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Orange Bird Photo Hunt


« Imaaaaaagination | Main | Photo Hunt Update »

EYE CANDY: Balloons!

We bring you photos of those good old iconic Mickey Mouse balloons.

I don't know the history of the Mickey-shaped balloons. I do know I loved picking one out as a little kid every time we went to Disneyland.

Spiffy old balloon vendor costumes...

This next photo is wonderful. It was sent to us by a fan of the blog, Jeffrey Lipack, as part of our Photo Hunt. Look at the grass hill!

These next two were sent in by Daniel Zuccarelli (@PerpetualGeek, I love Main Street morning shots like this. If you look closely you'll see a few kids have already gotten their balloon for the day.

Speaking of kids.... This kid is selling the balloons. Lucky guy. Look behind the balloons on the left. The artwork on the bag is fun. It features a very early Mickey and Minnie with that old Walt Disney World logo we all love. Click here for a clearer image.

On a date with a sailor. Great balloon and a fantastic pennant. Pennants were one of my favorite souvenirs after growing out of balloons. Where are all my pennants now?? Sadly I have no clue.

Lone balloons.

Characters with balloons.

Chip and Dale in Rescue Rangers garb.

Chip and Dale in the nude.

Roger Rabbit.

The "new school" version of the Mickey balloon. I actually love these balloons-in-balloons. It's a rare thing to take a classic product and improve on it without ruining any of its original qualities.


Related posts:

EYE CANDY: National Geographic Aug '63 [Part 1]
EYE CANDY: Not Having Fun at Disneyland
Vintage Disneyland Home Movies- Meeting Walt Disney Himself
Disneyland 1955 Model Close-ups
Magic Kingdom Map Found in a Main Street Wall
THEN AND NOW: Disneyland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: MK Fantasyland [Part 1]
EYE CANDY: Behind the Scenes Muppeteering

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Reader Comments (26)

What stunning images! I agree. It's nice to see that when they added to the classic balloon it still retained its original charm. I love seeing a large cluster of ONLY these balloons. I hate when they mix in a bunch of tacky Nemo, Stitch, Buzz Lightyear, etc. mylar balloons of all different shapes. The classic nature of the Town Square balloon vendor looses a great deal of style and classiness when there's a large cloud of over-designed, cheap, less attractive balloons hovering at eye-level with that great turn-of-the-century Main Street architecture. Blah.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJumperJH

I was thinking about Mickey balloons after watching this video yesterday :

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

JumperJH- I'm just waiting for someone to say "But the kids like all those character mylar balloons. Give them a variety". I agree with you. The classic Mickey shaped balloons fit in very nicely and don't detract from the ambiance. Disney, in my opinion, ought to consider these things and the long-term effect these things have on the integrity of the parks instead of just wanting to make an easy buck despite the thematic/visual conflicts a "Lightning McQueen" balloon might pose on a quaint Main Street setting.

Anyway, great photos.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTahitianTimmy

WONDERFUL POST!!! I think my favorite photo was the one with Snow White bending over to speak to the little girl holding the balloon. I have always loved balloons, especially Disneyland balloons!

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

Great post! Thank you so much for highlighting such a magical element of the Disney parks. I loved the balloons as a little girl and even though my parents never bought me one, they still remind me of being a kid and enjoying every second in the parks.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJo

I love these! :) Thank you! I have a couple old Disneyworld/Disneyland pictorial souvenir books from the 70s with pictures #4, 11 and 12. I miss the original style balloons (not in the clear bubble) but they last longer and don't get oxodized. I actually have some Mickey shape ones at home (NOT the cheapo party store kind, the real good quality kinds like at Disney) and I finally figured out how to blow them up. Does anyone know the exact years that some of these photos were taken? I can tell in some of them by the colors of the balloon. In the 70s they had dark green, and in the 80s through 1992 was the blue, pink, yellow and red. And the ones with the black ears were 1961 to about 1964. And the ones that are a neon color (the one above the sailor photo) was the mid 60s. I also love the first photo posted. Even though I am not a kid anymore I love getting the balloons at Disney! I get one every time I go, and that's been since March 1992 when I was about 3.

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephen

I think you guys beat "UP" for most balloons on a single screen. Well done, and I look forward to seeing what else this photo hunt yields...

January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames

I love all this old pics! I'm glad all of these are really preserved well!

January 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Wow - great seeing these photos. I was a balloon vendor at the Park starting in 1969 at the age of 15- my first job ever - working for Nat Lewis Balloon Company which was the Lessee at the time. Nat took 6 of us "Disneyland Balloon Boys" down to Disney World for the grand opening where we helped orchestrate the 50,000 balloon release on opening day. After my college days, I went on to invent balloon columns, arches etc. and pioneered the balloon decorating industry where we created many of the spectacular balloon installations for Disneyland during the eighties and early nineties. I am the one who invented the current Mickey Mouse balloon inside the clear balloon - glasshouse balloon - and invented the light that goes inside as well. The first outfit I wore was the Peter Pan costume that is featured here (with Snow White in the photo) but I did not wear it nearly as well as the cast member pictured. I work with all the Disney Parks worldwide now in creating their balloons and enjoy what I do tremendously. Appreciate all the posts here - especially the comments about the current glasshouse balloon and not wanting it mixed with the foil balloons which I agree with,

January 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTreb Heining

Treb- Are you serious!!? That is FANTASTIC. You should have written this post. What a great part in park history you have. Have you ever posted photos online of your balloon work?

January 25, 2012 | Registered CommenterFritz

Happy to send you some materials - please contact me at


January 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTreb Heining

Treb, is it best to use a pressurized helium tank to get the ears nice and full inside the Qualatex bubble? I try using it on a regular tank, and when the bubble isn't inflated yet, the ears are big, but they don't seem full enough once the bubble gets blown up, and I'm afraid to pop the inner balloon. I saw photos and even video of the 1971 Grand Opening; I would've loved to help do the 50,000 balloon release! I miss the old style colors of the Qualatex latex balloons, like the dark green. Now it's different. And the Mickey balloons are different too, in terms of colors and the printed logo. They recently discontinued light blue which was one of my favorites. I also read somewhere that the Glasshouse balloons have been around since 1999 at Disneyland. Is that true?

January 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephen

WOW. Just found your site, it's fantastic! Whew... now I'm all verclempt after that walk down my childhood memory lane!

I'll be back - new follower. BTW, found you from Theresa's article on WDW Fan Zone! :)

January 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTami

One of the new things (to me anyway) when I was in Disney World last month was the Tinkerbell balloon-in-balloon but now with the added blinking lights inside the inner balloon. It was a neat effect at night, but I do have a soft spot for the originals, too.

January 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave

One of the new things (to me anyway) when I was in Disney World last month was the Tinkerbell balloon-in-balloon but now with the added blinking lights inside the inner balloon. It was a neat effect at night, but I do have a soft spot for the originals, too.

January 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Going through some old souveneirs, I found an uninflated old Mickey balloon, it looks just the real deal, and i can't help but wonder where my dad got it. Just a normal party balloon with mickeys face and ears. I wouldn't dare risk inflating it, but it is an interesting thing to find

January 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I missed my first trip to Disneyland with my dad after seeing those photos. Such fun memories.:)

January 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShayne Calloway

im actually a current balloon vendor with rubio arts at wdw... the current glasshouse balloons last way longer than just the latex balloons... some can last up to 3 months! i light up balloons are pretty awesome too.. its cool to see these pictures of how balloons used to be! i am so glad they changed those yellow costumes.. not that the current one is any better!

January 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterizzy

i love the old classics, but i have to admit the new ones (balloon within a balloon) are fabulous! my son got one in may and the balloon just deflated. well worth $10!

July 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercdillard

I worked at Disneyland from opening day in 55 to 1960. I was one of the original "balloon boys" working for Nat Lewis. In 1960 I went with Nat to the Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley to do the balloons for the opening ceremony. I have many fond memories of those early days in the park. I had many friends who were some of the original employees there. I had a hot dog with Walt at the 60 Winter Olympics while there.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Brenneis

Stephen - inflating the glasshouse balloon (Mickey inside clear) is tricky at best and very much a skill. Yes - helium tank is best - little in outside clear balloon first - then inflate latex Mickey - then back to outside clear to finish - takes some practice. Yes - print on latex balloon is different now but all the old colors are still available - just change from time to time. We have recently done the Light Blue for Christmas inside the snowflake glasshouse. Yes - the glasshouse balloon was officially introduced to Disneyland in 1999 - Henry Unger and I created the glasshouse product starting in 1997 and perfected in late 1998. The product was invented with one goal in mind - to vend in the Disney Parks...

Randy - I would love to talk to you about your experiences with Nat Lewis and the early days - please reach out to me at - thanks, Treb

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTreb

One more interesting Mickey balloon story - we recently had to re-create the Mickey balloon with the black ears for the new film "Mr. Banks" starring Tom Hanks. Film is based in the 60's and the machinery that originally did these balloons does not exist any more so each balloon had to be hand-dipped (about 750 were made)

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTreb

Treb and Randy- Excellent stories. The memories you must have.

Treb- I recently saw you in the "Candyman" documentary on Netflix. I didn't expect that!. What a great film. I suggest everyone see it.

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMitch

Mitch - glad you saw the film - Dave is a very good friend who invented the Jelly Belly jelly bean and was instrumental in putting me on my pathway to creating BalloonArt By Treb in the late seventies. There is not a more creative and generous person on this earth - thanks for mentioning the film...Treb

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTreb

Wow! Reading Treb's posts is insanely cool! How I wish I could have been born sooner and experienced the stuff first hand! I've been looking into being a balloons vendor at Disney because I live in Orlando, But i can't find how anywhere!

February 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCorina

I just came across this post. We are planning a trip to Disney World this summer and I was doing some research. I love looking at these old photos that show what Disney looked like when I was young. My how things have changed!

May 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMama1

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