Disneyland Resort

Hidden Mickeys

Disney imaginers have a long tradition of putting "hidden Mickeys" (or "HMs") in or on Disney attractions, films, cast members, books, and anywhere else they can think to put them. The tradition began back when EPCOT Center was in the planning stages. Imagineers had been told that this was going to be a different kind of park -- a Disney park without Mickey Mouse in it. Imagineers responded by trying to cram images of Mickey into every nook, cranny, and corner of the park. Most of their attempts were caught by management -- for example, the originally planned Spaceship Giant Mickey Head had to be renamed Spaceship Earth and reengineered accordingly-- but many survived. The Disney-MGM Studios park, for example, forms a gigantic image of Mickey Mouse when seen from space. Since the placement of the first hidden Mickey, Imagineers have slipped HMs in wherever they could, and management has pretty much given up on trying to stop them for fear of some kind of violent uprising.

Finding these in-jokes has become an obsession with many Disney fans, entire Web sites have sprung up to catalog these items, and one poor, sad, misguided individual even took the time to catalog many of the HMs in Walt Disney World and publish the results in a book.

Oddly enough, the pleasant pastime of hunting HMs has a certain amount of controversy attached to it. It seems that Disney fanatics can not agree on exactly what constitutes an "official" hidden Mickey. In general, a HM must satisfy three criteria:

  1. It must obviously be a Mickey (not a Pluto, Goofy, or -- God forbid -- Shrek)
  2. It must be hidden (if everyone can see it, it's not really worth finding)
  3. It must have been intended by Imagineers (accidental arrangements of fallen leaves and shapes in the clouds need not apply)

Even within these rules, there is a lot of room for debate. Some HM Web sites have been nearly overwhelmed by debates on what constitutes an "official" HM. What about half a Mickey? Something at a mall? A fleeting image that nobody else can see? Arguments on these fine points have reached the point of physical violence at times, and there are rumors that the infamous Unibomber may at one time been a HM hunter.

For the uninitiated, here are a few examples of HMs and non-HMs to get you started looking for them in the Disneyland Resort.

Hidden sexual innuendo Hidden number of the beast
This is not a hidden Mickey. It's a hidden sexual innuendo, like the ones in Golden Dreams and on Tom Sawyer Island. This dial on the S.S. rustworthy in Disney's Calfornia Adventure is not a hidden Mickey, but one of the Disneyland Resort's copious hidden references to subservience to Satan.
Mickey ears hubcap Bad photo of camera in Main Street window
Neither of these items (one from Mickey's Toontown and one from Main Street U.S.A.) are hidden Mickeys. True, there is a vague resemblance to Mickey's silhouette, but that's about it.
Plain old unhidden Mickey Christmas disguise Mickey
Not a hidden Mickey -- he's not even trying to hide! This one's a little more controversial, but most HM hunters would agree that this would not count as a hidden Mickey, since Mickey isn't hiding -- he's just in disguise.
A hidden Mickey!!!
Ah -- now that's a hidden Mickey! This Mickey was found hiding in a barrel of rubber snakes in Adventureland. The next time you're at the Disneyland Resort, why not see if you can find a hidden Mickey? Take a picture and e-mail it to us -- we may feature it on DisneyLies.com!

Trivia: A drink from New Orlean's Square's Mint Julep Bar into which a concoction has been slipped that renders the imbiber unconscious and susceptible to being shanghaied is officially a hidden mickey (note the lower-case "m").

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