The first time I heard about Disney pin trading, I’ll admit I was confused. I was being trained at Coronado Springs resort as a front desk specialist, and had never heard mention of the practice before then. Being an avid Disney traveler, I could not believe I had missed out on pin trading! After doing a little digging, I discovered it had only been a thing since around 1999 (I’m dating myself here, but I would have already been a teenager at that time).
I loved when I would be working at the resorts and children would walk up asking to pin trade. We would grab our pin board and bring it around and watch on as a delighted child would look over our collection and decide which pin to select. So much fun!
What is pin trading?
Pin trading is not only for children, it can be fun for all ages, but we think it is especially great for kids. The general premise is that if you have a Disney pin, you can then trade it for another Disney pin from any cast member or location offering pin trading on property. Cast members usually wear their pins on a lanyard (during COVID they were using pin boards, but lanyards are now returning) and will trade with you when asked. At places like gift shops and hotel front desks a pin board will be brought out if they have pins to trade. In the theme parks, you are more likely to find cast members wearing lanyards with visible pins. If a lanyard is green this means they only trade with kids.
Where do you buy pins?
Surprisingly, this is a controversial question. Your serious pin traders may tell you to only purchase pins directly from Disney as there are many fakes or “scrapper” pins out there. For the purpose of this post, we are not going to get into fakes vs. authentic BUT it should be noted that cast members are not inspecting your pins before making a trade with you. If the pin says Disney on the back then they will accept the trade.
You can buy tradeable pins before your Disney vacation online at shopDisney, Target, Hot Topic, Loungefly, and Box lunch. You can also purchase lots on EBay or Amazon (although these are likely to be scrapper pins). While on your vacation you can find pins for purchase everywhere.
Why do kids like this?
It’s fun!! Our kids love it. They wear their pins proudly on their lanyards, and get so excited to trade for something new. The hardest part is deciding which pin to part with, but they absolutely love looking through a cast member’s selection and making a new choice all on their own. It gives them something to be on the lookout for when we are walking around the parks, and we also enjoy trading at our resort.
Pro Mom tip:
Pin trading first thing in the morning gives you the best selection because pins are typically replaced at night. Our kids love running down to the lobby every morning and seeing the new pins available to trade!