Pin Trading is Too Expensive--Isn't It?
I have seen the lanyards and pin before. I thought people were crazy. The cheapest individual pins were around $8 and even starter kits with multiple pins were "bargained" priced around $4-5 a pin (but you have to purchase the entire set for around $20). And then I watched in stunned silence as a mom desperately searched the bins on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for her son's missing lanyard while screeching at the ride attendant that it was worth over $200. Now that sounds like a happy vacation. I refused to let my children even look at the pins in the stores. I was not going to give into the insanity.
And then I read a clever article on a couponing website recommending what should have been obvious--eBay. For less than a $1 pin, I was able to buy a set of pins for my oldest three children including Disney themed lanyards. We also put a single pin on my 4-year-old's shirt and let him trade as well. All the fun, none of the stress.
2 Reasons You Want Used Pins
I am glad I bought discounted pins for two reasons. Though my children never lost their entire lanyards, they did manage to lose a couple of pins--likely from not having the backs on tight enough or perhaps they snagged on something. At a $1 a pin, we simply tried to be more careful and moved on with little to no fuss.
And that is exactly what my kids did. They would collect one thing like bowling pin villains and then trade those when something else caught their fancy like puffles (from Club Penguin). By the end of the first day I was patting myself on the back. Everyone was having so much fun and it added a nice distraction from the heat and lines (you never knew when you should see a cast member and stop everything to make a trade).
And then things got better. After the first few trades, I saw my children begin to weigh their options more closely. Some of my kids tried to find pins that had special meaning (either favorite characters or rides). Others treated it like a sport trying to find matching pins. I also watched in amazement as my children interacted with various cast members, especially those from foreign countries. They asked about unusual pins they saw and proudly showed their own favorite pins. And because cast members will trade any pin, there is no hassle, haggling, or heartache. Also, certain pins are cannot be purchased. You can only get them by trading with the cast members (they have hidden mickeys in the corners). Other pins are no longer being produced and still others are special editions. So collecting, trading, and finding a special one are all part of the excitement.
I recommend at least 10 pins per kid age 5 and up. I also found out that Mom or Dad will probably want a set as well (your kids will love trading with you and encouraging you to collect one type or another). With a little planning, this may be one of your favorite Disney traditions.