5 Things Walt Disney World Insiders Love About Hidden Mickeys

Imagineers love placing secrets all over Walt Disney World for cast members and park guests to discover. Ever since building Disneyland, they have been using their incredible dedication to minute details to play hide-and-go-seek with the public. For this reason, it doesn’t surprise insiders to know that Imagineers have been planting Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World for decades.

Everywhere throughout Walt Disney World, Hidden Mickeys hide in plain sight. Officially, they appear as three circles proportionally arranged to resemble Mickey Mouse. Imagineers started hiding them with the creation of Epcot, which was designed as an adult-oriented theme park that didn’t highlight Mickey Mouse and his crew. Nevertheless, you can take the Imagineer out of Mickey Mouse, but you can’t take the Mickey Mouse out of the Imagineer, which is why they disguise them at attractions, resorts, and restaurants all over Walt Disney World. Insiders love the results and continue to hunt for the three circles for the following five reasons.

5. Entertainment in Line

Unless you’ve hit the jackpot and have been awarded an endless supply of Fastpasses, you’re bound to get stuck in a line. Shorter lines may only take ten to twenty minutes, but longer ones can last for nearly two hours! Disney insiders preoccupy themselves by searching the scenery for Hidden Mickeys. Imagineers have strategically placed them all over some of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions. Searching for them keeps insiders from getting frustrated about long wait times and distracts them from noticing the scorching heat.

4. Engages the Imagination

To find some of the cleverest Hidden Mickeys, insiders need a bit of imagination. Some Hidden Mickeys appear as part of a mural, an arrangement of commonplace circular objects, or a series of “random” paint drippings. If it’s a true Hidden Mickey, it hasn’t appeared by accident. Using your mind to imagine that certain circular patterns fit the iconic Mickey shape is the first step in identifying a bona fide Hidden Mickey. You almost have to get mouse crazy to see them everywhere you go. When the imagination flows at Walt Disney World, insiders enjoy the experience better.

3. Never-Ending Challenge

Since Walt Disney World forever changes and grows, Imagineers have endless opportunities to create more Hidden Mickeys. Although books and mobile apps are available to assist insiders in finding these gems, they can quickly become outdated whenever an attraction is renovated, a new restaurant appears, or a theme park is expanded. The new and changing nature of Walt Disney World equates to Hidden Mickeys multiplying beyond our ability to spot them, and this never-ending challenge thrills insiders.

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2. Scavenger Hunt

While Walt Disney World insiders may love looking for Hidden Mickeys, they enjoy it all the more when they can compete in a scavenger hunt with their friends and families. The competition may include individuals or teams, but the object is always to find the most Hidden Mickeys by the end of the day. Naturally, someone will have to keep score and all contestants need to agree upon what constitutes a Hidden Mickey. Just because a server places your plates in Mickey formation on the table doesn’t mean you’ve found a Hidden Mickey. Hidden Mickeys need to be a part of the design to be the real deal. To make the scavenger hunt more interesting, a prize may be offered to whoever wins.

1. Rite of Passage

Most theme park guests haven’t a clue about the Hidden Mickeys staring them in the face as they shuffle through attraction lines, sit down for meals, or watch a show. Hidden Mickeys even appear in unexpected places during popular rides, yet most don’t see them. Certainly, these guests probably love Walt Disney World wholeheartedly, but they remain unaware of the secret mouse right in front of them. Therefore, insiders who love Hidden Mickeys view their newfound awareness as a rite of passage. To the initiated, Walt Disney World becomes a brand new experience during each visit, as they’ll meet new Hidden Mickeys each time, sometimes in the familiar places they’ve seen a hundred times. Searching for and finding the three circles seems to increase insiders’ love for Walt Disney World and the magic that attracts them to its theme parks year after year.

About D.W. Noonan

D.W. Noonan was blindsided by the magical universe of Walt Disney when he married a dedicated Disneyphile in 1994. His wonderful wife dragged him into countless days of binge-watching great Disney films. As children began showing up in the Noonan home, D.W.'s growing passion for all things Disney led him to vacationing with his family in Walt Disney World each year and taking a journey to visit Disneyland. He is especially proud of his two teenage daughters, who danced for Disney Performing Arts at Walt Disney World in 2015. Though D.W. lives in Maryland, he longs to hear these familiar words when he returns to the resort: "Welcome home."