Glow with the Show ears are coming to Walt Disney World

September 9, 2013, 1:38 PM · Disney announced today that's it is bringing its light-up "Glow with the Show" Mickey ears to the Walt Disney World Resort. The ears debuted at the Disneyland Resort in 2012, and since then Disney's brought them to Tokyo Disney and Disneyland Paris.

Glow with the Show ears

If you bought a pair of the ears at Disneyland, they will work at Walt Disney World once Disney starts running "Glow"-activated shows this fall. Disney World is starting with Fantasmic! on October 15, then will add the light-up ears to the Wishes fireworks and Celebrate the Magic shows at the Magic Kingdom on October 19. The ears also will become part of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights show at Disney's Hollywood Studios when it returns later in the fall.

From reports on Twitter and Facebook, it appears that the Glow with the Show ears are most popular in Tokyo, which probably shouldn't be a surprise given Tokyo fans' enthusiasm for of Disney merchandise (they love Duffy!) and embrace of gadgetry. We've written before about the Prisoner's Dilemma problem with Glow with the Show -- the visual effect of seeing all those ears lighting up works only if other people buy the ears. But buying the ears for yourself doesn't improve your view of the show, unless you're satisfied with knowing that you've contributed to the greater entertainment good. Disneyland did offer some special events for annual passholders where it gave away ears, and provided special reserved viewing areas to participating shows for ear owners, to boost the number of people wearing the light-up ears in the parks. Disney World has not announced any such events in Florida, but who knows?

If you're interested in the technology behind Glow with the Show, here's a Disney video on that topic, with Creative Entertainment Technical Director, Chuck Davis:

Replies (11)

September 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM · About time. I dont think there will be any problem with these being sold in Orlando. Regular mickey ears were everywhere the last time I was there. Now, I am excited because I have never bought mickey ears and I will definetely buy them now. So happy ????
September 9, 2013 at 9:30 PM · The WORST theme park product ever!

If you've gotten stuck standing or seated behind someone with these then you know the distraction is ridiculous! They may as well put a cast member with a flashlight in front of you and shine it in your eyes every couple of minutes!

I hate Glow with the Show ears!

September 9, 2013 at 4:24 PM · I hope this is not a stupid question, but I have never encountered these Glow With the Show ears. Do you have to control them somehow and make them change color at the right time or do they do that themselves?

I am a little intimidated by these things because I am not very quick with hand eye coordination and would not be able to keep up and have the ears turned to the right color like everyone else. It reminds me of playing "Simon" that light up game from the 70s.

I just don't need another gadget to learn. I have enough trouble understanding iPhones.

September 9, 2013 at 4:55 PM · Sounds like a way to dump excess inventory for a product that did not meet sales & usage expectations.
September 9, 2013 at 5:15 PM · What about Illuminations??!! They would be perfect there with that huge lagoon where you could see everyone for the most part.
September 9, 2013 at 7:58 PM · While I might enjoy seeing a sea of other people wearing these during a show, I will not be paying money for a pair myself.
September 10, 2013 at 7:37 AM · Disney did not include IllumiNations in that list of Glow-enabled shows, which I suspect will only fuel speculation that Disney's about to do away with the current version of that show. (Yay! Listen to Episode 7 of the TPI podcast for why I'd be thrilled if Disney replaced Reflections of Earth.)

As for how the ears operate, from the wearer's perspective: the ears use AA batteries, and you turn them on and off by moving your finger over a small silver-colored circle underneath the right ear. Once the ears are on, they will blink randomly until you get in range of a Glow-enabled show, then the show programming will take over and control the blinking and colors of the ears.

The batteries burn out pretty quickly, within 6-8 hours, in my experience, so you can get one night in the park with them before you have to replace the batteries. Or just turn off the ears until it's showtime.

September 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM · I almost bought a pair of these when we were in California earlier this year. I do find the concept intriguing, but I could not validate the purchase because the ears themselves are ugly. I would gladly pay the increased cost for the Glow-enabled ears if they looked good. The Mickey Ears are a classic look that have been bastardized beyond all recognition, but there are few uglier than the current glow-enabled design. I think I would have bought them if they were just a plain black cap with white ears, but that tie-dye look is just offensive. Perhaps the fact that they're being deployed to Disney World, they will come up with some more stylish designs that people won't mind walking around wearing in broad daylight.
September 10, 2013 at 10:08 AM · I feel the same way, Russell. Every time I thought about buying a pair I could not get past how damn ugly the things were.
September 10, 2013 at 10:41 AM · I'm just wondering if this is still a big thing at Disneyland? Do loads of people have these every night?
I for one never bought a Mickey hat. I never felt the urge to look like an idiot and put down an obscene amount of cash for that experience.
Also LED lights are very bright and I guess it's not very nice to stand in front of someone flashing those lights all the time in their eyes.
In the end it distracts form the show. If Disney thinks the show is not good enough they should repair the show and not ask for money for silly hats to spruce it up.
September 11, 2013 at 10:40 PM · I got mine free at the press debut. So *that* price was right. :^)

I'm quite surprised that Disney hasn't introduced a whole line of Glow with the Show ear designs. Having just one design for ANYTHING hasn't exactly been Disney merch's SOP for some time now.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive