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Pin Trading Guide

Part 1 - Getting started

Part 2 - Getting more involved


Disneyana has proven to be a beloved collectible for many. Collectible Disneyana covers a vast array of memorabilia and merchandise. Disney Trading Pins have become one of the hottest types of Disneyana collecting today and provides fun and amusement for young and old alike.

If you are new to collecting and Disney Pin Trading it must all seem a bit overwhelming. One day you are completely oblivious to the concept and the next you see Disney Trading Pins everywhere and wonder why you never noticed them before. Suddenly there are so many more Cast Members at the various theme parks than you had ever realized. And many of them are wearing lanyards covered with Disney Pins. The kiosks and stores have racks and racks of trading pins that have seem to have suddenly appeared. It’s obviously quite popular and you might really enjoy it yourself but where on earth do you begin?

That’s how it was for us. We had always assumed lanyards that we saw guests at Disneyland wearing simply indicated they belonged to some sort of club or tour group which is actually true in some sense of the word. It’s not that we never noticed the lanyards and trading pins. We just basically ignored them. Then in the space of one weekend we became avid Disney trading pin collectors. Naturally, we began proudly wearing our lanyards to display our collectible Disney Pins and those we had for trade. We started off trading with as many Cast Members as possible. Our personal collection of Disney Trading Pins reached a grand total of 15 on that first weekend of pin trading. Today we must have 1,000’s of pins. And no – we don’t have too many zeroes in that number.

There is already quite a bit of information written about the art or hobby of Disney Pin Trading but nonetheless we’d like to share our own personal experiences and tips for your journey through the world of Disney pin collecting and trading. Much of what’s written is fact and equally as much is opinion. The information you will find below is a combination of both fact and our personal opinions.

So, how does one get started?
  • The simplest way is to buy a “starter set.” These sets include a lanyard and somewhere between 4 to 8 Disney Trading Pins. In most sets there are duplicates of pins so you have one to keep and one to trade.\
  • Starter sets are available at almost any Disney store or kiosk within the various theme parks as well as the World of Disney stores. If you’re in a hurry to get started and would like to obtain your starter set before your vacation, many pin sellers offer them online.
  • Guests who book their vacations through Disney Travel or through AAA typically get a certificate that may be exchanged for a lanyard together with one or two trading pins.
  • Booster sets are also a great and cost effective way to obtain pins for trading although some include pins that are so cute you may just want to keep them! Booster sets do not come with a lanyard but of course Disney offers many varieties of lanyards on their own.
  • Disney Lanyard Medals are designed to hang at the bottom of your lanyard and easily clip on. They are certainly not necessary but they do allow the pin trader to make a statement. For example, if your lanyard medal is Stitch with a hibiscus flower, people will recognize that you enjoy the character Stitch, love the animated feature film “Lilo and Stitch” or perhaps you just like tropical flowers. Personally, I like the weight that a medal adds to the lanyard but keep in mind this may not be suitable for the youngest of pin traders.
How does one go about trading with Disney Cast Members?
  • In almost every case, your first Disney Pin trading experience will be with a Disney Cast Member. You will spot them in a store, at a kiosk or walking around any given theme park with a lanyard full of Disney Pins around their necks.
  • It is important to note that all the Disney Trading Pins on a Cast Member’s lanyard are available for trading. The pins they wear belong to Disney and not to the individual Cast Member and they will be happy (obliged, even) to trade with you.
  • There are somewhat strict guidelines for trading with Disney Cast Members. Where ever Disney Collectible Trading Pins are sold look for the brochures that provide the established etiquette for pin trading. You will also find specific information online if you search for it and a great place to start looking is at Disney’s Official Pin Trading site: www.odpt.com. Disney Pin Trading etiquette rules include but are not limited to the following:
    • Only authentic Disney Pins are acceptable for trading with a Cast Member.
    • You may trade no more than 2 pins per day per Cast Member.
    • Cast Members may only accept pins in trade that are not already on their lanyard.
    • Never touch a Cast Member’s lanyard. They will be happy to hold it out if you would like a closer look at any of the pins.
    • Green Lanyards are reserved for pin traders age 12 and below.
    • Be sure to wait your turn and don’t crowd the people around you.
    • When trading with a Cast Member running an attraction or a cash register in a store, be patient and considerate of other guests.
    • When exchanging pins be sure to put the pin back on the pin and hand it over face down.
  • Whenever you have any questions about pin trading almost any Cast Member wearing a lanyard will be happy to answer you to the best of their ability.
How does one decide which pins to trade for?
  • In the very beginning you’ll probably be trading for whatever Disney Pin that appeals to you based on favorite characters, animated films or attractions. Younger pin traders will often trade for a pin they must have only to trade it away the next time they see a different pin they must have on another lanyard.
  • Before long and for some perhaps immediately, you will settle on a theme for your Disney Pin collection. It may be Disney Princesses, specific Disney Events, Cast Lanyard Pins or Hidden Mickey Pins, Pirates of the Caribbean Pins, Disney Cruise Line Pins, Disney Villains (or one in particular), or perhaps simply your favorite attractions. The options may not be endless but they are certainly varied. We even know of one person who only collects Disney Pins with birds on them.
  • We highly recommend that you narrow your focus quickly because there is nothing more fiscally dangerous than collecting which ever Disney Pins appeal to you, especially if you love all things Disney! Trust us – we learned the hard way!
So, I have pins and I’ve traded with a Cast Member. What’s next?
  • In and around most of the Disney theme parks you will find areas that are dedicated to Disney Pin Trading on a daily basis. There you will find true Disney Pin Traders and Disney Pin Collectors (usually the same persons). Most will have been pin trading for at least a few years and often you will find several books you can browse through. The Pin Traders are usually more than happy to answer all your questions.
  • Disney Pin Traders and Disney Pin Collectors come from all over so don’t be surprised to find Pin Traders visiting from the “other coast” Japan, Paris, Hong Kong or any other country. Collecting Disneyana and Disney Pin Trading is definitely a global thing.
  • Like most other collectibles, some Disney Pins increase in value. Limited Edition pins may sell out rapidly which of course increases the demand. Some Disney Pins selling online may also bring relatively high prices and sometimes astonishing prices. Many factors may contribute to the perceived value of a collectible Disney Trading Pin. Keep in mind that this value is subjective and may vary significantly from pin trader to pin trader.
  • Many pin traders are simply interested in obtaining the most recently released Limited Edition pins and will frequently be happy to trade one of their pins for a pin that you purchase. This can be a great way to get older pins you like that are no longer available and benefit the pin trader as well.
  • As noted above, pins have perceived values that may differ from pin trader to pin trader. You may be asked to actually purchase 2 or more Disney Pins as a trade for one. Especially when you are new to the world of Disney Pin Trading be sure that the pin has an equal value to you, in other words, that you are quite happy to trade 2 or more for 1. In the end, the value of any collectible Disney Trading Pin is only what the pin is worth to you.
  • Some pin traders keep books on hand geared specifically towards the younger pin trading set. They will usually let a child trade any pin for any pin out of their children’s trading books. This is great fun for young pin traders and great for the hobby.

Collecting Disney Trading Pins is a wonderful way to get involved in the world of collectible Disneyana. It is entertaining for the younger crowd and allows the older crowd to enjoy their inner child.

One of the things that we enjoy so very much about being involved in collecting Disney Pins and trading Disney Pins is that we no longer just experience the Disney Theme Parks. We are actually part of the experience itself which has added a whole new dimension in our enjoyment. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


Once you get into Disney Pin Trading it usually follows that you’ll want to get even more involved. It is certainly a very enjoyable past time and adds a whole new dimension of enjoyment when visiting a Disney theme park. You may even find yourself spending more time pin trading than standing in long lines. The hobby itself is enjoyed all over the globe. The cost is relatively low – especially for collectible Disneyana and the Disney Pins themselves are small enough that they don’t take up much room. And you might be amazed at how much you might learn about films, theme parks and so much more that is Disney.

I love Disney Pin Trading. How do I get more involved?
  • If you enjoy the experience and see yourself collecting and trading Disney Pins in the future you should consider investing in a Pin Trading bag relatively soon. Pin Trading bags come in various sizes and even if it seems oversize for your few pins, the larger bag may well be your best investment. For younger traders the smaller bags are fine and even easier for them to carry but you will be very surprised at just how quickly that large bag fills up. If you are traveling and feel a pin bag is too bulky to carry home, you may also find many pin bags for sale online.
  • If you live near one of the Disney Resorts you might consider investing in an annual pass. You will have the option to stop in and trade as often as you’d like. Downtown Disney in both Anaheim, California and Orlando, Florida each have Disney Pin Stores and at any given time on any given day you will be sure to find pin traders.
  • Most Disney Resorts host Disney Pin Trading Nights once or twice a month. These events are a great time to get together with other local pin traders as well as visiting pin traders from around the globe. Your first Pin Trading Night will probably leave you amazed at just how many collectible Disney Trading Pins and Disney Pin Traders are out there. It will certainly take some time to get to know several pin traders but many of the faces will be familiar from your trading adventures at the theme park.
  • When you have begun narrow your focus to specific categories of Disney Trading Pins, which will go a long way in helping you decide what to look for. Eventually you will find yourself asking a trader for specific pins. For example, “Do you have any Disney Villains pins from the Disney Store in Tokyo?” Or, “Do you have any Pirates of the Caribbean Disney Pins from the 2006 Pirates Event at the Disneyland Resort?”
  • Disney sponsors special events annually. These events usually include the option to purchase collectible Disney Trading Pins. The pins available at these events are almost always Limited Editions that will not be sold except to attendees of the events and these Disney Pins are typically highly sought after by those who didn’t attend.
  • Disney Cruise Lines also offers pin trading events on one or two cruises per year. These are great fun for families of pin traders and non-pin traders alike. It’s a vacation and pin trading event all rolled into one! There are Disney Pins released only on the Cruise Lines, both open edition and Limited Edition Disney Pins.
  • Even if you don’t live near one of the Disney Resorts there may very well be pin trading clubs and activities in your area. Researching online will help you locate local clubs and groups. Of course you could always start one of your own.
  • Collectible Disney Trading Pins are also available online both for sale and trade. There is a whole section below addressing Disney Pins on the internet.
How does one find information about a specific pin such as its history and value?
  • An unbelievable amount of information is available regarding the world of collectible Disney Pins. At the various theme parks you will find brochures with very basic information as well as pin trading etiquette.
  • Some Cast Members are considered “super-traders” and they will often be able to provide additional information on specific pins. “Super-traders” are easily recognized as they typically wear a vest with literally hundreds of pins for trade instead of the usual lanyard.
  • Most pin traders will be happy to share as much information as they have about a specific pin and it’s often amazing just how much knowledge some of these pin traders have stored away. Some of these folks have been trading pins for 20 years!
  • “Disneyana Guide to Pin Trading” is published by Tomart Publications and is now in its 5th Edition. It is probably the most comprehensive collection of Disney Pin information in printed form available today. It contains photos, pricing, and an informal valuation system for the vast majority of Disney Pins ever released. It also has a brief history of Disney Pins as well as information related to collecting and trading. It takes a while to figure out how the pins are organized but it is a great resource. This guide is available at many of the Disney Pin stores and also at Tomart Publications website at: www.tomart.com
  • The internet is a great resource and a vast amount of information is available. You just need to know where to look.
What is available online related to the world of Disney Pin Trading?
  • Whether you live close to a theme park or in the middle of Australia you will soon find yourself tapping into the online world of Disney Pin Trading. As with most subjects these days, there are a vast number of sites that offer information about Disney Pins including information on the latest releases, collectors groups, web rings, pins for trade and pins for sale. There are numerous guides and articles as well.
  • PinPics is one of the most useful sites that I have found. It is a very user friendly site and houses information on Disney Pins, Olympic Pins, Hard Rock pins and more. PinPics maintains an index of Disney Pins, assigning a unique “PinPics number” to each pin or pin set and certainly the vast majority of pin traders, if not all, use this site. The description for each pin includes a photo, release date, edition size, release location, sku number, original price and more in a very clear and concise manner.
    • PinPics also allows collectors to catalog their collections within the site and users are able to set up or add to “groups” of various types.
    • PinPics also facilitates pin trading. Users set up their “wants” and “for trades” using a specific user id and password. Trades are negotiated through e-mail.
      PinPics is a vital resource for any serious Disney Pin collector or trader and it may be found at: www.pinpics.com
  • Dizpins is another vital resource for the Disney Pin collector. Dizpins contains information regarding pins that are to be released within a given month and any one of the theme parks, various pin events and Pin Trading nights. Like PinPics, it’s very user friendly.
    • There is a board that facilitates Disney Pin trading and one of the best features is that traders are actually rated by those they trade with so you can see a particular trader’s reputation.
    • Although not a site for selling Disney Pins you may find posts wherein there are pins for sale.
    • Dizpins offers an e-mail notification upon the release of a Surprise Pin. This is a feature particularly cherished by many pin traders.
    • This list includes some of the highlights of the Dizpins website but there is more to discover and the site may be found at: www.dizpins.com
  • The two sites mentioned above are my favorites. There are numerous other websites with lots of great information related to Disney Pins and all other things Disney. They are just too numerous to mention here.
I’ve heard a lot about a “secondary market” for Disney Pins. What’s that about?
  • Given the high demand for collectible Disney Pins it is no wonder that a lively secondary market has evolved. Venues include collector’s malls, swap meets and flea markets. If you’re diligent you may even find Disney Trading Pins in antique stores or at garage sales. But not surprisingly, the largest venue for the secondary market is the online world of ecommerce.
    • Websites dedicated to collectible Disney Pins, Disney Pin Trading or Disneyana in general will often have places where pins are advertised for sale.
    • Many of us who offer pins for sale have created our own websites which may be “stand alone” sites or perhaps sites linked to an online mall of sorts
    • Many of the larger online shopping sites will have Disney Pins listed for sale at any given time. These include CraigsList, Yahoo Shopping, and Amazon.com just to name a few.
    • Perhaps the largest single online venue to date is eBay. On any given day eBay has 1,000’s of Disney Pins listed for sale either in auction or a fixed price listing. There are also many eBay stores maintained by sellers that specialize in Disney Pins.
  • The secondary market offers Disney Pin Collectors and Traders to obtain pins that for one reason or another they wouldn’t otherwise be able to obtain.
    • Limited Edition pins that are not available through Disney’s online shopping are usually available to buyers through the secondary market. Many of the Limited Edition pins actually sell out within hours of their release and these pins typically demand higher prices in the secondary market. You will find that the trading value of one of these pins is often correlated to the prices a certain Disney Pin will command in the secondary market.
    • The online marketplace is a terrific resource when hunting down pins that are no longer available. For example, if you decide to collect pins commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland the secondary market is the only place you will find them other than in a trading venue.
    • Pricing of pins in the online marketplace is based on supply and demand. That’s certainly not surprising but what may be a shock is some of the prices that certain pins will sell for in an online auction. Open stock pins will usually be listed for a paltry $2 to $4 over their rack price but certain Limited Editions will sell for more than $200!
    • Shipping should always be figured into the cost of any online purchase. An average shipping price for a pin runs about $2.00 to $3.00. Most online sellers allow buyers to combine their purchases to take advantage of a lower overall shipping cost.
What are the bulk Disney Pins and Disney Pin Lots for sale online all about?
  • Many pin sellers offer pins in lots of 10, 20, 50, 100 or even more. The prices on these pins is usually well below retail and runs from about $2.00 per pin to $4.00 per pin.
    • It is advised to use caution whenever buying pins in “lots” either on a website or a marketplace such as eBay. You may receive some pins that are considered as “unauthorized” which means they may be identical to a Disney Pin available at a Disney venue but they were not released through Disney.
    • Some lots might contain pins that are “bootleg” pins. That means these pins are replicas – sometimes very close – of Disney Trading Pins but there are slight differences that are noticeable.
  • What about the Sedesma and Pro-Pins that are offered for sale in bulk?
    • Sedesma Pins are produced in Spain. While an officially licensed Disney product, they are cheaply made and immediately identifiable by their poor appearance and poor quality.
    • Pro-Pins are licensed Disney Pins from Germany. They are very small, enamel pins. They are not as poor as Sedesma in terms of quality but they are far from the same caliber as the typical Disney Pin.
  • Can I trade the Sedesma or Pro-Pins I purchased in “lots” with Disney Cast Members or with the Pin Traders?
    • It has been rumored from time to time that Disney Cast Members will no longer be allowed to accept either Sedesma Pins or Pro-Pins. If you purchase these pins you are certainly taking a risk that they will not be accepted by the Cast Members.
    • It is highly unlikely that you will find any Pin Trader who will accept either a Sedesma or a Pro-Pin in trade.
  • What about the other pins from the “pin lots”?
    • If you purchase a “pin lot” you should be sure and check each and every pin to ensure that it is not an unauthorized pin or a bootleg pin. You may find that you have pins that a Cast Member will not trade for.
    • Almost every Pin Trader is aware of and may have even received at least one of any given unauthorized or bootleg pins in trade. If you plan on trading Disney Pins with the Pin Traders – don’t count on using pins purchased in “lots.”
  • How can I avoid purchasing these unauthorized and bootleg pins?
    • The easiest way is to avoid purchasing “lots” of pins. Although these seems like a cost effective way to obtain trading pins at the end of the day the few authorized pins you receive may end up costing you more!
    • If you are going to purchase “lots” of pins, communicate with the seller beforehand. Make sure you understand what types of pins are included in the lot and get assurances that the pins are authentic Disney Pins.
  • Are there any other options for purchasing Disney Pins in quantity?
    • One of the best sources for purchasing collectible Disney Pins in quantity is to watch for people selling parts or all of their collections. You can often find great pins for great prices.

As you make your way through the world of Disney Pin Trading and Disney Pin Collecting you will quickly become more familiar with the many aspects of various Disney Pins and we hope that this information helps you along the way. If you have any questions or if you would like additional information on the hobby of collecting Disney Trading Pins please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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