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Your Disney Vacation Specialist
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Ask Mel Wednesday: Pin Trading

Today’s question comes to us from one of the great fans over at Today we are going to talk about pin trading and how to find some great pins that you aren’t seeing everywhere else!

Question: Where are guests finding the best pins? I went only twice last year and was kinda disappointed. EVERY cast member had the same pins. Anyone know of places to go or cm’s off the beaten track?

Pin bag

For the pin trader on the go!

Examples of pin transport

Pin lanyards and carrying case

Answer: As an avid pin trader and collector, I know the frustration of seeing the same pins on every lanyard you find! Sometimes this can work to a collector’s advantage and sometimes not. Usually what you see scores of on the lanyards of the cast members in the parks are whatever the current secret pins are or the latest starter pack sets. These can be great if you are trying to complete one of the secret pin sets. If you look at the bottom of the display case you will see the circular Mickey expressions collection. These were everywhere this year! It worked out well for me because I was trying to finish my set; if you didn’t want these pins, you were going to be sorely disappointed. I had this experience a little over a year ago where it seemed the only pins I could find were the Mickey “nerd” pins. While they were cute, they just didn’t work for me. So, what do you do if the cursory glance is showing nothing but more of the same? Here are a couple of my favorite “tricks of the trade”.

Check at the resorts! Every resort usually has a pin board that they will bring out for an hour or so every couple of days. At a lot of resorts these boards are HUGE and they have a good cross-section of pins. If you are staying on-site, stop by the front desk and ask when their board will be out. Or if you are going to a resort for a meal, do the same thing and ask! You can even call the resorts and ask when they have their board out.

I have had some great success trading with cast members in the various countries in the World Showcase in Epcot. I have found some unique pins from cast members working in the various shops, KidCot stations, and attractions!

For all the Disney parks, don’t forget that almost all of the cast members have lanyards – don’t be shy about asking to see their pins. From character handlers to cast members in shops and kiosks, cast members running the rides. even custodial cast members! It is easy to think about the cast members that are very visible but sometimes it is the cast members that aren’t on the “front lines” that have some great pins!

Another one that so many people seem to be wary of – DVC kiosks. I used to be one of those people, “I don’t want to hear the spiel.” In all the times that I have been up to the kiosks, I have never gotten “the spiel” unless I ask for it! Just ask, “Can I see your pins?” Because so many people seem intimidated to head over there they don’t seem to be as inundated with the same pins. The best DVC pin board I have seen was at the Animal Kingdom on the way into Camp Minnie-Mickey. There are some photo op areas and the past couple times there has been a huge pin board with lots of options.

Prize pins

A shadowbox collection of my favorite pins

The one mistake a lot of people make is that they try to trade and the main “Pin Trading Locations”. The problem with this is that so many people are there, just bought the same pins, and now want to trade. There is a lot of monotony. One exception, every once in awhile you will find someone who has set up shop at one of the pin trading tables and has books and books of pins for display, and sometimes trading. If nothing else, it is fun to stop and look!

And for the record, yes a Disney cast member must trade with you (with certain restrictions) however, just because someone is wearing a lanyard doesn’t mean that the average Disney guest has to trade!

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