More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

What Is the Most Popular Disney Pin?

Steven Miller

by , Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Walt Disney World Resort

One of the more challenging questions I’m often asked is, “What is the most popular Disney pin?” The question isn’t necessarily a challenge to answer but getting consensus on an answer is a different story. If I asked 50 people this same question, I would get 50 different answers (at this point something about beauty, eye and beholder comes to mind). In the merchandise division, we use historical sales record to determine popularity. Sales records are an easy and efficient method to identify popular pins, but they are lacking one thing – storytelling.

Telling stories is an essential part of trading or collecting Disney pins, and I’ve heard a lot of them over the years! One common thread is people define popularity as the most cherished pin in their collection (which is not necessarily based on perceived value or sales record). One Guest told me that he loved an open edition Mickey Mouse pin because it was the first pin he was given. Another Guest took great pride explaining what it took to trade for a complete set of 10, red Doombuggies from Disney Summer Pin Festival 2009. Both Guests have popular pins – Mickey Mouse is a popular fellow, and there are only 40 complete red Doombuggy sets in the world.

For our 10th Anniversary of Disney Pin Trading, we wanted a pin collection that featured popular pins released during the past ten years. Thus, unique Tribute Collections were created for the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. When choosing the pins for the collections, I turned to the stories I’ve heard during my time as Trading Manager (sorry Pin of the Day, you didn’t make the cut). My hope is that Guests will showcase the original pins next to their newer cousins, the Tribute pins.

Some pins were easy to identify such as Flubber 2000 (who doesn’t want to wait in the rain for pins?). Another popular favorite was Wet Paint – a much discussed surprise pin from the early days. One pin I thought was a must was released on January 1, 2004 – the monorail surprise pin. The pin contains the one and only Spanish sentence that I know (say it with me) – “Por Favor Mantengase Alejado De Las Puertas.” Other pins selected included the Fantasmic! Hidden Mickey pin (just how difficult was it to trade for that pin?), and the gorgeous jumbo-sized pin designed by Disney Design Group artist Monty Maldovan titled “Celebration Surprise.” The latter was released in February 2006 for the Happiest Celebration On Earth. All of the pins selected for these collections have great stories attached.

So now it is your turn. What is the most popular Disney pin?

For more information about these pins and other things related to the 10th Anniversary of Disney Pin Trading, visit


  • Hi Steven, I am an annual passholder and just started with all this pin trading. Mostly I am keeping the ones that I really like to keep. But I do trade from time to time. My question to you is, Does anyone know what was the very first pin that was ever traded? One nite I was at Disneyland buying some pins in New Orleans Square and it just hit me. Does anyone know? I thought it would be some good trivia. Maybe it was too long ago to really find out. But I am on my way to getting my collection growing. And now my husband blames me for getting HIM into the “pin collecting”. ha ha. But I just wanted to throw that question out there. HAPPY PIN TRADING EVERYONE! 🙂

    • Inez – What a great question. Disney pins date back to the 1930s with some of the earlier pins featuring Mickey Mouse. It wasn’t until October 1999 that trading pins was formerly introduced to Disney Parks as part of the Millennium Celebration. In my years of experience, I’ve heard stories of pins being traded by Guests at Disneyland (especially some of the 1998 attraction series pins). So, it is truly difficult to identify the “first” pin traded as it could have been done many years before Disney Pin Trading was officially established. I know that one of the first “Disney Pin Trading” pins created featured the Pin Trading logo with Mickey Mouse. It was given to Cast Members around Summer 1999 before the launch of trading.

  • Pin collecting, to me, is very personal. I get a pin that has a special meaning for that particular trip. My last visit to WDW also included a cruise (my second). I got the pin that is the signature logo for DCL…mouse ears with the three curved swopes (is that a word? lol).

    I was on the 4th cruise DCL had and I received 2 inaugral cruise pins. I traded one on the cruise for a Mickey pirate pin (very hard to find). The CM I traded with seemed a little amazed I would be willing to part with one of those pins, but it was worth it!

  • My favorite pin is my Cheshire Cat pin. On the way to Disneyland all of my family were talking about their favorite characters and what they wanted to see, and I had said that I really wanted to find a Cheshire Cat something, because he is one of my favorite characters. After searching the resort for a full seven days we found nothing with a Cheshire Cat on it. Every time we stopped at a store we would ask and they would point me in a new direction because they had heard that a different shop had something with the Cheshire Cat on it. We even tried the World of Disney store and there was still nothing. Finally, on our last day to the park while walking out I took my grandmother in to the Emporium to get something for her husband. While I was waiting for her what would catch my eye but a Cheshire Cat pin staring right at me. Needless to say, the huny made it nothing less than special to me.

  • The most popular pins for me are Sleeping Beauty pins. I will only purchase Aurora in a blue dress or her peasant attire. It is very hard to find her in blue, let me tell you! But when I find those pins I am ecstatic and it is a great find for me.

    I also searched for months to find a baby oyster pin from Alice in Wonderland, I believe this pin was a Disney Auctions Pin. I finally got it!

    Nightmare Before Christmas and Stitch, especially the Get Your Own Movie series. I’m loving the O-Pin House series, too!

  • Why is one pin more popular than another? Because any given pin is more than a beautiful work of art – a pin can create magical moments and memories.

    Even though I’m a die-hard villain collector, one of my very favorite pins is a Tinker Bell “Pixie Dust” pin I received from a group of little girls waiting in the Toy Story Mania line. My husband and I were at WDW to attend one of your wonderful annual pin events and had gone to Hollywood Studios with several of our “Pin Friends”. We were in a very long line at Toy Story Mania and there was a large extended family from England in line behind us. It was their first trip to Disney World and the little girls had started collecting Hidden Mickey pins. The girls saw our lanyards and started very proudly showing us all of the pins they had traded for on their trip. We talked about pins with them all the way through the line. When we were close to the end of the line, I gave the girls four Hidden Mickey Pin Trading logo pins they were missing. I told them that since they were new to pin trading, I would give them the pins and someday when they had collected lots of pins, they should “pass on” our tradition of helping new traders with their collections. They were SO excited to get the pins and went into a little “huddle of discussion” and started digging around in their packs. They turned around and proudly presented me with a “Pixie Dust” pin. They told me how a Cast Member had given them the pins and they were supposed to keep one and pass the extra to someone who was helpful and nice – and they decided to give it to me! It’s a pin I’ll treasure forever!!! The Pixie Dust pins may not have been the most popular pins ever made, but the concept was fantastic!!!

    Keep up the great work and keep those pins coming!!!

  • My favorite pin is very special to me. We sailed on the Disney Wonder earlier this year. They have a three-pin set that forms the shape of the Disney ships when put together. I traded with one of the ship’s officers for the first one. Then the next day I traded with another officer for the third one. During this time we were talking with one of the officers who somehow remembered us from our previous cruise. I saw the second pin on another officer, but I was out of pins to trade. So, the officer I was talking with simply gave it to me. What a friendly gesture!

  • I don’t have that many pins, but, the few I do have are of the Cheshire Cat; and, Chip-n-Dale; German Mickey Ears from Epcot; and, a few others. I can see where it can become quite addictive. There are just so many of them, it is hard to make a decision on which to buy. If I do buy, I am always looking for new ones of the Cheshire Cat. He is my favorite character.

  • My favorite pin I acquired through a trade in 2005 at WDW. It is of tinker bell posing as the statue of liberty. I also purchased a miss piggy in the same pose, but it doesn’t have the same meaning as the pin. I had made up my mind that I was not going to buy the Americana set in which tink was part of, and would rather enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of the trade. I spent about a good 4-5 days looking at all CM lanyards and guest lanyards, while enjoying all that the parks had to offer. Everytime I disembarked from a ride, I continued my hunt for the Tink pin. Finally, when I was about to give up on my search, a little girl who could have not been more than 5-7 had the pin on her lanyard. As I did all the trading gestures and whatnot as described in the pin trading guide, her mom was literally rolling her eyes and wanted to drag this sweet little girl away before the trade was made! I pulled out a large fab 5 in front of the American flag pin, and the little girl assumed that larger was better and made the trade! My heart leaped and jumped when I got the pin, and I proudly display it in a shadowbox on my wall. I recommend pin trading to any and all. It is one of the most fun and rewarding things that one can do in the parks!

  • The most popular Disney pin? The next one I want!

  • That’s O.K., Thanks for your response Steven. Keep up the good work!

  • Hey Steven this is Scott from WDW Daily News. Another great article and pins that now I will have to pick up LOL. I am hoping to meet up with you Halloween weekend to say hi, but until then keep up the great work and we are all excited to see what you have coming next!!

    • Great to hear from you Scott. I will be at the Disney Trading Night on Friday, October 30. This free event will be held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Fantasia G Ballroom from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. I hope you are able to stop by.

  • I have several favorite pins – mostly Mickey themed. I absolutely love the ones with Walt & Mickey and would never trade these even though they’re not rare or LE. I’m reminded of many great memories each time I look at these pins. These new pins look awesome, can’t wait to add to my collection in 2010. Thanks for making these special keepsakes.

  • I think that the best way to find out which pin is THE most popular would be to tally all of the sales receipts from pin sales. This would however be an insermountable task if not impossible. Perhaps if the receipts of the last two years were tallied, we might have an idea of which one is the most currently popular! 🙂 Can Disney do this? :0

    Does anyone know; If someone (like me) would like to submit an idea for a pin design, who, and in which dept. would we contact at Disney?

    • You are correct – we could use sales receipts to determine popularity. Interestingly, our systems only keep sales history for a period of time. So, you may only get a snapshot of popularity as our assortment is ever changing.

      Personally, I enjoy hearing the stories of why people think a certain pin is more popular than another.

      Unfortunately, we don’t accept pin ideas from our Guests at this time. Sorry.

  • I have the entire Countdown To The Millennium pins Disney had right before the turn of the Century. Even the Davey Crockett pin that was made in error with the wrong year!

    • I recall that set. It was released at the Disney Stores and there were two Davy Crockett pins. Stay tuned as I’m working on an article about some of those “error” pins from the past 10 years.

  • I too only know the same one line of Spanish. Though I am very close to knowing “remain seated please” and “please keep all hands and arms inside the vehicle”. Not quite there yet though.

  • Great post…but it just cost me a few bucks. 🙂

Comments are closed.