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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guest Post: An Introduction to Pin Trading at Disneyland Resort

The following is a guest post from my dear friend Rod Fleck.  He and his family recently completed a trip to Disneyland Resort and the following is what they learned about pin trading.  I truely appreciate his contribution to this blog.  By the way, the picture is one of my pins, and "No" it's not available for trade.

This is not the ultimate Disney pin trading post. Rather, it’s some of the things we learned when we were at Disneyland and California Adventure earlier this year.

First, is the lead site for pin trading and traders. You name it and you can find it there. We didn’t know for example that at the Holiday Boulevard Disney Soda Fountain, you could have traded pins with those employees. If so, we may have started our pin trading a bit earlier.

Second, this is not something you have to do. Not something you need to do. It is something that can be a lot of fun to do, or in my case a bit of an obsession between rides, lines, and while walking about the park.

We started with a “starter set” we found at the Small World gift kiosk. The lanyard and two “Disneyland” pins were $15. We also saw that they had a great set of nine or ten Disney characters as babies n a packet set for $30. Now there were other starter sets with eight pins for $45. We were about three or four pins ahead with what we did. This may sound like a lot, but as you trade the pins “up” with Disney Cast members, you would be amazed at the collection you create and figure that each larger pin has a retail price of between $7 and $10 – you can see the value.

The rules are pretty simple: 1. Find a cast member with a lanyard or waste pouch with pins on it. 2. We found it was best to ask if we could look at their pins for a trade. 3. If you find a pin you would like, ask to trade one of your pins for the one you like. 4. You can make two trades with a cast member per day. 5. Pins you trade have to be the metal Disney pins. 6. Be sure to thank the cast member

Now a few things to note. First, if the cast member is wearing a teal lanyard, they will only trade with kids. This is a great way for the kids to find an awesome pin. We found these folks in and about Main Street usually. Also, there would usually be one or two teal lanyards on some of the cast members helping with the Character meet and greets. Second, look for the “management” cast members – we found them wearing the dark pants, longer coats, etc. They seemed to have some really unusual pins and I suspected it was due to the fact that they really aren’t out and about trading their pins. I got a great USA Olympics 2004 pin from one such manager -- sure it is one that allegedly retailed for $7, but to me I have a passion for the Olympics. The image is great and it was fun to get from the lead Security Manager trying to keep an eye on his staff and the crowds during the parade. Third, also realize that the folks making the park look so nice and clean usually have a pin lanyard or more likely the pin waist pouch. They really enjoyed making a trade. Also, we made sure to thank these folks for their continual effort to keep the park beautiful.

My kids and I felt a bit awkward trading our smaller pins right away for larger pins. So, we tended to trade up and make numerous trades. That was the fun of this in my eyes. We might have traded a Disney baby for a smaller character pin. Then saw another pin a bit larger that we traded the character pin for, etc. I think I made about four trades of pins before settling on the Olympic Mickey that I mentioned. Remember that with the cast members it is a pin for pin trade. Apparently, pin traders do meet ups within the different resorts and make trades that may be very, very different. We didn’t get into that! ;-) One of the kids got a great Cheetah Girls pin, but later found a much more “in fashion” Jonas Brothers pin that she traded up the Cheetah Girls for. She was happy and I suspect the next person to trade with that cast member may have walked away with a great Cheetah Girls pin to take home.

You can also buy pins that you really like. We did that for a few of the rides for each of us, or for things like the Jedi Academy when our little ones got chosen for that. Also, there are “mystery pin” box sets you can purchase that contain two pins for $12. My son wanted a Mickey as a Jedi knight. He saw though the mystery Star Wars box and bought it – not only did he get a Jedi Mickey, we got a second pin that was Donald as Darth Maul – which we gave to his sister who had “defeated” Darth Maul earlier that day in the Jedi Academy. That was a pretty cool turn of events. Neither be rare in number, but both have a great story and memory (or two) attached to them. Therein lies the lure and enjoyment of this type of thing.

Pin trading can be a great way to entertain yourself within the crowds and a way to create your own very special souvenir. You need only invest as much time and money as you feel you want. is the official Disney site for pins and pin trading. It also shows the new pins that are available and the ones coming out for special events…Boy that Armed Forces Chip and Dale pin sure looks pretty nice. Hmhm…now where to find that one?? ;-) Maybe that one will have to be one Dad orders…. This has to be the ULTIMATE Disney pin site. Wow…this site is truly amazing. If you are an aspiring pin trader, or someone who gotten bitten by the trading bug really hard – this is the site for you.

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