Where to Start

New to pin collecting?  Dorky Pin Collector

Have you seen people running around with pins around their necks and wondered what it was all about?  If you’re worried you’re missing out on all the fun…well, the fact is, you are!  Here are some tips for those of you who are new to pin trading or looking to get started.

The first thing you’ll need is a laynard.  Laynards are those things you may have seen hanging from a guest’s or cast member’s neck.  What I love most about lanyards is that not only are they needed if you’re going to trade pins with a cast member, but you can also keep your tickets, fast passes and other cards in a waterproof pouch that hangs from the bottom (if this makes you nervous you can always skip it – but I, personally, have found it convenient).

Laynards come in a variety of designs and widths.  Some people even find themselves collecting different laynards as designs are frequently retired or introduced from year to year.  Just about every Disney theme park gift shop carries these and you’ll need to get one before you can start trading with cast members.

Official Disney Pin Trading Laynard © DisneyKnow the rules!

Pin trading is fun and addictive and is a great way to interact with cast members, however there are some rules.  Disney asks that you trade a maximum of two pins per cast member per day.  That means you can’t monopolize someone’s time all afternoon while you decide to trade every pin on your lanyard.  It’s important to remember that cast members are at work and do have other guests to attend to.

The other important thing to remember is to be polite.  You should ask to see a cast member’s lanyard and you shouldn’t grab it – we all have a personal bubble and you may be excited to get your hands on those pins but remember that’s a person they’re hanging from!  Another thing to keep in mind is pin trading with other guests is generally restricted to designated pin trading areas or events.  You can trade pins with whoever you like, however when you’re in the parks it’s not usual to approach a stranger in line and ask to trade a pin.  For the complete list of Pin Trading Rules and Etiquette visit Disney’s FAQ site by clicking here.

Other Things You Should Know

Whenever something becomes popular, like pin trading, there are people out there who’ll try to capitalize on it.  That said, there are quite a few fakes floating around out there and you should know how to look for them.  One of the most important pieces of advice for a new collector is to be very wary of online auction sites offering large bundles of pins for seemingly el cheapo prices!  Disney pins are made using a complex enamelling process and are expensive to make.  A single pin retails anwhere from $7.95 to $12.95 and up.  If a seller on an online auction or retail site is willing to sell you, say, 50 pins for less than a dollar a pin and includes free shipping, this should immediately raise a red flag.  No one in their right mind would sell pins so cheap unless they were fake or low quality. 

If you’d like to learn more about spotting fakes and the bootleg pin market, I’ve put together two informative articles that you may find helpful:

Basic Tips for Collectors: Learning the Lingo

How to Tell a Fake from the Real Thing

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