During the construction of Disneyland, Walt Disney and his team of artists and designers understood that details and accompaniments would amplify the guest experience. Among those touches was the addition of names, painted on the windows of Main Street, USA, honoring those people who were vital in bring in Disneyland to life. The tradition of including the names of the Imagineers has been carried over to all Disney destinations and generally, the names go unnoticed by the thousands of guests who pass by every day but for those of us who know a little bit about the parks history, these Hidden gems are a special touch. Hidden Mickeys are like the names of Imagineers painted on the windows down Main Street, USA. It’s these kinds of details that bring another layer of entertainment to the parks.
Hidden Mickeys began to appear in the 80s and there are plenty of opinions among fans about what makes a true Hidden Mickey. For me, there are only 4 different qualities that define a Hidden Mickey.
1. A Hidden Mickey is a 3-circle silhouette or outline of Mickey Mouse. His head, composed of a larger, more centralized circle, with smaller circles for ears, attached in the right spots.The ears could also be detached if they are not too far away from the head; however, Mickey's head does not have to be right side up. It can be upside down or sideways.
2. A Hidden Mickey can be a profile of Mickey's head.
3. A Hidden Mickey can be a full body outline or silhouette of Mickey.
4. A Hidden Micky can be a full color drawing or other 3D model of Mickey
True Hidden Mickeys are those that have been intentionally placed somewhere yet are somewhat hard to find. There are hundreds of obvious Mickeys, but you really need to work hard to discover the Hidden ones. Hidden Mickeys are not Mickey Mouse in shows, parades, or other amusements where he is be expected to be seen or that change regularly. Hidden Mickeys should be somewhat permanent. They should also not be found in images hanging on resort room walls or in other obvious locations either. Hidden Mickeys can disappear during a refurbishment, but they can also appear in new locations following a refurbishment.
Hidden Mickeys can be found all over Disney World and Disneyland. They can be found in attractions, shops, restaurants, and even on the walkways that take you to and from your favorite rides. Some Hidden Mickeys are very small while others can only be seen from the Sky or from a rooftop. These are the biggest Hidden Mickeys. The largest of these can be found at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Echo Lake forms Mickey's left ear and painted rooftops form his right. His eyes, forehead, sideburns, and mouth are formed by other color changes in the pavement. His nose is formed by a grassy oval plot. The most recent large Hidden Mickey was formed in 2016 next to EPCOT. It is formed with large solar panels Disney uses to provide electricity. 25% of the power used by Disney World comes from this Hidden Mickey!
Finding Hidden Mickeys is a fun activity for the entire family. Those young and old alike can take part. There are plenty of Hidden Mickeys that the younger kids can find in places such as in living on the land at the Land Pavilion. While on the ride, inside the shrimp tank, a Hidden Mickey can be seen made from shrimp baskets. Another is made by forming a garden hose into the shape of Mickey's head.
Other Hidden Mickeys are not quite as obvious such as the one hidden in the tile mosaic above the kitchen door at the Sci-Fi Dine-In at Disney's Hollywood Studios. A much more difficult one, also found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, can be found in the tile floor near the exit of the Tower of Terror ride.
Each time my family goes to the Walt Disney World Resorts, we talk about finding Hidden Mickeys. We make a game, and a little bit of competition, where the winner gets an extra snack at the end of the trip. At the end of our competition though, our entire family ends up winning as it's a great activity and a little extra fun we get to share together. Plus, I always end up buying an extra snack for everyone. While we sit together, eating our snack and talking about the fun we had finding those Hidden Mickeys, I'm once again reminded about why I love Disney World. It’s the little details like these Hidden Mickeys that help make Disney World such a magical place where memories are made and where our family can bond and grow tighter.
Does your family look for Hidden Mickeys? What's the hardest Hidden Mickey you’ve found? Do you have a favorite Hidden Mickey or one that you like to share with those you travel with?
Thanks for reading.