On each visit to Walt Disney World, I make it a point to try new things. This time, Pin Trading was one of them. Before the trip I bought a random bag of Disney pins on eBay. Pins bought at the resort can cost $8 and up, but a lot of 25 or more pins on eBay cost a dollar or less a piece. When our lot arrived in the mail, it was a bit like Christmas as we sorted through them and decided which to keep and which to trade with Disney cast members.
Not all cast members participate in pin trading. You have to watch for those wearing a lanyard. If they’re not busy, you can ask them if you can trade with them. At Animal Kingdom and a few resort hotels, cast members had display boards with pins to trade.
It took the kids a little while to get the courage to ask a cast member if they could see their pins. Pretty much if the kids wore their lanyard and clutched it while approaching the cast member, the Disney person would help them with the conversation. I tried to get the kids to always trade for something, even if they didn’t really want anything on that lanyard. That’s good manners I learned from Girl Scout SWAPs. Unfortunately, my son found a way to say nicely that there wasn’t anything he liked, thanking them for sharing their lanyard with him.
Many of the pins on the cast lanyards were similar to what we got on eBay. It was disappointing, but we used the situation to get more pins in the monorail set we liked. With some sharp eyes, they did find treasures. My daughter found Sleeping Beauty’s shoe pin. My son was thrilled to find his favorite, Stitch, on a Jungle Cruise boat. The best part was when my children started to learn what characters their aunts & uncles liked and traded to get pins for them. One aunt was gifted with a Tigger pin, and another received a cute little Piglet. For his father, my son traded to get a Statler pin – one of the old guys from The Muppet Show.
The best places we found for trading were at the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. The kids found their best pins trading with a cast member inside the Emporium at the Magic Kingdom. Animal Kingdom was great because of the pin trading boards at a few shops. There were more to choose from and they were easier to view. The cast members at EPCOT’s World Showcase often had lanyards, but my daughter was too shy to ask the handsome shopkeeper in France to view his pins.
Between their findings and other pins given to them during the trip by their relatives, the kids needed a place to display their treasures. The local craft store had artist canvases on sale when we returned. I showed the kids how to glue starry fabric to cover the canvas. Once it dried, they happily organized their pin collections.
I recommend this activity for families visiting Walt Disney World. It’s a relatively inexpensive souvenir, and many memories are made as they interact with the cast members. We have a few pins left from the original pile that are now stashed away with the lanyards for our next trip. The kids are eager to know when that will be, so I can order another bag of fun.