Finding Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World

Lisa Fritscher November 27, 2010 No Comments

Hidden Mickey in Mural

See the Mickey Mouse head in the eye?

Who doesn’t love the thrill of adventure that comes with finding something that is hidden right out in the open? Geocaching and scavenger hunting are two wildly popular activities based on this concept. At Walt Disney World, the quest is always on for Hidden Mickeys. Unlike many other Disney activities, this one is entirely free of charge and need not take time away from your regular park touring schedule.

Hidden Mickeys Defined

Nemo Tribute Walt Disney World

A hidden tribute to the former 20 Leagues Under the Sea attraction

Hidden Mickeys are images of Disney characters built into the design of a ride, show, restaurant or other area on Disney property. The “classic” Hidden Mickey consists of a circle for Mickey Mouse’s head flanked by two smaller circles forming the ears, but Hidden Mickeys come in all shapes and sizes. Profiles and full body images of any Disney character are fair game. There is even a Hidden Walt Disney at the Magic Kingdom.

What’s Not a Hidden Mickey?

Decorative Mickey Disney World

Obvious Mickeys do not count

By definition, Hidden Mickeys are, well, hidden. An obvious Mickey or other character does not count. Character T-shirts, images printed on menus, and stuffed animals are not Hidden Mickeys. Neither are repeated Mickey head patterns on fences or walls.

Where to Find Hidden Mickeys

Test Track Mickey Disney World

Can you spot the Hidden Mickey in this photo?

Hidden Mickeys are located literally all over the Walt Disney World complex (as well as other Disney parks around the world). They can be found on signs, in carpet patterns, in the arrangement of water pools, even in the arrangement of props within a ride or show.

There is a particularly complex, but difficult to spot, Hidden Mickey inside the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. When the ride is stopped during the Temple scene, take a look at the wall on your left to see if you can find it. A much easier one is usually found in the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom. Take a look at the table in the ghostly ballroom scene. Interestingly, that one isn’t an “official” Hidden Mickey designed by Imagineers (Disney designers). It is an “unofficial” one created by the cast members (employees) who work in that attraction. Every once in a while a Disney official walks through the attraction and resets the table, but soon cast members recreate the Hidden Mickey!

How Many Hidden Mickeys Are There?

Mural Mickey Disney World

A classic Hidden Mickey shape

No one really knows how many Hidden Mickeys actually exist. There is no official list, although plenty of books and websites are dedicated to documenting all of them. However, there is often debate in the fan community on whether to accept certain Hidden Mickeys as valid. For example, does a “classic Mickey” qualify if the circles are not perfectly round? Some people say that it does, while others claim that it does not.

How Can We Incorporate Hidden Mickey Hunting Into Our Trip?

Hidden Mortimer Tribute Disney World

A sidewalk tribute to Mickey Mouse's original name, Mortimer.

The great thing about Hidden Mickeys is that you can hunt them however you like. Just keeping your eyes open as you travel through the parks will reveal quite a few Hidden Mickeys. If you prefer to do a more methodical search, you can download a list from the internet. Or turn it into a scavenger hunt game by purchasing Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Disney’s Best Kept Secrets, by Steve Barrett. Mr. Barrett is a physician with a Disney obsession, and his book lays out most, if not all, Hidden Mickeys in an easy-to-follow scavenger hunt.

Hidden Mickey Addiction

Hollywood Studios Mickey Map

Turn your Disney's Hollywood Studios map upside down--see the Mickey head?

Whatever you do, be careful. Hidden Mickey hunting is highly addictive! A few years back, we met up at Walt Disney World with a respected author who has written several books about Disney. He was in town on a research trip for his latest book, but took some time out to meet us for lunch. He had never heard of Hidden Mickeys, so we gave him a quick description and sent him on his way.

We happened to run into this author two days later, again at Walt Disney World. Simultaneously pouting and laughing, he informed us that he had gotten absolutely no research done. He was too busy staring at ceilings and floors, while nearly walking into walls in his quest to find more Hidden Mickeys!

You may also experience “Hidden Mickey Syndrome,” reported by many frequent Disney visitors. Apparently the phenomenon tends to set in without warning, typically several months after a trip to Walt Disney World. You may suddenly start seeing Hidden Mickeys everywhere around your house, from bubbles in the dish soap to raindrops and tomato arrangements. Of course, you could always use the commonly accepted Disney fanatic’s cure for Hidden Mickey Syndrome–book another trip to Walt Disney World!

avatarAbout the Author:

Lisa is a full-time travel writer. She lives in an RV with her disabled father and writes about their experiences. Although she has no children of her own, Lisa loves being an Aunt to her own relatives and the children of all her friends. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Travel Confessions.

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