Disney fans are throwing out their official Hidden Mickey guidebooks and ditching the lists of hidden Mickeys to find on their next trip to the parks. Heck, they’ve even stopped seeing Mickey heads in the clouds, in their bubble baths, and in their latte art. In fact, many have completely sworn off the hidden Mickey fandom, trading it in for a phenomenon that’s taking the fandom surrounding Disney’s Bluey to a whole new level.
“Bluey”: Unbridled Success
Bluey is one of the most popular and successful shows in the history of children’s programming. In its native Australia, the show is the most successful offering ever in programming for children. Each episode of the show, which follows the adventures of the Heelers–Bluey, her sister Bingo, and her parents, Chilli and Bandit, runs approximately seven minutes and teaches various life lessons and social skills through a mix of humor, wisdom, and the use of characters and scenarios to which viewers, both children and their parents, can relate.
The show has even captured the hearts of those who don’t yet have children, as well as those whose children are older. Joe Brumm, Australian animator and creator of the lovable Aussie canine series was first inspired to create Bluey after seeing episodes of the British animated children’s show Peppa Pig. Brumm wanted Australian children to have an animated series to watch that featured a fictional family living in Australia, but he surely never could have known just how successful his endeavor would be.
“Bluey” Turns Five & Unleashes a Fandom Phenomenon
This month marks the five-year anniversary of Bluey, meaning fans have had plenty of opportunities to experience every single feature in the children’s program.
Well . . . . maybe not. One tiny feature found in episodes of Bluey has been in place since the first season, but many fans are only just now catching on to it, and it’s taking Bluey fandom by storm, even leading some Disney fans to scrap a former obsession and trade it in for this one.
Wait for it . . .
Did you see it? Or did you, like most adult fans, miss it completely?
The arrow in the image above points to a hidden long dog. Bluey fans refer to these hidden creatures as long dogs, inanimate little dogs that can be found in various episodes of the children’s show–sometimes on a shelf, on the ground, on the ceiling . . . there’s no limit to the imagination used by the lead background artist for Bluey, Nick Rees, who is thrilled that fans are having so much fun looking for and finding “long dogs” in the show.
“We love that Bluey fans love long dogs as much as we do,” Rees says. “It feels like a shared little nod once you find him.”
The Debut of Long Dog
Long Dog made its first official appearance during the fifth episode of the first season of Bluey, titled “Daddy Robot.” At first, it was a little something for the team at Lido Studio, the production house responsible for delivering delicious episodes of Bluey to adults and kids who love the stories of Bluey, her younger sister Bingo, and her parents over the past five years.
“All of the background artists took a shine to [long dog], so we started adding him into other backgrounds for the crew to find and enjoy,” Rees explained. “Originally, it was a bit of fun for the crew. It was always so funny to have animators come up to you and be like, ‘I found [a] long dog!’ while they were working on a scene.”
Take That, Mickey!
What started as a fun “game” for the production crew in a Bluey episode has boomed into a fandom phenomenon for those who love Bluey–very much like, and even rivaling, the hidden Mickey fandom in Disney’s theme parks and elsewhere over the last several years. And the “long dog” fandom could easily give hidden Mickeys the boot.
Some fans have hunted the famed shapes that resemble the head of Mickey Mouse at Disney World and other parks for years, and as many of the symbols found in the parks are part of fixed features–on walls, in stones, and other permanent spots–many have grown tired of the search, especially if they’ve found all or almost all of them.
Episodes of Bluey continue to be produced, meaning that more long dogs are on the way. And because the phenomenon has only become uber-popular in recent months, there are still many fans who’ve yet to find very many of them. (And there are literally hundreds of long dogs to be found in episodes of Bluey, by the way.)
Did you know about this hidden treasure in Bluey episodes? How many have you found, and how do you think this trend will compare in the long run to the fandom surrounding hidden Mickeys?