Pin Trading is a great FREE activity for guests of all ages at Disney Parks. The rules are simple: most Cast Members will be wearing a lanyard or satchel that has pins attached; this means that the Cast Member is able to trade pins with any guest. The guest asks the Cast Member to see their pins, and if they see one that they like better than one they already have, they can ask to trade. A Cast Member will not refuse a trade, unless the pin that they are being offered is not a Disney pin.
As a former Disney Cast Member, I have taken part in my fair share of pin trading experiences. Some of these experiences were great examples of positive guest interactions, where I walked away feeling that I had created a little magic and got to know a family a little bit more. Other experiences left me feeling not so magical.
To make pin trading fun for everyone, please follow Pin Trading Etiquette.
• Be Polite: This is the number one thing that often gets ignored when pin trading. If a Cast Member is helping another guest with directions, making a purchase, or even just in a conversation, please wait your turn before asking to pin trade. There were so many times when I would be in mid conversation with another family and a group would barge in front of them and demand to trade pins. Just wait. It will be okay.
• Don’t be Grabby: This really falls under being polite as well, but it does need its own mention. Please, do NOT grab at a Cast Member’s lanyard to get a better view! I cannot even count the number of times my neck was yanked in another direction from a guest who grabbed my lanyard to see my pins. Also, many Cast Members are female and it is really not okay to grab at someone’s chest. Just ask the Cast Member “can I see your pins?” and they will hold their lanyard out for you to take a better look at.
• Don’t Buy Counterfeits: Alas, the world of Disney pin trading is filled with bootlegged pins. These pins are manufactured in someone’s basement and are of much less quality then the pins that Disney produces. If a Cast Member can clearly tell the pin is a fake, they are not able to accept it as a trade. This isn’t because Disney is trying to take more of your money to make you buy different pins. This is so that another guest who comes to pin trade after you, doesn’t get stuck with a faulty product.
• Keep it Clean: Most guests wear their pins on a lanyard to display their Disney pin love to the world. Some guests keep them in a Ziploc bag in a purse or backpack. Other guests have them in their sweat soaked short pocket covered in crumbs. Don’t be crumby. Take pride in your pins and keep them clean for trading.
• Talk to Cast Members: if you are new to pin trading, let a Cast Member know! So many of the Cast Members that I worked with were really into pin trading and knew a lot about the different series and designs. Cast Members also know what locations have pin trading books (binders filled with pins to trade), and what locations do not. For example, the Confectionery on Main Street at Magic Kingdom has a large pin trading book, while the Cast Members who work there are not able to wear pin lanyards because of food safety issues.
• Have Fun: This is important. Pin trading should be a fun way to have some free fun in the parks and get to know Cast Members (and other guests!) along the way. Find a pin series that you enjoy and see if you can find them all, or go for a favorite character collection, or just trade for anything that strikes your fancy.
If you follow the simple rules of Pin Trading Etiquette, you will be sure to have a more enjoyable experience, and make a Cast Member’s day just a little bit easier.