The Cast Lanyard Experiment: Part 1
When you trade pins with Cast Members, are you “keeping it real”?
The reputation is out there that Cast Lanyard pins are rife with scrappers. The problem is a direct result of cast members being required to complete any trade (as long as the Mickey trading logo is on the back of the pin). I am positive that cast members have a very good idea when a fake pin is headed to their lanyard, but the rules bind them to complete the trade anyways.
Unfortunately, many (many many many) people take advantage of this opportunity by stocking up on counterfeit pins to trade for legitimate cast lanyard pins. Ebay offers a cheap alternative to trading full-priced pins, by offering lots of 25+ pins at a steeply discounted price in order to allow guests the opportunity to load up prior to entering the park. Again, unfortunately many of these pins are fakes and end up finding their way onto the cast lanyards, which then ultimately end up in your collection.
There are things you can do to limit the damage.
1. Trade early – When looking to trade pins, make a habit of trading right when the park opens. Look for cast members who have recently restocked their lanyards and trade with them before the scrappers invade. Looking for similar-themed cast lanyard pins is an indicator that the lanyard was recently restocked.
2. Educate yourself to what scrappers look like – This is not as easy as it sounds, but the good news is that there are a ton of websites that can help you figure it out. Some pins are just going to be hard to tell, but then others will be extremely obvious. Hit the Web!
3. Only trade with Cast Members – Let me clarify, only trade with Cast Member unless you really know what you are doing. Trading with other guests may actually allow you to obtain pins that you would never be able to find on cast lanyards. You just need to look out for the sharks and really have a grasp on how to spot fakes and to determine whether or not the guest is trying to scam you. Unless you are up for the challenge, best to stick to the Cast Members who will simply trade one for one with you.
Having grown increasingly curious as to just how difficult it is to obtain legitimate cast lanyard pins in the Disneyland Parks, I decided to run a little experiment.
Last month, I had a family member head to California to visit with relatives as well as spend a couple days in the Disneyland Parks. This particular member of my family is completely uninitiated in the pin trading phenomenon, unaware of counterfeit pins, and oblivious to what pins to seek from cast lanyards. Perfect!
I sent five trader pins (legitimate pins, as far I could determine) to be traded in the parks and gave no specific instructions on what to look for other than pins with the Hidden Mickey symbol. I sent a link to the Wave B Hidden Mickey images as a guide of what might be out there, and I offered one piece of sage advice “trade early”.
So how did it turn out?
In this series, we will examine the trades and determine the rarity and authenticity of each pin, as well as show you what to look for in your effort to “keep it real” . Check back in for the results!