Disney Pin Trading. We get a lot of questions about it in the SavEars, chief among them “Isn’t it just for kids?”
No friends, it’s not just for kids, and let me tell you why.
We love pin trading. I actually first started it on my Disneyland trip years ago. I bought twenty five pins and turned to my husband. “Do you want some too?”
“No, I don’t want to do that,” he sneered.
Whatever. I’m a strong, independent woman, I’m gonna do it on my own.
We headed to California, had a delightful trip and I set off to trade on our Disneyland day. It was delightful to see a cool pin on a cast member lanyard and be able to trade for it! Pretty soon, my husband was stopping our progress through the park. “I want to see what they have.” He’d peruse the lanyard, and it wasn’t long until he gave up any pretense of helping ME trade, and would hold out his hand and ask for a pin.
Y’all, I had to give this man half my pins. The same man who didn’t want to trade.
So why is it so fun?
The Thrill of the Hunt
What hooked my husband was the thrill of completing sets. Some are obvious, like the different colored pennants. Some are a little more difficult and you have to look into style and themes. Maybe you love Tigger and set out to grab all of those, or you want one of every single villain. It’s like a multi-trip, resort wide scavenger hunt that you make the rules to and it can be a lot of fun!
Disney has cast members from all over the world! What are the odds you’ll find one from your home town, or the next town over? Well, if you don’t talk to them, your odds are pretty low. Can you believe that pin trading has opened up all kinds of interesting conversations for us? We’ve found people from our hometowns (or close enough to count). We’ve chatted about favorite tv shows, we’ve gotten insider tips because of fun conversations- and oh my gosh; After stopping to trade pins with a CM once, I bought up how much my daughter loves Muppet Babies and the muppets. Would you believe minutes later Kermit himself called and told her that my daughter (being such a big fan) should pick out a special gift. As always, don’t expect magic moments. Many of the cast members have interesting stories to tell or insights to share if you take a moment to talk with them- and pin trading offers such a great opportunity to stop and see the people who work so hard to make your trip magical!
An Active Rest
Disney gets hot y’all. Whether you are in California or Florida, those temperatures can suck the joy right out of your day! Pin trading gives us an opportunity to actively rest. We pop into a store, hunt down cast members to trade with and soak up that sweet, sweet air conditioning. Because we’re trading, it feels like a more “productive” rest. I typically don’t want to just sit and stare at a wall for a few minutes, and browsing in stores can be dangerous with a small child who can be overwhelmed by the “I wants”. If she knows we’re just popping in to trade pins, she doesn’t even bother to look at all the goodies there to tempt her. I feel like we’re still doing things, and we all get a little less heat-grumpy.
Bored at Disney? SURELY NOT! Oh my friend, yes. Kids get bored everywhere. Shoot, even adults get bored sometimes, there is a lot of waiting at Disney, after all- or a lot of going from one place to another- and if one of those common Florida downpours rains on your parade, they get bored waiting for the rain to stop. Pin trading keeps them (and us) looking- what does that CM have? Was that a Star Wars pin? My daughter, even at two years old was actively hunting pins from her strollers you guys. May I never eat another Mickey Bar if I’m exaggerating. She never gets bored because there is always something for her to do. It’s low pressure because the joy in pin hunting for her is talking to the cast members and getting something new. She cares less about the thrill of the hunt, she cares about doing the thing.
Not only do the pins help stave off the cries of “I want”, pins make great souvenirs! A cast member on Miss Bongo’s 2 year old trip gave her a pin after seeing her trade one of ours. She traded it to the next cast member she saw, and I promptly pocketed it. I have a shadow box that features the very first pin Miss Bongo ever traded for. My heart you guys. I love looking at it. Tim & I have a banner hanging in our bedroom of special pins- MVMCP, MNSSHP, Sleigh Rides- plus a few beautiful family ones that we just fell in love with. While some pins can be a little pricey, even a tee at Disney can run you $35, so they are a pretty reasonable souvenir, even buying retail. Plus, if you bring pins from home to trade you go home with a new set- and when you’re tired of those, take them on your next trip and trade them again! It’s the souvenir that keeps on giving.
I hope you’ll consider trading pins sometimes! It can be such great fun and opportunities for little bits of magic, from great conversations to special memories.