More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Donning Your Vinylmation Ears

Steven Miller

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

Vinylmation Ear Hats

When I think of classic Disney icons, one image immediately comes to mind – the Ear Hat. It has become that “must have” souvenir when visiting Disney Parks (I got one when visiting Tokyo Disney Resort a few years ago). You may recall from previous Disney Parks Blog articles that we’ve started introducing limited edition ear hats (for a refresher – see Alice in Wonderland and The 55th Anniversary of Disneyland Resort. These highly collectible hats are presented in a satin lined hat box and contain unique applications and designs. In a word, they look awesome (okay, that was three words). Now, the limited edition ear hat is coming to Vinylmation on September 24, 2010 at D-Street in California and Florida. These hats have an edition size of 600 each and contain a unique addition – a specially designed 3-inch figure. I recently spoke with Maria Clapsis, the artist who brought these ear hats to life.

“These are the first limited edition ear hats I have designed,” explained Maria. “I used two different 9-inch figures from the Urban #4 series as the basis for design. I’ve designed pins and other Vinylmation figures before. Yet, it’s fun to do something completely different once in a while.”

Vinylmation Figures

The two figures she used were designed by Thomas Scott (pictured left) and Mike Sullivan (pictured right). I asked Mike about the inspiration behind his design.

“It was how I was feeling that day [laughs],” said Mike. “At the time, I had been drawing lots of ‘cute’ things, so I went a completely opposite direction with this figure.”

It looks like I found a hat to wear when it is one of “those” days.

Flame Vinylmation Ear Hats

Thomas explained that his design was based on the hot rod culture (a culture in which I wish I could join. Hint – I need a new car).

“The figure is inspired by classic hot rod paint jobs,” continued Thomas. “The most common color scheme is black with red and yellow flames. The other popular one uses the blue as a base color to which I selected. I do not have a hot rod, yet I really like the culture and art design of hot rod customizers.”

Vinylmation Ear Hats Figures

Maria worked with Thomas and Mike to create the 3-inch figures. She took elements from the 9-inch figures. If you look carefully on the bottom of the figures, you will notice that two artists are listed – Maria plus either Thomas or Mike. I love the fact that if you have all three items, they tell a complete story.

Fans in Florida can meet Maria and Thomas as well as Eric Caszatt and Casey Jones, who designed the recently released Vinylmation – The Nightmare Before Christmas series, on Friday, September 24 at D-Street at Downtown Disney WestSide. This artist autograph session will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. I hope to see you there (don’t forget to sign the “I Was There” figure).


  • It is rumored that DLR D-Street got a few Urban 5 ears in… were these a mistake? What is the official release date of these 2 ears? Will we be seeing official photos soon?

  • Do you have a date for the release of Park 5 and Holiday 2 sets yet?

  • I was wondering if I can bring a blank 9′ that I already have signed by some Vinyl artists this Friday(my awesome sister got it for me when D-Street Orlando opened), or do I have to buy a new blank for the artist signing? This will be my first one and Im pretty excited about it!

    • @Brian – There are no plans for the two upcoming Disney Ear Hats to be offered on the Disney Parks On-Line Store. This basically has to do with the low edition size of the hats (which are split between West and East Coasts). But it doesn’t mean that future Disney Ear Hats won’t appear on the site.

      @Matt – Hmmm …. We see Vinylmation as an overall brand that has endless possibilities. The current Mickey Mouse form is the current blank canvas that we will continue using. Even when another form (like Duffy, The Disney Bear) is introduced, the Mickey Mouse shape will still be used (in other words, more than one form or canvas shape can exist in the same universe). I can’t speak to “internet paranoia” (except perhaps – breath, it will all be okay 🙂 Unfortunately, that is all I can say right now. To say anymore would be like giving away the ending of “The Sixth Sense.”

      @Michael – Sure thing! Bring it and I know the Artists would be happy to sign it. I look forward to seeing you.

  • Thanks for your answer, Mr. Miller. Well here’s a question I have then! The quote above saying “He said that Mickey Mouse will remain the current platform for Vinylmation at this time… He [Duffy] will be a unique form not necessarily designed to replace the Mickey shaped form.” kind of concerns me. Can you explains that? Does this mean you foresee a time when Mickey is no longer used as the main character? I do think on the internet paranoia can take over and I thought some clarification would ease concerns. Thanks for your hard work! It is much appreciated.

  • Hi Steven!

    Is there any chance that some of these may appear on I see the “Flames” one went back on sale on the site, and I purchased one in anticipation of the ear hats. Whether the hats go on sale online or not, I still love the vinyl, though! And thanks for putting the 9″ Oogie Boogie and the 3″ Nightmare figures for sale online!!

  • The creativity used on the hats continue to surprise me!

  • I’m holding out for something a little more traditional… so I do hope to see more of these in the future.

    • @Matt – Well, that would keep me busy (LOL!). We currently have no plans to add that option to the “Blog.” When we hear fan feedback (and trust me, we do :-), we clarify as much as possible on the site. The Disney Parks Blog has been a great forum to connect with fans (I love the fact I can respond immediately). We actually have a whole department that handles Guest letters called Guest Correspondence. They are a centralized point which makes for consistent and timely responses.

      @Jessica – There currently is a Create Your Own option for Disney Ear Hats (which I’m guessing you know). I think the Create Your Own brand is a strong one for Vinylmation. Stay tuned as we have a few more ideas around Create-Your-Own coming next year.

      @Robert and Gregory – I’m thinking a different article is needed specifically about Disney Ear Hats. Let me get with the developer and see what we can do. I’m glad to know there is interest.

  • Oh I like the idea of create your own!

  • Dear Ear Hat people:

    Epcot. Please please please make Epcot themed ear hats.

    Thanks in advance!

  • Just a thought…. why don’t they make these Mickey Ears Hat & Vinylmation a Create your own. Kids and Adults alike would enjoy making their own ears to wear and if a mini came with it would just be the icing on the cake. Great for self or make a present for someone you love. Just a thought! I would buy some of those!!! I love to create my own Disney items. More unique!!

  • Thank You Steven!!!!!

    Oh the anticipation, ok, we will be looking forward to that story as soon as it is able to be released 🙂

    Once again, thanks for the update!!!!!!!!!!

    Dana 🙂

  • Steven,

    Is there away to add a “Send us an email” option or a comments section to the Vinylmation Blog? I think a lot of times us nutty collectors would like to get clarification on things or just to ask a question. I understand the VM team can’t answer every question but I thought it would be nice if some are answered. Thanks!

    Matt aka Ghost Host from Vinylnation!

  • Hi Steven

    Thanks for such exciting news and update!!!!

    The first Mickey Ears Hat & Vinylmation combo look amazing 🙂

    Just a couple of questions if possible 🙂

    Will there be any writstbands assigned for Friday morning? And is there a limit per person?

    What will the price be for the combination?

    One last question, is there a chance of having a DCL Mickey Ears Hat and vinylmation combo?

    Thank you once again for such exciting news – we really like them 🙂


    • Dana,
      Glad you like them. Here are a couple of answers.

      – In Florida, we do not plan on utilizing wristbands (unless needed). In California, they will be distributing wristbands.

      – In Florida, D-Street will open at 8:00 a.m. due to the Artist Autograph Session. In California, D-Street will open at 10:00 a.m.

      – The normal purchasing limits for Limited Edition items apply – two ear hats, per style, per Guest, per day.

      – The retail for these items are $49.95 each.

      – I’m not aware of any Disney Cruise Line combo sets at this time. Yet, there are always endless possibilities 🙂 And there are some REALLY cool things coming for Disney Cruise Line (but that’s another story).

  • i want the monorail mickey helmet

  • Thanks Steven! I can’t wait to get my ears!

    What other Vinylmatiln series can we expect to see more ears from?

    Also, this weekend we heard about Duffy shaped vinylmations coming in the Spring. Will these be similar to Duffy, in that it’s Duffy in different costumes? Or will it be just like vinylmations with similar Urban and Park inspired designs on the Duffy shape?

    • Jennifer,
      Hmmm … we have some other ear hat designs planned. Just not ready to share right now 🙂

      As for Duffy, The Disney Bear, glad you got to attend the Passholder Sneak Preview. I spoke with Donald Ferro, developer for Vinylmation.

      He said that Mickey Mouse will remain the current platform for Vinylmation at this time. We are looking at different forms to complement the Mickey Mouse form and Duffy, The Disney Bear will be one of them. He will be a unique form not necessarily designed to replace the Mickey shaped form.

      Stay tuned for future interviews with Monty Maldovan and Thomas Scott, two of the Disney Design Group Artists, who are working on this different and unique form. We are still in the high-level concept phase. When we have additional concepts to show, we will post them here and on

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