When the words “pin trading” are mentioned at my house, it causes a bit of excitement.One of my family’s favorite things to do at Disney is pin trading.
Maybe you have been visiting Disney for years or maybe you’re planning your first trip, either way, it’s never too early or late to start a fun tradition!
So what is Disney Pin Trading?
Starting during the Millennium Celebration in 1999, Disney started the tradition of pin trading.
Basically, Disney cast members wear pin trading lanyards, or pocket squares, that have tradable pins for visitors to trade for. Not all Cast members participate, but most do.
The pins do not belong to the cast member, and Disney is constantly releasing new pin collections for cast members to trade. Most cast members trade with everyone. At Disney World if the cast member has a green lanyard, they only trade with kids.
You can only trade up to 2 pins per cast member, so choose wisely!
How do I get started?
The best way to get started is to buy a lanyard either before you head to Disney, or they sell many varieties there (around $10), and a starter pack of pins. Disney also sells a pin trading starter pack that you may want to check out which comes with around 5-6 pins and a lanyard.
Once you have your trading pins, you’re ready to go!
While walking through the park, keep your eyes out for cast members with lanyards. All you have to do is go up to a cast member and simply ask “May I see your pins, please?”
If they have one that you would like to trade, point it out or ask them to trade it. Exchange your pin for theirs and congratulations, you are a pin trader!
Are the parks the only place to pin trade?
Some of my family’s favorite places to trade are actually not in the parks. Resorts are a GREAT place to look!
Many resort cast members wear lanyards and love to trade! Also, all resorts have pin books or displays at the front desk, shops, and if the resort has a kid’s area, there too!
Another great place to check out at the resorts is the Disney Vacation Club Desk. Most of the sales workers wear lanyards and (hint, hint), we’ve gotten some really cool pins from them!
And, don’t forget resort hopping is super fun and can give you a break from a hot and crowded park.
Disney Springs is also a huge pin trading area! The World of Disney Store cast members almost all wear trading lanyards.
While in Disney Springs, make sure to checkout Pin Traders. It’s a shop dedicated just to Pin Trading!
Why should you pin trade?
Pin trading for my family has become an absolute tradition! We cannot go to Disney and not pin trade.
When we first started my daughter was so scared to go up to a cast member and ask to see their pins. We used this activity to push her a little outside her comfort zone and we’re so glad we did.
She now is 13 and every trip, pin trading and talking with cast members are her top priority. As we are walking through a park or a resort she constantly keeps her eyes peeled for pins.
We have learned so much about Disney and added so much fun to our ordinary Disney trip through pin trading.
Pins are also small and relatively cost less than most of the souvenirs that can be purchased, so for our family, we use pins for souvenirs. Each year we purchase one of the yearly special edition pins and if we are staying in a resort that we’ve never stayed in before, we make sure to get the special edition resort pin.
Many rides have pins also, so if your kiddo, or you, have a favorite ride, grab that pin to add to your collection!
To finish up I thought I would share my family’s top 5 secret trading spots. (Number 1 is AMAZING!)
#5 – The pinboard at Disney Port Orleans French Quarter Store (Jackson Square Gifts and Desires)
Not sure if it’s just luck, but we have found some awesome pins on this board and have been able to complete some tough pin sets.
The resort is smaller and quiet, so maybe that could have something to do with it.
#4 – The Wave Restaurant in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Located on the bottom floor near the reception desk is the Wave Restaurant. Even if you do not have a reservation, you can ask the hostess to see their pinboard.
Not many know about this board which makes it a great place to look!
Also, if you’ve never tried The Wave restaurant, the food is so good and most of the time it’s super easy to get a reservation!
#3 – Epcot’s Kidcot Locations
In Epcot, there are Kidcot areas in each of the 11 countries. Even if your kid is not a kid anymore, you can still ask to see their pinboard.
Some countries have their pinboard not directly at the Kidcot area, but the cast member will direct you to it.
Speaking of the countries, many have multiple pinboards, and don’t forget those restaurants in each country! It never hurts to ask the hostess!
#2 – Management
Not a location, but we always watch for management that is walking around. Most all have trading lanyards and love to trade.
#1 – King Pin
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge there is a King, the King of all Pin Trading!
Depending on the day and season, King Pin comes out with his royal red carpet to trade, normally around 1 pm to 2 pm. (Make sure to check with the resort for the exact time.)
The King Pin is a must for our family!
Even if we are not staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge we have to go to see King Pin. King Pin is not only for kids, he trades with anyone.
Once it’s your turn, you step onto the royal red carpet and, either trade from his lanyard or you can trade from his bag. Trust me… trade from the bag!
It’s so much fun! He is truly a Disney treasure that you will love!
One more little hidden secret about pin trading is the secret pins.
This tradition has become more and more popular over the past few years and my family loves it!
If you spot a cast member with a lanyard that looks like they put it on backward, those are the secret pins. It’s basically a blind trade and a surprise.
If you have a child that is very attached to a pin, I wouldn’t suggest doing the blind trade. Sometimes you get a great pin and sometimes you get not so great, but hey, trade it with the next cast member!
Some cast members add another element of fun to this secret pin tradition. They offer you a trivia question and if you are correct, you get to see the secret pins and choose whether you want to trade or not.
Here’s a couple of the harder trivia questions that we faced.
- Can you name all the Disney Princes that are not human? (Yes, we did get this one right!)
And, the hardest,
- What was the first animal carved into the Tree of Life? (No, we didn’t get this one, but we know now!)
After 9 years of Disney pin trading, my family has created a true love for it!
Yes, we’re that family that gets stopped at airport security when they see a bucket of metal come through the detector! (True Story!) And yes, my daughter stays up later every night of our trip to “setup” her lanyard and “backup” bag of pins for the next day.
Through the years we have collected so many sets and traded and re-traded pins over and over. We can’t wait to be back and searching for that elusive one pin! (Yes, we all have at least one!)
Until next time, happy trading!!
Is pin trading something that your family does? Is Disney calling your name? If so, we would love to help plan an amazing Disney adventure for you and your family!
Click HERE to get started.
A little about me…
Growing up in Florida and now living in Virginia, I love Disney and we make our trips a yearly tradition! My favorite park is Epcot because I love to experience the countries! (Hello, I’m a travel planner! LOL!)
My favorite Disney ride is Pirates of the Caribbean because as a child that is one of my favorite memories.
My favorite Disney character is Stitch, because I think we all need some adventure and excitement in our lives! (And, yes, he’s adorable!)
Most of all, I love to share my love for Disney with others!