Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pin The Tail On The Mouse

I admit I never understood the popularity of pin trading. Now, pin collecting? Sure. I thought it was a cool idea to purchase an individual pin here and there to commemorate an important day or event as a take-home souvenir. But pin trading? I thought that not only would it be extremely expensive (the least expensive pin you can buy is about $7.00 and it can go up infinitely), but who wants to spend all their time in the parks trading pins when so much else is going on and there's so much to do?

Well, I was misguided on both counts. Not only can pin collecting/trading be relatively inexpensive, but it can be a great way to enhance your trips to The Mouse.

And yes, you read that correctly: it can be relatively inexpensive. For example, I've used Ebay to great effect in purchasing pins. There are many Ebay sellers out there with "Lots" of copyrighted Disney trading pins that can be had from $1.00 - $1.50 per pin. You can buy them in groups of 10, 15, 20 or more. This can set up your trading for months at a fraction of the cost of what you'd get them for at any Disney World pin trading station. Just divvy them out amongst your family and it gives the kids something to focus on during the trip.

Personally, I collect pins that have to do with two subjects in particular: classic Mickey Mouse and the Walt Disney World theme parks themselves. My wife Hope focuses on castles (mostly Cinderella castle, of course, but she just loves all of the castles), our daughter Katie focuses on the "coolest" pins she can find, especially limited editions, and our son Chance focuses and Vinylmation pins. So we all have something to target our trading and collecting efforts toward. It gives the hobby a purpose!

By the way, both Hope I used a portion of our Disney Birthday Fun Cards to purchase a beautiful Mickey Mouse shadow box that houses our collections - for the pins that are "untradable" (see pic to the left). The rest of the pins go on the laynard and are fair game to trade away... ultimately, for pins that will go in the shadow box!

Now, saving money is nice - and these days imperative for just about everyone. But it was to my very pleasant surprise that collecting/trading pins can also very much make your Disney trip all that much more fun and enjoyable. It's a little frosting on the cake, and like with most hobbies, it's almost addictive. It can allow you to interact with one of the most underrated aspects of Walt Disney World: the Cast Members. A great many of them are personable and friendly and love to talk with the guests...many give tips, suggestions and shortcuts, and on a rare occasion some have even given the kids a free pin! And it can be fascinating talking to someone who is from halfway around the world, working at The Mouse. Don't underestimate the value in the personal connections you can create with Cast Members.

So finally, to sum up, along the way we've learned some things that might help you if you decide to get into Disney pin trading or collecting:

1. Buy bulk pins from Ebay for about $1.50 per pin. Make sure the seller indicates they have the official Disney Pin Trading logo on the back.

2. Decide on a subject to collect and focus on that (Mickey Mouse, Animal Kingdom, Stitch, etc.). Encourage your kids to do this as well to give them some direction.

3. Enjoy your interaction with the Cast Members. Half the fun of trading around the parks is getting to know some of these extraordinary people from all over the world.

4. Most resorts have a pin book at guest services, check-in or concierge. These books are several pages long and are filled with pins. The books are not well publicized or well known and could be filled with hidden treasures.

5. Guest Services at each park also have a pin book. This isn't well publicized either.

6. Look for a pin board (a cork board loaded with pins for trading) at Mouse Gears in Epcot, the gift store at the Boardwalk Resort, and the Pin Trading Station at Downtown Disney. I'm sure other places have these as well. Ask around.

7. Tom Corless and John Rick of the WDW News Today network host a very entertaining and educational podcast dedicated to Disney pin collecting/trading called the Disney Pincast. Look it up on iTunes. Highly recommended if you're into pins or will be getting into them in the future.

8. Check out as a tremendous reference for Disney pins. They have photos and information for almost every Disney-related pin ever made. And it is ever growing.

9. Cast Members with green lanyards can only trade with kids. Black lanyards are open to trade with anyone.

10. Personally, I have found Animal Kingdom to be the best park to trade with Cast Members. I've found the most unique pins I've ever traded for at that park. Coincidence? Hmmm...

1 comment:

  1. This sounds just like my experience with pin trading. I had never actually been into it. One day my husband found a huge box of navy pins in his Uncle's attic. He was instantly hooked. So he collects those and I enjoy looking at the Disney Pins. Thanks so much for this great post.