To the people who are into theme parks- really more specifically Disney Parks, they know about Pin Trading. Even if they don’t partake in it, they know it exists and probably know someone who does.
For the uninitiated- Pin trading in the Disney parks is when someone buys and collects the pins sold by Disney. The person who buys them can go up to employees who have pins also, usually on a lanyard or a piece of cloth hanging on a belt or something and ask to trade. As far as I know, employees don’t say no or maybe they aren’t allowed to do so.
People can probably trade with each other, and there is an entire community for it. Even a quick search on Facebook brings up a ton of groups for it.
Okay, so what?
Well, to be completely blunt- pins are awesome. While I am totally aware that Universal Studios sells pins too, but I don’t think they have the same community around it.
As I said in another article, I really didn’t go to Disney until I was a teenager. By then I had at least somewhat a better idea of money than kids do.
And the clothes- hoodies, shirts, etc. at Disney are VERY expensive, like 50$ for a T-shirt. Whereas pins, there’s a range usually with the cheapest being around $6 and the most expensive being like $15. This is just the individual pins, they are also sold in sets and with lanyards, but I cannot for the life of me recall how much they usually are.
I would much rather get a few good pins than a hoodie most of the time. Why? Well there's a couple of reasons.
In my experience, these pins last longer. I still have pins from my very first trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios- actually it may have been Disney MGM studios at the time. I sure as heck don’t have any clothes from that time.
Super recently, I went to Disneyland Paris. While it was super different from what I was used to in the Orlando parks, they still sold pins. When I was there, I ended up having a super cool conversation with a French lady (presumably passed on accent and where I was). Yeah, it was probably less than five minutes, but it serves a good example of my point. The whole thing with pin trading is getting to meet new cool people you never would have before.
In sum- 1. Pins are cool because they are cheaper then clothes which don’t last. 2. You get to meet cool people you might not have met otherwise, plus the community in the parks and online.
The only bad thing I have to say about pins is that they are SUPER easy to lose, but that’s not just Disney pins- that’s any kind of pin. If you lose a hoodie, that’s because you probably put it down and didn’t pay enough attention to pick it up again. You lose a pin? Well, that could be karma or just bad luck.
If you’re ever at a Disney theme park and you see a short guy grab at the space lanyard on his neck, his fingers counting over the pins on it- that’s probably me making sure I didn’t just loose $10+ to bad luck.
The bottom line? Disney Pins are super cool, even if they are easy to lose.