So You Want to Collect Disney Pins?
By: Anthony Barnasconi
That was my original thought too. After seeing thousands of people in the parks with lanyards around their necks, I finally decided to take the plunge and start collecting Disney pins. I had read a little about them and thought they were pretty darn neat. I am here to tell you they are very neat, and very addicting. As most experienced pin collectors have probably figured out already, it is NOT a good idea to try to collect every Disney pin on the planet. Hidden Mickey’s, WDW pins, Resort pins, Monorail pins, Disneyland pins, DCL pins, Holiday Pins (for every one of the holidays we have ever observed and some we don’t), pins from all additional Disney Parks, Disney Store pins, Soda Fountain pins, not to mention the very elusive Imagineering pins. Not only will you go broke, but just the sheer volume of pins available (somewhere around 109,000 currently) is enough to make your head spin.
My advice to anyone considering starting a Disney pin collection is have a plan. Figure out what you like and don’t like, what you think are nice pins and ones that really don’t do anything for you. Make a list of your likes and know exactly what kind and how many of them you are looking for. If you really like hidden Mickey’s, make sure you know how many are in that series and if there is a completer or one of the pins is harder to find. I started out collecting Hidden Mickey’s sets only to find out that there had been eight years of Hidden Mickey’s, from both WDW and Disneyland, before I got into the hobby. Needless to say, it was very hard to know what I had, what I needed, and whether or not I had all the pins from a particular series or year. I have since focused my efforts on what I have now figured out that I really like in Disney Pins. My favorites are:
1. Holiday Pins – Mostly Christmas pins from across any of the Disney Parks & Resorts, but I have many others from Secretaries Day to National Teachers Day to New Years to the First Day of Spring.
2. Transportation Pins – My absolute favorite thing associated with Disney is the Monorail. I do have all the Hidden Mickey’s monorail pins as well as many others. I also like bus pins, boat pins, train pins, just about anything to do with transportation. My favorites, outside of the Monorail pins, are the complete set of Railroad Pocket Watch pins from WDW.
3. Resort Pins – I have at least one pin from every Disney Resort including Aulani in Hawaii. I also have opening day pins from several of the resorts including the Grand Floridian and All-Star Sports. Disney just released a new series for most of the WDW Resorts so now would be a great time to start if you are as interested in the Resorts as I am.
4. Cast Member Exclusive Pins – Yes I know I am not a cast member, but my sister is and therefore I have access to some very cool Cast Member only pins. My most recent one is from the 2014 Candlelight Processional at Epcot. My collection also includes opening day cast member pins, Park Anniversary pins and one very exclusive Mickey Mouse pin given only to working cast members the day Animal Kingdom opened, Limited Edition of 250.
In addition to these pins, I have three sets of pins in particular that I am always looking for. First and foremost being the 2007 summer “Making Dreams Come True” dangle pins from every resort. These are extremely limited and very coveted. If you run across one of these, acquire it no matter what. Second, The Dream Makers set and third, the jumbo Monorail pins.
So the big question is, how exactly do you get started. I first started collecting pins by buying them off Ebay. There are a lot of people who don’t subscribe to this method, however if you are careful and buy from a seller with reputable feedback, you should be fine. This is also a good way to start off your collection without needing Federal Reserve intervention. Compare pins and prices on eBay and get the best deal for the pin or pins you are looking for. Once you have some pins, start trading. I trade at the parks when I am there with cast members and guests and Scoop (can’t forget about good old Scoop), I trade with friends online, I trade with friends of friends. You can trade for something that looks nice even if you don’t collect it, knowing that you may be able to trade that pin for something you really want. I will trade or purchase a pin that I am not really interested in because I know or can find someone who is, and they have something I want to trade for.
I would also recommend saving up your money for park visits. Being in the parks allows you numerous opportunities to buy pins, any kind that you like and in multiple locations. My favorite location is the Pin Traders at Downtown Disney. They not only have all the usual pins, but most of the time stock a lot of special pins for whatever the occasion. If you are collecting the annual Resort Holiday Pins and one of the resorts is out, it is a good bet you can find it at this Pin Traders location. Downtown Disney Pin Traders is also typically one of the release locations for pins only available on a specific holiday. I go to this location every Christmas day to buy the annual Christmas Day Pin.
I am sure there are many many ways that people can recommend to get you started in this very addicting hobby. These are just my thoughts and examples of how I got started. Educate yourself before you start collecting. Come up with a plan for the pins you want to collect and last but not least, enjoy the hobby!
Anthony Barnasconi is the owner of Tony’s Magical Travel and is an independent affiliate of Ears of Experience, LLC., a Disney Earmarked company and authorized Disney Vacation Planners. If you are interested in our FREE concierge service for all Disney Destinations vacations including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani, Disney Cruise Lines and Adventures by Disney, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 1-844-5-MICKEY.
Until next time…Happy Pin Trading!!!
-Disney Pins Blog