Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursdays with Mel... Pin Trading

~ With a Baseball Tournament in full swing (batter up)... I thought I'd pull this one from the archives for those of you on your way to Walt Disney World & Disneyland Resort this summer! ~

New Pic: My 'Goofy' son in
front of DTD's Pin Traders
Pin trading, the unofficial sport of Disney resort guests, has been around for over ten years, and for eight of those years I resolved not to get sucked in. And for those eight years I was successful. So what happened?

Mr. Incredible (my Disney-tolerating husband) and I took our kids to the Magic Kingdom on our older son’s 9th birthday. With $10 of birthday cash in hand, he proudly announced he wanted a Disney Trading Pin. He bought it, and we were hooked.

That Star Wars pin seemed so innocent. Something that cost less than $10 made him so happy, therefore I was happy. But those little shiny pins are like potato chips; you cannot stop at just one.
My boys at DHS in their favorite lanyards!
Those who love Disney Trading Pins usually fall into one of two camps: Collectors or Traders. My older son and I are collectors. I collect pins from special Disney moments. I have pins from every resort where we have stayed and every character dining experience.  My son collects pins, mostly from attractions. He likes pins with some sort of movement to them. Some whirl, some spin, but they all move somehow.

Then you have traders. My younger two children fall firmly into this camp. Like most kids, they will trade any pin with any willing trader. If you are like me, and worry about your kids talking with strangers, here are my favorite kid-friendly pin trading tips.

1.    Have your kids trade pins with other kids. Make sure both parents are there to supervise and that both are cool with the trade.

2.    Disney Cast members with GREEN lanyards are specially trained to trade pins with children and are extremely unlikely to say ‘no’ to a trade. UPDATE: At the Disneyland Resort in California, the special lanyards are TEAL.

3.    Any cast member can trade with any guest, though they are free to say no to trades they feel are not equitable. Though my kids have never had a bad experience trading with any Cast Member. The best, and most enthusiastic pin-trading Cast Members can be found in the Downtown Disney Marketplace.

4.    Lastly, if your child does want to keep a pin for their permanent collection, secure it with a locking pin-backer, available Disney Pin Traders and the larger pin trading stores. This prevents trader’s remorse and keeps pins safely secured to the lanyard.

The crazy thing about traders is that sometimes they trade their way into a collection. My daughter naturally chose the Baby Princess pins during our last week-long vacation. Now she has a respectable handful of these adorable pins, and so she is torn. Does she trade with them on our next vacation, or does she become a pin-hoarder, I mean collector, just like her mom? Stay tuned.


  1. So far I have resisted the urge to get into the pins, although I spend a lot of time looking at them. You almost make me want to change my mind. Thanks for the wonderful explanation of how the trading works.

  2. My wife loves collecting the pins. We don't do any trading, but I have to budget $50-100 every trip, depending upon length. The longer the trip, the more the pins:)

  3. I have been going to Disney World since I could walk, it wasn't until our last trip that I really wanted to join in the pin collecting\trading. My dad always bought pins and put them on his straw hat. On our next upcoming trip I am going to give in and start pin collecting\trading.

  4. I have loved pin trading since we started... and lanyards are not the only options anymore. Disney has hipsters, pin bags and even wearable vests, for pin traders to use.

  5. But PLEASE be wary of "professional" pin traders who generally set up "shop" at a table or bench in the parks or at DTD. They generally congregate in clumps of 3-5 traders, and trade from large, album-style books. They are looking to trade for valuable pins... meaning they want to give you a pin worth less than the one you are giving them. Stick to trading with CMs or other resort guests!

  6. Can I be in both categories please? I love the thrill of trading, but I also have certain pins I look for to add to my collection. I buy a resort pin each time we go, and one of the pins with the year on it that go straight to my pin binder. I look to trade for Cinderella pins, Lady & the Tramp and a few others. My daughter has been quite envious of my collection, so we started her own lanyard on our last trip and she fell more to the trading side. Just trading anything and everything, which was just fine with me. She was having a blast!