More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

The Hidden Secrets of Hidden Mickey Pins

Steven Miller

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

Hidden Mickey Pins

One of the more popular questions I’m often asked by Guests is, “Do you have any Hidden Mickey pins?” Guests really love trading for these pins when visiting Disney Parks. I, too, love these pins but for a much different reason than most. But first, a brief history of these highly desired pins for those who are unfamiliar.

“Lanyard Pins” were first issued to Cast Members in 2002 to use for trading with Guests. In 2006, their name was changed to “Hidden Mickey Pins” to better align with the hidden, “Mickey icon” located on the front of the pins (okay, the icon isn’t hidden but it serves as a great identifying mark). A new collection is introduced each year containing a variety of pins inspired by Disney characters, park icons and much more.

So why do I love these pins? One of my responsibilities as Project Manager is developing these pins. It is a pretty cool (and surreal) feeling knowing I have created pins that many Guests enjoy collecting and trading (I never thought I’d be doing this when I first visited Walt Disney World Resort in 1983!).

What many Guests don’t know is that throughout the years I’ve added little bits of personality to various designs. Here are a few behind the scenes stories about various pins you may have in your collection.

Hidden Mickey Pins

Alphabet Letters from 2009
The character Penny from Disney’s The Rescuers was selected for the letter “P” as that is my wife’s name. Khan from Disney’s Mulan was selected for “K” as I enjoy yelling that name really, really loud. The letter “V” features V.I.N.Cent from Disney’s The Black Hole (my other favorite Disney film besides Tron). I still have the 33 ½ album featuring the story of The Black Hole that I had as a child.

Hidden Mickey Pins

The HORIZNS License Plate from 2005-2006
Have I told you about my obsession with the former Epcot attraction Horizons? On the last day of operation in 1999, I rode the attraction 40 times! Who didn’t love the orange smell and the ability to choose your own ending? I always chose “Space” – I typically pushed all of the “Space” buttons before anyone else could select since majority ruled. The eye behind the word “HORIZNS” is a nod to the former Disneyland attraction Adventures Thru Inner Space. I sadly never rode it but I’m sure I would have loved it.

Hidden Mickey Pins

The FastPass Tickets
Over the years, I’ve created various FastPass tickets as Hidden Mickey pins. The times listed on these pins have special meanings such as “12:06 pm” on the Kali River Rapids pin which signifies my children’s birthday, December 6 (they were born on the same day 11 years apart!). I was born at 6:29 am, so the Star Tours pins (Star Wars fan am I) features that time. Granted, the pin says 6:29 pm as Star Tours doesn’t open that early in the morning. Finally, the Maelstrom pin features the time 4:29 pm, which is the date of my wedding anniversary, April 29 (yes, I carry that pin with me everywhere so I will never, ever forget).

For more information about Hidden Mickey pins including printable checklists to help in your trading quest, please visit and look under the “Events” section.


  • Steven-
    On our first trip to Disney (our Honeymoon in ’05) my husband became addicted to Stitch and Stitch pins. Since that trip 5 years ago we have become DVC and Annual Pass members as well as Chase card holders so we collect these pins as well as the Stitch pins, Pirate Pins, and other nifty ones we run across. Needless to say we have 100’s of pins and we won’t even get into the amount of money we have spent based on the data tracking program he made using the official pin trading site on his computer.
    Shortly after reading your blog post on the Secrets of the Hidden Mickey Pins we were at WDW and I insisted he trade for “P” completely based on your post and told him the story as we were trading the pin, then told him the story of the “fastpass” pins as well. We have both agreed you probably have one of the coolest jobs on earth. Though we are back at the park soon for Garden Fest we are already talking about coming in August for the pin event as it looks like it will be a lot of fun. 🙂
    One question though- why doesn’t the pin trading site put out release date info on the DVC/Annual Pass/and Chase pin release dates as we discovered we still need the Tink, Figment and Stitch pins to complete the Annual Pass pin so that if we can’t be at the park when they come out we can at least call in and order them?

  • What are the chances of getting an “Official” Disney Pin Collecting Facebook page? You have an official Disney page, the cruise line has a page, Disney Backlots, and D23 all have pages. What about the pin collectors???

    • Jo – Great question. I’ll have to speak with Tom from the Social Media Team. They are the OUTSTANDING team who runs this Blog among other social media tools to connect with our fans. They’ve been such wonderful partners to me, and I’ve enjoyed being a Guest blogger here.

      Meanwhile, keep checking here for future pin articles or visit our blog –

    You killed mah boy!

    (two best Star Trek hollers ever!)

    Well, that and Kirk when he meets Old Spock in the new one. 🙂

  • Steven, I am just getting into the pins and finding out the meaning behind some of the pins is great. I grew up just 20 minutes away from Disneyland and thought it was great when I was little every Columbus day was Federal Employees day and we went every year it happened expect for 1985 when my brother was born on that day. The event stopped just a year or two after that. I loved the inner space ride and was sad when it went away to make room for star tours which I do love I am a big star wars fan. I guess you could call it a bitter sweet good bye. The thing I remember most about inner space was feeling like I was growing up as we walked out I felt miniature during the whole ride and felt like I was bigger when I came out of the ride than when I went in. I didn’t get to ride horizons it sounds like it was a great ride also. Just thought I would share some about inner space.

  • Hello Steven, this is james i had said earlier about I am coming to florida during the 20th and I noticed the pin trading was booked the night before I am coming. BUT I convinced my parents to move the flights back one DAY!!!! Im so excited. Also are there special pins realeased during the trading nights or what is there besides trading?

    • Wow! I’m glad to hear that you will be able to attend. Please stop by the Preview Table to say “Hello.”

      The Disney Trading Night mentioned will be held on March 19 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Ballroom of the Americas. This is a free activity that will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

      We will have a special pin released that night – the next in our Pin Trading Logo series featuring Mickey Mouse dressed in different costumes. We will also feature a sneak preview of upcoming pins and Vinylmation. And who knows … maybe a few more surprises.

  • I heard that you can use the FastPass pins as a real FastPass. Is this true? I heard this from a CM at Disney World, but I was wondering if it were true for Disneyland Resorts in California.

    • Alex – Sadly, not true. These pins were designed for trading. You would need an actual FastPass ticket. See more about – FastPass.

  • I have been collecting pins for quite some time now. I was wondering why it seemed like the Hidden Mickey pins just a appeared one day. I have enjoyed finding my favorites. Now I will be looking at them even more closely to see the different things on them. Thank you very much for sharing.

  • My daughters name is Penny and I am now on the lookout for that “P” pin! What great stories, thanks!

  • Wow! These are some VERY cool facts! Thanks so much for sharing… Now every time I look at my hidden mickey pins I can recognize the hidden secrets behind them! Please keep up the great work, it’s great to have a person like you behind the hidden mickey pins! Thanks for doing a great job!

    (P.S. I’d LOVE to see an Epcot Retro/Current Logo series, or maybe a tribute to the Tapestry of Nations parade (my FAVORITE parade of all time) in one of the pins!)

    • Thanks for the kind words. Did you see this set –

      Being a fan of EPCOT Center merchandise (circa pre-opening to around 1985), I thought it rocked. We had a Limited Edition set featuring the opening logos as a Cast Exclusive Framed Set several years ago. I actually own that set.

      We are also paying tribute to some classic attractions this year with then “Then and Now” Series –

      We also featured individual Tapestry of Nations pins around the Millennium Celebration. What I would love to see is giant spinning drum pin – tell me, who didn’t want to play those drums during the parade? Loved them!

  • Any idea where I can get a Black Hole “Vincent” pin? That is my sons name?

    • If you are visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, the best place to look for the V.I.N.Cent pin is on Disney Cast Member lanyards. We have about 19,000 Cast Members that trade pins daily in all areas of the Resort. I know that many of them still have the “V” pin available on their lanyards.

      The other option is to purchase one of the Hidden Mickey Mystery Pouches at one of our main Disney pin locations like Disney’s Pin Traders (see:

      This pouch contains two randomly selected pins from the Alphabet series. So you may or may not get “V.” If you don’t get “V,” then you have some great pins to trade. Happy Trading!

  • My family went to WDW in November and my 7 year old son quickly became interested in pin trading and collecting. We came home with many hidden mickeys and pins that represented our favorite places and attractions in Disney.

  • Quote: “Khan from Disney’s Mulan was selected for “K” as I enjoy yelling that name really, really loud.”

    It’s wonderful to discover that once again, your love of science fiction emerges in so many of your projects. The hieroglyphics at the 2009 Pintiquities Event remain a favorite! I can’t wait to see what you come up with at Trade City, U.S.A.! (Maybe a blue police box filled with brand new Hidden Mickey pins!)

  • I was wondering when you are going to be coming out with my favorite theme, it’s the “sword and the stone”. I actually have an orginal cell of Merlin (as a squire) and the lady squire, where he is putting his hands up and trying to get away.

    • You’ll be happy to know that we have a four pin collection planned for Fall 2010 featuring Walt Disney’s “The Sword in the Stone.” It is part of our Walt’s Classic Collection and will be released in California and Florida.

  • Steven, I miss Horizons too. I’m sure you enjoyed seeing the vacuuming robot at Epcot’s 25th anniversary exhibit in 2007. Anyway, I have the Mission Space 2:08 to 3:08 and Space Mountain 4:19 to 5:19 Fastpass pins. What do those times mean?

    If you can dream it, you can do it!

    • That Epcot exhibit was great! Look for vacuuming robot’s head in the 2010 Hidden Mickey Pin collection. Maybe next year I’ll feature Tommy’s shoe from the Space Colony scene (that way everyone can get it before it floats away).

      As for the FastPass times, these are some of the most obscure. I’m a space nut (wanted to be an Astronaut long ago). The Mission: SPACE time (2:08) is the day that the crew of Skylab, the first American space station, returned to Earth in 1974. The Space Mountain time (4:19) was the date that the Russian Salyut 1 was launched into space in 1971. It was the first space station ever launched. Both times seemed to fit for these attractions.

  • We have been there many times and will be there again this March for Magic Music Days Parade. Our son is in the Marching Band at West Morgan High School and they have again, been invited to march in the parade. It is a bitter/sweet this time because he is a senior this year and so when they march in the parade, that will be the last time we see him march with that band. We love Disney and our daughter which is 4, is so excited, she was 2 when we were there before and she remembers some, but this time will be really great for her. Of course, she is all about princess’ and she can’t wait to see the castle again. Maybe this time she will be able to get her Pic with Cinderella. Can’t wait!!!!!!

  • By the way im from Rhode Island and its not very easy to go to Disney for any event but thank you anyways Steven

  • Hi Steven, my name is James and I just turned 16. The only trading activity I have ever been to was at the D23 Expo in California and I would like to know when the next one in March would be. I am headed down to Florida March 21st to the 26th for my parents’ anniversary, and I dont know how the process is done with choosing a date but if possible could you try to make it between those dates. Right now I feel like im in a different world asking this ridiculous quistion but I do not know how flexible Disney can be but if this causes any trouble at all please ignore me. I would appreciate it SO much. Or maybe luckily Disney was already planning between those dates. Thank you so much and im sorry if this is to crazy. Hope to see you all soon Bye!!!!!!!!

    • Aloha, James! I hope we had a chance to trade at the D23 Expo (what a great event!). Currently, we don’t have a date for Disney Trading Night for March in Florida. I’m working on getting one but it depends upon availability of space. Keep watching – – as I’ll post a date as soon as possible. Hope to see you in Florida (and please wish your parents an early Happy Anniversary from all of us!)

  • Thanks for the information. I went to Disney World last year and I am bringing my three kids for the first time ever this year. They are looking forward to it and the token that I got them last year of a lanyard and character pin, that was special to each of them, is already packed and ready for it’s trip back to Disney World this year. I will let them in on the hidden Mickey’s. 🙂

  • I have a lot of hidden mickey pins. I think that they are very cool.
    I keep them in a little pretty pouch.I love them.

    By Rebecca

  • Steven another great article and that is so cool about putting your wedding date as a pin! Can I ask why Maelstrom as the pin of choice? Well… I suppose “Test Track” wouldnt be an appropriate association for a marriage LOL!!

    For those who have never been able to Meet Steven he is simply the best person around Disney!!! As always Steven I am looking forward to what is new and upcoming. Thanks for all your hard work in making things that provide enjoyment for us.

  • This is so cool! I had NO idea. We have collected pins over the years, but really made no particular effort. I will be collecting with renewed vigor now!

  • Love the pins too! When we were at WDW last June, my 7 yr old daughter and I had fun collecting the footprint Hidden Mickey Pins. I even “chased” a cast member at our resort to get the last one in our collection on the last day of our trip! It’s fun to look over the pins and relive the memories of a GREAT vacation! Thanks for the great post!

  • I’m a Project Manager, too, but my job isn’t nearly as fun as yours! Love the pins (just started collecting last year…my lanyard is on display in my bedroom!), and the backstories.

    Did your wife mind that you used Maelstrom as the ride for the wedding anniversary? LOL

    • Why the Maelstrom? I proposed to my wife at Epcot in the France Pavilion. Unfortunately, “Impressions de France” doesn’t have FastPass. Prior to my current role, I was an Attraction Manager for World Showcase East Operations which included Norway Pavilion. So it all kind of fit, I guess 🙂

  • lol thanks so much, I love backstores on all this stuff. I also love classic disney stuff so now I totally want the horizons license plate.

  • This past August we took our 3 boys to DisneyWorld and of course they wanted to get some souvenirs. I wanted to stay away from the items they would grow out of (i.e. stuffed animals, figures, etc.). So we had a cast member come over and explain to our oldest 2 (ages 8 & 5) the details of pin collecting. They were hooked immediately. As soon as they purchased their lanyards and starter sets they were off. Throughout the rest of our stay they gained the confidence to walk up to the cast members and ask to look at their pins. It was great watching my oldest set out a plan as to what character and theme he wanted (Stitch and any Star Wars) and also try for complete sets of some of the “Hidden Mickey Pins” (the foot print set). As for the 5 yr old he was just drawn into the whole giving and receiving new pins. Aside from some special ones that he kept I don’t think there was a pin that lasted the day. We still pull out the pins and look over them and talk about them. The boys are already looking forward to our next trip down to work on expanding their collections. Hopefully we can get our youngest so to join in this time. The pin trading was a fabulous idea and it is something that my children can gro with, not out of.

  • Thanks for sharing. We were just in WDW at Christmas and started collecting the alphbet pins.

  • This is so cool. we just came back from 5 glorious days and my 3 kids (7,4, 3) had an absolute blast trading pins with CMs. Thanks for all your hard work!

  • Well, you share the same anniversary as me and my hubby! (And my grandparents were married on that day as well!)

    Now, I’m going to have to hunt down that pin…

  • Nice!

  • I love reading into hidden meanings behind things like pins – thank you for sharing that wonderful article!! I love trying to hunt down the hidden mickey pins and collecting the full set. I would love that kind of job – how do you go about getting a job like that? I wouldnt even know where or how to get started!!
    Thanks you!

    • My role is a lot of fun, but I also have an outstanding team! I must give credit to them as it is a team effort.

      As for my role, I started on the Walt Disney World College Program during Summer 1997 in Merchandise at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island. I have a degree in Political Science / Public Relations (so even I don’t know how I ended up in this role – ha!). Honestly, I feel lucky to have been in the right place at the right time for my current role as it is a very unique one.

      By the way, anyone interested in careers with Disney, should check out

  • Thanks so much for sharing the special meanings behind the pins! What a neat career you have! I also want to thank you for mentioning the “orange smell” in Horizons. I remember, as a child, trying to describe this ride that I couldn’t remember the name of that was at Epcot that smelled like orange slices and no one knew what I was talking about. As an adult, I always had a hunch that it must have been Horizons, but now I am positive. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome! So does anyone else remember the “rose” scent from the Journey Into Imagination pavilion? That is the other scent I remember from my childhood visits to EPCOT Center.

  • This is great! My nephew just started his pin collection a short while ago on a recent trip to Disneyland and the cast members were such a delight to inform us of these ‘hidden mickeys’ and my nephew was even able to obtain a few pins himself. I love that the tradition of hidden mickeys and other hidden meanings keep going, it makes things just much more entertaining!

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