Affordable Disney Vacation Souvenirs: Discover Pin Collecting!

This post is part of the 10th Edition of the Disney Blog Carnival. Be sure to stop by there for more great Disney blog posts!

When it comes to planning an affordable Disney vacation, saving money as many ways as possible is important. So I thought 506625that I would take the next few blog posts to discuss ways to keep your souvenir budget under control. I did a blog post about this in a general way a few months ago, but I thought it might be helpful to look at several ideas in more detail. So today, we’re going to discuss my very favorite Disney vacation souvenir, pins.

How We Discovered Pin Collecting

Disney has been actively promoting pin collecting as a popular hobby for 10 years now. They started it during the Millennium Celebration, and oddly enough, that is when my family started collecting pins! And I have to say, the way we got started was almost accidental…

We traveled to Disney World in the year 2000, and during this trip at the end of June, we experienced the rainiest vacation we have ever spent. Florida is, of course, prone to sudden thunderstorms every day in the summer, but this was different: it didn’t come up quickly, rain quickly and leave….it came up quickly, rained, and stayed. So a lot of the fun parades and outdoor shows were cancelled every night. What to do with all this extra time?

We discovered that all the castmembers were wearing lanyards with these really cool pins on them….and that if you had a pin and you liked one of theirs more…..well, they had to trade with you. How cool is that? Especially if you are 9, as our daughter was at the time.

Pin Collecting and Trading Strategy

But you needed to have some pins first, so we bought a few…and then a few more. There were SO many kinds of pins it was mind boggling and we literally spent hours looking at all of them, trying to decide which ones we liked the most, bought them….and then stupidly traded them away. DOH! (We were kind of slow learners….) Eventually we figured out the trick about this: buy cheap ones that you don’t like as much, and trade them for more “valuable” ones. (Of course everyone defines “value” here differently. For some, it is ones that are literally worth more. For others, it is merely ones that they like better.)

Now the thing is, pin collecting doesn’t have to involve trading, and now ten years later for us, we still collect them, but are not concerned about trading. Pin trading is most popular with children, and I must say it is a lot of fun to see kids bravely ask castmembers to trade a pin with them….and then be delighted when they do!

Set a Pin Budget and Stick to It!

At this point, with hundreds of pins, we limit ourselves to 2-3 pins per trip. Because yes, this CAN be an expensive hobby if you are not careful! While the cost of pins can start as low as maybe $6-8 each, they can go up to $20+ for some very elaborate limited editions. And Disney sells pin sets too, so if you like that idea, you can spend even more.

Keeping Pin Collecting Fun AND Affordable

Which is why this can be a great souvenir and hobby, but you have to set limits and be careful to keep it affordable. With that in mind, and to still have fun with this, I suggest the following.

  1. If you have kids, arrive at Disney with a dozen or so cheap pins for your kids to trade with. You can find some on eBay, on sale at, and even Amazon. The idea here is to trade these for others your kids will like more.
  2. Set a limit of so many per day, or per trip, or a cost limit…and then stick to it. It is easy once you start looking at them, to get carried away!
  3. It is easier, in my opinion, to do this if you are collecting with a theme in mind…..which can be just about anything. Maybe the resorts, or characters, or villains, or princesses. You name it Disney’s got a pin for it. Seriously. We now pretty much buy our pins around dated events, as they are a great reminder of when we went and when we got the pin: for example New Years Eve 2005.
  4. Make a conscious decision: collect for fun, collect to trade, or collect seriously. If you have kids who are going to trade everything away, you won’t spend a lot on them, or especially care about what they look like. But if you want to make this a serious collection, you can purchase only Limited Editions, for example, to increase the value of your collection. If this appeals to you, there are some great books that can give you more information and help you make informed decisions.
  5. Think about how you are going to keep them when you get home! Don’t go to all this trouble to buy all these pins and just keep them in a shoebox! Some people frame the lanyards and pins. Some put their pins in a shadow box. Some keep them in a display portfolio or binder.

Pin collecting can be a fantastic hobby and a relatively inexpensive one if you are careful. Even better, it is an affordable way to collect Disney vacation souvenirs…and have a blast doing it! And if you are like us, you will love looking back at them years later and relive the fun we had collecting them!

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7 Responses to Affordable Disney Vacation Souvenirs: Discover Pin Collecting!

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  5. Josh says:

    Great article, I found this through the DisMarks Carnival.

    I was just wondering if you happened to know the best way to get just cheap pins to trade away for better ones?


    • Nancy says:

      In my opinion, the best places to look for cheap pins are Amazon and eBay also often has great buys. You should be able to pick up pins for less than half what you will pay in the parks…maybe even less than that. And if you are just going to trade them away, it doesn’t really matter! Good luck and thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

  6. Josh says:

    The only one that I have really found the best is from Ebay by the way, with just a bunch of “Grab Bag” pins for a set price.

    Amazon seems to elude me when it comes to Pins, as I have a very hard time finding anything really worth my while.

    Thanks for the help! 😀

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