One of the most popular activities for guests at any Disney resort is pin trading. The trend was inspired by pin trading activities at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Disney’s vast collection of pins includes special designs featuring attractions, resorts, characters, special events, holidays, and more. Guests can buy many pins directly for their collection, but the fun is in trading them. There are many pins that you can only get by trading with Cast Members because they’re never sold in stores.
The problem with pin trading is that there are a lot of counterfeits out there that look extremely similar to the real thing. Most Disney pins, both real and fake, are manufactured in China. When a factory finishes with a legitimate run of real pins, they often discard the old mold. These same molds are then used in counterfeit production runs to create pins that can look nearly identical to the real thing.
The following qualities will help you determine whether a pin is real or a fake. These elements will ensure that you’re looking at a genuine pin but are not necessarily present on every pin that’s authentic. Just because a pin lacks one of the criteria, it’s not necessarily a fake. Having one or more of these features does mean that your pin is almost surely real.
1. Look for the official Disney Pin Trading logo
Every official Disney Pin should have a Pin Trading logo on the back. The main part of the logo is a classic Mickey head with a banner across the middle. Inside the banner it will say “Pin Trading,” with the release year beneath it. Newer pins have the Mickey head logo set atop a crest shape, making it look even more official. It should also say “© Disney.”
2. Look for a stick pin closure
Official Disney trading pins have a stick pin that pokes a hole into an article of clothing and is held on by a rubber Mickey Mouse shaped pin back. If the closure is anything else, it may not be the real McCoy. Please note that if the pin back doesn’t look like Mickey, it doesn’t mean that it’s a fake. The original pin back may have been replaced.
3. Look for prongs on the back
Official Disney Pin Trading pins usually feature at least one prong to keep the pin from spinning. Larger pins boast two small prongs while smaller pins usually offer one tiny prong. These prongs, or nubs, are little more than raised bumps so they’re easy to miss, but a nub or two on the back is an excellent indicator that you have a genuine pin.