Do you know that there are endless Hidden Mickeys all over the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts? A “Hidden Mickey” is when there is a some type of Mickey image placed into the architecture of a building, attraction or event. Once you start looking for Hidden Mickeys, suddenly the world is full of Mickey, even when you leave the parks!
UBI’s (Useless Bits of Information)
One of the things we love most about Disneyland is the rich history. So much care was given to every decision. When we are there we love to start convos with the cast members. They love to talk Disney. Some of them have even gone to school for it!
A couple things we’ve learned along the way are:
- There are hundreds of cats that roam the streets of Disney at night! One of the workers told us to keep an eye out after dark in particular. Since then we have kept an eye out for these felines. We’ve seen pairs of eyes under the bridge of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and often around Grizzly River Run as well. Danielle even saw this one in the middle of the day! The reason why they leave the cats in the parks is to keep rodents under control. With the amount of food and garbage in the parks on any given day, you can imagine a mouse problem would be inevitable (and not of the Mickey variety). I for one would much rather see a cat in the park than a rodent. Well played Disney, well played.
- Many famous people got their start working at Disneyland. Go to the Magic Shop on Main Street, and they will tell you all about how Steve Martin worked there!
- Above the Fire Hall on Main Street is Walt Disney’s private office. He liked to watch people stroll down Main Street. If you look in the window above the Fire Hall you will see curtains with a light. When Walt was in his office, he would turn it on so that cast members knew that he was in the park. Our great grandfather was friends with Walt, and even visited this private office! Since Walt’s death they have left the light on, signifying the mark he has left on the park.
- Pirates of the Caribbean used to have real bones! Now only one skull is a human skull. Do you know where it is? It’s the skull and crossbones in the Captain’s Quarters above the bed. In the same treasure room you will see the chest that was used in the filming of the first movie.
- On Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, keep your eye on the goat when you go down the hill and around the bend. We swear by it to get the best tummy flips ever!
- Disneyland originally opened with 18 attractions… 14 of which are still open today!
- Speaking of opening day, we have heard two interesting facts:
- In Frontierland, look down. You will see horseshoe and wagon tracks. They were rushing to finish for opening day and so the cement didn’t fully cure, immortalizing the first day for all to see.
- Second, they wanted the opening to be exclusive with a select few in attendance. Someone manufactured tickets falsely which resulted in way more people than they expected! Read more about opening day here.
- All of the trees in Tomorrowland are edible!
- A cast member once told us that sometimes the Tinker Bell that flies from the top of the Matterhorn during the fireworks presentation is actually played by a man so that “she” can be seen better (you can see the platform that she lands on from the Casey Jr. Circus Train).
- I was also told that Disney is actually FINED thousands of dollars every time they do the fireworks show because of noise and bylaws.
- And we have also been told that when the expansion for Disney’s California Adventure Park began, they realized they didn’t have the amount of space they wanted for parking structures and other additions because the I-5 was running through where they wanted to build. So naturally, they had the I-5 moved!
- I once asked a cast member if people have ever fallen into the water at the Jungle Cruise. He said kids, parents, cast members… I’m still not sure if he was truthful or joking…
There are more fun facts than I can write here, but you get the idea. Chat up those cast members in the lineups and I bet you’ll find more than you could ever care to know!
There are blogs, books, and many posts dedicated to them. Some of them are iconic, never to be altered, while many change (as the Parks are “never finished” as Walt Disney used to say). Interestingly, whether some of the original Hidden Mickeys are intentional or not is up for debate. Some say they are, that the Imagineers really enjoyed sneaking them in. Others say they are unintentional. Since they’ve taken off in the last few decades, Imagineers are encouraged to place them as strategically and creatively as possible.
Our favorite resource in regards to Hidden Mickeys can be found here. You can even vote on whether you think an unofficial Hidden Mickey should count!
We have a blast, particularly with our large group trips, looking for them (wait…where is it again?). There are some rides that once you’ve been on them a few times, it’s hard to get pumped about them. This is where Hidden Mickeys are just brilliant! They can be anywhere… on the ground, up high, in food, on the rides, or in the ride lineups. Even the fireworks show has one or two! Once you start looking for the classic Mickey shape, it’s hard NOT to see them.
The Hidden Mickeys may be subtle, or they can be rather overt. Some are partial (think just the ears), and some are complete. They can even be words! (Once upon a time, in Peter Pan’s Flight, the blocks in the nursery used to spell “Mickey”). My favourite is that they are usually in a part of the ride that you may not pay attention to otherwise, and so you end up seeing more than just the focal points.
There are two kinds of “Hidden Mickey-ers”. Those who want to find them on their own, and those that don’t mind hints (Or buy the book… not ashamed to say we’ve done this! Although a lot have changed since the edition we own.) There’s actually a third type as well. Those of us who have had them pointed out but still can’t find them 😅.
- Ask the cast members on the ride. They may show you, tell you, or give you a hint. If you don’t want to be told outright, ask for a hint.
- Talk to other people in the lineups! I’ve never run into someone that didn’t want to talk Disney in the line up. Ask if they are first timers, or Annual Passholders. Someone once showed me a Hidden Mickey in Indiana Jones that I had no idea about! (On the lid of the well in the lineup!)
- Get your kids to “help” you look. Besides eating snacks in lineups, there’s not much else to do. If you’re in the Alice lineup, there’s one you can get your kids to look for (WHAT? How did I not know this!?). It’s super fun to talk with the kids and get them involved.
- Sometimes the Hidden Mickeys are only visible in the overflow lineups. If you ask a cast member, they will bring you over to the area where the hidden Mickey is, even if it is closed off.
- In Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters this little guy is ONLY visible if you are in the overflow near Luigi’s office.
- Repetition helps. With my 1 year old I went on Monsters, Inc. 4 times in a row. The 2nd time I finally found the Hidden Mickey when you enter Harryhausen’s Sushi Restaurant, while the 3rd was when I finally got a good photo.
“There Be Squalls Ahead!” *Spoilers*
You can find other Hidden Mickeys in the following places:
- In the lagoon of Pirates of the Caribbean to the right of the boat there is a cluster of lily pads in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. (We have found this constantly changes, but it’s always there. I’ve even seen it to the left once or twice.)
- In the scene where the boat is firing at the city’s walls on Pirates, if you look to the right where the wall is under attack, there are three cannon holes that make a Mickey head.
- There’s also one in the last room (after the dog with the key in the jail) on the left wall. It’s etched into the armor hanging on the wall. (This is the only one I know I can find! This one wasn’t there last time I was there, and I looked and looked for it knowing where it is… maybe it’s been moved?)
- In Toy Story Mania, right near the end is a picture of Woody on the wall and the cloud to the right is a Mickey head
- In the video room of Indiana Jones lineup, on the wall to the left, the cracks make up a large Mickey Mouse head.
- And while not technically a Hidden Mickey, if you look back into the wooden structure in the same room, you can find one of the old parking signs from the old parking lot before California Adventure was even a thing!
- In “it’s a small world”, look up in the big room near the end… some of the balloons make a Mickey shaped shadow on the ceiling!
- In Star Tours, when you are in the part of the lineup where the android is scanning the baggage, there is a screen to the right with character shadows walking around, and there is a certain one that when he turns, the fans on his head become Mickey ears… but this one is a moving Mickey so you may not see it, and you have to really study that screen to catch it!
- The final float in the Main Street Electrical Parade has a Mickey flag!
- The fireworks have a Mickey (most of the time… we’ve been there when the winds have thrown it off).
- At the very end of Splash Mountain there is a framed photograph on the left of Mickey taking the plunge on the ride.
- Space Mountain is one that took us a super long time. Take a look down at the ride when you are going down the loading ramps and focus on the back of the ride cars!
Whether you are an obsessed fan, don’t really care, or are somewhere in the middle, once you start looking, it’s hard to stop! So we say slow down and enjoy every last bit of the Disney magic. Then, the next time you are at the dentist getting a crown, you can visualize going through the entire Pirates ride in your head. (Other people do that too, right? No? Just me? Okay then…)
What’s YOUR favorite Hidden Mickey? Do you know a UBI about Disneyland or Walt Disney World that we didn’t mention? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have a magical day!
Erica, Heidi, Elisia and Danielle