Friday, February 01, 2008

Souvenirs: The Return of a Classic

On my last few visits to Walt Disney World, I have noticed the return of a particular souvenir, both classic and iconic. The Mickey ears balloon has been around since 1971 and its image has decorated everything from store bags to promotional graphics. But in my mind, its most famous incarnation was the balloon-within-balloon souvenir that was a Main Street staple throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. When I saw them rising again above the Magic Kingdom on a visit last fall, I was instantly and sentimentally transported back to 1973 and an image of my younger sister, then six years old, with a most precious item securely tied to her wrist.

8 comments:

MainstreetMom said...

I got one of these for my first birthday! It takes me back...

Joey V said...

Jeff! You and me both. That balloon was tied so strongly to my wrist, the ciruclation could cut off. Eventually, mother starting tying it to the stroller.

However, I remember those things NOT being inside the clear one, don't you?

cubeinhabitant said...

I was so excited to see these when I was back at the Magic Kingdom in January for the marathon weekend.

wilberfan said...

"...around since 1971."?

I'm 54 years old now, and remember getting one of these every time we left "the park"--and I would have been 7 or 8 or 9...

I can still remember how heartsick I was when one got away from me as we got to the car...

Jeff Pepper said...

My frame of reference was WDW so I hadn't considered their context to Disneyland; I stand corrected. Does anyone know if the balloon-within-balloon style existed in Disneyland prior to the opening of WDW?

John G said...

I bought one of these balloons on Monday, 1/21 for my daughter. We stayed in a Ft. Wilderness Cabin for a week and it was just as taut and lifted as the moment I bought it . . . I was surprised that a balloon cost $10, but it certainly lasted well enough to cost that. (Plus, the clear exterior is thick and almost like a super-thin mylar!)

gmaletic said...

Did the balloon-inside-a-balloon configuration really exist in the '70s? From that era, I only recall the mouse ear ballon as a standalone item. Nesting inside another balloon feels like a '80s-'90s-era innovation, but I certainly could be wrong.

Brian Martsolf said...

My memory of the balloons at Disneyland was of the "stand alone" ear type ballon without the other type of ballon over it. It is a stong memory and I rember bringthem home and one ear would always start to deflate faster than the other within the next day or two. In fact when seeing the baloon within a baloon type for the first time at WDW I figured it was a new thing and even came up with an idea of why the old "stand alone" type were eliminted until they were able to bring them back by having this other baloon covering it, I assumed that the old stand alone" ears ballons were eliminated due to moden awreness of latex allergys, and that perhaps the outer clear oval is made of something other than latex and shields the inner laytex ballon from those who may be sensitive to it.