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We recently discovered Disney pin trading. Like us, there are lots of folks who have no idea what this is all about. Once you find out, you won't believe you never noticed it before and you'll be hooked on the fun!

Disney Pin Trading
Disney Pins have been around since late 1999, but we didn't discover them until 2010. Thousands of pin designs have been created. Most are created in sets. Some are pretty basic, while others are very elaborate. Pins can be purchased at stores and kiosks in the Disney system as well as online at locations like DisneyShopping.com and eBay. Pins are displayed on lanyards, which are worn around your neck, and can hold 12 to 18 pins.
Disney pin trading is available at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure in California; Walt Disney World, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom in Florida; Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, select Disney Vacation Resorts, and the Disney Cruise Lines. Trading is available in the parks as well as the Disney hotels and Downtown Disney.

Individual pins typically cost $4 to $10 each. Most folks get started with a colorful lanyard and a "low priced" starter set of 4 to 9 pins for around $25 to $40. Then you can trade your current pins for other pins that you personally find to be more desirable. Pins available for trading can be found on lanyards worn by cast members (worn around their neck or at their waist). Everyone can trade with cast members wearing black lanyards, but only kids can trade with cast members wearing green lanyards. We found the Disney experience at the parks is even more fun when we were scouting for cast member lanyards while making our way across the park between rides. We also were impressed by how incredibly polite and accommodating all the cast members were.

We discovered pins at the following locations in Walt Disney World and Disneyland parks:
  1. Cast Members: keep a sharp eye open for cast members (employees) throughout the parks who are wearing lanyards. Not all cast members wear lanyards --- but some managers, custodial workers, character handlers, greeters, and store clerks often do; while food & beverage employees, and maintenance workers, don't.
  2. Disney Vacation Club Kiosks: you'll always find lanyards here, in the parks and at the resorts.
  3. Guest Relations: just inside each park is a "Guest Relations" office. While the cast members here won't be wearing lanyards, they do have a book full of pins you can view for trade. Just ask.
  4. Park Gift Shops: you will almost always find cast members with lanyards in the gift shops throughout the parks. The bigger the shop, the more lanyards you'll usually find. The Emporium on Main Street is a gold mine.
  5. Pin Traders: there are a few kiosks and stores featuring a lot of pins for sale. These locations typically have "pin books", "pin boards", or a "pin hat" containing lots of tradable pins. Just ask.
  6. Resorts: depending upon the resort, you'll either find several, or just a few, cast members wearing lanyards. Your best bets for lanyards, and/or a pin book, are the resort shops and the Registration Desk or Concierge Desk. Some of the resort shops only bring out their boards at a certain time each day.
  7. Parades: this isn't so much a location as it is an opportunity. If you aren't watching the parade, head over to the shops while the parade is passing down the street out front. The shops are pretty empty during parades and it makes spotting lanyards, and the trading of pins, very quick and easy. Several shop employees, often laden with lanyards, stand out front of the stores during parades, also making pin spotting and trading very easy.
We discovered pins at the following locations at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in Hilton Head, SC:
  1. Live Oak Lodge - Front Desk: they have a VERY impressive pin book with tons of pins all grouped by set. The best pin book we've seen anywhere!
  2. Broad Creek Mercantile Shop: Cashier lanyard
  3. Pool House: Pin board
We discovered pins at the following locations at Disney's Aulani Resort in Ko'Olina, Oahu, Hawaii:
  1. Concierge: Pin book
  2. Disney Vacation Club Office and 2 Kiosks: Lanyards (very nice)
  3. Kalepa's Store: Pin books at both cashier desks
  4. The Lava Shack: Pin book
  5. Painted Sky: Pin book and lanyard (sparse)
  6. Also found lanyards at Disney Vacation Club Kiosks in Waikiki

There are several good sites on the web with additional pin information. Here are some of the best.

Disney Pin Trading Etiquette
The Rules of Pin Trading
Official Disney Pin Trading
Frequently Asked Questions about Disney Pin Trading
Disney Pin Trading Blog
Keep up-to-date about Disney Pin Trading
Disney Pin Trading Forum
Good shared information about Disney Pin Trading

Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. The information presented is an opinion intended to assist travelers to Disney parks in the joy of pin trading.

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Feel free to contact me to correct any information in this article or to alert me to additional information one should consider.

© 2011 Topher
Updated 2019

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