Disney Pin Trading 101

What Are Disney Trading Pins?

A Disney Trading Pin is a small collectible and tradable work of art. When purchased in a retail Disney shop, pins typically cost between $8 and $15, depending on the complexity of the pin. Some special pins cost more. Most pins have artwork of Disney characters, events, or icons. Pins are made of a metal base with enamel or cloisonné coloring.

When Did All This Start?

Disney has sold pins in its parks for many, many years but the craze really started to take off during Disney’s Millennium Celebration in 1999. Trading pins has become a popular pastime with both casual and experienced collectors alike.

Trading pins is a popular pastime.
Trading pins is a popular pastime.

Why Trade Pins?

People trade pins mostly because it is a fun way to get new pins and to meet other people. Most trading takes place between Disney park guests and Disney Cast Members. Nearly all Cast Members wear a set of pins on a lanyard or a hip belt and they are willing to trade. Some trading takes place between experienced pin traders at specific events or locations.

What Is Disney Pin Trading Etiquette?

Disney guidelines state that you can trade up to two different pins with a single Cast Member in one day. You should trade one pin at a time, hand-to-hand, and put the backing on the pin since the pins have a sharp post and nobody wants to get stabbed! Don’t touch anyone else’s pins – ask to see the pins and the owner will hand them over.

Why Do Pins Cost So Much?

Because Disney is looking to make a profit! Beyond that, consider that each pin has to be designed by a professional artist, manufactured, shipped, displayed, and sold. Still, the cost can add up quickly if you collect many pins.

Will Pins Increase In Value?

A few pins have risen dramatically in value, selling for as much as $2,000 on Ebay. Some people who are very knowledgeable about Disney pins know how to spot valuable pins and make a bit of money from them. However, I wouldn’t invest my retirement savings in Disney pins hoping to make a financial gain. Most folks see Disney Pin Trading as a fun hobby and not much more than that.

You can find many different Disney characters on pins.
You can find many different Disney characters on pins.

What Is A Scrapper?

A scrapper is a pin that is not authorized by Disney. Pins are minted from molds, and sometime the manufacturers that make Disney pins do not destroy the mold as they should after the authorized production is complete. Unscrupulous manufacturers get the molds and make unauthorized pins. In other cases, manufacturers just make their own unauthorized molds and pump out low-quality knock-offs.

What Is A Fantasy Pin?

A fantasy pin is one that may look like a Disney pin but it was not made by the Disney company. In effect, it is a fan-created pin. Disney Cast Members are not supposed to accept fantasy pins, scrappers, or any other unofficial pins for trade.

What is a Jumbo Pin?

A jumbo pin is big and intricate, just as you would expect. It is also more expensive. Most jumbo pins cost between $20 and $35 and come out as limited editions.

Disney's Pin Traders store in Disney Springs.
Disney’s Pin Traders store in Disney Springs.

Are There Designated Pin Trading Locations?

Yup! There are four locations that permanently deal with trading Disney pins:

  • Disney’s Pin Traders (Disney Springs) – This seems to be the largest and busiest pin trading location at Disney World. It’s a great place to spend some time looking at and trading pins.
  • Pin Central (Epcot) – Located in the shadow of Spaceship Earth in Future World, you can buy pins here and also trade pins at the tables set up nearby.
  • Tree of Life (Disney’s Animal Kingdom) – This location isn’t as big or as well-known as the others, but it can be a fun spot for trading.

Do you enjoy trading or collecting Disney pins?