I know the very notion of this sounds a bit absurd but with the introduction of Disney’s Glow with the Show Mickey ears, it’s definitely something to think about.
On the surface these ears look just like any other pair of souvenir Mickey Mouse ears that you can buy at any Disney park, but these ears pack a little something extra that Disney hopes will make you drop a cool $25 per pair.
As you can plainly see these ears glow but ah, they don’t just glow when you turn the switch on and off. The multicolor LEDs in the ears have been specifically designed to interact with Disney’s California Adventure’s World of Color and Disneyland’s Fantasmic! shows to change colors, flash, etc. in sync with said shows.
And yes, it does look pretty cool when they are in action. Check out this obviously staged video, staged because a) they are not available as of this post, b) the chances of the entire crowd buying a hat are slim to none and c) the crowd is practically lifeless during the show.
Oooh, look at all those pretty colors. Nice, eh? While it’s fine and all, keep in mind the angle at which the video was shot. Unless you are Shaq or some dude standing on a ladder, you will not get the same effect. In fact it could be considerably worse if you are shorter than the average bear. Additionally, this video was shot with almost 100% audience participation. I have read that it was made up of Annual Passholders who were given complimentary ears for this video. Anything less than 100% of the crowd wearing the illuminated ears would make the effect look like a string of Christmas lights with bulbs burned out, and nobody likes that.
And hey, did you pick up the part on the video where Chuck Davis mentions that each hat has its own serial number and, using infrared technology and different zones in the crowd, they can be made to interact for entirely different effects such as flowing water?
That’s where I kind of went “Huh?” and really started to think twice about them.
In short, buying and wearing this hat is pretty similar to having an RFID chip on your head in that The Mouse will be able to track where you’ve been inside the park as they expand the range of the ears. (They currently work at a few other places as well as the aforementioned shows.)
Granted, your identity is not required (at least I don’t think it will be) when buying these hats but it’s a bit freaky just thinking that if I wear one of these hats while strolling through Disneyland, somewhere there’s a computer with my hat’s ID that knows where I’ve been.
And I’m sure the argument can be made that with cell phone technology and GPS (plus granting countless permissions on apps), we willingly give up a piece of our privacy in the name of convenience, and this is no different.
Point taken. But hey, Disney’s plan is all in the name of fun, right? Well, okay, I’m sure cash registers ringing up $100 for a family of four might have a little to do with it as well.
Just remember: selling cool souvenir hats with flashing lights is exactly how Plankton started controlling minds of Bikini Bottom residents in The SpongeBob SqurePants Movie.