The official method:
|Official starter lanyard from 2012, 4 pins|
The budget method:
Make a stop at your local home supply store (Home Depot or Lowe's) and pick up a lanyard in the key cutting section. These will cost you about $1.25 each and you can choose from your favorite local sports team or colors. I recommend you get different looks for each person so you don't confuse your pin sets. There are usually lots to choose from. For a family of 3, this will cost you $4.
|Pins on the hip|
To trade, take your pin off of your lanyard and put the back on. Give it to the cast member. They will give you the pin you requested with the back on it as well. Trades are 1-for-1.
|Pins around the neck|
Some cast members will have a few pins backward so you can do a mystery trade if you choose; this adds an extra level of excitement. I always prefer a mystery trade.
Some lanyards will be green. Green lanyards are for trading with little kids only. I don't think the pins are any different, but they might have special pins for little kids, like from the Disney Channel shows.
If you lose a backing while you're walking around, you can ask at a store if they have an extra and sometimes they will have a baggie with extras and be willing to give you a freebie. Otherwise, you can buy a baggie of backings for $2.50 and it's a good idea to have a baggie of backings with you anyhow.
|Lilo and Stitch eating ice cream pin|
How do you know if a pin is fake? You can look up your pin at Pin Pics by describing it in a few words like "Stitch Lilo ice cream" for the one pictured here.
You can also trade at the pin boards in the Disney Store at your mall. Just ask at the counter.
What makes a good pin or collection?
You can also buy Mystery Pins which are sold in 1-2 pin sets in a pouch or box at the various shops. They will be labelled with their edition (like the Fantasyland set shown below). You might want to pick up a packet of these and see if you can get the whole set. This will take you some time, however, and is good for people who trade often. If you want to complete a whole set, I recommend you check Pin Pics for the set's name so you can see what you might be missing.
|Fantasyland collection with box containing 1 mystery pin|
You can buy pins at the Disney Store, any of the shops at Disney World that sell pins, and the hotel shops. You can also buy online, but again, be careful of the fakes and always look for a rating. You might want to join the Facebook group Pin Junkies. I have made a few successful trades there, but always be careful with your private information by shipping to your work and paying with PayPal. This is another Facebook page you might like to buy from as they say their lots are all scrapper-free, but be cautious as their individual pins make no such claim. I bought several pins from them and one turned out not to be official (Pin Pics labelled it as not a Disney pin). To their credit, I contacted them by email and they offered to refund me minus shipping or trade for another pin, which was good customer service, but I learned from that experience that they do not check their for-sale pins for authenticity.
If you have additional tips to add, please do so in the comments section. If you found this guide helpful, please share it with a friend and tell me your favorite pin type in the comment section.