Something that we had a lot of fun with as Disney cast members was pin trading with guests.
In our merchandising roles, we both got to wear cast lanyards and stock them with 12 Disney pins provided by our managers. If we gave away pins to guests during the day as part of a Magical Moment celebration, we would re-stock our lanyard during our break.
For extra fun, at least once a day we would turn over a pin and pin it on our lanyard backwards. This was a “mystery” pin. Guests wouldn’t be able to see it before the trade and they had to trade for it if they selected it.
Usually our mystery pins were pretty good pins, typically having something to do with our work location or a Disney princess, but not always. That’s what makes mystery pin trading nerve-wrecking for our young guests! Is it worth trading a pin or not???!!!
Pin trading tips: The best way to get a good pin trade is to trade with CMs early in the day when we have “fresh” pins on our lanyard. During the course of the day, our pins get pretty picked over even with us replenishing the selection at breaks or shift changes. Surprisingly, some of the best pins can be found on custodial lanyards, so it’s always worth a look; you might get lucky!
And, our “mystery” pins are always better in the morning than late at night!!
Rules: CM trading pins are provided by Disney and we will accept whatever trades are offered regardless of whether it’s “fair” from the perspective of value. The only requirement is that the pin being traded by the guest be an official Disney pin.
Releases: In 2014, Hidden Mickey pins for guest trading were released to CMs in two waves, February 2014 and July 2014. The February wave had 27 Hidden Mickey pins, along with 5 silver-colored chaser pins to complete the sets. (Note: Hidden Mickey pins are only found on CM lanyards and can’t be bought in stores.)
Do all Disney cast members wear pin lanyards?
Most merchandise CMs wear pins on lanyards around their necks or on a hip lanyard (a 4” by 5” piece of colored nylon fabric) clipped to their belt.
Additionally, other CMs may wear lanyards if pin trading does not distract from their responsibilities; coordinators and managers may also choose to wear lanyards.
Ride operators and lifeguards are not permitted to wear lanyards. Some CMs wear a teal colored (Disneyland) or a green lanyards (WDW) with Disney pins tradable exclusively to children ages 3-12. Since their pins are much less picked over, they usually have some good pins on them to trade.
More on trading Disney pins at WDW: https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/disney-pin-trading/
We’ve written a book about our year working at Disney: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale.
Available now on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle. Published by Theme Park Press.