Pin Trading at Disneyland

by Dawn Mortensen, Director of Marketing for Online Collectibles Community Micurio.com

Last week my kids experienced their first trip to Disneyland. In-between getting the kids’ pics with their favorite characters, I looked around for what was going on in the world of Disneyland collecting. The most obvious collecting fad in the Disneyland Resort today is Pin Trading. It’s not that pins or pin trading are a new thing, but the promotion of this hobby by Disney merchandising and the wearing of a lanyard are new to my last Disneyland experience 13 years ago.

Disneyland vendors sell Pin Trading “Starter Packs” that contain a lanyard with 4 or 5 of the same pin, with the idea that you’ll have extras of that pin to trade for new ones. I wonder whether this works…what if too many people buy the same Starter Pack and already have the pin that you want to trade?

I saw a lot of people wearing lanyards covered with pins, and some with wristbands or buttons that specifically called out that they were a “Pin Trader.” I hear that there are special Disney Pin Trader events and meet-ups. I even got my own lanyard and collectible Tinkerbell pin as part of the vacation package I purchased from AAA Vacations. But I have to admit that I didn’t actually get any offers to trade for my pin or see anyone around me trading pins. It left me wondering whether much trading really goes on, or if it’s just Disney’s hook to get people buying more pins.

Either way, as marketing gal for Micurio, I love anything that promotes collecting. Most of the Disneyland and California Adventure shops have a wide variety of pins showing every favorite character from Disney’s classic Mickey, Goofy and Donald, to Pixar characters like Woody, Sully and Boo. Seeing that I could even get a pin of the giant mushroom from the Electrical Parade (but I restrained myself), I realized there were pins for every Disney interest.

Averaging about $8, Disney pins are are a relatively affordable souvenir. But if you’re one of the fans that has a lanyard full of them, you’ve spent quite a bundle. I saw both kid and adult pin traders at Disneyland, but after my experience of how often my six year old almost lost her AAA Tinkerbell pin when the special Mickey-shaped plastic backing fell off, I’m less likely to bankroll the hobby for anyone in my family. The fact that you can buy an extra little bag full of Mickey-shaped backings at Disney vendor stands in the park should be a clue that hanging your collectible pins from a lanyard is not the safest way to protect them–especially if you’re going on rides.

It’s easy to find online resources for those who really want to get into Disney Pin Trading, including an article by About.com’s Collectibles Guide Barbara Crews and of course the official Disney Pin Trading web site where you can also buy pins online (but what’s the fun of that?!). Catch a couple other blogs on Disney Pin Trading at http://disney.families.com/blog/disney-pin-trading, http://brokehoedown.wordpress.com/category/disney-pin-trading/ or http://33disneyrox33.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/collectable-pins/.

You can share your own Disney pins or any type of collectible at Micurio.com, the free online community for sharing all your collections. See other Disney collections on Micurio or visit one of my own personal collections: mini buttons (more akin to my budget at $0-$2 each).

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1 Comment »

  1. Usagi said

    What started as getting a pin every time I went to visit turned into me carrying a lanyard with pins.

    I have a Nightmare Before Christmas lanyard, a Alice in Wonderland lanyard, and a random one.

    I don’t have issues with the backings. Mine have been good to me. My only problem is after a while, it does feel heavy around your neck.

    I haven’t traded with guests, just cast members. What I do is, if I see something they have and I must have it, I’ll buy the cheapest pin I can find and then trade with them. Otherwise I just buy to go on my lanyards. I don’t do meet up or events.

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