Disney Pin Trading is the buying and trading of collectible pins and related items featuring Disney characters, attractions, icons, and other elements. Many thousands of unique pins have been created over the years. Pins are available for a limited time; the base price for a pin is US$6.95. Limited edition pins, and special pins (e.g. pins that have a dangle, pin-on-pin, flocking, lenticular, light-up, moving element, 3-D element, etc.) cost up to $14.95. Featured Artist and Jumbo Pins cost between $20 and $35 and Super Jumbo pins cost upwards of, and sometimes beyond, $75. Each guest may purchase up to two pins of each style per day. Pins are frequently released at special events, movie premiers, pin trading events or to commemorate the opening day of a new attraction. Some pins have appreciated well on the secondary market and have reached prices of over US$500 at venues such as eBay. Most Disney pins are enamel or enamel cloisonné with a metal base.
As of 2008, trading pins are no longer sold in stores outside of those located at the theme parks, and are only available through ordering them at the online Disney Store. Disney Shopping has offered limited edition pins on their website since Disney Auctions was closed.
Pins have always been present at Disney parks, but it wasn’t until 1999 as part of the Millennium Celebration that Paul Pressler introduced Disney Pin Trading at the Disneyland Resort. The next year, the craze spread to the Walt Disney World Resort, which has become the home of most Pin Trading events. Since then, Pin Trading has spread to Disneyland Resort Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Disney Cruise Lines with each location creating their own pins and traditions. Although the trading of pins has been suspended in Tokyo Disney Resort, pins are still offered as prizes at carnival games, and a relatively small amount of pins are available.
- Have Fun! Disney Pin Trading can be a great way to interact with and meet Cast Members and other Guests.
- The main criteria to judge whether a pin is tradable or not is that it must be a metal pin that represents a Disney Event, Location, Character or Icon. Some pins from our Operating Participants are also tradable, but must represent the Operating Participant in a way that has aspecific Disneyland® Resort or Walt Disney World® Resort affiliation.
- Pins should in good, undamaged condition.
- Trade one pin at a time, hand to hand, with the backs attached.
- Guests may trade a maximum of two pins with each Cast Member.
- Guests may trade only one pin of the same style with a Cast Member.
- When trading with Cast Members, Guests should offer a pin that is not already displayed on the Cast Member’s lanyard (A strap worn around the neck to carry and display pins.).
- Please refrain from touching another person’s pins or lanyard. If you need a closer look, ask the person wearing the lanyard if they can bring it into clearer view for you.
- Disney name pins may not be traded with Cast Members.
- Monies or gifts may not be exchanged or used in trade for a pin.
- In addition to the 12 pins on Cast lanyards, some Cast Members may wear a “Showcase” pin. These “Showcase” pins are for demonstrations to our Guests and are not available for trade.
*Rules are subject to change without notice.
Current Pin Trading
In all Disney resorts, a large variety of pins are available for purchase and trade. Most merchandise cast members wear pins on lanyards around their necks, or on a pin display card or hip lanyard (a 4” by 5” piece of colored nylon fabric) clipped to their belt. Additional cast members may wear lanyards if pin trading does not distract from their responsibilities; some managers choose to wear lanyards, but ride operators are not permitted. Some cast members wear a teal colored lanyard at Disneyland and a green lanyard at Walt Disney World with pins only tradable to children (12 years or younger).
Each lanyard contains around a dozen unique pins, and cast members must trade with guests if they are presented with an acceptable pin. The cast members may not decline a particular trade based on preference or rarity of the pin, but may decline if the pin is not acceptable or pin trading rules are not being observed.
Each guest may only trade two pins with the same cast member in one day. If the cast member gives his or her lanyard to a different cast member, a guest may trade again with the new cast member even though the physical lanyard is the same.
The specifics of what make a pin acceptable for trading varies from park to park. At Disneyland and California Adventure parks, the cast members are instructed not to accept pins that have a clasp or brooch-type backing (as with jewelry). This limitation is new as of 2008, and notable because it bars cast members from accepting pins that Disney specifically designed and made in the 1980s. The new rule about the pin backing type is printed on brochures and certain informational boards.
In Disneyland Paris, the cast members are instructed not to accept pins with any of the following origins: EuroDisney, Kodak, Arthus Bertrand, DisneyStore, Spain (also called sedesma pins), or Germany (also called ProPins). This is a partial list of the Disneyland Paris cast member instructions; the full instructions are in French, and worn on the cast members’ trading lanyards.
Pin Collectors can customize displaying their pins because of the wide variety of pin products Disney produces. Lanyards are available in a wide variety of colors and designs as are lanyard medals. There are many ways to store and display a collector’s pins: pin bags, notebooks, frames and cork boards. Collectors can be very creative in displaying their pins and are often easy to spot in the parks with their pin-covered vests, hats, lanyards and fanny packs.
If you plan on getting involved of Pin Trading try this tip. Before your next trip take a look at the Disney Store purchase a set or a group of extra cheap pins that you will want to trade off to keep your overall costs down.