Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Disney Pin Trading How-To for Beginners

When you go to Disney parks, you can trade authentic Pin Trading pins for others with any cast member who is wearing pins in the park, at the hotel shops, at the park shops, and on pin boards in many of the park shops or hotel shops. It costs nothing besides your initial investment. Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with Disney in any way and make nothing off this information. I don't sell pins or stand to profit in any way except to maybe make you smile and encourage more people to trade authentic original pins in the parks and say "Hey, are you trading?" when you see me!

The official method:
Official starter lanyard from 2012, 4 pins
Disney would have you buy a "starter lanyard" that comes with 2-8 pins on it. These cost about $20 and will give you everything you need to get started, the lanyard (to wear around your neck) and a few pins. They are conveniently located at any Disney store in the mall and in any store that sells pins in the parks or hotels. For a family of 3, you have spent $60 and have a handful of pins to begin with, minus any you want to keep from the lanyard you purchased. However, I think there's a cheaper way.

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.

Assorted pins
Go onto Amazon and purchase a lot of 25 assorted scrapper-free trader pins. Make sure you read the comments as there are many unscrupulous sellers who sell knock offs and you don't want to trade some kid you knock off for their original, right? Be cool and don't poison the well with fakes. Here's a seller with lots of 25 that are just over $1 a pin, which is pretty reasonable given you will spend a minimum of $6 on EACH pin in the parks if you absolutely have to have a new one right now - and yeah, that'll start happening as you see more and more pins. You might want to set a rule like "no more than 2 purchased pins per park visit" - or that's the rule I have for myself, anyhow. For your family of 3, you now have 8 pins each, plus an extra that someone will claim as their "I have to keep this one". You're already ahead of the in-park purchase and have only spent about $35 after shipping.

The rules:
Pins on the hip
You can trade your pins with any cast member wearing a lanyard or a black square holding pins which attaches to their waist - be sure to look both places as you get in line for rides, visit shops, and wander around the parks and hotels. Also, ask to see the pin board if you are in a park shop or hotel shop. Only certain places have them and some are only on display at certain times, but it never hurts to ask. You can trade up to 2 pins per person per cast member or pin board.

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
Wait your turn. If a cast member looks busy, is helping customers, or there is a line, you will have to wait until that person is free to ask about trading.

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.

Extra tips:
Villains pin
Any pins you want to keep, leave at home. The backings sometimes fall off as they rub on your shirt and if you really love a certain pin, remove it from your lanyard so you don't accidentally trade it away or lose it.

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
Any guest wearing a lanyard might be willing to trade with you. Just ask! I love trading with others and wish more people would ask to trade. I feel a little awkward sometimes asking "Hey, are you trading?" but I still do and have gotten some cool stuff that way. I'm a sucker for little kids and will always trade them what they ask for, even if I really like the pin - so leave your favorites at home or you might have to disappoint a 4 year old. You never know if you might get the pin you've been wanting that simply isn't someone else's favorite, so ask. Know that individuals don't have to obey any rules, though, and their pins might be fake, or they might ask for money, or 2 or more of your pins for one of theirs. You can always say "no thank you" and simply not trade with them.

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? 
That is a matter of personal preference. What characters or movies do you like? What rides are your favorites? Do you love princesses or horses? Do you have a favorite holiday or color? Are your favorites the pins that spin or are glittery? What you like, someone else will not like - so trade! That's the whole point. I love the "icon" pins, which are in the shape of Mickey's head, but are not of Mickey, like the ones shown here.

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
How about finishing my set or getting that certain pin? Where do I buy?
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.