Monday, January 7, 2013

Pin Trading with Kids and a Budget

Our pin trading adventure started 4 years ago when my oldest daughter was 10 months old.  It started out as her walking up to cast members and looking at their pins, we did not know anything about pin trading and she would get free pins from cast members.  We saved about a dozen pins that were given to her from 10 months old to about 3 years old.  At 4 years old we felt she was ready to start trading for real.
The pins at the parks can cost anywhere from $6.95 to 14.95 each.  Ouch.  I went online and found some great deals on ebay.  I have won pin lot bids as low as $10 for 25 pins up to $15 for 25 pins.  Still a way better deal than what you will pay at the parks.  You can also find neck and hip lanyards on ebay for $1.99 to $4.99.

I did some research and learned a few pin trading rules before we got started.  Some cast members wear a teal colored lanyard at Disneyland and a green lanyard at Walt Disney World with pins only tradable to children (12 years or younger).
Each lanyard contains around a dozen unique pins, and cast members must trade with guests if they are presented with an acceptable pin. The cast members may not decline a particular trade based on preference or rarity of the pin, but may decline if the pin is not acceptable or pin trading rules are not being observed.
Each guest may only trade two pins with the same cast member in one day.

I remember our first trip to the parks after our ebay pins came in.  Grace's first official trade was at four years old at the Animal Kingdom. She was so excited and fell in love with pin trading.
(So did Mom and Dad)

It was a huge snowball after that soon 25 pins turned into 400 plus pin collection between the two of our daughters.  Here are some pics of pin trading fun.

When we were filling up lanyards and were on our 5th or 6th lanyard I decided to make fun pin boards to display the pins in their rooms.

Just recently we learned about Scoop, the reporter on Main Street from our good friend Darleen from Addicted to Mickey.  Scoop can be found on select mornings up and down Main Street.  He has an amazing collection of pins to trade and is a great cast member to interact with.  He was so much fun to be around and the girls love his pins.  We have received some excellent trades from Scoop!

Another tip is you can go to guest services at the parks and ask to see their pin trading book/board.  Most resorts have a pin trading board too that comes out during a select time.  On board the Disney cruises they have a pin trading night with the captains, always a super fun event.  We learned through a friend that Animal Kingdom and Epcot have a stroller each covered in pins to trade.

Another great benefit of pin trading for young children is it is a great way to learn and practice social interaction skills in a safe and fun environment.   Both of our girls have received a pin trading magical moment.  If a cast member feels the child has pin traded in a very respectful way by following all the pin trading rules and using their manners they were both given a special pin for free.   If the parks are crowded and there is down time before a show or parade pin trading is a fun activity to fill your time.  Our girls could fill an entire day of pin trading.

Happy pin trading and please share your pin trading tips and experiences in the comments. :)


  1. Those pins you got on eBay and thought were a great deal are scrappers and should not be allowed in the park or on lanyards. That's the wrong way to teach your kids to trade.

    1. These pins are official park pins and are stated as suck on the pin. Not everyone on eBay is out to rip people off. Please get your facts straight before making nasty comments on a writer's story. Thanks and have a magical day!

  2. I love your tips and was excited to learn that young children can enjoy this hobby too. Looking forward to showing my kiddos all about pin trading. On a side note after buying and trading a bunch I learned the hard way that a lot of the good deals on ebay are illegal knockoffs or scrappers. Even if they say all the Disney stuff on the back they may still not be authentic. When I began inspecting them closely I could tell the quality wasn't the same. Colors weren't right, surface had rough spots or weren't glossy. Some even had words misspelled on the back. This time I purchased some brand new (sealed in the package) booster sets on ebay and got them for around $2 a pin.