November 17, 2009

Pin Trading 101

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I've received several questions about pin trading so I thought I'd share what we've learned during our trip.

To get started you'll need to purchase a lanyard and some pins. The lanyard and pins can be purchased at nearly every Disney store. You can purchase individual pins or you can purchase a starter set of seven pins, which is what we did. Since you're going to trade these pins away I wouldn't buy expensive pins and the sets are the least expensive way to buy pins at Disney World. If you have time to purchase pins before your trip, there are lots of pins for sale on ebay. You are only allowed to trade real Disney pins in the parks so make sure that's what you buy if you get them somewhere other than Disney World. Once you're at a park, get one of the free buttons they give away to anchor the bottom of the lanyard and keep it from flipping around.

Most Disney cast members have lanyards of pins around their necks. This includes cast members in stores, at rides and even cast members who are sweeping the streets or holding the rope at a parade. Cast members are required to trade with anyone who asks them to. The only exception to this is if a cast member is wearing a blue lanyard they will only trade with kids.

Cast members are given special pins to trade and many of these can't be purchased in a store. It took us four or five days to figure this out! Cast member pins are also called Hidden Mickey pins because they have a small silver Mickey head on the front of the pin. They also have markings on the back that identify the pin as a "Hidden Mickey." Hidden Mickey pins are also part of sets. So, for example, there is a set of pins with different princesses looking in rear view mirrors. There is a set of pins with Mickey heads made out of foods -- lettuce, tomatoes, etc. There is a 26-pin set of letters. The back of the pin tells you how many pins are in the set. You can go to the jewelery store on Main Street to see pictures of the pins in a set or I just looked online.

For the first few days Kenna and Michal traded pins without any plan. They simply picked whatever they liked on a cast member's lanyard and traded away whatever pin on their lanyard they liked the least. They identified pins they definitely would. not. trade. and then turned right around and traded them. They would wax poetically about why one pin or another was "too special" to trade but invariably they ended up trading nearly every pin they received. And it was funny because they would trade away a pin and then choose that same pin on a cast member's lanyard. The one exception was the Tiana pin, which we purchased, and never left their lanyards.

Once we were told about trying to collect Hidden Mickey pins they usually chose those pins but still just chose whatever struck them at the moment. They did end up with a couple pins in the same set but this was more by chance then anything else. I think an older child would really enjoy trying to collect sets of pins.

In the past the girls have collected character autographs in an autograph book and this was infinitely more fun for them. Kenna and Michal loved, and I mean loved, spotting a cast member with pins and running up to make a trade. It was also fun for me because the cast members went out of their way to engage them -- and me -- and shared all kinds of fun tips about the park while we were talking to them. This is also how we met the cast members who gave us Fast Passes and created other amazing Magical Moments for the girls.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post - we really learned a lot. We hope to go in 2 years. Love your photos - they really capture the excitement of your beautiful daughters.

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