I will never forget the first time I saw pins. It was a beautiful April day, and I was in Hollywood Studios. We went into the tiny outdoor store under the sorcerer hat, and I just saw rows upon rows of pins. I browsed, but did not buy any. Flash forward a year and a half to the first week of my first college program in August of 2014, and I bought myself a red polka dot Minnie lanyard with a Union Jack Mickey pin and an Elsa pin. Little did I know that was the beginning of something I would come to collect and take appreciation of.
Pin trading began at the Walt Disney World resort in the summer of 2000, as part of a special event for the Olympics that year. Within a few years, it expanded, and people were hooked. Pins are now sold throughout the entire Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts, as well as online, on the Shop Disney parks app, Disney Store online, and even the resorts around the world!
To get started, Disney sells convenient pin starter packs. They include a lanyard, and anywhere from two to six pins, depending on the one you want to buy.
To start trading, you can find any Cast Member that has a lanyard. They will trade with anyone, but there is a limit of two pins per Cast Member per day. Be on the lookout for hidden Mickey pins! They are exclusive and are distributed to Cast Members to trade. New ones are distributed every few months!
After you have started pin trading, it is best to get mystery pack pins to trade. You can buy a box with two pins in them (usually around $15) or a bag with five pins in them (Usually around $28). They can become very addictive if you’re looking for a certain pin!
A lot of pins are open edition. This means they are sold either in the parks or online, and you can find them in most stores around the resorts. The open edition pins range from $8.99 to 13.99, depending on its design.
Besides open edition, there are limited edition and limited release pins. Limited edition mean that they are available for a limited time and have a certain number produced. Most limited edition pins are within a span of 5,000 pins. Limited release means that if it goes well, Disney will produce more pins at a certain point after the first release has sold out.
As an avid pin collector, I usually go for the limited edition pins. Most limited edition pins with a small amount produced will sell out within a week or two, so you have to know when and where to get them. I have been working at Pin Central at Epcot on pin release days, and we get a line as soon as we open for people wanting these pins.
Limited edition pins are usually released once or twice a month. They are also available at special events, including the festivals at Epcot and parties at the Magic Kingdom. Most limited edition pins retail for $15.95. The Disney Store also does special limited edition pin sets. Most of theirs is found online, while the one picture below was found in store. Another kind of limited edition pins is ones that are Cast exclusive. Below is a Cast exclusive that you can win at Traditions! I answered a trivia question correctly and they gave me this pin, and its very special since I did a lot of trading as a Cast Member with Guests!
As I stated before, pins are one of my absolute favorite things. Even though I started in 2014, I have a big appreciation for them. I take a lot of pride in my pin collection. I try to expand it whenever I get the chance, and I love finding new pins! Here is a picture of my collection, and the ones I got on my trip home in January:
Do you have a favorite pin? Or are you an avid pin trader? Got questions about pin trading and how it works? Comment below!