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Image: Loren Javier, Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenjavier/4759698472/)

Disney pins are a popular collectible but they’re far from the only option. If you’re looking for something other than pins to show off your Disney fandom, consider these fun picks. All are relatively small and available in a dizzying array of options so you can focus your collection on just about any niche interest that you have within the spectrum of Disney lore.

1. Ear hat ornaments

Disney Ear Hat Ornaments

Wonderland Ear Hat Ornaments
Image: Amy Ziese

Disney’s ear hat ornaments were originally released in a small limited edition set made of exquisitely detailed porcelain. The first release was so popular that the collection was quickly expanded. The next generation of ear hats, in 2012, featured ornaments crafted out of resin. The resin ornaments exhibit enhanced details like glitter and decals. The ear hat ornaments are now a staple of the Disney holiday collection, with new designs typically released each year in July.

These ornaments stand out from other Christmas decorations in their outstanding creativity. Every ornament is shaped like a classic Mickey Mouse ear hat, but the colors, designs, and embellishments infuse each one with undeniable personality. You’ll find ear hat ornaments for nearly every character, movie, attraction, or occasion you could want. They’re designed by top Disney artists. Cody Reynolds worked on the princess ear hats. Costa Alavezos brought his talents to designs like Steamboat Willie and Lady from “Lady and the Tramp.” You’ll see Ron Cohee’s talent in ornaments like Dory, while Alex Maher contributed the Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland collections.

If you’re looking for an eye-catching item to grace not only your Christmas tree, but your collection shelves year-round, these ear hat ornaments are an outstanding pick that you can tailor to show off any favorite aspect of Disney, whether you’re hopping for Tigger or buying a darling “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornament. Select options can even be personalized on the ears.

In Walt Disney World, you’ll find ear hat ornaments at Ye Olde Christmas Shop in Magic Kingdom and Disney Days of Christmas at Disney Springs. The Disneyland Resort carries them in the China Closet at Disneyland Park, the World of Disney at Downtown Disney, and Trolley Treats at Disney California Adventure.

2. Vinylmation

Vinylmation Characters

Disney Vinylmation Characters
Image: Laura, Flickr (license)

Disney’s Vinylmation products are another example of a Mickey-shaped item taking on a different character. Vinylmation – a mashup of the words “vinyl” and “animation” – figures are available in 1.5-inch, 3-inch, and 9-inch sizes so you can gather quite a diverse collection. Each figure is cleverly painted to represent a different character, from princesses to Marvel superheroes.

While some do indeed represent various Mickeys, the Mickey ears are included on nearly all Vinylmation figures. For characters like Goofy, they still represent ears. However, for others, the ears may be used to expand on the backdrop you’d see behind the character, or they may be clear so it’s easy to overlook them altogether. A few characters have their own shape entirely, but this is rarer.

Disney Vinylmation

Alice in Wonderland Vinylmation
Image: Joshua, Flickr (license)

While you can choose your Vinylmation collection, you don’t choose the character. Vinylmation figures come in blind boxes so you don’t know what you’ve got until you open it. This adds to the thrill of collecting them, but does lend to the unfortunate possibility of getting multiples of the same character. Vinylmation figures were once tradable, just like pins. However, Disney has since done away with Vinylmation trading, so you’re left with options like eBay if you want to get rid of your extras or purchase a particular character that’s been opened.

You’ll find Vinylmation boxes throughout the theme parks as well as at Disney Springs.

Tsum Tsum

Disney Tsum Tsum

Tower of Tsum Tsum
Image: Sam Howzit, Flickr (license)

Tsum Tsum is Japanese for “stack stack” and provides an accurate description for how these characters sit. Tsum Tsums are cylindrical plush toys that take on the face of dozens of different characters. Tsum Tsums come in several different sizes. You’ll find the 3.5-inch mini character, 11-inch medium, and 17-inch large. If you sign up for a Tsum Tsum subscription box, you can also get the rare 7.5-inch “small” size. A 2.5-inch micro size was recently introduced as well.

Tsum Tsums are released in collections, typically themed around a particular movie. For example, the Lion King Collection includes Simba, Nala, Mufasa, Scar, Zazu, Rafiki, Timon, Pumbaa, and a hyena, each purchased separately. A new collection comes out on the first Tuesday of every month. While some are easy to find on store shelves, others inevitably become hot items that are instantly impossible to track down.

If you sign up for Disney’s Tsum Tsum subscription, you’ll get a monthly box that includes one small and one mini plush that coordinate, a three-piece set of mini plushes, a plush movie moment, and a six-piece micro plush set. While Tsum Tsums are widely available in Disney theme parks and Disney stores, they’re also available on other store shelves, like Target, so this is one item you can collect right in your hometown.

Pressed pennies

Penny Press

Penny Press Reels
Image: QuesterMark, Flickr (license)

If you’re looking for a collectible that’s affordable, pressed pennies are a great pick, with the  just 51 cents each. These are perfect for children because they get to pick the design that they want and turn the crank to press their penny. This option requires a little preparation, so if you want to go the pressed penny route it’s bet to come prepared. Fill a small coin purse with quarters and shiny pennies. For each one, you’ll need two quarters and one penny. Keep a separate change purse or collectors book with you for stashing the finished pennies. Sticking them in a pocket is risky on a long day in the park, so make sure they’re somewhere safe so you don’t lose any of these special items.

Pressed penny machine

Choose your pressed penny
Image: QuesterMark, Flickr (license)

You’ll find pressed penny machines scattered liberally throughout the parks and hotels. You can collect one for every country in Epcot or for each resort you go to. You can also find them for most themed lands throughout Disney World. If you don’t see a penny machine right away, don’t hesitate to ask a Cast Member if there’s one in the area. They’re often tucked away in a quiet corner and easily overlooked.

Though it can take a bit of digging to find the exact characters that you’re after with some of these collectibles, the search is half the fun. Keep your eyes open and you’re likely to find new options available to you on every visit.

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Comments

Get young kids excited about pressed pennies and as they get older they will still be excited about them. Adults will be excited that we won't have to spend hundreds of dollars each trip on quickly forgotten souvenirs, too!

Tsum tsum, and the other things you mention, are kinda "faddish". I think someome starting a collection now is setting up for disappointment when they are no longer offered. I collect keychains, personally, which will never go "out of style". And different ones all the time.

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