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

Guests stroll 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 Photos

There are few issues so iconic that a straightforward silhouette might perchance even be straight recognizable to someone on the planet.

That is the vitality of Disney and its stalwart image Mickey Mouse, which has transcended from frigid bright movie mouse to corporate logo. When Disneyland and California Adventure reopened Friday for the first time in better than a three hundred and sixty five days, a short scan of the personnel showed how ubiquitous that 93-three hundred and sixty five days-outmoded mouse actually is.

In the six decades since Disney opened its first theme park, the company has fostered a sure culture interior its amusement locations. From how its forged members are instructed to head about their jobs to the atmosphere of the diversified lands that make up the park, every thing that Disney does is deliberate and in service of rising an unrepeatable skills.

Perhaps basically the most prevalent example of this is available within the place of wearable Mickey and Minnie ears.

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

In the mid-’80s, Disney began to produce a scarf version of those hats. Then but again, it wasn’t till the park’s 50th anniversary that product developers redesigned the iconic ears. In event of the milestone, Disney provided a line of golden ears.

The golden hat turned this kind of phenomenon that it inspired the company to make diversified versions for particular instances and holidays. Over time, these traditional keepsakes have confidence evolved into coveted standard and Instagrammable equipment.

A girl wears a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and a matching conceal.


Ears are a top seller on the parks, and Disney has labored laborious to support up with query of. The corporate has designed dozens of diversified pairs from easy sequined ears to pairs that honor fan-favourite characters and sights. Lots of the ears in Disney’s sequence price round $30 per pair. Then but again, attributable to the repute of the headbands, Disney has partnered with a range of designers to make restricted version specialty ears that will price closer to $100.

These ears have confidence was so standard that crafters have confidence turned to Etsy to create and promote their very receive designs. In preparation for the reopening of Disneyland, many guests are shopping for specialty ears and masks to wear all the arrangement in which thru the park.

To make obvious, Disney is now no longer the handiest 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 be conscious. Restful, there is one thing distinctive about Disney’s Mickey ears that place them aside from diversified souvenirs.

Carrying your fandom

These ears have confidence was better than gorgeous a novel memento. They’re foremost collectibles for Disney parks fans.

Krissy Reynolds, a 35-three hundred and sixty five days-outmoded restaurant supervisor from Virginia, has a sequence of better than 40 Mickey ears. The sequence started with a pair of crimson and murky sequined Minnie Mouse ears she received all the arrangement in which thru a college day out.

She acknowledged her family generally spends five days at Walt Disney World. She brings two or three ears from her sequence to wear all the arrangement in which thru the day out and purchases just a few new pairs once she’s on the parks.

“We pause outfits to match what park we are going to each and daily after which match each and each diversified,” acknowledged Reynolds. “Fancy for Hollywood Studios, we pause ‘Toy Yarn’ outfits with shirts and ears and hats or equipment.”

At Magic Kingdom, Reynolds, her husband, Wesley, 43, and son Cayson, 8, heart of attention their outfits on traditional Disney characters comparable to Mickey and Minnie. At Animal Kingdom, the theme is most regularly “Lion King.”

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

Krissy Reynolds

Since Disney doesn’t permit adults to wear costumes within the park, older guests who’re calm kids at heart have confidence resorted to diversified ability to celebrate their favourite Disney characters, motion pictures and moments. Explore closer and also you will watch any individual carrying an outfit that’s harking abet to Peter Pan, Rapunzel or Snow White, a pattern is smartly-known as “Disney bounding.”

“I’m a sucker for one thing else ‘Drowsing Beauty,'” Reynolds acknowledged. “I also handle sequins and peculiar issues handle when [Disney does] particular food or holiday [ears].”

Crafters meeting query of

For various handle Reynolds, who exhaust various days on the parks both in Florida or California, one place of ears is now no longer ample. And whereas Disney has a dapper choice of Mickey ear designs, the query of for peculiar headbands has grown so essential that self sustaining sellers have confidence entered the image.

Etsy, particularly, has was a hub for little exchange owners to promote customizable ears and ones primarily based fully on area of interest characters. In the weeks leading as a lot as Disneyland’s reopening, these sellers have confidence considered a important uptick in sales.

“Sales were come-and-run for most of the pandemic,” acknowledged Rachel Vega, proprietor of the Etsy shop Enchanted Yarn Ears. “It actually picked up in January, I feel as we started seeing issues inviting forward each and each with [Disney World being] launch and the hopes of Disneyland opening up at some level.”

Vega, a excessive faculty orchestra instructor, has been promoting handmade Mickey ears on the e-commerce location for approximately a three hundred and sixty five days. Her handiest-promoting product is a spot of graduation ears, which feature a little murky academic cap and might perchance also be personalized with the graduate’s faculty colours. Her ears retail for between $35 and $40.

“I fell in indulge in with making personalized ears when making them for a sisters’ day out and decided to beginning the shop to promote the ears I make,” she acknowledged. “I indulge in having ears which shall be peculiar and happy when I might the parks and know there are a full bunch who actually feel the identical. Or now no longer it is indubitably a ability of private expression on the parks.”

Browsing for Mickey ears on Etsy brings thousands of results, from dainty, fairy-handle headbands primarily based fully on standard characters to material-patterned ears with mountainous bows and glitter.

The sellers wish to be definite to apply instruct rules in show now no longer to infringe on Disney’s psychological property. Meaning following tricks handle now no longer the usage of instruct Disney characters or material depicting Disney’s copyrighted images within the designs or of their retail outlets. 

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

At this time, her handiest-promoting ears are primarily based fully on Loki, Wanda Maximoff, Toddler Groot and Rapunzel. Her ears promote for between $24 and $31 reckoning on the vogue.

“Since California has lifted bans on theme parks, more of us have confidence left me notes announcing how infected they are to wear my ears for their upcoming trips,” she acknowledged. “I even received just a few personalized orders to have confidence their ears match masks they’ve.”

Throughout the Covid pandemic, Disney-themed masks have confidence also been a important income driver for little companies. Those visiting Disney’s parks all the arrangement in which thru the pandemic have confidence embraced the conceal necessities and ragged it as a possibility to wear their favourite fandoms proudly in public.

When Debra Dix is now no longer actually working as a case supervisor within the personnel division of Goodwill, she’s sewing and promoting masks. She started her shop in December 2020 and already has almost about 500 sales.

The bulk of the materials she uses for these masks are Disney-themed. Her two handiest-sellers accurate now are a Disney parks snacks sample and an animal print Mickey make.

“I’ve indubitably sold more masks within the final 2 months,” Dix acknowledged. “In most circumstances, clients will purchase one conceal, but just right this moment my moderate has been three to 5 masks per show.”

These masks and ears are segment of the Disney skills and might perchance serve parkgoers create lasting recollections.

Meagan Remmes, 30, of Asheville, North Carolina, purchased a spot of bridal Mickey ears to wear all the arrangement in which thru her honeymoon day out to Disney World this three hundred and sixty five days.

“We knew we wanted one thing particular to commemorate that it used to be our honeymoon, and whereas the buttons are free, they’re now no longer exactly a assertion maker,” she acknowledged of her resolution to take up a pair of veiled white ears.

“It used to be both going to be Mickey ears or personalized T-shirts, but every thing we looked at did no longer slightly actually feel handle us,” she acknowledged. “Mickey ears were a straightforward solution that made us actually feel particular in basically the most Disney arrangement that you just might perchance almost definitely take into consideration.”

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