Pin Trading in the Parks – A Daddy and Me Activity

I have been so fortunate to be able to work with Juliane Hiam and the fine people at the Disney Dads website.  They have been very supportive of me and my blogging efforts so please pay them a visit and while you’re there, check out some of my guest blogs and “like” them if you like them.  I thought it might be nice if I reprinted some of my original unedited pieces submitted to the Disney Dads site.  This is sort of like a “director’s cut” edition but doesn’t mean that it’s better!  Juliane does a very nice job of editing and really helps pull my pieces together so lots of kudos to her.  I just thought this would be fun and something some of you might be interested in seeing the development of a piece from original submission to final product, or some of you may not even know I blog on the Disney Dads website so below is my first submitted piece – Pin Trading in the Parks!  Hope you enjoy.

Jessica as Carthay Circle Theater Hostess
Jessica as Carthay Circle Theater Hostess

I love pin trading!  If you’ve seen my Disney Nerd blog, you probably know that by now, but what you may not know is “why.”   People trade pins for lots of reasons.  Some like the challenge – trying to get the most rare ones out there and building an impressive collection.  Some like the camaraderie – most people in the pin trading community are nice, kind, friendly folks who have a shared passion and love of Disney.  And some just like wearing big, heavy lanyards around their necks!  But for me, my love of pin trading comes from my two daughters.

Over the years, pin collecting became a tradition.  Each time we went to a Disney theme park, went on a Disney cruise, or other Disney event or place, we would buy a pin to commemorate the occasion.  Pretty soon, we had quite a lot of pins.  But collecting turned to trading one day when we were visiting the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  My youngest daughter, Emma went up to a cast member working at one of the pin carts and asked if she could buy the pin on her lanyard.  The very nice woman told her that those pins were for trading and that if my daughter had a pin she wanted to trade for it, she would be happy to give it to her.  Well, what dad can resist the big soulful eyes of his little girl?  Sure enough, I bought a pin so she could trade for it and that was when collecting turned to trading.

Pin trading is a great way to share something fun and exciting with your kids.  It’s simple and something you can share.  For me and my daughters it becomes a sport whenever we’re at a Disney theme park – trying to find special pins for them to add to their collections.   Both of them happen to love Pluto pins and for me it’s all about the chief mouse.  So it’s fun for us to go up to cast members and see what pins they have on their lanyards.  One of the great “rules” of pin trading is that cast members always trade one-for-one.  It doesn’t matter the worth of your pin or which pin you have, they will always trade with you.  Some of the cast members even have special light blue lanyards with pins reserved just for the little ones.  What a great idea!  That way everyone has a chance to get those pins they want.  Disney even has a website dedicated to pin trading where you can see what pins are being released and what pins the cast members have on their lanyards so you can make a list of the ones you want to look for.

Me and Emma at Cars Land
Me and Emma at Cars Land

Now you can go as crazy or as simple as you like.  You can go to pin trading events, special pin trading nights, and collect the special limited edition pins (call me guilty).  Or you can just buy some inexpensive pins at the park or on the Internet and trade with the cast members you happen to come across.  It’s something fun to add to your day at the park.  But my favorite part of pin trading is simply the time I get to spend with my girls, seeing the look on their face when we find pins that they love, and watching them wear their pins proudly on their lanyards or on their clothes.  That’s the best.  Because kids love sharing in the lives of their parents.  They feel closer to them and your relationship with them will grow as you do things together.  So take advantage of the opportunities when you’re with them and DO something TOGETHER!

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