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Mickey & Minnie Sleeping in front of Diamond Sleeping Beauty Castle (Day)

Adding Character to Disney Ear Hats

posted on August 22nd, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

Disney Parks Ear Hats

Do you remember your first Disney Ear Hat? My first ear hat was royal blue with my name embroidered in yellow on the back. I got it during my first trip to Florida in the early 1980s. The classic Mickey Mouse ear hat has evolved over the years since it was seen on “The Mickey Mouse Club” television show in the 1950s. I’m excited to share that Disney Ear Hats is soon to receive a whole helping of awesomeness with the introduction of hats inspired by classic characters. This will be one of the largest introductions of new ear hat styles at one time. I shared a first look at the one of these hats – Figment – this past May. Most of the remaining character hats will arrive in mid- to late early-September at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort; they will be sold via the Disney Parks Online Store in October. I visited Mark Seppala, Disney Design Group artist and recent Walt Disney Legacy Award recipient for Disney Theme Park Merchandise, to learn about the evolution of these new hats.

Cheshire Cat Ear Hat from Disney Parks

“We started with a simple question,” explained Mark. “We wondered what a character would look like if it was reduced to its DNA. Each character has a unique color pallet and shape which later became the basis for design. If you were 10 or 20 feet away from the hat, you would immediately recognize a certain character.”

The first generation of this hat was introduced several years ago and featured Mickey Mouse’s red pants, yellow buttons and mouse tail. Megan Kachur, Product Developer for Ear Hats, said this hat was part of the “Best of Mickey” program.

Tinker Bell Ear Hat from Disney Parks

“The ‘Best of Mickey’ hat became the model for the other classic character hats,” said Megan. “Each of the Fab Five hats, such as Minnie Mouse or Goofy, contains common features like bold colors, character icons, elegant fabric and a velour trim. I think Pluto is adorable, yet I also think the Donald Duck hat is fun because of his tail feathers.”

I think my favorite hat is Dumbo. I had some fun photographing these hats at Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios during one summer afternoon. I asked Megan why some hats had faces.

Dumbo and Woody Ear Hats from Disney Parks

“Mark drew two different versions of the hats, one with eyes and one without,” continued Megan. “Eyes were kept for Dumbo, Tinker Bell and Cheshire Cat as they looked better with the face. We specifically kept Dumbo’s eyes as they are essential to his character design. We felt Woody was far more interesting with colors and shapes.”

Megan said that additional hats will arrive later this fall including Cinderella (complete with “glass” slipper) and an update to the Jack Skellington hat. Megan also told me she worked closely with the operations team at The Chapeau in Magic Kingdom Park to ensure the hats could have embroidery added.

“Getting a personalized ear hat is like a rite of passage at Disney,” laughed Megan. “It was critical to make these new hats embroidery friendly. I can’t wait to see them on guests this coming fall!”

Can’t get enough of Disney Parks’ Ear Hats? See more in the posts below:

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort



Gabbie on August 22nd, 2011 at 9:14 am

These ears are so cute!


Heather on August 22nd, 2011 at 9:44 am

Ahhhh, man, those are so fun and different! Kuddos to whomever came up with these fun ears! I can’t wait to hit Disney World next year but however will I choose?!?!?!


Alex on August 22nd, 2011 at 11:09 am

ahh yes the Mickey hat. I have not yet gotten mine. Last year my family did their hats and will probly do them again this year. I’m going to get mine done this year as well. its like a rite of passage :).. Oh Disney how I will see you in 5 weeks. :)


Kristina on August 22nd, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Oh thanks goodness I’ll be able to get the Cheshire Cat hat on my trip to the World this October! I am over the moon excited 😀
All the hats are quite fabulously designed, if I wasn’t such a Wonderland nut I’d have a hard time choosing which to get.


Joshua on August 22nd, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I want the GOOFY one!!!


Rita from FL on August 22nd, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Oh I already have three different hats here I’ve gotta find more room now I love so many of them!


Ashley on August 22nd, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Since there is a Woody one, will there be a Buzz Lightyear one as well?


Steven Miller on August 23rd, 2011 at 4:05 pm

@Ashley – I spoke with Megan who said that at this time there are not plans for a Buzz Lightyear hat. That may change if fans like the first round of hats (which it appears from the comments, people do :-)


Justin on August 22nd, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Very cool, although I wish they had an XL size for the ears! I guess my brain is just too big, because none of the ears fit me well!


Michelle from MO on August 22nd, 2011 at 4:46 pm

These are so cute!!! I want the whole set, but am definately going to have to find a Donald one for my DD!


Ryan from NC on August 22nd, 2011 at 9:36 pm

These are really adorable! But, call me a sentimentalist or purist, but I will always stick to the basic black ears. What can I say, they’re slimming!!


Joshua on August 22nd, 2011 at 9:58 pm

About the updated Jack Skellington hat, how about making it of Jack as Sandy Claws?


Lauren on August 23rd, 2011 at 12:50 am

Minie for DD, Woody for DS, Donald for DH & Tink for me!! I hope these stick around for a while, they’re fantastic!


Jennifer on August 23rd, 2011 at 12:14 pm

These hats are adorable! I love them! I had a Goofy hat on my first trip to WDW when I was 7 (I am now 30). WDW just keeps getting better!


LISA on August 23rd, 2011 at 12:46 pm

These are adorable. I hope whoever thought of this gets a gold star for the day! Great job! I just hope they continue making other characters.


Steven Miller on August 23rd, 2011 at 4:10 pm

@Lisa – Just wait … all sorts of fun hats are on the way. I know I’ve seen a Lion King themed one and a Tower of Terror hat that looks like the bellhop costume.


Ginny from CA on August 23rd, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I am so excited about not only the new “ears” hats but the ornaments as well. My husband and I have a trip planned to purchase them. My question: Are they going to be available
in Disneyland? I know there are times when merchandise is
only allocated for DisneyWorld, I am hoping the hat ornaments
are not the case. Thank you for keeping us in the loop, I envy
your job!


Steven Miller on August 23rd, 2011 at 4:08 pm

@Ginny – Thanks for the comments. The hats will be released at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The only exception will be Figment which will only be found in Florida (since he “lives” at Epcot). Of course, these hats will also be sold via the Disney Parks online store starting in October –


Carol J. on August 23rd, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I love the new ear hats.My favorite is Dumbo to go with our new Fantasyland.I cannot wait to show our guests.


Kristin from FL on August 23rd, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I love the Dumbo hat! I think Dumbo deserves more credit for his place in Disney history after WWII.

I would love to see a Buzz Lightyear hat! You can’t have Woody without Buzz. I’m “ear” marking some of my money now to add these hats to my collection!


Gregory from PA on August 24th, 2011 at 3:24 am

Thank you so much for this preview! This would have been the type of thing that, upon first sight, would have caused me to squeal and pass out from the level of cuteness. NOW I can contain myself because I’ll already know which ones I need to own when I see them. :)


Missy on August 26th, 2011 at 10:33 am

Hi Steve. I love your blogs on the Mouse Ears. I am excited everytime a new Mouse Ears design is released. You see, I wear Mouse Ears all day everyday…to the market, meeting with the kids’ teachers, driving down the road…I even wear them to other Orlando theme Parks. I have to live up to my name “Mouse Ears Missy”! I’m a huge fan of the Make Your Own Ears…any plans to expand on this line?


Steven Miller on August 30th, 2011 at 11:23 am

@Missy – Thank you for the comment. The “Make Your Own” brand for Disney Ear Hats has actually been discontinued. It was a good experience but the Ear Hat team felt it was time to try something new (hence this article :-) You can still add personalization to hats though.


Katherine on August 26th, 2011 at 10:54 am

I think I’m going to need the Dumbo and Minnie ears. Not that I need any more since I have close to 10.

I’m very glad they made sure the designs will allow them to be embroidered. That was a design issue with the pirate ears causing the name to be placed on the eye patch which I think looks bad. Good planning!


Stuart on August 26th, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Love THEM!!
But Where are Buzz and Stitch
Stitch is a natural with his ears

Love them all


Christina on August 26th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Where’s the Tigger hat!!!???? They GOTTA make Tigger!!! I will SOOOOO buy one of those!!


Tracy on August 27th, 2011 at 11:22 am

they need more Chip n Dale merchandise, maybe hats would be a start (yeah was kinda disappointed when I was there 2 weeks ago at the lack of Chip n Dale stuff….they’re too cute!!)


Ann from MA on August 27th, 2011 at 11:24 am

So cute!


Alicia on August 27th, 2011 at 11:57 am

Love them!!!


Laura on August 27th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Oh these are SO cute! I’ll have to order some for the kids’ “SANTA” gift of their trip to Disney. I have to say that 2 years ago when we went I was a bit disappointed in the hats, the kids weren’t interested at all. THESE they will like… now, which ones to pick? Great job, really cute.


Bianca from KS on August 27th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Are these available in sizes for both children and adults? I think these would be fun for the whole family during our upcoming WDW family reunion, but we will have 3 small children (toddler and preschool age) with us. Will there be ears small enough for them? I already know that Dumbo would be a big hit with my preschooler.


Steven Miller on August 30th, 2011 at 2:35 pm

@Bianca – There is only one size for these hats. Depending on the size of your children, they should fit. I know they have fit my son’s head.


Jenny on August 27th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

OMG! These are fantastic! Please tell me that you are going to have a Stitch!!!! I LOVE Stitch. Coming your way in October, must have one….


Cori on August 29th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

OMgosh, I want them all!! We are going to be there at the end of September/beginning of October, I hope they are out by then!!


Steven Miller on August 30th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

@Cori – Great news! These ear hats arrived early in California and Florida. As of the last weekend in August, they were in several locations at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I know I saw them at World of Disney in Florida this afternoon.


Fred from CA on September 2nd, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Today the newly released Bolt 9″ Vinylmation figure sold out VERY Early at D-Street in Anaheim. Do you happen to know if Disney will be selling the figure online? Or if any more will arrive at D-Street in Anaheim?


Steven Miller on September 13th, 2011 at 11:08 am

@Fred – My apologies for the delayed response. The 9-inch figure featuring Bolt was released via the Disney Parks online store on September 9. There are no more units planned to arrive for D-Street in California. I invite you to visit this page on for a release calendar: