Wondering how to get started with Disney pin trading in 2024? Pin trading has gained cult status among Disney fans in the French and US parks over the last 20 years. But, if you’re yet to give it a go, it can be overwhelming.

Read on to discover where to buy pins, which pins to look out for and, more importantly, the best trading spots in Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris.

What is Disney Pin Trading?

disney pin trading

Disney pin trading was first launched in October 1999 with the Millenium Celebration and has since grown from an underground activity to a popular hobby for many park guests. 

There are thousands of pins in circulation and, while you’ll need to purchase some pins to begin with, trading with cast members is free. It’s even possible to trade common (or lower-level) pins with rarer offerings.

Pins are often given out at special events, too. So, if you’re serious about trading pins, it could be worth checking out the events at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris. Pin trading is far less popular in the Asian resorts, though you will likely be able to purchase rare, park-exclusive pins and trade them in America or Paris.

Types of Disney Pins

disney pin trading
Pinboards are featured in a number of locations in Disney parks worldwide. Disney.

Disney releases new pins weekly, so it can be difficult to keep up. However, there are certain types of pins to look out for when buying and trading. These are the following:

  • Hidden Mickeys: These pins are popular and are only given to Cast Members to trade with guests, which means you cannot buy these in the parks. These pins feature a tiny hidden Mickey somewhere inside the pin.
  • Series pins: These pins will all feature a similar style and many avid fans try to collect them all. Check the number on the back of the pin to find out how many are in its series.
  • Rack or Open Edition pins: These pins are common and will be in circulation for years in Disney parks and shops all over the world.
  • Limited Edition pins: LE pins are rarer and more valuable than Open Edition or Hidden Mickeys. These are much harder to find by trading as a limited number is in circulation.
  • Limited Release pins: These pins are only released for a certain period of time. For example, many pins are released during EPCOT festivals or seasons.

Even within these categories, there are more distinctions – jumbo, mini, limited edition, retro, etc.

Disney Pin Trading Rules

disney pin trading
Some Cast Members will wear hip packs with pins. Disney

There are a few rules that potential pin-traders will need to follow. The most important rule is that only official Disney Pins can be traded. This is down to Cast Member discretion but, as general guidance, the pin must contain a ©Disney mark on the back (ABC and ESPN pins are widely accepted, too.) Unauthorised or personalised pins will not be accepted in a Cast Member trade.

The pin must also be in good condition, with the backing attached. Plus, it goes without saying that the pin must be different from the one already on the Cast Member’s pin board or lanyard.

“Real” Disney pins are high-quality and smooth with clear images, while newer pins also feature a waffle texture on the back. If in doubt, purchase your pins from Disney directly to avoid ending up with counterfeits.

It’s worth noting that while Cast Members will not trade unofficial pins, they will almost certainly accept “scrappers” – these are pins bought from unofficial sources that are Disney-made but may have manufacturing errors. 

Guests can trade up to two pins per day with each Cast Member. Guests can also trade pins between themselves, but it’s important to be respectful if someone turns down a trade.

Pin Trading at Disneyland

Pin trading is very popular at Disneyland. There are plenty of places to trade in both parks and the resorts:

  • Disneyland Park: Westward Ho Trading Co, Fantasyland gift shops, and 20th Century Music Company Store.
  • Disney California Adventure: Captain America’s Shield (usually in Guardians of the Galaxy gift shop), Off the Page store, and the Elias and Co gift shop.
  • Downtown Disney and the resorts will also have pinboards, so make sure to check the official Disney stores and hotel gift shops. Disney’s Pin Traders near the Downtown Disney Monorail station is a great place to start. Make sure you ask a Cast Member if you cannot see a board.

Pin Trading at Walt Disney World

disney pin trading

After a pandemic-related hiatus, pin trading returned to Walt Disney World in April 2024. Until then, pin trading was only available at certain spots around the park where pin boards were set up. 

Guests who want to trade pins are encouraged to approach Cast Members wearing lanyards or hip packs of pins. Alternatively, pinboards are often set up in the following locations:

  • Magic Kingdom: Guest Relations, Main Street Emporium, The Town Square Exposition Hall, Tomorrowland Pin Cart, and Memento Mori.
  • EPCOT: Mission Space gift shop, Test Track gift shop, KidCot locations.
  • Animal Kingdom: Discovery Trading Post, Africa Pin Station, and Garden Gate Gifts.
  • Hollywood Studios: Sid Cahuenga's One-of-a-Kind, Great Movie Finds, Tattooine Traders, and Tower of Terror gift shop.
  • Most resorts also have pin trading boards in their gift shops. If you can’t see a board, ask a Cast Member!

Pin Trading at Disneyland Paris

Pin trading is not as popular in Disneyland Paris as it is in Walt Disney World and Disneyland, though you will often spot Cast Members on Main Street wearing pin-adorned lanyards. 

The official trading spot is near Pueblo’s Trading Post in Frontierland, though the pin board only appears at weekends currently. If you’re in doubt, ask a nearby Cast Member if they know where you can trade pins.

Disneyland Paris also hosts regular pin trading events, which is the best place to find and trade rare pins.

Disney Pin Trading: Where to Start

disney pin trading

If you’re not sure how to start, we recommend you purchase a starter pack of pins from one of the merchandise locations around the parks and resorts or the online store.

From here, head to one of the places we’ve mentioned in this article and get chatting with a Cast Member – they’ll be able to help you go about your first pin trade. Happy trading!