In order to promote Disney pin trading between resort guests and resort employees (referred to as cast members) Disney Productions began releasing a collection of pins and Disney lanyards to cast members. Pins in these collections came to be known as cast lanyards. Disneyland and Walt Disney World both have their own versions of these pin releases, but either one is sure to delight guests at both resorts.
Cast lanyards were originally released at Walt Disney World in 2002. A new series, or group of pins, is released each year to introduce new pins to this line of pins. Initially, Disney pins in this series had the words “Disney’s Cast Lanyard Collection” imprinted on the backside of the pins, but this method of identification became obsolete after the second year.
With the beginning of the release of the third series of pins, cast lanyard pins were marked with a small, black Mickey Mouse head on the face of the pin. These “hidden Mickeys” eventually led to the series being renamed as the Hidden Mickey Pins Collection. Regardless of the name attached to this collection, this series of pins are still released to cast members to trade with guests at Disney properties.
The Disneyland Resort also began releasing its own series of cast lanyards in 2002. This series of pins is substantially smaller than the series of pins released at Walt Disney World, but a special offering of “hotel” pins are also available at the Disneyland Resort. In fact, visitors to the Disneyland Resort are given two of the “hotel” pins to give them a jump-start on their pin trading. Like the collection distributed at Walt Disney World, however new pins are added to Disneyland’s Hidden Mickey Collection on a regular basis.
Encouraging young guests to take part in the fun of Disney pin trading takes on a special importance at Disney properties. Children who are visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland have extra opportunities to trade with cast members. Some cast members are issued specially-colored lanyards that designate them as being available to trade with guests between the ages of three and twelve only. At Walt Disney World these lanyards are green; at Disneyland these lanyards are teal.
One type of pin is commonly confused with pins from the Hidden Mickey Collection. These pins, referred to as cast member pins, are not released to cast members for trading with guests. Instead, these pins are available for sale to cast members only for their own personal use. Frequently, these pins make their way onto the secondary market making them available to avid pin collectors.
The distribution of cast lanyards to cast members has definitely made an impact in the prominence of trading between guests and cast members. Even guests who visit Walt Disney World or Disneyland often are sure to find a new pin or two thanks to the frequent releases of new pins in the Hidden Mickeys Collection. Disney pin collectors young and old will enjoy the benefits of the cast lanyard program whether they are just beginning their collection or adding to a well-seasoned collection.