Pins have been available in all Disney parks around the world for many years. These souvenirs are surely collected by many visitors and fans of the theme parks since then, and maybe a pin was sometimes exchanged with another pin collector, but pin trading was only officially established in 1999 as part of the Millennium Celebration at Walt Disney World. From there, pin trading gradually spread to all Disney resorts including the cruise ships. Since then, all Disney resorts have had their own pins that are only sold on site.
How does pin trading work?
To exchange pins with other guests or a cast member, you of course need at least one pin yourself. You can buy it in one of the resort's numerous shops and boutiques.
If you want to identify yourself as a pin trader, then also buy a lanyard and attach all the pins that you are willing to exchange. If you have some that you would rather keep, it is better to keep them somewhere else.
As soon as you have made these preparations, you can start! Check out Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Studios, hotels and Disney Village for guests and cast members who wear a pin lanyard and ask them if they want to trade with you.
A note: Park visitors are of course not obliged to exchange and can definitely reject your request, but Cast Members are always ready to trade. Interesting conversations are often part of the trade, so that swapping the pin is worthwhile in many ways.
Some rules that you should keep in mind when pin trading can be found further down on this page.
Of course, you can also simply buy pins and collect them, there is no obligation to trade them.