Pin trading started during Walt Disney World’s Millenium Celebration. Since then, it has exploded to all the parks and Disney shops across the globe. You can get pins in almost any character, celebrating special occasions, and there are even hidden Mickey pins you can only get by trading with cast members. Beware though. This hobby is addicting and once you find your niche for pins you want to collect, you will spend a lot of time and money hunting them down. Now, here is my list of top 10 things you need to know before heading out on your own pin trading adventure.
1.) Not all pins are created equal
Many of the pins you come across on cast lanyards are known as scrappers or fakes. That means they are not authentic Disney pins and no guest with pin trading knowledge will trade you for it. Here is a great article on how to tell an authentic pin from a scrapper or a fake. There are also what’s called “fantasy” pins or pins created by non-Disney artists. These pins are not authorized Disney and are not tradable in the parks. Some collectors will trade for them though depending on the design and edition size. Unfortunately, a bulk of what you find on pin boards and cast lanyards are scrappers or fakes.
2.) Don’t buy in bulk from Amazon or eBay
9/10 those pins are all fakes and scrappers. Buy from a reputable seller like bizzybee1 on eBay to get quality pins that you can trade with cast members and fellow traders. The $50 for 25 pins is a great deal and they are all authentic pins. If you are unsure if a seller is selling authentic pins, look at their reviews. People will leave it in their review if the pin was not legit. If you are looking for a FB seller, Pinderella sells pins for around $1.80 per pin in bulk.
3.) Green means kids only
A cast member with a green lanyard is only allowed to trade with kids. Sometimes this is where you can find some of the better pins, but you need to have a child with you to trade with the cast member.
4.) Black is for everyone
Black lanyards mean anyone can trade with that cast member regardless of age.
5.) It’s okay to ask to see the back
If you are unsure if a pin is authentic and you read the article above, don’t be afraid to ask the cast member if you can inspect the back of the pin before you trade.
6.) There’s an online community ready to help you
Disney Pin Trading Facebook group is a great way to get introduced into the hobby and find pin traders that will mail you trades in exchange for one of your own. I’ve actually done just as much mail trading as I have cast member trading.
7.) Ask shops about their pin trading board
Some shops have a pin trading board or location in their shop. If you don’t see it right away, ask to see it. Sometimes it’s hidden on purpose and you have to ask to trade.
8.) You get two trades per cast member/board per day
You can only trade with a cast member twice per day. This goes for the boards as well, so make them count.
9.) Pins can be on neck lanyards or hip holders
Just because you don’t see a cast member with a lanyard around their neck doesn’t mean they don’t have pins. Some of them have it on their hip and it can be hard to tell who has pins depending on where they are working.
10.) Be polite when asking to see pins
Don’t just saunter up to a cast member and start looking at their chest or hip lanyard. Ask them if you can see their pins and they will gladly show you. It’s much nicer than staring at them.
Don’t be afraid to approach a guest with a pin lanyard
Just be courteous and kind and tell them you would like to see if they would be interested in trading. I ran into a family at Disney Springs and traded with both the mom and her son that were very interested in some of my pins.
Keep your traders and keepers separate
I keep my keepers at home and my traders on my lanyard. If you trade in the park for a keeper, put it upside down or backward on your lanyard so no one can see it or put it in a safe spot (like in a baggie in your backpack) so you don’t accidentally trade it.