Disney fans celebrate the reopening of Disneyland with custom Mickey ears and masks

Company journey between plexiglass as they enter Touch of Disney at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, CA, on Thursday, March 18, 2021.

MediaNews Community/Orange County Register | Getty Footage

There are few issues so iconic that a straightforward silhouette will also be straight away recognizable to any person in the realm.

That is the facility of Disney and its stalwart symbol Mickey Mouse, which has transcended from chilly spirited film mouse to corporate emblem. When Disneyland and California Adventure reopened Friday for the first time in more than a twelve months, a instant scan of the team confirmed how ubiquitous that 93-twelve months-dilapidated mouse in fact is.

In the six decades since Disney opened its first theme park, the firm has fostered a obvious culture inner its amusement areas. From how its solid members are suggested to transfer about their jobs to the atmosphere of the diverse lands that develop up the park, every little thing that Disney does is deliberate and in service of making an unrepeatable trip.

Maybe essentially the most prevalent instance of this comes in the derive of wearable Mickey and Minnie ears.

Mickey ear hats have been a staple memento at Disney parks for decades. The normal dim Mickey Mouse ears were created by Roy Williams for the Mouseketeers on “The Mickey Mouse Club” in the 1950s. Getting a pair, with personalized embroidering, has been a rite of passage for heaps of parkgoers since Disneyland first opened in 1955.

In the mid-’80s, Disney began to present a headband version of those hats. Alternatively, it wasn’t except the park’s 50th anniversary that product developers redesigned the iconic ears. In occasion of the milestone, Disney offered a line of golden ears.

The golden hat became this form of phenomenon that it inspired the firm to develop diverse variations for particular times and holidays. Over time, these traditional keepsakes have evolved into coveted standard and Instagrammable accessories.

A lady wears a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and an identical cover.


Ears are a high seller on the parks, and Disney has labored laborious to defend with quiz. The firm has designed dozens of diverse pairs from straightforward sequined ears to pairs that honor fan-current characters and sights. Quite lots of the ears in Disney’s series tag around $30 per pair. Alternatively, on account of the recognition of the headbands, Disney has partnered with a series of designers to develop tiny version area of skills ears that can tag closer to $100.

These ears have radically change so current that crafters have turned to Etsy to originate and sell their very score designs. In preparation for the reopening of Disneyland, many company are browsing for area of skills ears and masks to put on across the park.

To be obvious, Disney is now not the very best theme park to lean heavily into merchandise. Universal Studios sells Hogwarts robes and Minions T-shirts at its parks, and Six Flags has licensing agreements with Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes price. Mild, there is something distinctive about Disney’s Mickey ears that build them other than diverse souvenirs.

Sporting your fandom

These ears have radically change more than correct a singular memento. They’re significant collectibles for Disney parks fans.

Krissy Reynolds, a 35-twelve months-dilapidated restaurant manager from Virginia, has a series of more than 40 Mickey ears. The series started with a pair of red and dim sequined Minnie Mouse ears she got at some point soon of a college day out.

She stated her family typically spends five days at Walt Disney World. She brings two or three ears from her series to put on at some point soon of the day out and purchases a few recent pairs as soon as she’s on the parks.

“We carry out outfits to compare what park we are going to day after day after which match every diverse,” stated Reynolds. “Like for Hollywood Studios, we characteristic out ‘Toy Story’ outfits with shirts and ears and hats or accessories.”

At Magic Kingdom, Reynolds, her husband, Wesley, 43, and son Cayson, 8, focal point their outfits on traditional Disney characters reminiscent of Mickey and Minnie. At Animal Kingdom, the theme is typically “Lion King.”

Krissy Reynolds, 35, and son Cayson, 8, celebrate at Mickey’s No longer-So-Provoking Halloween Birthday party in Orlando, Florida.

Krissy Reynolds

Since Disney would now not allow adults to put on costumes in the park, older company who’re soundless youth at heart have resorted to diverse plan to celebrate their current Disney characters, motion photos and moments. Survey closer and you furthermore mght can perceive any person wearing an outfit that is paying homage to Peter Pan, Rapunzel or Snow White, a trend known as “Disney bounding.”

“I’m a sucker for the leisure ‘Drowsing Beauty,'” Reynolds stated. “I additionally love sequins and uncommon issues love when [Disney does] particular food or holiday [ears].”

Crafters meeting quiz

For heaps of affection Reynolds, who employ more than one days on the parks both in Florida or California, one build of ears is now not sufficient. And while Disney has an ideal series of Mickey ear designs, the quiz for uncommon headbands has grown so worthy that impartial sellers have entered the represent.

Etsy, namely, has radically change a hub for tiny industry house owners to sell customizable ears and ones basically based mostly on area of interest characters. In the weeks leading up to Disneyland’s reopening, these sellers have considered a significant uptick in gross sales.

“Sales were advance-and-dawdle for many of the pandemic,” stated Rachel Vega, owner of the Etsy store Enchanted Story Ears. “It truly picked up in January, I mediate as we started seeing issues transferring ahead every with [Disney World being] delivery and the hopes of Disneyland opening up at some point soon.”

Vega, a high college orchestra trainer, has been promoting handmade Mickey ears on the e-commerce region for approximately a twelve months. Her finest-promoting product is a build of graduation ears, which characteristic a tiny dim academic cap and also will be personalized with the graduate’s college colours. Her ears retail for between $35 and $40.

“I fell in treasure with making personalized ears when making them for a sisters’ day out and made up our minds to originate the store to sell the ears I develop,” she stated. “I love having ears that are uncommon and delighted after I dawdle to the parks and know there are different who feel the the same. It be positively a technique of personal expression on the parks.”

Seeking to score Mickey ears on Etsy brings thousands of results, from dainty, fairy-love headbands basically based mostly on current characters to fabric-patterned ears with large bows and glitter.

The sellers want to be obvious that to follow particular guidelines so that you can now not infringe on Disney’s intellectual property. Which design following pointers love now not the utilization of particular Disney characters or fabric depicting Disney’s copyrighted pictures in the designs or in their stores. 

Arisa, a student turned entrepreneur, has been promoting her version of Mickey ears since March 2019. In two years, she’s made more than 900 gross sales from her store Ears by Arisa.

For the time being, her finest-promoting ears are basically based mostly on Loki, Wanda Maximoff, Toddler Groot and Rapunzel. Her ears sell for between $24 and $31 searching on the vogue.

“Since California has lifted bans on theme parks, more folks have left me notes announcing how angry they’re to put on my ears for his or her upcoming trips,” she stated. “I even got a few personalized orders to have their ears match masks they’ve.”

At some point of the Covid pandemic, Disney-themed masks have additionally been a significant income driver for tiny companies. These visiting Disney’s parks at some point soon of the pandemic have embraced the duvet requirements and faded it as every other to put on their current fandoms proudly in public.

When Debra Dix is now not truly working as a case manager in the group department of Goodwill, she’s stitching and promoting masks. She started her store in December 2020 and already has almost 500 gross sales.

The majority of the fabrics she makes use of for these masks are Disney-themed. Her two finest-sellers correct now are a Disney parks snacks sample and an animal print Mickey operate.

“I’ve positively sold more masks in the closing 2 months,” Dix stated. “In most cases, possibilities will take one cover, but lately my average has been three to five masks per expose.”

These masks and ears are segment of the Disney trip and can support parkgoers originate lasting recollections.

Meagan Remmes, 30, of Asheville, North Carolina, purchased a build of bridal Mickey ears to put on at some point soon of her honeymoon day out to Disney World this twelve months.

“We knew we wanted something particular to commemorate that it used to be our honeymoon, and while the buttons are free, they’re now not exactly a assertion maker,” she stated of her decision to gain up a pair of veiled white ears.

“It used to be both going to be Mickey ears or personalized T-shirts, but every little thing we regarded at did now not pretty feel love us,” she stated. “Mickey ears were a straightforward solution that made us feel particular in essentially the most Disney plan that you would possibly per chance perhaps per chance well perhaps imagine.”

Disclosure: Comcast’s NBCUniversal is the mum or father firm of Universal Studios and CNBC.