Disney Pin Trading Rules

Disney coin category

Disney official Pin Trading Rules, anyone?  Who knew there was rules to Disney Pin Trading ?
With my daughter Samantha and myself visiting , Walt Disney theme park in Orlando, Florida back around 2001, we did not have any notion of official trading pin rules.
Our in laws, who worked in the park, explained our first Disney pin trade.Obviously they had to be Disney pins, you walked up to a cast member with a lanyard full of Disney pins and picked one to trade.
Boy did we have a lot to learn.

Disney pin trading is the buying and trading of Disney collectable pins. They average base pin is approximately $7.00 where limited edition pins like dangles,pin on pin,flocking,lenticular,light up,moving element,3D element and others cost up to $15.00.Featured Artist and Jumbo pins cost between $20-$30 and the Super Jumbo pins cost up to and sometimes more of $75.Pins are frequently released at special events, movie premiers, pin trading events or to commemorate the opening day of a new attraction. Some pins have appreciated well and have reached prices of over US$500 at venues such as eBay. Most Disney pins are enamel or enamel cloisonné with a metal base. The backs of each pin are very sharp and should be used with care by young collectors

Gold signature Mickey pinPins have always been present at Disney parks, but it was not until 1999 as part of the “Millennium Celebration” that Disney Pin Trading at the Walt Disney World Resort was introduced. The next year, the craze spread to the Disneyland Resort, which has become the home of most Pin Trading events. Since then, Pin Trading has spread to Disneyland Resort Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Disney Cruise Lines with each location creating their own pins and traditions. Although the trading of pins has been suspended in Tokyo Disney Resort, pins are still offered as prizes at carnival games, and a relatively small amount of pins are available.

Disneyland has implemented a new set of rules to govern the pin trading program. There has been a great deal of debate about this, and a great deal of confusion. Here are the details about the new policies, and some background on why this change was made.

Pins are very popular souvenirs because they are relatively inexpensive, small, and can be worn or displayed in a number of ways. The park established areas where guests could meet, show off their collections and trade with other guests. Merchandise Cast Members were issued lanyards of pins to use in trading with guests. Some cast members were designated as “Super-Traders”, and can be identified by the pin-covered vests they wear.

When Pin Trading first began, the park established a policy regarding “tradable” pins. They asked that pins offered to cast members for trade be a cloisonne pin, licensed by Disney or a Disney “operating participant” (Like McDonalds), and that it contain a Disney character, place, event or icon. Pins were to be traded one for one. Pins sold as sets were supposed to be traded as sets. In short, the park expected that guests would be trading Disneyland pins for other Disneyland pins.

As with any system, some people decided that the rules were meant to be bent, if not broken. Visitors started making questionable trades with cast members. They would break up multi-pin sets, trading the pins one at a time for other pins. Then the cheap pins started showing up. These pins are usually from Spain or Germany, and can be purchased for as little as 79c from various importers. Cast members, new to the program and unsure of the rules, would accept these trades as a matter of “guest service”. When they turned in their lanyards at night, the lower quality pins would be replaced with Disneyland pins, and the whole process would start over again the next day.

As trading spread to the other Disney parks, the problem got even worse. The Disney Stores in Japan sell sets of 5 or more small pins for as little as $7.00. Pin traders, visiting Tokyo for the start of their pin trading program, stocked up on those pin sets to use as traders back home. Tourists from Japan would bring them with them when they visited Disneyland as well. Of course, the Disneyland Resort cast members had no idea that these pins were supposed to be traded as sets, and traded them as single pins. It was not unusual to find an entire set of the TDS pins on a single cast member lanyard, in place of 5 or 6 other pins.

Of course, after several months of this, the cast members lanyards were just filled with junk. It was rare to find a “good” pin on a lanyard, and they did not last long. Cast members would complain about guests who walked around the park with a pocket of junk pins, stripping the lanyards of good pins. For the remainder of the day, others guests who approached those cast members looking to trade with them would look at their lanyards and walk away. Many cast members stopped wearing lanyards at all. How would you feel if you were told 100 times a day that you didn’t have “anything good” to trade?

During the Preview Events for DCA, the CM lanyards were filled with great Disneyland pins. Some of them were retired pins from the Attraction Collection that was released during the summer of 1998, prior to the start of Pin Trading. Once the park was opened to the public, these pins were soon traded away.

Of course, all of this was hurting pin sales at Disneyland. When guests are using cheap pins to trade with CMs, they are obviously not buying as many Disneyland pins. When CMs do not have anything worth trading for, other guests won’t be buying pins to trade with. CMs were not excited about the program and guests were not excited about the program. Obviously, something had to be done to salvage Pin Trading.

Fairy godmother CinderellaA decision was made to re-introduce the original pin trading guidelines. Cast members had to explain the new rules to guests, and try to dispel the rumors that have cropped up. (No, you do not have to trade only Disneyland pins. Yes, you can still trade the Mini Map Pins) Here is a condensed version of the guidelines: