Controversial: Why pin trading at Walt Disney World has lost its magic

Pin trading at Walt Disney World just isn't what it used to be.
D23 Expo 2019
D23 Expo 2019 / Paul Butterfield/GettyImages

On April 7th, 2024, Disney officially brought back guest-to-cast member pin trading. It was paused during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we keep getting back to normal activities we loved are coming back.

Pin trading has been a tradition for generations. New pins are released almost weekly, ranging from traditional holidays to Mickey and Minnie Mouse on rides.

But since pin trading amongst guests and cast has returned, the fun isn't what it used to be. Disney gave lanyards and pouches to cast members with all-new 'hidden Mickey' pins. Everyone knew to rush to the cast to find the newest pins and make a trade before anyone else.

The problem is guests are trading less-than-ideal pins for these premium pieces of metal. Many of the pins across boards and lanyards are fake, which by rule, shouldn't be allowed. However, with packs being ordered online there are just too many to keep track of.

Have you seen the 'family' pins? Where does everyone need the pig? Or any of the round character feet that look like they were made in the 1970s? Don't trade those with the cast, each other, or on boards. If you don't want it, nobody else does.

During the pandemic, we were taught about personal space. It was great to make sure we could all be safe when we were out getting groceries or medications. But since rules have been lifted, personal space is just a myth.

When pin-trading with cast members or other guests, there still needs to be respect for each other. Cast members don't enjoy getting their lanyards pulled on their necks while trading or "just looking." Cast also appreciates when guests just ask to see a pin rather than the need to touch it. If the pin is upside down or slightly crooked, it's okay to leave it. The cast members will adjust as needed.

Of course, there are pros to pin trading. Sometimes, you're able to find the final popsicle to complete your set. Often, kids are just getting into the shenanigans of trading, and it's fun to see them love every single pin.

Disney bringing back guest-to-cast pin trading has been a blessing and a curse. But so far, it's just been bland with little to no rules, making it not as magical as it once was.

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