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All About Disney Pin Trading

Updated on January 18, 2015

Disney Pin Trading is for the Whole Family

WARNING: Pin Trading is seriously ADDICTIVE. It can take over your holiday, your home life and your wallet. Only read this page if you really want to know more about Disney Pin Trading.

This Disney Pin Trading page will be of interest to both new collectors and the more experienced. There is a section on rules and etiquette, and also a section on what to look for with some tips on how to get the best pins. Finally there is a selection of pins that you are able to purchase if you so desire.

What are Disney Pins?

Disney Trading Pins are collectors items.

Disney Pins feature Disney Characters, attractions, memorable events and many other Disney related themes.

Many thousands of different pins have been issued in different styles, quantities and method of release.

There are a number of different category of Disney Pin, these include general release, limited edition, and cast lanyard pins. Within these categories of pin there are also different styles of Disney Pin, eg Standard pins, 3D Pins, pins with dangles, slides and other add on elements, the variety is vast.

Many pins are generally only available for a limited time, especially the more desirable Limited Edition Pins. These are manufactured in a short limited production run. The lower the number made, the higher the desirability and hence the pin is considered to be more valuable.

Some pins are only available to purchase in specific locations during specific events making them harder to obtain eg, the opening day of a new attraction, special parties, calendar events etc.

As a result the subsequent value of these pins is higher due to their limited availability.

Most genuine Disney pins are enamel or enamel cloisonné with a metal base.

Lots of people collect Disney Pins, some will collect any kind of pin but most collectors will restrict their collection to their most desired category, type, or theme of pin.

Disney Trading Pin Bible - This is the must have book for all Pin Traders

1: Tomart's 6th Edition DISNEYANA Guide to Pin Trading (Tomart's Illustrated Disneyana Catalog & Price Guide)
1: Tomart's 6th Edition DISNEYANA Guide to Pin Trading (Tomart's Illustrated Disneyana Catalog & Price Guide)

This book has pictures of thousands of Disney Trading Pins. This is really useful when you are trying to collect a full set of a particular type of pin, you get to see what you are looking for which helps you recognise it when you find it.

Also the book gives each pin a value rating. This is not an actual value but it helps you to determine if the pin is rare, highly sought after or has any other reason for being more valuable than others.


What is Pin Trading?

Swap your pin for another.

Disney Pin Trading is the trading of Disney Pins for other Disney Pins in order to expand or complete a particular part of your collection.

This is a common means of obtaining Disney pins that would otherwise be very difficult to collect.

Much pin trading happens in the Disney Parks, with Disney Cast Members (the people who work at the parks) playing a key role.

There is an etiquete associated with pin trading that should be observed, there is more on this below.

Disney Pin Trading gives you access to a vast array of pins that would be otherwise generally unavailable.

How many Trading Pins do you have? - What is the typical Disney Trading Pin collection size?

Some people only have a couple of favourites, some people collect a specific theme, others will take anything they can get their hands on.

How may Disney Trading Pins do you have?

See results

Disney Trading Pin Link

Check out this great site ---------

What are the Origins of Pin Trading

Where did it all start?

Pin Trading has been occurring in Disney Parks for many years, but it was only during the lead up to the millennium celebrations that Pin Trading saw a huge increase in popularity.

Generally there is a large variety of pins available throughout all the Disney Parks and Resorts, although Tokyo Disney Resort no longer supports Pin Trading and only has a limited selection of pins available.

A large proportion of Disney's Cast Members wear pins on a lanyard around their neck, or on a pin flap attached to their waistband.

Cast Members have access to Pins that are not available for general purchase, known as Cast lanyard pins, these pins can be particularly desirable and are a favourite among many collectors. Cast Lanyard pins may include special pins with a Hidden Mickey or other Cast Member related design.

The official Disney Pin Trading Website has downloadable catalogues of these pins so that collectors are able to see what is needed to make up a complete set.

A Disney cast member can trade up to two pins he/she wears to a person wishing to trade with them, but can only accept pins that he/she does not already have.

Rules and Etiquette of Disney Pin Trading

Disney's Rules

Disney has established a list of Rules or Guidelines for trading pins, and tips on Pin Etiquette. These tips include:

  • Disney Cast Members can only trade official Disney Pins that have a Disney character, park, attraction, or other Disney related theme. Personalised Pins that contain personal names are not tradable with Cast Members.
  • Pins should be traded one at a time, and the pin back should be in place to prevent accidental injury (pins posts are usually sharp)
  • Guests can trade up to 2 pins with each cast member per day
  • You shouldn't touch another person's pins or lanyard, ask to see the pin so they can bring the pin into closer view. If you want to see more details such as on the back of the pin, you should ask the other person to remove the pin from the lanyard.
  • A Cast Member can not trade a pin for another pin that is a duplicate of any pin they already have on their lanyard.
  • Pins can only be traded for pins, no money or gifts can change hands on Disney property in exchange for a pin.

Some Common Disney Pin Terms

Get to know the Disney Pin Trading language

  • "Artist Proof" - Artist Proof pins (or "AP" pins) are created during a manufacturing run to verify quality, details, etc. "AP" pins have a small "AP" on the back stamp. "AP" can also stand for "Annual Pass holder" pin. Some pins are exclusive to annual pass holders, and the pass must be presented at time of purchase.
  • "Back Stamp" - A pin's back stamp may contain information about the pin and can include copyright information, edition size, manufacturer, and number within a series.
  • "Bootleg" - A pin that is an unauthorized copy of a licensed Disney pin. Many of the higher priced pins on the secondary market are targeted by bootleggers to try to capitalize on the pins value or popularity.
  • "Build-A-Pin" - The Build-A-Pin program was introduced in 2002. Guests could personalize pins bases with character add-ons. After selecting their favorite base and add on, the pin was assembled with a special machine. The Build-A-Pin program was retired in Summer 2004.
  • "Cloisonné" - A French word meaning "partitioned." It refers to a style of pin in which the surface decoration is set in designated sections, one color at a time. Cloisonné also refers to a pin type in which crushed minerals and pigments are used to create coloring on a pin.
  • "Dangle Pins" - Dangle pins have an extension to the base of the pin that dangles (hangs) from one or more small loops or chains.
  • "Epoxy Coating" - Epoxy coating is a glassy, opaque substance used as a decorative or protective coating. When dry, it forms a smooth, glossy surface.
  • "Fantasy Pin" - A pin commissioned or produced by fans of Disney pins as a fantasy pin uses recognizable, but not copyrighted, motifs and are considered by some an addition to their Disney pin collection. These pins are not allowed in trade with cast members for their lanyard pins, but many collectors trade for these pins amongst themselves. From time to time, Disney will produce a pin that is very similar to a fantasy pin that has a clever motif or quality artistic details.
  • "Flocking" - A flocked pin has an area that is fuzzy.
  • "FREE-D" - "Free-D" stands for Fastened Rubber Element on a pin for Extra Dimension, often referred to as 3D.
  • "Hard Enamel" - Hard Enamel is similar to cloisonné. A much wider selection of colors is available.
  • "Holy Grail" - A pin collector's most wanted pin or pins. Sometimes traders will simply use the term grail. These are usually a pin that is required to complete a series or perhaps one that has special significance to the individual.

The 'Bible' for Pin Collectors.

This book is the 'must have' book for all Disney Pin collectors and Pin Traders. This is the most recent edition.

Other older editions contain information on old pins from other Disney sources that no longer appear in this book. Of course new pins are being released all the time so it is difficult to keep up.

One useful feature of the book is that is gives each pin a 'value' rating depending on rarity and desirability.

UK Buyers Tomart's Disneyana Guide to Pin Trading

USA Buyers Tomart's 6th Edition DISNEYANA Guide to Pin Trading

Pin Traders Bible - Volume 2

This book is the second volume of the 'must have' book for all Disney Pin collectors and Pin Traders.

This is a supplement to the first volume and give details on even more pins. Everything in this Volume is different from Volume I, except for Hidden Mickey Cast Lanyard pins which appear in a new section. This volume covers U.S. Disney theme parks and Cruise Lines from the Spring of 2007 through the first quarter of 2012.

UK Buyers Tomart's Disneyana Guide to Pin Trading: Volume 2

USA Buyers Tomart's 6th Edition DISNEYANA Guide to Pin Trading Volume 2

Pin Trading Tips

How to find the best Pin Trading Opportunities

  • Look out for Cast Member Managers.

    The Cast Member Managers usually wear different uniform (if a uniform at all) to the regular cast members.

    As they do not spend as much time interacting with park visitors they don't trade as many pins.

    As a result they are more likely to have a special, or rare pin that you are looking for.

    Also, often they will have pins that they can give out free as they wish. Just remember that they will be busy so as always be polite and patient.

  • Look for Cast Members just arriving for their shift. This can be first thing in the morning or at shift change over in the afternoon.

    Look for the common cast member entrances (not marked) where you will see cast members appearing and disappearing around gates, doors, or other scenery. These cast members will most likely have been to the cast member pin window and will have a fresh selection of pins to choose from.

  • Pin Trading Meets - Most of the resorts host pin trading (often 5.00pm check locally) in their foyer. This is a chance to trade pins from the resort pin board and to meet other pin traders who you may want to trade with or just share your pin trading experiences. These sessions normally last about half an hour.
  • Pin Trading Board - Ask staff in the resort if you can see the pin trading board if you can not get to the pin trading session. If they are not too busy they may go and get it for you.
  • Cast Members outside the parks - Remember cast members outside the parks can also trade pins, and do not get to see the same volume of guests. Check their lanyards, you may get lucky. You can find these cast members in places like the resorts, Downtown Disney, even the Disney greeters at Orlando International Airport.
  • Special Offers - Look out for special offers, occasionally Disney will have special offers on which will allow you to get special pins not normally available. Towards the end of 2007 they had a dollar pin offer which meant that when you spent $15 on pin merchandise you could buy a special $1 pin if you wished, there was a dollar pin for each park, one for the resorts, and one for pin trading. During 2009, the offer was to buy a $1 pin for every $30 spent on Pin merchandise. Check if there is an offer on whilst you are there.
  • Save Money on Pins - Buy pins in bulk before you go to Disney from places like eBay. It doesn't really matter what it is you buy as long as they are genuine Disney pins as these are the only ones that can be traded in the parks. When you buy the pins go through them and decide which, if any, you want to keep and take the rest to trade.

Pin Trading at Animal Kingdom - Add a whole new dimension to the parks.

Trading pins with cast members helps children with their confidence of talking to strangers but in a safe environment. Of course any parent show exercise discretion and teach their children the dangers of approaching strangers but we all have to learn sometime.

Pin Folders - Keep your pins safe and show them off.

It is important that you are able to keep your pins safe and at the same time be able to show them off the friends and other pin traders. These folders are purpose designed to allow you to do all this and are well worth investing in. Personally, at home I prefer to use a folders rather than a pin bag as they are easier to use and can be kept on a bookshelf at home, however when taking pins to trade at a trading event or when visiting the Disney parks, a bag can be more useful and easier to carry. I have and use both types of holder.

Pin Trading Bag - Take it to the parks.

A folder is good at home but when you go to the parks or a pin trading event you may want something that is easier to carry. These bags open up and have leaves inside like the pages of a folder. Some bags have fabric leaves whilst others have plastic sleeves. The fabric leaves allow you to attach the pin directly and gives good access for trading. The plastic sleeves may be preferred if you collect pins on their display cards. Which ever you choose a bag is a great convenient way to carry a large selection of pins that won't fit on a lanyard.

Disney Pin Trading on Amazon

Buying pins in the parks can be expensive, If you want pins to trade you can buy them in many places prior to your trip. This is an example of what you can buy, click on this item to see more like it.

Pin trading at Disney - Check out this great Disney video clip.

Disney Trading Pins For Sale - Get Trading Pins on eBay before you go to the parks

There are loads of pins to be bought on eBay. These may be those hard to find pins that you need to complete a set or simply bulk buy trading pins to take with you.

Be aware that some people may try to rip you off with fake pins that you may not be able to trade. Read descriptions carefully and check seller feedback. All other eBay precautions apply as well.

Trading Pins in bulk lots - Buy in Bulk to save money

Typically pins in the parks cost from $6.95 upwards. There are some trading pin sets where you can get 6 or 8 pins for about $22.00, this still works out at $3 - $4 per pin. Buying Pins in bulk before you go to the parks is a lot cheaper than buying pins at the parks. If you are careful, you can end up paying between $1 and $2 per pin.

Cast Member Pins - Complete your series

Cast member pins can not be bought in shops, however many get listed on eBay as they are surplus to peoples collections. Check these out to see if any will complete a Cast Member Lanyard Series that you have started to collect. Click on any image to see more cast member lanyard pins.

Limited Edition Pins on eBay - Limited Editions are highly collectible

Given the fact that there are only a certain number of pins produced, limited edition pins have a higher value that the generally produced pins. Check these out to see if any will compliment your collection.

Christmas Holiday Pins on eBay - Start your Christmas Pin Collection.

Why not remember your Christmas Holiday at Disney with a Disney Pin. Buy whilst you are in the parks, trade if you want to, or buy when you get home. Here are some that are currently available....

New Year Trading Pins on eBay - These will compliment any Holiday Pin Collection

Check out these Pins currently on eBay. Of course if you are at the parks over the New Year celebrations, why not get some Limited Edition pins whilst you are there. Otherwise you can trade them if you see them elsewhere or failing that a good alternative is to buy on eBay. Enjoy....

This is your chance to let others know about your Disney Trading Pins, leave feedback about this lens or any other Disney Trading Pin comments that you may have.

Let me know what you think about Disney Pin Trading - How many Disney Trading Pins do you have?

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    • profile image

      jgelien 7 years ago

      I actually looked into this lens because my best friend is obsessed with these Disney Pins. She wears them on a lanyard and has a story about each one. I will send her the link to your lens. Very nice.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 7 years ago

      This looks like such fun. What a great way to meet people, too.

      Blessed today by this Squid Angel and featured on my "Being a Squid Angel" lens.

    • profile image

      teddibubbles 7 years ago

      I myself own about 400 plus pins . I love collecting. but trading is my thing. I will be in downtown disney in sept to trade my brains out lol

      $2 Disney Discount Trading Pins / Pins are Over $6.99 at the parks!

      PAGES Of Disney Trading Pins Priced at $2 Each. .

      At all The Disney parks. Pins start at $6.99 ea upward in price into the hundreds.

      So you can save a lot over the park prices here.

      it's a great way to stock up for your next trip or start a collection!

      Disney Pin Trading is an exciting, interactive experience It's fun for the whole family Start a new collection or exchange pins for the ones you've always wanted.

      It's simple and fun! Just visit Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort or Disneyland Paris, locate a Cast Member wearing a lanyard with Disney pins and find a pin you'd like. Then present another Disney pin to the Cast Member in trade. Bringing home the magic is that simple


      (( Listed On Facebook too.))

      >>> Disney Discount Trading Pins <<<

      Thank You And Have A Great Disney Day !

    • profile image

      Disney-for-Less 8 years ago

      You said it well right at the beginning: Disney pin trading is seriously addictive =) We are in the 100-500 far! Great lens and info!

    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 8 years ago from Earth

      Great lens. One trick that helped us was to buy a collection of pins on eBay for ~2.50 a pin. We used those pins as traders to get Pins that we wanted trading with Disney employees.

    • colibri lm profile image

      colibri lm 8 years ago

      Wow, you actually got me interested in something I never heard of!

    • Janusz LM profile image

      Janusz LM 8 years ago

      Great Lens! Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 9 years ago from Edinburgh

      I find this fascinating. I just got back yesterday from DisneyWorld and saw all the staff with the flaps and wondered about them...this just answered my question :)

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 9 years ago

      I love Mickey mouse and Disneyland. I grew up 30 minutes from Disneyland and went there a lot as a child.