Living in Central Florida means having Walt Disney World as your neighbor on the other side of the fence.  The Magic Kingdom at WDW opened in 1971, and many of us flocked to the park way back then while in high school and college.  We literally grew up with Mickey Mouse.

Now as Annual Pass Holders we use the Disney parks as a diversion when we can get a little time away, sometimes for just an evening.  While the passes are a bit pricey, we really enjoy the flexibility and fun of using the four parks at our leisure.  Obviously, we have been on all the rides and seen all the shows, but there are always surprises that the Disney Imagineers keep adding.  One of these is know as “Hidden Mickeys.”

The legend is that after the initial opening and success of the Magic Kingdom, the next project was EPCOT center.  Disney management wanted to restrict characters like Mickey and Minnie to the Magic Kingdom, so designers at EPCOT set out to hide images of Mickey in the new park, and “hidden Mickeys” were born.  The concept caught on, and today there are over twelve hundred Mickey’s hidden in the four parks.

Power transmission lines outside of Disney at Celebration

Some of the Mickeys are not very well hidden while others are subtle and almost impossible to find.  But those of us who are “frequent flyers” are always looking for – and discovering – “new” hidden Mickeys with every visit.  And the Disney designers are always looking for new and clever ways to hide “Mickeys” so there are always new ones popping up.

Hidden Mickeys are not always the traditional round face and ears.  You may find Mickey’s gloves, shoes, hand print, profile, and even 3-D images.  Over time, Disney designers have upped their game to make our game more fun.

So it’s a game?  Sure – you can make your trip to Walt Disney World into a scavenger hunt for Hidden Mickeys, along with all the other wonderful experiences that Disney has to offer.  Adding Hidden Mickeys to your day at Walt Disney World makes time spent there even better!

hidden mickey animal kingdom
Metal leaves at Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World is unfortunately a day of lines…waiting in line for attractions and rides, and sometimes even the rest room.  Hidden Mickeys can make the line time more enjoyable for you and for the kids and grandkids – and can keep them occupied while waiting.

So in your next (or first) visit to the Florida Disney parks, look closely and see how many Hidden Mickeys you can find!

For more information, Steven Barrett has published “Hidden Mickeys: a Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets.”  His website at has lots of other secrets from the Orlando Disney parks. 

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