Pin Trading Outside the Parks

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Vice President, Consumer Products

As most of you know, pin trading is one of the most popular interactive activities between guests and cast members. Steven Miller, a frequent contributor on the Blog, often writes about new and soon-to-be-released pins as well as the ever popular Hidden Mickey Collection, but did you know that you don’t actually have to go into the parks to pin trade?

Janet Knox, general manager of merchandise operations for Disney’s California Adventure park, Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels, gave us some tips on pin trading outside the parks.

Can you tell us about some places to pin trade outside the parks?

Janet: We have quite a few places throughout the Resort hotels and Downtown Disney where you can find guests trading. Our cast members at the front desk and Guest Services area of the hotels often wear lanyards, and you can find others at the Resort hotel stores, like the Fantasia Shop, Mickey’s in Paradise and Acorns Gifts and Goods. If you are visiting Downtown Disney, then World of Disney and Disney’s Pin Trader are definitely stops you’ll want to make. One of the main places, though, is at our monthly Pin Trading Nights at the hotels. Dates and times vary each month so check out the entire list of upcoming Pin Trading Nights on

Tip: The next Pin Trading Night will take place Friday, March 26 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. It’s free to any guest.

Can you give some tips to our novice pin traders on how they can get started?

Janet: As you may or may not know, we are actually celebrating the 10th anniversary of Disney Pin Trading this year, I still can’t believe it’s been that long. The easiest way to get started is to find a cast member. Look at their lanyard and find that special pin that really means something to you. I found that many guests will typically choose a pin based on a favorite character, attraction or icon. Next, take a pin that you have (whether on a lanyard or off), and ask if they’d like to trade. And just like that, you’ve made your first trade.

Tip: Kids 3-12 are the only ones allowed to trade off of teal lanyards worn by cast members.

Disney 'Divas' Pins

Do you have a favorite pin or pin series?

Janet: I love our Disney Villains, in particular the “Divas.” So I would have to say that the jeweled Villains pins are probably my absolute favorite. What girl, “good or bad” doesn’t love a little sparkle. Another fun collection of pins is the “Bad News” series, which were released each month last year. The pins were so comical, and the mock magazine “Bad News” pins would bring you the latest and greatest news reports from the many worlds of our infamous Disney villains.

If you’ve never tried pin trading before, it’s a great way to interact with cast members and other guests. With thousands of unique Disney pins that have been created over the years, you should be able to find favorite pins to create your very own Disney Pin Collection.

Do you have story about pin trading outside the parks that you would like to share?


  • We are heading there on Tuesday.. I’m buying trading pin ASAP!! I’m excited to do this.. So sad I didn’t know about until now.. I spent my entire childhood loving Disneyland and have only lived 2 hours from it…

  • To Sharon from North Yorkshire. My Family and I will be there also through the 9th of May. I really Hope we run into each other and can trade pins and pin stories.
    What a Wonderful way to meet people and learn about them.
    Hope we run into each-other, Have an AWESOME TRIP!

  • We are back at WDW in May the first 2 weeks, my son and I love trading pins and they now do it in the UK so we dont feel like we miss out. We would love to go to a trading night but everytime we go to WDW we always seem to miss one. With us being in the UK we cant just drop everything (wish we could lol) If anyone has any pull we are there first 2 weeks in May ha ha ha PLEASE XXXXXXXXX

  • It is very very fun! My kids (and I) each started with a couple of pins less than a year ago and now have filled up almost two albums. One of my sons trades for Stitch and my daughters loves Tinkerbell. Hidden Mickey Collection is also a huge one for us!! Trade City is coming up soon and we can’t wait!

  • Pin trading sounds like fun but I have over 100 pins and I just can’t bring myself to part with any of them. Each one holds a special memory in regards to a celebration or moment in life. I get in trouble every trip I make to Disneyland because I come home with more pins.

  • We weren’t into pin trading when we last went to Disneyland, but we received 3 special 50th Anniversary lanyards complete with special pins as part of the Year of a Million Dreams! I have since added to my collection and my favorite pin came from the tour I did. Some pins are NOT for trading!

  • Hmmm…pin trading began ten years ago? Wow, that is interesting because the last time I went to DisneyWorld was ten years ago and I picked up an entire collection of pins. Could I have a first class pin collection and not even know it?!

  • as a pin trading fan from The Netherlands I have had many
    fun moments by going to the different parks in the world
    for me these are: Disneyland & California adventure
    Disneyworld orlando and Disneyland Paris.
    I collect park attractions,Down Town Disney shops & hotels pins.
    also FIGMENT is a favorite.
    meeting Dutch and International fans around the world
    gives me a feeling to be a member of the Disney family.
    my own family doesn’t understand my love for Disney,the parks and the pins and that HURTS!!!

    I hope I will be a visitor from the parks for many years.

  • I’ve been involved in pin trading since it started 10 years ago. I used to go to DLand 1-2 times a week, and was even one of the hundreds of dedicated fans who spent the night outside the Disneyland gates for the artist pin of the month series (LE 500) when the last pin was Tinkerbell in December. We were freezing, but it was an experience I will never forget. People were trading pins, we had pizza delivered, and CM’s were there selling hot chocolate and coffee throughout the night.

    Fast forward 10 years and I still collect pins, just from all the parks now. I moved to Asia, but still maintain my CA annual pass. Really holding out hope for a worldwide annual pass! I’ve visited every DLand in the world, 4 in the last year alone. Although Tokyo Disney no longer participates in the pin trading itself, they sell a number of awesome pins, all of which I bought in December with the intention of bringing some back to trade with.

    The early days of pin trading were huge – we would all meet every Sunday on Main Street and I met a number of great friends – several of whom I still keep in touch with years later.

    I am slowing moving out of the trading and just into the collecting. I’ve taken some pins and had custom framed to match the varying Disney themed rooms in the house and especially plan to do that with those I’ve acquired through trading or purchase here in Asia. It’s a great way to relive the journey of obtaining the pins and be reminded of the amazing trips I’ve had to each of the Disney parks around the world.

  • The two Disney stores at the Orlando International Airport (Disney’s Earport and The Magic of Disney) are both staffed by Disney Cast Members, and so are wearing Pin Trading lanyards. Pin trading in the airport has always been both the first and last part of my Walt Disney World vacations.

    Also, I visited my sister in NYC last summer, and found that the World of Disney store there has Pin Trading Cast Members as well. Alas, I didn’t know that before I made the trip, and so had no pins on me to trade.

  • I try to make it to Disneyland at least once a year (so far so good! Going on 3 years come June! 😀 ) and it was last year I discovered this addicting collection. I cannot wait to go back and get more!

  • We’re going to Disneyland for our second time in May and we’re all going to get started on pin collecting since we plan on going as often as we can get there. Our oldest daughter will be 4.5 years old, does that mean she can’t trade with the cast members with teal lanyards? We were really looking forward to her having a chance to do a special “kid only” thing.

    • Thanks for asking, Pam. Yes, your daughter can participate. Kids ages 3-12 get the extra trading treat. We originally reported the age as 5-12, but this has been corrected. For the special kids-only trading experience, look for teal lanyards at Disneyland Resort and green lanyards at Walt Disney World Resort.

  • I love pin trading! Last December, in and around WDW, I traded for the complete “East Coast” set of Tenth Anniversary Pin Trading pins. And, in February, I traded for the complete “West Coast” set while at Disneyland! Can’t wait to see what the next pins I’ll be trading for will be!

  • im an annual passholder and i know there are pins that are exclusive to passholders. how could i go about acquiring them??

    • Pins from our Annual Passholder collections are released throughout the year. There are times when additional pins are created for Annual Passholders in commemoration of special events, attraction openings, etc. The best way to find out more about new and upcoming pins, including Annual Passholder exclusives, is to visit

  • Novice looking for advice. What is the best way to start?

    • One of the best ways to start is to visit one of our Pin Trading merchandise locations and purchase a lanyard starter set. The lanyard starter set typically consists of a lanyard and 4 tradable pins. Next, look for a Cast Member wearing a lanyard and ask to make a trade. It’s that easy.

  • Just started pin collection and thought it was the best idea ever. Alyhough I only have a few, I look forward to collecting some more.

  • We LOVE to trade pins and had the opportunity to visit Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Sea where they do not have pin trading. We decided that trading pins puts just a little more of that Disney Magic into the trip! We especially love the hidden Mickey or cast pin collections!

  • Thanks for the info. Heading down there in May and I love to collect Disney Pins. My pin of choice… anything with Tigger. TTFN

  • My family and are avid Pin traders, but not just for the Pins. We trade more for the amazing stories we get from the conversations that pins start. We have learned so many “Disney secrets” and met so many wonderful people (both cast and guest). I still have 1 Pixy Dust pin to earn and I will never trade for it. ! Thanks for some Wonderful Disneyland and Disney World Memories!

  • Started my boys pin trading two years ago on a visit during spring break and they are hooked. Now we’re getting their cousins started who are going to Disneyland for their first time during spring break!

  • We Love pin trading and do it in WDW every time we are there! It is a great way to have fun on your trip with out spending a ton of money!

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