A Cast Members Guide to: Tips and Tricks for Pin Trading at WDW

Pin trading: one of the many perks of being a merchandise cast member! I loved pin trading with guests. Some guests came everyday with their annual passes just to pin trade with cast members. After seeing another side of the trade game, I want to offer my new-found knowledge. Here are some of the best tips a cast member can offer:

1. Find cast members who are just starting their shift. This may be difficult to pick out especially during peak season (because of all the cast members and guests wandering around), but if you have a day to relax, seek out cast members who are just coming to work (this might be 11 am in World Showcase in Epcot). Why? this is a great time to pin trade because all of the cast members have just hit up the backstage pin board in costuming. There is a room in every park backstage for cast members to trade in their old pins to get good, new ones for guests. These usually include the BRAND NEW RELEASES!

2. Find cast members dressed up. These cast members are called leaders and they have access to usually more pins than most cast members giving you a wider selection to choose from and maybe find that one you are looking for! These cast members will be dressed up (not in costume) and will usually have a phone and headset, a trash picker-upper, and a ton of pins on them!

leader trading

3. Ask about pin boards. Pin boards are usually in the most RANDOM places. Strollers has a pin board, Guest relations has a pin board, Village Traders in EPCOT has a pin board. Ask. A lot of times cast members will show you their pins and (sometimes) won’t offer to show you the board, however if you specifically ask they will show you! And if they don’t have one can usually point you in the direction of some nearby places!

4. Know who to ask for pins. Few cast members are really allowed to wear pins. Attractions and Quick Service don’t because of safety reasons. But other roles aren’t allowed due to efficiency (think Main Entrance, strollers and parking) these roles usually have a pin board though, so refer to number 3.

5. Be careful of Mystery Pins! Most people like the mystery pins, however it is a gamble. I knew some college program cast members who would make a mystery pin out of ones nobody liked or wanted just to get rid of them. I usually suggest trading the mystery pin first and grabbing a second (since you can trade up to two per cast member) pin if you did not like the mystery.

6. Ebay Pins. These pins are usually replicas of real Disney Pins. Use caution when purchasing on Ebay, if it seems too good to be true (99 cents for 100, really?), than it usually is. Some cast members won’t trade at all if they suspect a fake or non-disney pin, so just be aware it is against the “rules” of pin trading. A good cast member can spot a fake right away. It’s usually magnetized, has discoloration, and won’t have Disney Trading Pin on the back (unless they are really dumb and can get sued for that). Instead, buy a pack from a pin cart that you know your child or you won’t want to keep and trade those instead. Like I said, some people won’t care (or know) if they are fake pins but it takes away the integrity, so just play fair, please.

nemo bag original

Original Pin

nemo bag ebay

Fake, discolored pin


7. Find college age cast members to trade with. College aged cast members are usually more interactive than the older cast members who have been doing it for a few years. If you find enthusiastic cast members, you’ll have a better experience. Some of the older people I worked with quit bringing their pins because they just disliked the higher interaction, I guess.

8. Do a little research if you are into a certain pin set or movie. There are a TON of pins out there. Each year Disney World releases different sets of collections, but so does Disneyland. I started collecting a certain pin set and found out pretty late in the game they were from Disneyland. Not only were they from Disneyland but they were a cast member exclusive pin (cast member exclusive pins have a small hidden mickey on the face of the pin, see picture below. Needless to say, these pins cannot be bought in Merchandising locations, they must be traded from a cast member) which means a cast member had to have it and trade with a guest who then had to bring the pin and trade with a Disney World cast member who I could then trade with. Seems like a lengthy process, and it was almost impossible to find all of the set. So I traded them off instead.

nemo pins

9. Have fun! Don’t get caught up where you must get every single one and miss out on the magical Disney experience. Know when to trade and when to enjoy the pins you have and take the rest of the experience in!

10. Check out the Disney Parks Blog and type in Hidden Mickey Pins. They release pictures of the sets you can collect from Cast Members like such:

15 hidden mickey pins

2015 Wave A Hidden Mickey Pins – From Disney Parks Blog


Introductory Post

I realize I am not a woman of my (online) word. I keep telling myself constantly to blog and I have been stressed beyond belief with my money situation and relationships. Things are different now than they have been in awhile. But things change constantly, but never fast enough to be noticed all at once. I’ve turned over a new leaf though, I want to start relieving stress through writing and yoga and meditation. Even if I only do it once a month (which my goal will definitely be more), I need to make the change to better myself.


I have been failing at blogging lately. I have been busy to the max, although it is not an excuse, it has been stressful trying to get everything done even without trying to blog more. So here is a much needed post. I recently (like ten minutes ago) stumbled upon a post on Pinterest “52 weeks of Gratitude Challenge”. Along with blogging, I have been failing on my challenges including my Pinterest challenge and yoga challenge. It is unrealistic but if Humans of New York can post 5 pictures a day, I can write one blog post a week (that will be my inspiration!)

Today is: why did you start this challenge?

I started this challenge because (as mentioned above) I need to blog more! Sometimes a prompt is a motivating reason to blog. Also, I would like to write my gratitude out in the wordpress-sphere! I think the world needs a lot more positive and a lot less negative. I read a post somewhere some day that mentioned a good blog post has at least 1500 words in it, which I can’t wholly agree with: yes, I believe longer posts tend to have more substance to it, but if you are physically trying to find 1500 words every single time you will have a bunch of unwanted fluff and just lose reader interest! So it’s a good idea to write a little more every time, but fill it with quality writing, which is what I hope to improve upon by writing more (like once a week, at least!)

The last reason I started this is because I rarely finish challenges (also mentioned above) so maybe I can get in the habit of this one! It’s hard to do a daily challenge just because if you miss a day, there is no really turning back, with a weekly challenge at least I have 7 days to put it off 🙂

30 Wedding Dresses Under $1000

30 Wedding Dresses

Totally inspired today! I came across a site called Broke Ass Brides and the content on it is fabulous! It inspired me to make a blog post about finding affordable, ADORABLE wedding dresses. Let’s say: $1000 or less! All dresses can be found on David’s Bridal Website or else noted by “Etsy” in the caption. With a total of SIX Vera Wang gowns, you can’t beat this list! Check out the $60 dress!

**Note: I realized after looking through the gowns these are obviously tailored to dresses that I (and maybe I alone) would actually wear! But there are soo many dresses out there for you under $1000 that you may like too!!

dress 1 999


dress 2 899


dress 3 vw 899

$899 Vera Wang

dress 21 850

$850 Etsy

dress 17 790

$790 Etsy

dress 20 790

$790 Etsy

dress 18 750

$750 Etsy

dress 4 748.48


dress 22 730

$730 Etsy

dress 5 699


dress 31 699

$699 Vera Wang

dress 6 699


dress 7 699


dress 8 698


dress 9 648.48


dress 10 vw 599

$599 Vera Wang

dress 11 598


dress 12 vw 550

$550 Vera Wang

dress 13 vw 499

$499 Vera Wang

dress 14 499


dress 15 vw 499

$499 Vera Wang

dress 23 450


dress 24 450


dress 30 350


dress 16 298

$298 Etsy

dress 28 298


dress 29 298


dress 26 199


dress 27 199


dress 25 60


Honorable Mention: This gown is from Etsy and it is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL, it is not apart of the list due to it being a touch over $1000.

dress 19 1200

$1200 Etsy

Unexpected Adulthood

I recently read an article about the beauties of being an adult. I know I still have a lot of growing up to do. But maybe there are several stages of “adulthood”. It kind of just sneaks up on you and BAM! you realize you have adult obligations. Some people begin adulthood too early in life because of an unexpected change, some people begin adulthood when they go off to college, and some people (me!) don’t begin adulthood until they suddenly realize you are financially independent as well as trying to finish school and a job. I, of course, made the decision to move out & all, but I really didn’t realize I would be growing up that day! Which seems silly! But it’s true. There is always a rainbow after a storm, however, and there are little bits and pieces that make growing up really, really awesome!

1. Keeping your own company! There is something amazing about being able to be in your own company.There is time for tea or coffee, releasing the days stress, reflection, and petting your cat. Okay, that’s just my deal. But everyone has their routine! I think I am preparing myself for a stay at home mom position 😉

2. Friends in random places. I think parents have reasons best known to themselves to send their kids to camp. I was never a child who needed to be with my family 24/7. I loved going to sleepovers and school and everything. My brother was not. My brother had the opportunity to go to Culver Military Academies for camp, this was a 6 week camp where you take classes in 2 week increments. So from 7 am to 9 pm we basically had a school-like schedule. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, with I think 5-7 classes and finish the night with a movie, or tennis match, or sailing, or whatever! You get the idea. The point of this backstory is that I still have a TON of friends from going to Culver who live all over the world. Once my brother refused, my parents offered it to me and I accepted, I was 9 years old. This year, I accepted an internship at Walt Disney World, I happened to get a job in EPCOT World Showcase and met people from all over the world again! As well as all over the United States. My best friends are from Georgia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Wyoming, that is every corner of the US. You never know who you will meet and where their background comes from!

3. Making Adult Decisions. There are a ton of temptations in life. Should I go to the bar, should I date this guy, should I go back to school, should I travel, should I buy organic, should I spend that much money on whatever. There are a lot of decisions, and if the resources are there, why should you ever say no? Being in my position of an adult, I feel like life is presenting opportunities and I want to take them all!

4. Finding Yourself. All of these things in adulthood add up to define who you are. What you do and what you choose is who you are. But of course you are so much more too! There is a personality that nobody really knows until you let them in! There is intelligence and compassion and love and humor. And those things are inspiringly beautiful.

Simple, Gluten Free, ‘Whole Foods’ Pizza!

For dinner tonight, Jared and I tried our skills at homemade pizza! Ours was gluten-free, we opted for non-vegan by using salami, and organic pizza. We made everything from ingredients we bought from Whole Foods, so you can do this too!!

Check it out:

Crust: Namaste Foods Pizza Crust Mix (gluten free) ($5.29)

Sauce: Enricos Pizza Sauce ($2.99)

Cheese: 365 shredded mozzerella cheese 16 oz ($4.99)

Optional toppings! We used:

Naturalissima Uncured Genoa Salami ($4.99)

But feel free to add any toppings you like!

Start by heating your oven to 400 degrees. We put the cast-iron skillet in while the oven was still heating and left it in the heated oven for about 15 minutes. Just to warm it up. While this was warming, Jared made the crust by following the directions on the crust package.

** Note: It was incredibly sticky and we had a hard time transferring the crust from the mixing bowl to the flour/oil-coated surface to the lightly-oiled, hot cast-iron skillet. It stuck to our fingers and utensils and every surface it touched. So you might lose a bit of crust batter this way!

After we got our crust in the skillet, we cooked it in the oven at 400 for around 20 minutes (maybe less) then we took the skillet out and added our sauce, salami, and topped it off with cheese! We then cooked if for about ten minutes. We always cook by sight and touch (is the cheese melted? is the crust crispy all the way?), so it is hard to give exact times! Go with your instincts and senses.

After the crust and cheese is to your liking, remove the pizza from the skillet onto a ceramic plate to cool and cut!

Enjoy your amazingly simple homemade pizza!

Ours was gone before I could take any pictures, but let me tell you, it tasted better than it looked. And it looked fabulous!!!


I really wish I could reblog whitspeaks.com, because her photo challenge is lovely! I would like to begin this ASAP! There are quite a few of the days I am changing, however, I had to give her credit to where I got my inspiration! If you would like to follow my #21DAYPHOTOPROJECT follow me on instagram or you can check out the thumbnails on the blog (to the right!)

Here is my official lineup! Join me, if you will!