Hidden Mickeys have been both a joy and frustration to Disney park guests for generations. Some consider them a myth, while others credit the phenomena to a deliberate design. Whatever the truth, the search and find game has been going on for almost as long as the theme parks have been in existence.
What Is a Hidden Mickey?
A Hidden Mickey is simply the image of Mickey Mouse hidden somewhere within an attraction, be it a ride, theatre or restaurant. Don't look for a cartoon drawing or photograph of Mickey anywhere quite yet - "official" Hidden Mickeys are simply the head and ears silhouette of everyone's favorite mouse. It can be made out of just about anything, and found just about anywhere - and many have.
The first Mickey was found by Arlen Miller in the 1980s. He wrote an article for a Disney cast member publication, and soon the rumor spread quickly that Imagineers (Disney's park attraction engineers) had purposely hid Mickeys through the theme parks as an inside joke that was now being discovered and shared by outsiders.
These hidden silhouettes at Disneyland have never been formally acknowledged by the Walt Disney Company, though almost every Disney employee will confirm their existence. Since Disney has never published an official list, there are often disputes between people visiting the park as to what counts as a "real" Mickey, and what does not. At Disney World, an "unofficial" official list exists, though it is edited frequently to acknowledge recent finds and remove old, outdated ones.
Mickeys that you really have to stretch your imagination to form - such as circles that appear in a 3-form but are off in size proportion or are far apart in spacing - these are likely not real findings. A true Mickey will be able to be seen without leaving much to the imagination.
Anything that seems to elaborate or difficult, like a rock formation or gears and other equipment used to operate the rides, likely are not purposeful Mickeys. A true concealed Mickey will usually look rather purposeful and the result of planned design once it is discovered.
Finally, if something is not associated with Disney itself, then it does not count as a Mickey. People have claimed to see these hidden gems everywhere from Death Valley to the movie Independence Day (not a Disney film).
Places to Search
If your family is soon planning a trip to either Disneyland or Walt Disney World, these elusive hidden Mickeys may be on your mind. Below is a starter list for each park to get you going on your hunt. Chances are, with over 600 claimed sightings in Disneyland alone, you will find many beyond this simple list - but this will get you started and used to what to expect in a Mickey.
Disneyland Hiding Spots
- Indiana Jones Adventure - the drums at the bottom of the treehouse, viewing from the top.
- The Briar Patch - Winnie the Pooh entrance tunnel
- It's a Small World - The Mad Hatter Shop outdoor sign
- Alice in Wonderland - The Castle Heraldy Shoppe
- World of Disney - The White Rabbit house
- Big Thunder Ranch - the cannon near the Frontierland entrance sign
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - inside the small house in the ranch area. Look for the saddles.
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom
- Cinderella Castle - Christmas wreaths
- Explorer's Tent Rock - Look in the cave by the bones.
- Lost Safari Party - near the large Mickey Mouse garden on the side of the tunnel entrance
- Hall of Presidents - attic area on the floor
- Haunted Mansion - upside down in the border design of the first room
Additional Lists Available Online
Check out these additional lists found online when you're looking for help in finding the hidden Mickeys: