Disney Parks developed a really innovative product with their Glow With The Show Mickey ears. They are their iconic Mickey ear hats but with illuminated ears. When worn during evening shows they are controlled with Infrared technology to illuminate in sync with the show's lighting and mood. They debuted at Disney's California Adventure "World of Color" show, but are expanding with other shows and areas including Disney World. Their control capability is fairly robust considering the relatively basic components. But as with most truly special things, the technology is only as good as the creativity utilizing it. The artistry of each show's brilliant lighting programming really creates a seamless, immersive and totally unique experience.

I haven't been lucky enough to catch a live viewing of the World of Color show, but with an upcoming trip planned to Disney World, I wanted to see what I could do to incorporate the lights and control technology into something other than the Mickey Ears. The ears are really fun looking, but for a few reasons, including wanting to be able to see the effect personally, I looked forward to the challenge of installing the technology in something else that made more sense for me. There are a fair number of limitations to reincorporating the electronics unless you start soldering tiny and delicate parts, which I had no interest in. Working with those limitations (battery placement, limited LED spacing), a few ideas emerged, but finally decided on creating a small shoulder bag where I would incorporate the two sets purchased.

All of the effort was worth it and it was a HUGE hit at the theme parks from guests and cast members alike, so I've gone about making this Instructable for anyone to make their own, or to inspire you to make your own unique Glow With The Show item. Here's how I went about making this fun-and a bit silly bag.

Step 1: Disassemble the Magic...

Before embarking on this adventure, I did a web search to see if anyone had taken these hats apart to understand what the components looked like before shelling out $50 for two of them. One such link existed with a thorough tear-down and exploration which proved helpful enough to forge ahead. Here's maker Andy's link:

You can purchase the Glow with the Show Mickey Ears at Disneyland and Disney World, or via their park merchandise sales at 877-560-6477, where I purchased two.
The process begins by ripping out the inner foam insert which is glued into place inside the hat which protects the electronics which are connected to an arched plastic band. Carefully pry open the two-piece plastic ears exposing the flexible PCB that runs through the hat and has the lights and other electronics attached. You will need a small screwdriver to complete the removal of the ears, and it's fairly likely that this will destroy the ears in the process, but you're making something at least as cool in their place! Make note of where the wires connecting to the battery compartment are so that you can ensure correct relocation. Using a soldering iron, heat and remove the wire connections from the battery compartment. Using a hacksaw or grinder tool, remove the batttery compartment screw holder and the plastic band on either side of the battery compartment. This will leave you with a simple rectangular battery 3 AAA battery compartment. Repeat for both ears.
<p>I used your idea of repurposing the electronics from the Made with Magic products to make my own fiber optic fairy wings for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party this year!</p>
That is fantastic! I'm glad to have provided inspiration, and you did such a brilliant job with your fiber optic work! Bravo and thanks for sharing!
<p>Great! I have found a good source for the panels here www.el-w.com and here www.etsy.com/shop/lightkraft They were the best prices I've found in the US.</p>
<p>Wow, this looks awesome! Good job! :-)</p>
Thanks a lot!
<p>No problemo! I read your forum topic and thought I'd leave a comment :-)</p>
Voted for this in the Make it Glow contest, and now I want Disney to manufacture and market Tomorrowland Trashcan Bags.
Sweet! I just saw they are coming out with salt &amp; pepper shakers that look like their theme park trash cans, so maybe you're not far off! :) Thanks for the vote!
It looks cool but would guys really wear this? i know we live in a more permissive society but still the guys i know wouldn't usually wear something like this, please dont think i'm being rude just asking a question is all
It looks cool but would guys really wear this? i know we live in a more permissive society but still the guys i know wouldn't usually wear something like this, please dont think i'm being rude just asking a question is all

About This Instructable


91 favorites


Bio: I've been self employed most of my life, with an unending stream of ideas. One of my best skills is brainstorming and problem solving ... More »
More by davidandora: Faux-Bronze Crow Statue Singing Pumpkins Illusion DIY guide Upgrade Your Refrigerator Lighting
Add instructable to: