Hidden Mickey's at Disney World Florida

Florida Guide > Disney General

The next time you're standing in line for a ride at The Magic Kingdom look at the walls. Check out the sculptures. Survey the landscaping and then look closer. You might just see three circles - two small, one large. Doesn’t that look a mouse head? Well it probably is, Hidden Mickey's, as they're commonly called, are everywhere at Walt Disney's theme parks.

What exactly is a hidden Mickey? Disney's concept is relatively rigid. It has to look like Mickey Mouse, it can't just be a big circle and two little circles. It can't be placed there intentionally as a design element, like a Mickey Mouse logo on a manhole cover.

Spotting the famous logo is becoming a pastime for distracted parents, and also an obsession for a handful of park visitors who follow each new mouse sighting as if it was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. What began as an inside joke among Walt Disney Imagineers, the artists and engineers who design Disney parks and attractions, has become a passion with many Walt Disney World Resort guests. Imagineers include Hidden Mickey's 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 hidden symbols aren't usually sanctioned at the corporate level. Instead the mice are hidden by the imagineers who design the attractions. They like enjoy hiding the Mickey's as much as park guests enjoy trying to find them. A lot of the hidden Mickey's were put there on purpose, but many more were put in by the imaginers so no one knows exactly where they all are.

The first Disney attraction to conceal information was the StarTours ride in which designers secretly scratched their birthdays on the pipes, according to Disney. In 1988, hidden Mickey Mouse logos appeared at the Norway pavilion at Epcot. By the following year, they had moved into the Disney Hollywood theme park. However hidden Mickey's in Orlando go back to before 1971, when construction crews placed survey markers with mouse ears on the property.

How do you find a Hidden Mickey?

A hidden Mickey is usually three circles representing Mickey's head and ears, but can also be a profile shot. Other known forms are silhouette profiles of Mickey's head, with a pronounced nose and ears set in back. It can also be an actual "cartoon" image of his face, where you can make out his eyes, nose, and mouth. Sometimes it's also a full figure in silhouette or in the "cartoon" form, or even a three-dimensional figure, as in the form of a doll. Look for design elements which repeat themselves, areas with a lot of visual repetition like carpet and wallpaper patterns. The curves of the Mickey silhouette also lend themselves naturally to lots of architectural features like railings, mouldings and wrought-iron. Most hidden Mickey's are not put directly in front of you. As you are manoeuvring through an attraction, look off to the sides, down on the floor and up at the ceiling. Hidden Mickey's are usually small. You very rarely find the huge ones like the floor of the Disney Hollywood Studios. Cast members usually know where they are in the attraction in which they work, so you can always ask them.

Where the next Hidden Mickey will appear is anyone's guess but you could start your search with these:-

  • The rocks in the outdoor observation area behind Disney's Animal KingdomLodge are etched with several hidden Mickey's.
  • The glass in the roof of the Main Street train station is covered inhidden Mickey's. The best way to see them is to look up at the glass skylightfrom the ground floor of the station.
  • An aerial view of Disney's Hollywood studios reveals a giant hidden logo in thearchitecture. The only way to get a good look at it is to buy a map or flyover the park in an aircraft.
  • The froth of your cappuccino may even bear the familiar design.

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