times per day and those times are generally listed in the gift shops.
- You can buy special pin backs that are more secure to keep the pins on that you do not want to trade.
- Special Occasion pins are released during events like Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party that can only be bought at that time.
- Try to let your kids do the talking, it is a great way to teach them how to address an adult and let them choose the silly pin that makes no sense to you. It has offered our daughter a lot of opportunities to WAIT and to speak loudly enough to be heard while making eye contact. Honestly, if you care that much get your own pins!
- On our last Disney Cruise my 10 year old daughter started trading to collect the Disney Duffy Bear pins. She would make an event of going to the customer service desk and to the stores daily to see if anyone had traded one in. One night she wore her lanyard to dinner and a gentleman at the next table engaged her in conversation about her pins. He was an avid pin trader and was looking for pins with value. He also enjoyed 'Stitch' pins. He brought her a Duffy pin the next night at dinner from his stache! This was a pixie dust moment, she still talks about it nearly a year later. She spent the rest of the trip trying to find him a neat Stitch pin!
- At 12 it is still one of her favorite things to do...um, she loves Duffy, everyone be on the search!!!