The Ultimate Guide to Disney Pin Trading

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Disney pin trading is a fun, interactive experience for guests at Disney parks around the world. Guests can trade official Disney pins with cast members and other guests in the parks. With thousands of unique pins to collect, it has become an incredibly popular activity that brings Disney fans together. This guide will provide everything you need to know to get started with Disney pin trading, from beginner tips to information on the rarest and most valuable pins.

Getting Started with Disney Pin Trading

To get started with Disney pin trading, you will first need to acquire some official Disney pins. Here are some recommendations for beginners:

Starter Packs

The easiest way to acquire your first pins is by purchasing a starter pack from any Disney store or park location. These packs typically include 5-10 common pins and a lanyard to display them. Starter packs feature characters like Mickey Mouse, princesses, Pixar characters, and attractions. They range from $25-$50.

Individual Pins

Once you have a starter set, you can expand your collection by purchasing individual pins at Disney parks and stores. Individual pins typically cost between $7-$15. Look for affordable pins featuring your favorite characters, attractions, icons, events, etc. Traders refer to affordable pins used specifically for trading as “traders”.

Online Resellers

You can find individual pins and lots for sale on sites like eBay and Etsy. This allows you to acquire pins before your trip. Be cautious of “scrappers”, unauthorized pins that are lower quality. Verify pins have the official Disney copyright on the back.

Tips

  1. Major online marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, and Amazon have a large selection of Disney pins for sale from individual sellers. However, there is a risk of getting “scrappers” – unauthorized low quality pins.
  2. Specialty Disney pin sites like Distradingpins4u.com and Disney Pins Blog offer authentic pins, some exclusive designs. But selection is more limited.
  3. Facebook pin trading groups allow collectors to buy, sell and trade. These tend to have more serious collectors, so lower risk of scrappers.
  4. When buying on sites like Etsy or eBay, read seller reviews carefully and inspect pins closely upon arrival. Avoid cheap large lots which tend to contain scrappers.
  5. Pay attention to pin backs/copyright marks to help spot potential scrappers. But even authorized pins can sometimes have quality issues.
  6. Consider joining enthusiast communities like Disney Pin Forum or subreddits to connect with reputable sellers and learn how to identify scrappers.

Cast Members with pins

Trading Events

Disney hosts special pin trading events where guests can trade and purchase pins. These occur at locations like Disneyland’s Pin Traders shop in Downtown Disney. Follow Disney pin news sites to find upcoming events. Once you have pins in hand, you’re ready to start trading!

Events

  • The Disney Pin Collectors Society has a regular schedule of pin trading events on the 3rd Saturday of every month in 2024 at the Holiday Inn at Disney Springs in Orlando. The next event takes place April 13, 2024 at Holiday Inn at Disney Springs from 9AM to 5PM.
  • PyroGuyPins has a schedule of pin trading events roughly once a month on Saturdays in 2024 at the Holiday Inn & Suites Orlando SW – Celebration Area. Their next event is the PinCon, which takes place on January 20, 2024 at the Holiday Inn & Suites Orlando SW – Celebration Area from 10AM to 6PM.
  • Pin Trading Disney (Richard Summers) has 4 pin trading events scheduled for 2024 at the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando-Lake Buena Vista on January 13, April 6, July 6, and October 12.
  • The only other 2024 event is a “Pin Trading Disney Event” scheduled for July 6, 2024 at the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando – Lake Buena Vista.

Trading Your Disney Pins

The excitement of Disney pin trading comes from the hunt – searching for your favorite characters and rare finds as you trade with cast members and other guests. Here is what you need to know:

Cast Member Trading

Look for cast members wearing lanyards or carrying pin boards. Approach them to trade pins, they are required to accept! You can make up to 2 trades per cast member per day. Some tips:

  • Inspect their pins before trading to find ones you want
  • Trade early in the day to get the best selection
  • Certain colored lanyards indicate cast members who only trade with kids

Popular cast member trading locations:

Disneyland

  • Main Street
  • New Orleans Square
  • Critter Country
  • Paradise Pier

Disney World

  • Main Street
  • Liberty Square
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Hollywood Studios

Guest Trading

You can also trade pins with other guests in the parks. This is a great way to meet fellow Disney fans. Popular guest trading spots include:

Disneyland

  • Benches near the entrance to Frontierland
  • First Aid area behind Main Street

Disney World

  • Liberty Square Riverboat queue
  • Tom Sawyer Island rafts line

Look for guests wearing lanyards or pin books to find trading partners.

Rare and Valuable Disney Pins

While most Disney pins are affordable, some extremely rare pins can be worth thousands of dollars! These are the holy grails for avid collectors. Here are some of the rarest and most valuable Disney pins:

#1 – 50 Year Service Pin ($5,000+)

Awarded to Disney cast members for 50 years of service. Features a diamond and gold accents. Only a handful were ever produced.

#2 – Super Jumbo Maleficent Dragon ($650+)

At 5.5 inches wide, this is one of the largest Disney pins ever made. Part of a limited edition artist collection.

#3 – Steamboat Willie LE ($4,500+)

One of Disney’s first Mickey Mouse pins, produced for the 50th Anniversary of Steamboat Willie in 1978. Extremely limited numbers exist.

#4 – DSSH Fantasy Pin Series Harry Potter ($650+)

An unauthorized Harry Potter fantasy pin made for Disney cast members only in the 2000s. Less than 100 exist.

#5 – Mickey Through the Years Set ($5,000+)

This set featured one pin for each decade from 1928-1998. Originally sold for $250, now incredibly rare and valuable. As you can see, the rarest Disney pins tend to be very limited edition, often 50 copies or less. They sell for thousands of dollars at auction. These are the holy grails for serious Disney pin collectors!

Top Tips for Building Your Disney Pin Collection

Here are some great tips to help you build an amazing Disney pin collection:

Focus on themes – Pick favorite characters, attractions, movies to collect rather than randomly trading pins. This helps build a cohesive collection.

Display your pins – Use a pin board or book to neatly display your collection at home. Protect pins by storing them in soft cases.

Join Facebook groups – Connect with other traders to buy, sell and trade pins through Facebook groups and forums.

Research pins online – Use pin trading sites like Pinpics to identify rare and valuable pins and manage your collection.

Attend special events – Use sites like DisPinsBlog to find out about limited edition pin releases and special trading events.

Don’t trade your best pins – It can be tempting, but don’t trade very rare, sentimental pins! These are the gems of your collection. Following these tips will help you maximize your trading opportunities and build an amazing Disney pin collection full of your favorite characters, attractions, and special pins.

Virtual Pin Trading

Virtual pin trading provides opportunities for collectors to connect, trade, and grow their collections online. But for many enthusiasts, it still does not fully replace meeting fellow traders and cast members for that authentic, magical park experience. The pandemic accelerated virtual options, yet pin trading remains rooted in real-world nostalgia and storytelling.

  1. In 2021, Disney introduced virtual pin trading boxes and boards in the parks to enable contactless trading during the pandemic. Guests could trade pins with cast members using these boards without direct contact.
  2. There are some unofficial virtual pin trading events hosted online by enthusiast groups, often using video conferencing apps. These allow collectors to connect and trade remotely.
  3. The “MagicPin” app released in 2021 enables collectors to digitally catalog and show off their pin collections. It also has a marketplace to connect with other users to buy, sell and trade pins virtually.
  4. Reddit users report mixed experiences with virtual pin trading. Some enjoy the convenience and connections made online. But others miss the real park experiences and personal interactions.
  5. Virtual events allow those unable to attend in-person Disney pin events to still participate. However, shipping costs and effort to repackage and mail pins can be barriers.

Pin Trading Around the World

Disney pin trading happens at all Disney parks worldwide. Here is information on collecting pins and trading unique finds at each one:

Disneyland Resort

As the birthplace of Disney pin trading, Disneyland offers unique pins not found elsewhere. Limited edition pins are released here first. Tips:

  • Attend monthly Pin Trading Nights at Disneyland Hotel
  • Trade fantasy pins at Mickey’s of Glendale pin store
  • Look for unique attraction pins like Indiana Jones, Matterhorn Bobsleds

Walt Disney World

With four major parks, Disney World has an incredible variety of pins to offer. Each park has special pins:

Magic Kingdom – Castle, characters, parades
Epcot – World Showcase, food booths
Hollywood Studios – Star Wars, animation
Animal Kingdom – Animals, conservation

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris has monthly Pin Trading events offering unique pins. Their starter packs also feature special Paris designs.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Known for stunning designs, HKDL features lots of limited edition and fantasy pins. Their annual pin events draw traders from around the world hunting for rare finds.

Shanghai Disney Resort

The newest Disney resort is quickly gaining a reputation for special event pins. Their Chinese Zodiac, attractions, and Mickey/Minnie fantasy pins are most popular.

Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disney has long offered intricate, beautiful pin designs rarely found elsewhere. Their starter sets and limited edition releases often command high resale values due to low production runs. Pin traders love hunting for park-exclusive pins at Disney resorts around the world, from Paris to Shanghai. Special events and starter packs offer unique pin designs.

Conclusion

Disney pin trading has become an incredibly popular, interactive experience across Disney parks worldwide. With thousands of pins to collect, the hunt never ends for rare character pins, limited editions, and hidden Mickeys. This guide provided everything you need to know to get started on your pin trading adventure, from beginner tips to showcasing some of the rarest Disney pins in the world.

The most important tip – have fun! Meet fellow Disney fans, make trades with excited cast members, and build a collection full of pins that hold special meaning just for you. Pin trading memories can last a lifetime. So get out there, make some trades, and add some magic to your next Disney vacation! If pin trading isn’t your thing, try Disneyana, it’s another great way to take a part of the Parks home with you!