My Disney Pin Trading Experience

I recently vacationed at Walt Disney World, as many of you know since I won’t stop talking about it. While I was there, I really got into Disney Pin Trading. This post is just about some of my observations, and where I intend to go with my collection.

Disney Pin Trading is a tradition that began in 1999 and has steadily become more popular each year. Disney pin collecting has a little something for everyone, and your experience can easily be molded to suit your needs. Some folks don’t trade pins. Disney has an extremely expansive variety of pins covering characters, parks, rides, hotels, holidays, special occasions, and more. Some collectors purchase carefully selected individual pins to display at home or wear as part of their everyday wardrobe. These collectors usually choose pins that are meaningful to them. For example, some people collect every pin they can find of a certain character. Other collectors collect specific pins that tell the story of their trip- their hotel, their favorite ride, their favorite park, the year, etc…In fact, Jimmy & I, together, did this. We have a small collection we keep separate from my trading collection. This collection represents our trip- a wedding-themed pin, a Animal Kingdom Lodge pin, a 2015 pin, and a Duffy pin (since it was our Duffy’s first trip). This collection will not be treated the same as my trading pins (which will remain on lanyards) and travel with me to Disney on my next trip), but instead will be displayed on a shelf in our home with other memorabilia we collected on this trip (like our Gaston’s Tavern mug, and our bride and groom Mickey ears).

How seriously you take trading pins is up to you. Some folks consider the long-term value of their pins- they hunt down rare and valuable pins and bring suitcases of pins with them. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I saw small children with pin collections on lanyards…clearly full of whatever pins they decided they liked, and I witnessed siblings trading pins in line to get into the parks. It can be a very casual pursuit, an independent pursuit, a social pursuit, a serious pursuit…you can turn Disney Pin collecting into whatever you’d like. Some people seek out very specific collections they wish to complete through trading, or if you are someone who is intrigued by blind box/bag surprises, there is a method for you to. I fall into this latter category. I love randomness and surprises. This is really the crux of my Disney Pin addiction.


This is a “Mystery Collection” box. It is tied to a very specific series of pins, all related to the Haunted Mansion and have the same aesthetic. This box contains two random pins from the series. These collections are for those who want both the fun of surprise and control over what pins they get.

Then, there are my favorite, these…


These pins are in fact from a series of pins…the Hidden Mickey series. However, the Hidden Mickey series is very, very extensive. They are pins that, obviously, contain a small hidden Mickey in their graphic, but the cover a very wide variety of content and there are collections within the series. They give you as little information as possible on the packages themselves. From my understanding, these pins are initially only released on the cast member lanyards. After a set time (a year?), they are released in these pouches. You can’t buy these pins individually. You either need to get these pouches or trade for them. However, because there is an element of surprise and a chance to get a duplicate pin, or one you just don’t want. These pouches are some of the less expensive price options. These quickly became my favorite pins.

The best thing about the random surprise pouches and mystery boxes? Get a pin you need for your collection? YAY! Get a duplicate of a pin you already have? YAY!!!! Duplicates are just as much fun because it gives you pins you can trade with cast members and other guests.

If you plan on trading pins, or even just showing off your collection in the parks, you’ll want to purchase a lanyard. This allows you to show off your collection and advertises that you are a pin trader, so guests and cast members will ask you about your pins. The vast majority of cast members carry around pin lanyards. The pins on those lanyards are not owned by the cast member, they are Disney property, so you are guaranteed a 1-to-1 trade provided you have a legitimate pin to trade. You are limited to two pins per cast member per day. If a cast member isn’t wearing a lanyard, it’s very possible they still have pins! You just need to ask to see them. Some stores also have pin boards. Some cast members will try to make it as easy as possible for you by asking you if you’d like to look at their pins. Several cast members asked me, which helped this shy introvert get into the trading game.


I only managed one trade while I was down there, but that was totally my doing. It certainly was not for lack of traders or great pins! I was just getting my feet wet and still trying to determine my pin collecting style/plan. What was I going to keep? What was I going to trade? How many collections was I going to be going after at one time? I made my first trade during our second Magic Kingdom day during the end of our trip. Pirates of the Caribbean was down for a few hours, and we had a Fastpass for it. So, after learning what the scoop was on the ride, and our Fastpass, I was approached by a female cast member dressed as pirate. She not only asked if I wanted to see the pins and make a trade, but she said she had some mystery pins. Always going for the surprise, I opted for the mystery pin. I chose a pin off my lanyard that I decided I was going to trade, and swapped it for one on her lanyard that was backwards (so I could only see the pin back). It turned out to be Rolph, which I found to be an improvement over the Patriotic Mickey pin I traded.

I now have 2 lanyards (one for keepers, one for traders) and loads of pins. Also, some pin packages I have yet to open!!! The fun is still continuing! Now, I have to organize my pins into keepers and traders. In order to determine what I am keeping, I need to look up what other pins are in that collection, so I can decide which pins I am going after. I can also continue to trade pins on websites such as or with fellow traders I meet in the real world.

As I organize and document my current collection, I will post about each pin in this blog.


5 thoughts on “My Disney Pin Trading Experience

  1. I’ve started a collection (newbie) and plan on doing some swapping when I get back to WDW. I even started up a Pinterest board for selected Disney Pins.

    Be aware of the non official pins. Steer clear of the bulk pin lots on EBay.


    • Great advice. I second it. I highly recommend watching you tube videos about how to detect fake pins! They are sadly all over WDW- even Cast Member lanyards! My very first trade was for a fake mystery pin from a cast member. 😦 I thought the pin seemed off, but I didn’t believe that I could get one from a cast member. Turns out MOST pins on lanyards are fakes and you have to be super careful. Oh well!

      Liked by 1 person

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