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Florida Guide > Disney General

Addicted to Disney Pin Trading

During our third trip to Walt Disney World the girls each bought two souvenir pins, one from Magic Kingdom and one from Epcot, as reminders of our holiday. They were inexpensive and easy to pack to bring home. I also, unbeknown to them, bought them one each as a Christmas stocking filler. This started their pin collecting, which is now part of every holiday.

One of the girls has always collected anything Mickey whilst the other one, more financially aware, tends to get hers from Character Outlets. Some people go for a specific character, others the pretty one, and others just the unusual ones or some that can afford it, the limited edition pins. There are no hard and fast rules.

Pins have always been sold in the parks but apparently in recent years for a lot of people it has become an obsession and it appears to have started a tradition in 1999 known as Disney Pin Trading. Fortunately as yet the girls are happy just to collect pins on a small scale but I suspect one day they will want to start trading.

Pin Trading, in case you've never heard of it, allows you to make a mutually agreeable exchange of one Disney pin for another. Disney “pin etiquette" says that a "tradable" pin is one that is a hard-enamel metal Disney pin. Normally the trade is on a one to one basis but certain pin sets must be traded as sets.

Official trading occurs at all the Disney parks (Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, etc.) and at the Disney Stores. It is a great way to meet Cast Members and other guests. These days you will also find trades occurring through various online groups.

I know of a group that initially met and traded at Magic Kingdom in 2002 and have kept in contact ever since. Friends of friends have been added to the group and they now do a lot of pin trading amongst them selves.

Traders are all ages, from children to seniors. They come from all parts of the world bringing unique pins from their local Disney parks and stores. Some traders start out with a few souvenirs and suddenly find they're trading for others they like better. A friend of ours found some 99-cent pins in the Belz Outlet Character Store. Later that day the family went to Epcot and he began to trade pins with cast members. Apparently he had got an unusual pin that a Norwegian Cast Member was delighted to trade. He has not stopped since!

Knowing what to trade can be the tough part. Disney releases a phenomenal number of pins in their different venues. So pin trading can be an expensive hobby and it can become an obsession.

Some people trade to enhance their collection of a character, others will trade based on monetary value as they are looking for something of greater value. There are also those who are willing to pay more than face value for a pin they really want.

Enjoy your pin collecting; I suspect it will not be too long before the girls develop an obsession for trading.

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Page added on: 15 January 2007
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