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Collecting Disney Pins – How to Get Started with Pin Trading

Interested in Disney pin trading? Find out how it works so you can start curating your collection!

Get all of our tips for collecting Disney pins, including how to trade for sought-after enamel pins.

a selection of Disney enamel pins, including special edition pins.

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Collecting Disney pins, including the process of Disney pin trading, is a favorite pastime among many Disney fans.

It’s a fun activity that can lead to opportunities for unique souvenirs from the parks.

To help you get started collecting Disney pins, I’ve put together some tip, a quick history of pin trading and helpful ways to get started collecting Disney pins that I think you’ll enjoy!

No matter what time of year it is, you will always see people with lanyards full of Disney pins trading with each other at Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts.

They are having fun, meeting new people and hopefully making some nice trades for sought-after pins.

History of Disney Pin Trading and Collecting

Disney pin trading started in the fall of 1999, during the launch of the Millennium Celebration at Disney World.

Although Disney World had always offered collectible pins, this is when trading officially began. You can see it mentioned below in my (now vintage!) commemorative program from the 2000 Millennium Celebration at Epcot.

a Disney pin trading lanyard rests on a 2000 Epcot commemorative program, which discusses the beginning of pin trading in Disney World.

The tradition carried over to each of Walt Disney World’s parks, including Magic Kingdom, MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios), and Animal Kingdom, then later spread to Disneyland Resort where you can now find pin trading going on pretty much around the clock.

Guests can trade pins with cast members, and sometimes each other! When my dad was a cast member, he always enjoyed meeting guests from around the world and trading pins with them.

Displaying Your Disney Pins

You don’t have to go far to see someone with a lanyard full of pins at Walt Disney World Resort. 

Pin trading is a popular activity for guests and Cast Members alike! If you’re thinking about getting started collecting Disney pins, a lanyard is one of the first things you’ll want to purchase.

Disney shops have a nice selection of lanyards, often with a coordinating pin set to start you out with your collection.

There are several ways that pin collectors like to display their Disney pins that might suit you better. Here are a few to try:

  • Baseball cap- Style your hat and keep the sun out of your eyes with this popular way for displaying pins on the go.
  • Jean jacket- These jackets have long been an expression of casual style along with a place to store pins.
  • Disney pin trading book- you can find this in all the Disney parks. It’s a great way to organize your pin collection as you grow it.
  • Backpacks- conveniently display your pins on your Disney pin trading bag as you’re walking around the parks, also a handy place to store autograph items from your favorite characters!
collection of disney pins attached to lanyards

Where to Find Disney Pins

There are only a few places where you can find authentic Disney pins for sale. The best source for these is at the parks themselves!

Walt Disney World Resort has five different locations (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, & Disney Springs in Orlando) where you can find authentic Disney trading pins.

In Disneyland, you’ll find authentic Disney authorized pins in both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. Downtown Disney in Anaheim is also a great place to look for new pins.

You can also find them on the Disney Cruise Line, and Disney also offers exclusive pins, such as for annual pass holders.

A collection of Disney enamel pins, including a passholder exclusive pin, a pin from the inaugural sailings of the Disney Cruise Line, a cast member pin, and a pin from a now-retired Disney Hollywood Studios attraction.

Remember, these are the only places actually approved by Disney for purchase of official Disney pins.

Other places like eBay sometimes have authentic pins for resale, but they also can tend to have knock-offs that look real until you get them in the mail. So those options are a little bit of a gamble.

Disney Pin Trading Tips

When you see a cast member with a lanyard full of pins, ask to take a closer look and they will often be happy to share their collection with you.

Check out the pins and ask if they’d like to trade.

When trading, do not touch another guest’s pins without permission. And of course, don’t pressure anyone to trade if they don’t want to part with a particular pin.

Pin Trading Rules

There are a few rules to take into consideration when trading pins with a Disney World or Disneyland cast member.

  1. The pins should be metal, with the Disney stamp on the back, and should be of a Disney character, event, location, or icon. It can be affiliated with Disney World or Disneyland.
  2. Personalized pins or Disney Award or Service pins (received by the cast member) cannot be traded.
  3. Guests can trade up to two pins per cast member, per day.
  4. Guests should only offer a pin that the cast member does not already have on their lanyard.
  5. Pins must be in good condition.
lanyard with cast member guidelines for pin trading at disney world

If you’re unsure of how to trade a pin with a cast member, here are some simple steps to follow:

  • If you would like to trade for a pin, ask if they are “Open to” or “Looking for” any trades.   
  • To make the offer, choose one of their pins and ask “Would you like to trade?”    
  • Take the time to check both sides of the pin to ensure it’s in good condition and has the Disney stamp on the back (which it should, if it’s coming from a cast member).
  • If they say “no thank you,” thank them for their time and move on; if they say ‘Yes’, then trade your pins!
  • When they are satisfied with the pin you’re offering in return, extend kind wishes by saying, “I hope you enjoy it!”
the back of a disney pin, showing the copyright Disney stamp for authenticity

Unofficial Pins

Remember, while it may seem fun to collect all types of pins (like an unofficial pin or a “promotional” pin) these are not authentic Disney enamel pins and therefore other pin collectors won’t likely trade them.

If someone makes an offer and you’re not interested in the trade or pin, politely decline.

Disney Pin Trading During Covid

During the pandemic, pin trading has changed a bit. Cast members are no longer wearing lanyards filled with pins. While this may change in the future, the best way to currently find pins is to visit the shops and ask to see their pins.

The cast member will show you the pin trading board where all of the pins have been sanitized. It’s important not to touch the display, in order to keep the pins clean.

Some locations have boards on display while others you’ll need to inquire.

Mystery Trading Boxes

Disney has also come up with a fun way to trade pins called the Mystery Trading Boxes.

These boards have a new logo on them and have several drawers that hold secret pins. This game of chance is a pin for a pin, meaning that you give them a pin, and you get to pick a pin.

It adds a little mystery to Disney Pin Trading that some collectors will enjoy!

Collecting Disney Enamel Pins

I hope these helpful tips about collecting Disney pins and ways to get started trading Disney pins helps you take your next Disney vacation to the next level, while also expanding your collection of Disney memorabilia!

Don’t forget that pin trading is just the beginning of all the fun you can have at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.

Good luck and happy pin trading!

More Helpful Disney Planning Resources:

Be sure to save this article to your Disney vacation board on Pinterest!

someone who is collecting Disney pins has them displayed on two lanyards, with an overlay that reads, "How to Get Started with Pin Trading at Disney"