Disney Pin Trading

A few of the pins we traded for.

A few of the pins we traded for.

We don’t know anyone in the DCP program that isn’t a pin collector.  Whether it’s from just a few special ones to bringing hundreds and hundreds of Disney pins home after their program ends, everyone has at least one pin story.

What is Disney Pin Trading?

Disney Pin Trading is an exciting, interactive experience where guests can trade Disney pins with Disney cast members and other guests.

How can I experience the magic?

It’s simple and fun! Just locate a cast member wearing a lanyard with Disney pins and find a pin you’d like to have. Then present another Disney pin to the cast member in trade.

Working at pin traders

Working at Pin Traders at DTD.

Disney Pin Trading rules:

  • To trade a pin with a Disney cast member, the pin must be made of metal and have a representation of a Disney character, park, attraction, icon, or other official affiliation. Additionally, the pin must have a Disney copyright on its back.
  • Guests may trade with cast members one pin at a time, with the pin back in place.
  • Guests may make up to 2 pin trades per cast member per day.
  • Refrain from touching another person’s pins or lanyard; always ask to see the pin so they can bring the pin into closer view.
  • The pin that is traded to the cast member cannot be a duplicate of any pin they already have on their lanyard.
  • Each cast member’s lanyard contains around a dozen unique pins, and cast members must trade with guests if they are presented with an acceptable pin. The cast members may not decline a particular trade based on preference or rarity of the pin, but may decline if the pin is not acceptable (fake) or pin trading rules are not being observed.
  • No money may change hands on Disney property in exchange for a pin.

Which ones should I collect or trade?

The fun of Disney Pin Trading is in the amazing variety. Find your favorite pins to personalize your Disney experience. Guests of all ages hunt for favorite characters, attractions and features. Whether it’s the Little Mermaid or Mickey Mouse you seek, pin hunting is guaranteed to add thrills to your Disney adventure. Go find the pins you want and make some new friends! It is all up to you! Have fun! Disney Pin Trading is a great way to share the magic and bring home wonderful Disney memories.

A few of the Disney pins we bought or traded for during our DCP programs...

A few of the Disney pins we bought or traded for during our DCP programs…

Do all Disney cast members wear pin lanyards?

Most merchandise cast members 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, cast members may wear lanyards if pin trading does not distract from their responsibilities; some managers choose to wear lanyards.  Ride operators and lifeguards are not permitted to wear lanyards. Some cast members wear a teal colored (Disneyland) or a green lanyards (WDW) with pins tradable exclusively to children age 3-12.

I wore a lanyard and Caroline wore a pin display card on her hip.

I wore a lanyard and Caroline wore a pin display card on her hip.  We LOVED pin trading with guests all day long!

Lanyards are available in every store in a wide variety of colors and designs as are lanyard medals.

There are many ways to store and display Disney pins when you get home: in notebooks, in shadowbox frames, or on cork boards. Pin collectors can be very creative in displaying their pins and are often easy to spot in the theme parks with their pin-covered vests, hats, lanyards and fanny packs. 🙂



 Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

  by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.


Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.


10 Things I Miss About Downtown Disney

Getting off work early one evening.

Getting off work early one evening.

I worked Zone 1 (the Marketplace) merchandise at Downtown Disney for almost a year.  I loved working at DTD, especially the hours – it was a rare early bird shift for me!  Most of my work days started in the afternoon and went into the late evening.

My favorite shop to work at was Tren-D, followed by Team Mickey, which closed earlier in 2014.  I liked both of those store’s costumes and that the stores were air conditioned (as opposed to Pin Traders, which is NOT air conditioned, just ceiling fans.  HOT!)


Below is a list of the things that I miss the most about DTD.  (I’ve added a few links to some of my earlier DTD blogs if you’d like to see some photos.) 

  1. The Nightlife

Ah, Downtown Disney at dusk, when the lights come on and the music starts up…magical!  The guests are always in a good mood and ready to have a good time.  Seeing the twinkling lights reflecting off the lagoon water and smelling the delicious dinner smells in the air from all the restaurants; it was just so much fun to be there in the evening.

Downtown Disney at nightime.

Downtown Disney at nightime.

  1. Pin Trading with Guests

Pin trading with guests, both young and old, was always fun and sometimes unexpected.  More of my Magical Moment encounters with guests happened during pin trading than anything else.

  1. World of Disney

The best Disney shopping in the world!  World of Disney is 50,000 square feet – 12 rooms – of Disney superstore with every kind of Disney merchandise.  If it’s not here, it’s probably not available anywhere!

  1. Earl of Sandwich

My favorite place to eat at DTD.  The sandwiches, the soups, the desserts…all of it wonderful!  If it’s hot out, there’s indoor seating in the AC and, if it’s nice out, there are tables outside so you can sit and people watch.

  1. Ghirardelli Soda and Fountain Shop

Chocolate anything from Ghirardelli’s is delicious!  You can just smell the deliciousness in the air when you walk in the door.  Best of all, they hand out free samples of chocolate squares ALL DAY LONG!


  1. Goofy’s Candy Company

The icy glaciers from Goofy’s are a cool treat and just the thing on a hot day.  Best of all, you can have as many 1 oz. samples of any of the eight icy flavors as you want!

The candy and sweets in the shop are eye-catching and so pretty to look at. https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/goofys-candy-co-glaciers/

  1. AMC Dine in Theater

What’s not to like about dinner and a movie…and we got a cast member discount too!  We saw ‘Frozen” here the week it opened while having a nice relaxing dinner.


  1. Disney’s Days of Christmas

If you’re into Christmas like me, then this is your store!  I actually got to work several shifts at DOC and really loved the store’s costume!  It’s a fun place to shop year round and stock up on birthday and Christmas presents for family and friends.


  1. Disney’s Pin Traders

The largest collection of pins at WDW and the place to be on “first issue” pin days.  We got several exclusive pins from here while working for Disney.


    10. The Ferry

One of only two rides at DTD – the other one being Characters in Flight – the ferry is an often overlooked treat.  It’s the easiest way to get from DTD’s Marketplace on the east side to DTD’s West Side.  Due to all the construction going on in 2014, they’ve had to suspended the ferry at times, but if it’s running, give it a try, especially at night.

ferry (2)


Things to come in 2015 & 2016:  Disney Springs


Magical Moment at Pin Traders

Wroking at Pin Traders, and getting to see all the new releases, was so much fun!

Working at Pin Traders, and getting to see all the new releases, was so much fun!

I was a Merchandise Hostess at Downtown Disney’s Pin Traders for two programs 2013/2014. Guests would often make a special trip to DTD just to visit the biggest pin retail location on the WDW property, Pin Traders.

I had the pleasure of meeting one young boy who had spent the day at Epcot and was visiting us to find this one special pin that he wanted. Earlier that day, he had experienced the “Journey into the Imagination with Figment” attraction, and he was on the hunt for the last Figment hidden Mickey pink/purple pin to complete his collection. He had spent his WDW vacation looking at every Cast lanyard he could find and had found 7 out of 8 of the pins, but still had one more to go.

The little boy told me about his search and how he was leaving the next day to return home. Luckily for me, Tinkerbell was able to work her magic and placed the special pin in a small wooden treasure box with a gold clasp that the boy could hold in his hands. He slowly opened the box and there was the pin that he’d been looking for during his entire vacation!

He proudly put the last pin on his lanyard while his mom took a picture of him. It was a Magical Moment for the boy and his family, and for me as a Cast Member.

Making magic is what we do! 🙂

Downtown Disney at 5:30AM

Downtown Disney at 5:30AM

If you’re wondering what Downtown Disney looks like at 5:30 in the morning, it’s COLD (41 degrees) and DARK (sunrise isn’t until 6:50am). All the Christmas lights are turned on and it’s very quiet.

I have three stocking shifts in a row this Thanksgiving weekend, all 6am – 2:30pm. 😦

Downtown DIsney Christmas display.  So pretty!

Downtown Disney Christmas display. So pretty!

My friend, Ting, works at Pin Traders with me.

My friend, Ting, works at Pin Traders with me.

Off to work at Team Mickey.

Off to work at Team Mickey.

Pin Trading at Company D Store

Company D Store in Orlando, FL

Company D Store in Orlando, FL

Pin Trading at Company D Store

A ‘must visit’ place if you are a Disney Cast Member!

Just in case you have not heard of Company D, it is heaven. This place is one of my favorite parts about being a cast member. They have a pretty large selection of different Disney merchandise at really low prices. You can buy everything from toys to pins to clothing to Park merchandise and tickets, etc. Almost everything is at least 50% off and some items are 75% off. And they even have new products in the store. If you ever have a chance of going here you should.

Their Cast Member exclusive pin trading board always has unusual and difficult-to-find pins on it. Only two pin trades allowed per day! 🙂

First pin trades from Company D.

First pin trades from Company D.

Pin trades this week from Company D.

Pin trades this week from Company D.

Parking at Downtown Disney

Parking at Downtown Disney

Earlier this year, we announced Disney Springs, the exciting, multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney. If you’ve visited recently, you know that our expansion has officially begun. While we’ve been getting a lot of questions, one of the most popular topics seems to be parking: Will we have more spots? Where will they be located? And where should guests park in the meantime? Read on, because I’ve got answers …

Yes, more parking is coming! The best part: parking will continue to be complimentary. Work recently started on the first of two multi-level parking garages; it is expected to be complete in late 2014 near AMC Theatres. A second garage, closer to World of Disney, is set to open in 2016. Additionally, we’ll continue to offer surface parking.

Enjoy over 70 venues filled with ways to delight you day and night!

• If you’re staying at a Disney Resort, leave the driving to us!
• If you’re driving, here are a few ‘must-knows’:
1. We’ve added additional parking options that will come in handy most Fridays, Saturdays and holidays – you can follow the signs to plentiful parking in the SunTrust and Casting Building lots across the street from Downtown Disney.
2. On our busier days, guests parking in the Team Disney lot can enjoy a complimentary shuttle with direct service to Downtown Disney West Side or can take a short walk to their desired destination.
3. When in doubt, ask a Cast Member – they’re there to help!
4. Last, try the boat transportation! It’s a nice, breezy ride that’s especially enjoyable on a hot day!


July 2014:  Update on Disney Springs and parking:


Look!  No traffic!!!  ;)

Look! No traffic!!! 😉

Why, we'll have DTD all to ourselves!!

Why, we’ll have DTD all to ourselves!!

Working Carts at Downtown Disney


Working Glow Carts at Downtown Disney!

Downtown Disney is a great place to work. I don’t remember going to Downtown Disney when we’ve been to WDW before, but I love going to Downtown Disney when we’re in CA at Disneyland.

In California, Downtown Disney is a great place to pin trade and you can get pretzels and even make a build-a-bear there! The one in Orlando is just the same, except it’s twice as big. It takes more than 40 minutes to walk from one side to the other along the waterfront with no people traffic, and it takes even longer when it’s full of people walking s-l-o-w-l-y.

On the bridge looking across the Seven Seas Lagoon.

My work view:  On the bridge looking across the Seven Seas Lagoon.

The picture above is my view when working the Bridge Cart location which sells drinks, hats, sunglasses, and iPhone cases. It’s not very fun working the cart during the day; it’s very slow and very hot.

But, at night it’s super fun. I get to watch the volcano at the Rainforest Cafe erupt every half hour and I give directions to guests. You talk to people all the time when you’re working the carts at night, and that makes time go really fast.

Rainforest Cafe volcano smoking during the day.

Rainforest Cafe volcano smoking during the day.

Right next to the Rainforest Café, under the volcano, is the Lava Lounge, which is a bar that sits on the waterfront. Caroline says that it’s very good. There’s a little pontoon boat that’s free to ride on, and it can take you from one end of Downtown Disney to the other. I always try to recommend it to guests as much as possible because it’s a cool view of Downtown Disney and not a lot of people know about it. [I am currently collecting the pontoon boat pin set and only have one more to go to complete the set of eight.]

Working Carts at Downtown Disney

Working at night.  DTD stays open most nights until 2AM!

What a lot of people also don’t realize is that Downtown Disney is in the process of a huge make-over. Right now there are 75 stores, and when the expansion is done there should be 120 stores and two additional parking garages. That’s really good news because right now parking is a mess! There’s never anywhere for the guests to park close in, so they have to park across the street at Disney Casting and Team Disney. It really confuses them and parking there ends up being a pretty long walk to the shops. Employees used to be able to park there, but now we have to park even farther away, at least a 20-25 minute walk into work each day.


Current Downtown Disney logo

ds logo (2)

New Disney Springs logo.

In September 2015, the Downtown Disney are will be called the new Disney Springs, and it will have more water features and a big bridge that will connect one side to the other. It will be completed in three years, 2016. Hopefully by then, Pin Traders will have some AC! That store is hot to work in in the afternoons!

Disney Springs

The new Disney Springs Marketplace, West Side.  Opening Sept 2015.



Two Disney sisters.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale