Disney Pin Trading Secrets From a Cast Member

Pin trading is one of the most exciting things a cast member gets to do. It’s a great opportunity for them to interact with guests and enjoy the day.



Some of my favorite memories from my time as a cast member involve getting to be the person a guest did their first pin trade with. I’ve taken quite a few pictures with children and adults alike to document the start of what could be a lifelong hobby!

Follow these tips to get the best cast member trades:

On finding “good” pins on a cast member lanyard

Guest relations, custodial, and merchandise cast members wear pins.  On a lanyard, they are supposed to have 12 pins at all times.


Because merchandise cast members interact with guests at such a high volume, they rotate pins quite often giving guests a higher chance of finding something special. The definition of a good pin can vary from guest to guest however so make sure to check as many lanyards as you can.

Many guests trade on what looks good to them not on rarity or the desire to complete a set so don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’re seeing the same things over and over…there will always be someone that trades for the pins you might think will be on a lanyard forever!

On the argument over scrappers, counterfeits, and fakes.

Pins referred to as “scrappers” are pins that were flawed in some way that were supposed to be destroyed at the production facility but somehow escape and make it into circulation.

The molds for pins also make it out of the factories and are used to make counterfeit pins that look like the real Disney pins but technically aren’t.

Fake pins don’t look like any of the pins Disney has put into circulation but contain images of Disney characters or symbols making them appear to be real.

Many guests will purchase this sort of pin online through sites like EBay in bulk to save money, as they will just be trading them away for higher quality pins. Although a pin window does exist that allows cast members to trade out their pins, the options are often slim and more of the same.

Most cast members are not avid traders in their personal time and would not know how to identify these types of pins in order to realize that they need to be turned in.

Everyone needs to trade quality pins in order for quality pins to be available on cast member lanyards.

On finding the Hidden Mickey Pin Sets

Every year, Disney releases a new set of pins that are not for sale but are given to cast members to trade with guests. They can be identified by the tiny mickey head they have on their fronts.

When I began my College Program in the fall of 2015 at Walt Disney World, I was given a lanyard filled with pins from the new sets, which I have shown below.

Slide 1

When you’re visiting, keep an eye out for cast members with the “Earning my ears” ribbon on their name tags and check to see if they have any left!

On pin trading etiquette

As with any interaction, the nicer you are to a cast member the more likely they are to make some magic for you. When you want to pin trade with a cast member always ask to see their pins instead of staring from a distance, and don’t touch them.

If you see a pin you would like to trade for, you can either describe it or kindly point it out and ask to trade. Although cast members are required to trade with you, it is always a good idea to ask them.

You cannot trade more than two pins on a cast members lanyard or trade them a pin they already have so asking gives them the opportunity to politely explain if one of those cases applies.

If you don’t see anything you like, explain to them what you’re looking for. Cast members frequently look at each other’s lanyards and can often point you in the direction of someone who may have what you’re looking for.

While I am by no means an expert on pin trading, I have participated from both sides of the lanyard I guess you could say.  If you are new to trading, I would strongly suggest you check out There you will find a ton of good advice and catch all of the latest news from the world of Disney Pin Trading!

Are you a pin trader? Please share your best tips and tricks in the comments below!


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Sydney is a 21 year old Disney loving graduate of Louisiana State University, the founder of MouseTeens,and an alumnus of the Disney College Program, Fall 2015.

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