Disney's mouse ears a rite of passage

Story highlights

  • Actress Annette Funicello, who started her career as one of the most famous Mouseketeers, died on Monday
  • Her trademark mouse ears are seen today as a symbol of fond memories around Disney movies and theme parks
It all started with those Mickey Mouse ears.
Annette Funicello was a teen icon of the 1950s and '60s, beginning her career as the most famous member of the original "Mickey Mouse Club."
Aside from paving the way for future Mouseketeer stars like Britney Spears, Keri Russell, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, Funicello made the mouse ears something that every kid wanted to wear, and a symbol of Disney fandom for generations.
Whether they're fans of the movies, the theme parks or both, the lovers of all things Disney trace some of their fondest memories to the moments they were wearing those mouse ears, and in many cases, they've passed this down to their children as a rite of passage.
Check out the gallery above for Mickey Mouse ear memories through the years from CNN iReporters.