One of the things that I love most about Walt Disney World (and all Disney Parks and hotels) is the incredible attention to detail that goes into the creation of every square inch of each destination. Disney Imagineers go to great lengths to ensure that there is an air of authenticity in relation to the theme of everything they create–from the use of “forced perspective” to make average-size buildings look taller, to the texture and impressions on the pavement and groundcover everywhere you set your foot. Everything works together to help anchor the overall theme. Nothing is left to chance in Disney creations and that is why we all love Disney Parks and Resorts so much–because that level of detail really is the Disney difference.
Hidden Mickey Started as an Inside Joke among Disney Imagineers
So it should be no surprise that one of these same playful Disney Imagineers at some point back in the day decided to incorporate a “Hidden Mickey” silhouette into the work being done at a Disney Park. Word spread among Imagineers and it wasn’t long before these Hidden Mickeys became an inside joke among Disney Imagineers–with Hidden Mickey silhouettes and appearances popping up more and more frequently as new areas of Disney Resorts and Parks were created. The story goes that in 1989 a Disney Cast Member wrote a story about these “Hidden Mickeys” in a Cast Member newsletter and from there, as they say, the rest is Hidden Mickey history.
Disney fans (myself included) are pretty easy pickings for adventures like this and as word got out, we began to spend time scouring over the details of abstract pieces of Disney Parks and Resorts searching to see if we could spot Mickey Mouse’s telltale outline in the Imagineers’ creations.
These days, Hidden Mickeys have gone more mainstream and there are books and websites dedicated to these creations. Sometimes eager fans go a bit too far, spotting “Hidden Mickeys” just about any time they see three circles in close proximity (not really forming Mickey’s telltale silhouette). But there are a ton of great Hidden Mickeys out there and when you find one, you’ll know it.
Disney explains Hidden Mickeys
An official Disney release once described Hidden Mickeys this way:
“Like Easter eggs, Hidden Mickeys have been placed secretly (and not so secretly) by Imagineers at locations across Walt Disney World Resort. Imagineers include Hidden Mickeys when designing, building or putting the finishing touches on a new attraction or hotel, hiding silhouettes, profiles and other images of Mickey Mouse in murals, queue areas and even golf course sand traps.”
The story went on to say that no one knows how many Hidden Mickeys exist throughout Walt Disney World and other Disney destinations, since Imagineers have never kept an official list of their existence. In fact, no one knows when the first Hidden Mickey even appeared. With all of the updates and renovations that happen over the years, some Hidden Mickeys have been lost (although it’s probable that they have been captured in a photograph somewhere).
So if you haven’t been a Hidden Mickey hunter before, why not have some fun on your next visit to Walt Disney World (or any other Disney destination) to see if you can spot a few Hidden Mickeys for yourself. It’s a lot of fun and kids really love it as well.
To get you started, here are a few of the popular Hidden Mickeys to seek out at Walt Disney World Resort:
- In the Haunted Mansion, watch for the plates arranged in a Mickey configuration on the table when you pass by the banquet and dancing scene. You’ll be moving pretty quickly and looking down, so keep a keen eye to find it.
- Inside Splash Mountain there’s a Hidden Mickey in the final scene. Watch for a pink cloud floating above the Zip-A-Dee Lady paddlewheeler and you may just spot Mickey lying on his back.
- There’s a great Hidden Mickey hidden on one of the totems in the Canada Pavilion–one of my favorites! It’s up high and you’ll have to be sharp to spot it, but you’ll know it when you see it.
- Inside Spaceship Earth you may just find Mickey hidden in his own constellation just after the loading area.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- A more subtle Hidden Mickey is waiting for you inside the Tower of Terror. Pay close attention to what the little girl is holding in the pre-show…before she vanishes!
- The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has not one, but two Hidden Mickeys located in the tile floor of the attraction’s rotunda.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Inside Pizzafari, study the wall mural–paying close attention to what you may find in the leopard spots.
- To make it a bit easier on yourself, hop on the train ride to Rafiki’s Planet Watch where there are reportedly over 25 Hidden Mickeys in murals, tree trunks and animal paintings. How many can you find?
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
- One of my all-time favorites is found in the stone floor of the lobby of Disney’s Polynesian Resort. While most guests walk right over this one as they enter the lobby, you won’t miss it if you remember to look down as soon as you step into the Great Ceremonial House from the front doors.
- There are several Hidden Mickeys at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and one of the easier ones to spot is on the weather vane atop the convention center.
What are you favorite Hidden Mickeys in Disney Parks and Resorts?
~ Mike Belobradic