I’ve never really been a collector in any organized way- not dolls, not stamps, nothing. I certainly have amassed a large number of Disney and Mickey Mouse items but they were all very random. That is until about five years ago when my husband and I started collecting Disney pins.
Our first experience with this began with us buying a starter pin kit consisting of a lanyard and six pins. We also went to the Disney Outlet Store and bought several discount pins to trade.
We had no idea what we were doing.
We watched other people trade with cast members and decided to give it a try. Soon we were hooked.
We’ve traded every year since then and we certainly aren’t experts, but I think we’re getting better at it. We do it for fun, not money and have made some guidelines for ourselves that help things go more smoothly.
- Buy pins to trade before you go. It will save you money. We have found an ebay seller we work with that we feel is reputable. Yes, we get our pins cheap, but we don’t want to get bad (fake) pins so we try our hardest not to put bad pins out there. This can be trial and error. We have sent pins back and when dishonest sellers won’t refund our money, we’ve thrown pins away. Some of the pin trading websites can be helpful in finding sellers that have been safe in the past.
- Find something you like and collect it. There are too many pins to collect them all. Don’t worry about what someone else thinks you should collect. Pick something meaningful to you and make that what you look for. We collect Cast Lanyards, Hidden Mickeys, and Fourth of July pins. That gives us quite a bit to hunt for.
- Before you go read the guidelines and etiquette on Pin Trading at Disney’s Pin Trading website http://eventservices.disney.go.com/pintrading/page?id=getStarted http://eventservices.disney.go.com/pintrading/page?id=getStarted
- We trade with cast members and kids for the most part. Early on some “expert” traders at Downtown Disney took advantage of how naive we we’re and we lost some good pins. How un-Disney! Now we play it much smarter. Just realize that many of those traders will have what you want but they will not let you walk away with it without a very steep trade. And the worst thing you can do is let them know how badly you want something! Now if we go there, I fill my trade book with only the pins I’m willing to give up so they can’t talk me out of something else.
- Don’t be a wallflower but don’t try to pick the flowers either. My husband used to be guilty of both of these. He would see a pin… and tell me to go trade for it. I don’t know if he traded at all the first two trips we traded. But that has changed. Now I constantly have to remind him he can go up but not point at someone. It is considered rude. I’m getting him to say “Could I please see your pins?” before he pokes at them.
- Don’t take it too seriously. Pin trading should be fun. One day a woman cut right in front of me and got the last pin I needed to complete the ABC Cast Lanyard set. I was really upset for a while until my husband reminded me of this rule. We’re still missing that pin but you know what? That means I get to look for it this summer!
- I buy some limited edition pins that I would never trade. I don’t believe any of my pins will make me rich but those are my more collectible pins. The pins I trade, I trade for fun so I’m not looking to pay for my early retirement with them.
- I couldn’t live without my small pin bag, which can go around my waist. We load it each night with pins we want to trade. I don’t like lanyards around my neck plus pin backs are more likely to fall off a lanyard. In the pin bag, if a back comes off, it’s still zipped in the bag.
- Before we go, we buy those cheap photo albums you can get at the dollar store. Then we go to the pin trading sites like
We print out pictures of pin sets that we collect (Printed out 4×6.) We then go through and mark the ones we already have. We put the pictures in the cheap photo albums and have an easy way to carry with us what we have and what we are looking for. We have hundreds of pins. Not only is it not practical to take them to the parks, it cost too much to take them on the plane! This has proven to work quite well. The picture I’ve included shows just a small section of my collection that I have cataloged at PinPics.
The most important guideline to remember is to have fun- hopefully a lot of it. But remember, just like everything Disney,
once you start-
it’s hard to stop!