As you probably know, or as you may have noticed from our Disney trip pictures, we are fans of pin trading. It provides just a little bit more fun on our Disney trips and it is a fun way to collect Disney souvenirs. We have been pin trading for awhile now, and while our collections are comparatively small, I have a few tips I’d like to share for those of you looking to do some pin trading yourselves. (If you’d like to read a past post I wrote on this topic, you can find it here!)
1. Disney pin sets are pretty expensive, so a good way to get started is to order a pin lot from eBay. I have done this twice and have been happy with the pins we received. Deciding who gets which pins can be exciting in itself! It seems that a lot of the pins you see available for trade at the parks are similar to the pins in these pin packs, but we have definitely gotten some keepers in the packs we received. Of course, if you aren’t prepared ahead of time, your kids might convince you to buy them a lanyard with pins on it to start their collection. There are packs that come with the same 4 pins so that you can keep one and trade the rest. Personally I have a hard time trading away pins that we’ve purchased because they cost a lot more than eBay pins!
2. As far as purchasing pins, I try to only buy special pins. It is easy to want them all! On our past trip, Gabbie got a Minnie Mouse ballerina pin since we were there for her dance performance! Zachary got a set of Animal Kingdom pins as well.
3. Younger kids can go a little crazy with their trading and make a trade with every cast member they meet. You don’t have to make trades and it’s ok to ask cast members to see their pins and not trade with them. The rule is that you can trade up to 2 pins at a time with each cast member and the cast member must agree to trade with you. There are more rules over here, some of which I didn’t already know! The cast members will help you if you make a mistake, but an important rule to remember is to put your pin back on your pin when you hand it over – it’s for safety reasons!
4. We find that pin trading is more fun when we have a goal. Some of us like to collect pins featuring a certain character, or pins from a certain theme. Zachary collected a set of cruise pins when we were on a cruise, and he has also collected a set of flag pins. This past trip he was looking for pins shaped like Vinylmations (those snowman shaped pins). Gabbie likes food shaped pins (donuts, cupcakes, candy apples), and Simon likes Mickey heads!
5. Simon also likes mystery pins. I used to think upside down pins on cast members’ lanyards or pouches were not for trade, but they are actually mystery pins. They may be special pins but they may not be. The only way to find out is to ask to trade for one! If you don’t like it or already have it, you can always trade it away to someone else. Some cast members might show you their mystery pins if you answer a trivia question, or if you at least try to answer a question! We had two trivia questions on our past trip – what is the northernmost Disney ride and what is the tallest Disney ride.
6. The cast members who have pins either work in merchandize or Disney Vacation Club. You can also find pin boards or books in many merchandize stores, at every Disney resort in their stores, in every country in Epcot, and at guest services locations in each park and at Disney Springs.These are larger collections of pins and you can look at all of them and sometimes find some gems! The pin trading stores also sometimes have special times when their large collections come out.
7. We have found that talking to the cast members you are trading with can be beneficial! I think this is more likely in the resort stores that are less busy, but twice we have received free pins just by talking about our pin trading experiences. Gabbie told someone that she’d lost a similar pin earlier in our trip and he gave it to her without taking a trade. And a cast member gave me a pin that my kids told me to get even though I said I didn’t have anything to trade for it.
8. If you have keeper pins – pins you love and know you don’t want to trade or pins you’ve paid a lot for – you can get locking pin backs. We bought a set of locking pin backs after losing one too many pins! They fall off of lanyards somewhat easily, so try to pay attention to the pins in case the backs get loose. And then lock the ones you are sure you want to keep! My kids have pin lanyards, but on our recent trip, Gabbie and I carried pin books and I also carry a small bag that holds pins we want to trade. You can see how I made my own pin book here.
9. Find a way to display your pins at home! I like keeping mine on my shelf in my office. Gabbie and Zachary put theirs on bulletin boards and have them in their rooms. Zachary’s is the one pictured above and here is Gabbie’s:
10. Have fun! Trading pins should be a fun part of your trip, not a stressful one!
Do you pin trade?