Are you ready to take part in a hobby that’s not only Disney-centric but actually endorsed by the House of Mouse? Welcome to Disney pin trading! At the turn of the century, when we partied like it was 1999 (because it was), pin trading at Walt Disney World Resort officially kicked off! It may have been introduced at Disney World, but pin trading has spread worldwide across all parks, resorts and cruise lines. Each location even features its own pin exclusives that are highly coveted among collectors! Whether you’re a massive fan of Disney characters, resorts, attractions, or special events, there’s a pin just calling out to be collected!
Acquiring Disney pins can be an inexpensive way to experience Disney magic. Pins themselves are available for purchase for about $7.95 for a baseline model or as a blind bag with two pins for around $12. Never one to let things get stale, new pins are consistently released throughout the year to keep things fresh! In February of 2019, Disney released a surprise limited edition pin for Valentine’s Day featuring iconic Disney couples. Not to be outdone, Disney Paris also released commemorative V-Day pins featuring characters from the major hit movie, Up!
If you’re wondering how you too can become a part of Disney pin trading magic, we’ve got tips, tricks, and etiquette aplenty! Much like Lumiere and Cogsworth, we invite you to be our guest while we present you, the basics. Collectors can purchase pins at shops, auctions and online, but the real fun comes from trading with fellow pin-heads and — wait for it — Disney cast members! Cast members wear either a lanyard or a display card with a dozen or so unique tradable pins.
Each park has clearly written rules for pin trading with types of pins cast members are not able to accept. For example, counterfeit pins are never acceptable, no way, no how! Pins must also be in good condition and free of any significant wear and tear so take care of those investments! Additionally, each cast member is only allowed to trade two pins per person per day so choose wisely! If you don’t have pins to trade, you’re out of luck. Money and gifts can’t be swapped for those highly coveted pins.
We’ve got some lesser-known tips and tricks too! Fellow collectors of pins may also be open to trading. But, keep in mind, no touchy unless you ask first. Usually, pins on lanyards are available for trade, but pins displayed on other items of clothing like hats and fanny packs are off limits. Personalized pins and those made of rubber or plastic are not acceptable trades. Remember friends, trade wisely!
Maybe like you’re like Ariel and have whoozits and whatzits galore. Wouldn’t you think your collection’s complete? WAIT! Unless you’ve been collecting for years, you’re probably missing out on some of the most coveted pins. There are even more exclusive and elusive Disney pins to be had! If you’re looking to add something rare to your collection, look no further than Hidden Mickey pins! Hidden Mickey pins have been around for about 15 years making the more “vintage” pins highly desirable. As the name suggests, Hidden Mickey pins contain a teeny tiny, itty bitty, minuscule Mickey Mouse icon on the already small pin. If you’re not sure if you have one of the coveted pins, the backs of the pins are stamped with the words “Hidden Mickey pin.”
Getting your hands on the Hidden Mickey, or HM pins to those in the know can be pretty tricky! Each year, pins are released in waves and can ONLY be found on cast member lanyards when they’re first released! Eventually, pins are available for purchase as part of blind bags and at shops. Each blind bag contains two mystery pins that are packaged at random. If you’re not happy with your blind bag pins — you’re out of luck! All blind bag sales are final, and refunds, exchanges, and returns are NOT allowed.
Now that you’ve got all these magical pins, how will you share and display them? We’ve got some pinteresting ideas for you — Like this Disney Castle pinboard by PinnableDesign!
Remember the basics: Tradable pins are displayed on lanyards, while non-tradable pins are displayed on clothing. So bedazzle hats, shirts, fanny packs, vests, denim jackets, and other wearables with your hotly acquired pins! Alternatively, you can turn cherished pins into artwork with pin boards from shops on Etsy or Amazon. When it comes to acquiring and displaying your magical hobby, the sky’s the limit. As Walt himself once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”