More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

The Mechanical Kingdom

Steven Miller

by , Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Walt Disney World Resort

UPDATE: Great news Steampunk fans! I spoke with Mike Sullivan and the team at Disney’s Pin Traders in Florida. We’ve been thrilled at your responses to this set, so we’ve arranged a special event for you.

On April 1, you can meet Mike Sullivan, the Disney artist behind The Mechanical Kingdom, and have your pins signed at Disney’s Pin Traders from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This store is located in the Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort. Steampunk goggles are optional.

The Mechanical Kingdom

I can still vividly recall the day that Disney Design Group Artist Mike Sullivan visited us holding the image pictured above. My mind was reeling – was I actually seeing Steampunk Disney Characters? I even remember yelling “Steampunk!!” while getting strange glances from everyone around me. Well, everyone that is except for Mike as he created the artwork. So what is this “Steampunk” and why was I so excited?

The Mechanical Kingdom

“Steampunk is like imagining today’s world with a Victorian-era perspective,” explained Mike. “For example, let’s pretend people in the 19th Century created the technology we use today. What would it look like? I think of these larger than life, steam-powered contraptions with lots of gears and switches.”

Mike was first introduced to Steampunk at a major science-fiction convention. Following the event, he did extensive research on the internet (the same place where I first learned of Steampunk). Quickly, he discovered a whole fan community. Mike wondered how he could present our Disney characters in this alternate world.

The Mechanical Kingdom

“I created a story outline and several sketches to sell the idea of creating Steampunk-inspired merchandise,” continued Mike. “Honestly, it was a long process explaining the concept as many folks were unfamiliar with Steampunk. Thankfully, the Disney Pin Team loved the idea and created a pin set.” (I promise I had nothing to do with it).

This collection contains five limited edition pins that will be sold individually. There is also a journal written by Professor Ludwig Von Drake that introduces the Mechanical Kingdom story. The journal literally looks like a book complete with a cover and several pages. The final page contains all five individual pins and two “completer pins” – Mickey Mouse and Pirate Pete.

I asked Mike if he has a favorite character from the story he created.

The Mechanical Kingdom

”I like Pirate Pete the most,” said Mike. “He is a character that I don’t get to draw often. I love the ‘action’ you feel when seeing the artwork and final pin.”

One final and semi-related note – Mike said he is also working on a Vinylmation Steampunk set (Aces!). But that is a post for another time. Trust me, you’ll love it!

Look for “The Mechanical Kingdom” pin set to be released in April 2010 at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort.


  • I picked up my set at the Contemporary Resort earlier today. I am very pleased and impressed. Well done!

  • Wait, isn’t april first april fools day?

  • Oleg: Steampunk is FAR from just being a few years old. It has only achieved its name since the 80s (still more than a few years old, though). However, steampunk – in its essence – has been around since the days of HG Wells and Jules Verne. You could have seen echoes of steampunk at WDW at the old Horizons pavilion or at 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea when both were open and operating.

  • The pins are awesome!! I would love this concept carried out into other Disney merch as well as in-park Steampunk costumes on the characters walking around the parks!

  • This would be so awesome as more then just a pin set. Like do a comic series or an animated project.

  • I’d love to see these designs made into action figures a la mickey and friends star wars and pirates. It’d be a great addition!

  • I can honestly say that I’d never heard of this before but throw Disney characters into the mix and it ROCKS! Would love to see other merchandise likt T-shirt, purses, etc. Totally cool.

  • Oh wow. I’m not into pins at all but this combines two things I really enjoy. I hope the idea is expanded and offered in a full line of products! 😀

  • Steampunk is awesome. I would love to purchase this book set and the upcoming Vinylmation, but I probably won’t be in WDW anytime soon. Will these items be available on the Disney Parks online store?

  • As someone who just went to Nova Albion a steampunk convention, These look awesome. Definitely going to be buying this collection.
    Thank you for the wonderful designs.

  • I realize I’m in the minority here, but I’m just into this theme. There’s no connection to any story. It seems rather random.

  • And why not? Disney practically invented the idea and has been doing it for longer than anybody. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was pretty well the first modern movie to adapt a Victorian “Scientific Romance” without updating the setting. And since then?…

    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea;
    Man in Space Trilogy;
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Disneyland USA;
    Swiss Family Robinson;
    In Search of the Castaways;
    Island at the Top of the World;
    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at WDW;
    Discoveryland, Mysteries of the Nautilus, Cafe Hyperion and Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon at Disneyland Paris;
    Mysterious Island, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth at Tokyo Disneysea;
    Return to Oz;
    The Rocketeer;
    Atlantis: The Lost Empire;
    Treasure Planet;
    Jackie Chan’s Around the World in 80 Days;
    And distributing Studio Ghibli’s films like Castle in the Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle and Porco Rosso.

    …Walt Disney was the original Steampunk.

  • WOW THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY WIN. I had a crummy homeworky afternoon and you totally made it so much awesomer (yes, awesomer).

  • I love these characters. I think the story-line should continue. Maybe it will depend on the popularity of the items. But whether it’s a book to continue the journal, or a tv show, or movie… I say let’s see it and soon!!!

  • These are great! I’ve never heard of the term Steampunk – but I do recognize the style! I’m not a pin collector…but I’d love to see this on t-shirts and other merchandise 😉 Always something great from Disney!

  • Those are really cool…now…how do I get Disney to notice my goggles and want to carry them in their parks?? 😉

  • Fantastic! I was first introduced to Steampunk back in the late 80’s with the “Space 1889” role playing game. Soon after the announcement for the Jules Verne inspired “Discoveryland” in then Euro-Disney I was ecstatic. I eventually got a chance to see Discoveryland back in 2000 and 2001. By far the best Tomorrowland in any Disney park. I now have to see Mysterious Island in Tokyo Disney Sea. I love your designs and would defiantly buy any book, comic, game etc. featuring Steampunk Disney caricatures.

  • This is the most creative thing that I have seen from Disney in a long time! Excellent artwork! Looking at the drawings makes me want to see a hand drawn movie or tv series featuring these characters! I want to explore the characters and their world!

  • These pins are AMAZING!! I am so happy to see another Ludwig pin!! Disney should make steampunk Mickey Mouse Ears!! Hint Hint!

    I do have a pin question though…

    The Vinylmation Walk/Don’t Walk pin (that was shown yesterday in the What’s HapPINing Blog) is that going to be part of the upcoming April Vinylmation Limited Mystery Set or a different Vinylmation Limited Mystery Set? Either way I am going to need to buy it! LOL But I am hoping you could clarify it for me. THANKS!

    • That pin will be part of a set planned for June 2010. The Walk/Don’t Walk pin is one that you will be able to see. The other pins in that set will be a mystery … and they look great! We just got the samples today.

  • As the vice chair of a steampunk convention, Steamcon, and long time Disney fan and pin collector… I am so excited! The Daisy pin looks excellent! Can’t wait!!!

  • Also, perhaps a special Steampunk theme day to celebrate? People can wear their costumes in the park and raise awareness?

  • I have been into Steampunk for over a year now and Disney fan for life and I am SO excited! I may just go to Disneyland so I can these pins! I would love to see a steampunk attration 🙂

  • Mechanical Kingdom would make a great world in the next Kingdom Hearts game!

  • These would make great t-shirts/hoodies around the Haunted House Ride.

  • OMG! I’m so excited, the rest of my family is crazy into steampunk, and now I can incorporate my mouse love too! A zillion thumbs up!

  • WOW! I’m speechless! There has been a lacking recently of merchandise I’ve wanted from the parks, aside from stuff in Hong Kong Disney, but I really can’t wait for this! Great development team on the idea! Keep up the great work.

  • I’m not really a pin guy, but these are fantastic looking. I really like them, and may just pick them up!

  • I know Steampunk is relatively new ( a few years) but is this not also the theme that Tony Baxter had for Discovery Bay? Victorian inventors with modern inventions? Wow – to see that created someday at a Disney park would be well worth the wait.

  • I’m not going to lie. This is probably my most anticipated thing right now. I really hope that book gets released as well. I want that more than the pins! And maybe a Disney Channel animated series. 😉

  • SO happy Disney has spotted this trend and is doing it up right! Well done on all the character’s designs. I cannot wait for the Vinylmation set as well!

  • Okay, this just made my day. If only these had come out a few weeks ago when I was at DW!

  • OH WOW!!! This is nothing short of AMAZING!!! I must have this set!! The Disney Pin Team has way too much creativity….LOL Great work you guys!!

    • Great news Steampunk fans! I spoke with Mike Sullivan and the team at Disney’s Pin Traders in Florida. We’ve been thrilled at your responses to this set, so we’ve arranged a special event for you.

      On April 1, you can meet Mike Sullivan, the Disney artist behind The Mechanical Kingdom, and have your pins signed at Disney’s Pin Traders from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This store is located in the Downtown Disney® Marketplace at Walt Disney World® Resort.

      Steampunk goggles are optional.

  • Now these are some pins! FANTASTIC!

    • Many thanks for all of the wonderful comments! I’m so glad you like the set as much as we do. Mike also says thanks for the kind words. Steampunk rules!

      For those interested, you can download some wallpaper images and see the release details at the following page:

      This collection will be released in California and Florida.

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