A trip to Disneyland, be it a long planned vacation or (if you’re like me) a weekly visit, is always an opportunity to embrace the Disney spirit. A big part of the Disney branding plan is merchandising! Shops and kiosks can be found along Main Street, on the Boardwalk or in any of magical lands, displaying T-shirts, jackets, scarves, costumes, trading pins and of course the most popular, Mouse Ears!
The original mouse ears (developed by Roy Williams) were first seen on the Mousketeer cast in the 1950’s hit television show, The Mickey Mouse Club. The traditional black felt hat with two large ears on top can still be found in every Disney store and on several patrons throughout the parks and resorts. Over the years, mouse ears have adopted new styles and updated looks to match popular themes, current movies, TV shows or attractions the Disney Company is wanting to promote. The ear options have also been adapted from Mickey Mouse to include other beloved characters, both classic (Mini, Goofy, Donald, etc.) and new (Stich, Mader, Olaf, etc.)
While young children (3 to 12) are praised and encouraged to dress like their favorite prince, princess or pirate; teens and adults are forbidden from doing so unless attending a sanctioned event such as the “Not So Scary Halloween Party” or “Hero’s versus Villains’ Day.” Mouse ears however, can be worn by anyone and at any time. Many die-hard fans express their love for the Mouse by making their own ears. Several tutorials can be found online, to make your own “mouse ears” either through crafting or creative hair styles.
In 2013, Disney launched the Show Your Ears Sweepstakes, with a grand prize of a vacation for 4 to a Disneyland resort and the 5 runners up receiving a $100 shopping spree at the Disney store. Participants were required to submit a photo of themselves (no more than 1 a day) wearing (purchased or homemade) Mickey or Mini shaped mouse ears…a creative way to increase the sale and reinforce the popularity of the mouse ears!
Disney marketers have also expanded mouse ears to include special occasions, birthdays, holidays or park anniversaries (such as the upcoming Diamond Celebration) and milestone life moments like graduations or marriage. Marketing the ears as a limited edition or for a limited time, makes them collectable and generally increases the demand.
Do you have a pair of mouse ears?