Teaching Life Lessons Through Pins

Tips for Disney Pin Trading With a Toddler

Tips for Disney Pin Trading With a Toddler

Who knew we would be enabling a two year old to buy, collect and trade Disney pins. At over $6 a pin (all the way up to $13) we never thought we would be THOSE people. I mean really, why would you spend money on something like this. It’s just throwing it away… right?

I was with you until our son’s eyes lit up when he saw this on a poster next to the cash register…. the promotional Disney lanyard.

How They Suck You In

The promotional pin set is your gateway drug into the underground world of Disney pin trading. At just about any time you will find this promotion somewhere on property.

Disney Parks Pin Trading Lanyard Special Offer with Purchase

photo courtesy of Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

It will include a lanyard and 6-8 pin for around $18 with a minimum purchase. With the prices I mentioned above this is a STEAL! If you bought them separately you are looking at a saving of over $25.

So if you are interested in giving it a try or your child looks at you with those big innocent eyes this is the way to go.

The Rules of the Trade

Anyone can trade pins but trading with cast members is easy and very low pressure. You can walk up to any cast member with a lanyard and ask if they will trade pins.

Cast members must trade any pin on their lanyard no questions asked. You can trade up to two pins with the cast member. After that you must find a new cast member to trade with.

You can trade with guests wearing lanyard if they agree to it. But there are some ruthless traders out there that will take advantage of kids. So I definitely recommend only letting kids trade with cast members.

As our son was only 2 when he received his first Disney pins we did not know if he was ready. But we quickly learned that not only was he ready but it also taught him some valuable lessons.

Disney Pin Trading Sign

Learning to Wait Your Turn

Since cast members that are wearing lanyards are also working there are times your child will want to trade with them and they are busy with their real job.

There are also times when they are already trading with other guests.

Your child will be excited about the trade or want to make sure the other guests don’t get a better pin. Either way this is a good chance to explain to them they have to wait until the Cast Member has the time to trade with them.

Sometimes you know they will not be available for a long time and you will have to explain to your child now is not the time to bother them. Another great lesson about not getting everything you want when you want it.

Learning The Gift of Giving

Young kids are not going to understand the concept of trading pins. So this in an opportunity to work on the art of giving.

When a Cast Member trades with a child they typically bend down to the child’s level. Once a child picks a pin the Cast Member will take it off and give it to the child.

At this point ask your child what pin they would like to ‘give’ their new friend. At first they may say they don’t want to give one.

Here is your chance to explain that they gave you one and now you give then one. Let them pick out the one to give and let them hand it to the Cast Member.

Our son easily understood the concept of giving and loved picking out the pins to give away.

Now we did have some issues with this if he was tired and cranky or he didn’t have one he wanted to give the Cast Member. It was a good learning moment for him when he had to give the other pin back.

Disney Pin Trading

Learning to use Please and Thank You

You will be amazed at the number of people (mostly grown ups) that just walk up to the Cast Members and point at the pins they want. They then just hand them a pin and walk off. Nothing said at all. Amazingly rude!

Take this opportunity to teach your child to walk up to the Cast Member and ask to trade pins. Reminding them to use please and then use thank you when the Cast Member hands them the pin.

We would only allow our son to trade if he used please and thank you. The Cast Members appreciate it and you will always get a smile in return (and possibly a sticker or 10).

Even if our son was cranky and was not going to trade we made him say thank you to the Cast Member for their time. It was quite a lesson.

Disney Pin Trading

Tips for Parents of Little Traders

In addition to the lessons the kids learn there are a couple of things for the parents to. Here are my tips for making sure your child and you enjoy the experience.

Trade Occasionally

  • To a toddler if you did this every time you saw a Cast Member with pins it was overwhelming. Our son would lose interest if we did it too often. Once or twice a day for a 2 yo makes it special. As they get older you can trade more often.
  • Of course if your child is seriously into it – more power to you! We had an incident where we traded a Pin in Canada and when we got to England a Cast Member there recognized it and traded it back. Seems the two of them had a game going with that pin.

Don’t Get Attached to a Pin

  • Trading pins is for the child not the parent. Even though we may think one pin is better over another, let the child trade what they want. It’s fun to see what silly things they trade for.

Secure the lanyard and pins!

  • To secure the lanyard tie a knot in the back so it is toddler sized. This reduced the chance of drag and pins being pulled off.
  • Invest in pin backs. Carry extras around in case you lose yours. Also, the ones your purchase in the gift stores seem to fit a bit more snug.
  • A Cast member gave us a great tip. Make a new hole! If a pin back keeps slipping off push it into an area where there is not a hole. It will remain secure.

Save on Buying Pins

  • Buy pins in bulk on eBay. You can find pins in lots at about $0.50 per pin. Note that only pins that the official Disney Logo on back can be traded. There are fakes out there but at this price getting a couple of fakes is just fine.
  • Disney outlets are also a great resource. There are two in Orlando and there you can find pins for as low as $1.99.

On our first pin trading adventures we started with 8 pins in a starter set and came home with not one of the originals.

Since then we have seen his trading skills grow (along with the number of pins he owns). He has even taught his brother how to trade pins using all the lessons he has learned.

Disney Parks Pins and Lanyard a week after Trading

The First Lanyard

Watching our kids grow into polite pre-schoolers has been wonderful. They know the rules of pin trading and hopefully (fingers crossed) they will carry those skills with them as they begin school.

And it is so magical to see two polite children trading pis with great big smiles. (yes – it can happen)

Have your children been bitten by the Disney pin trading bug?

Mary Signature
Tips for Disney Pin Trading With a Toddler

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By |2017-10-12T12:43:41+00:00May 29th, 2015|

About the Author:

Full time working mom making the most out of time with my family through travel, crafts & photography. Owner/designer of Capturing Magical MemoriesĀ® and co-owner of the Magical Blogorail travel co-operative. In my free time it is all spas, wineries and concierge.


  1. Anonymous October 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    We started buying pins about 5 or 6 years ago. Every member of our family has a lanyard full of pins, and my two girls each have pin bags where they keep their extras. None of us have ever traded the first pin. We just buy what we love and keep them.

  2. lynnsc08 October 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    My boys love trading pins and already have theirs packed for this week's trip! I love all of your tips – my boys are 8 and (almost) 6 and it can still be a struggle and overwhelming at times. I'm so glad John (and mom and dad) loved it!

  3. Carlee C May 29, 2015 at 7:56 am - Reply

    As an adult, I just started pin trading. On my next trip with the family, I am going to invest in a lanyard for my toddler. I am looking forward to it.

  4. Rosey May 29, 2015 at 8:49 am - Reply

    I love this idea. I think it’s so fun for the kids. We’ll definitely be trying it out for the first time the next time we go to Disney. šŸ™‚

  5. Heidi May 29, 2015 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Pin-trading has been great for my kids over the years. It has brought some of them out of their shy-little selves. šŸ™‚ And the pin collections we have amassed as a result . . . priceless!

  6. Jeanette May 29, 2015 at 11:15 am - Reply

    What a great idea! I actually didn’t know this exists! We are hoping to get to Disney soon. I will make sure my kiddo has some pins to trade! LOVE the who.e concept!

  7. Chrysa May 29, 2015 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    This is so helpful!! I have heard of pin trading many times but seriously had no idea what it really was or how it works. Thanks for being so detailed!

  8. Melissa Pezza May 29, 2015 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    I should have done this with my kids! They’re ginormous Disney fans. Just like their mom! šŸ˜‰

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Mary Connor

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