Somewhere in our early 1990’s visits to Walt Disney World, I learned of a Hidden Mickey visible in the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The giddy excitement experienced when I first spotted it had me hooked. I’ve been a Hidden Mickey fan ever since; forever on the quest for new discoveries. You may notice I put one into my website banner above, that’s how much I love them! So it was a great honor when the publishers of “Hidden Mickey Guy” Steven M. Barrett’s “Hidden Mickeys-A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets” offered to send me the new edition of his wonderful book.
I will admit, up until now, I was one of those “I don’t need a guide!” guests that just wanted to discover them on my own without a book to lead the way. I will also admit after reading Steve’s book, I am a complete convert! The first thing I had to do was pry the book away from my 10 year-old son long enough to read it. The fact that he got so enthralled by this book speaks volumes. He is at the age where he likes to pretend he’s ‘too cool’ for lots of Disney things (I have no doubt it’s a phase, he’s being brought up in a Disney household, it’s a way of life ;)) but with this book he couldn’t contain his excitement. Every other minute was a new comment of, “Wow there’s one here…we have to find that!” as well as, “This guy must’ve spent forever finding all of these!” (He was very impressed with your book & work, Mr. Barrett!) His reaction and excitement really warmed my heart – and we hadn’t even gotten to the parks yet!
For those who may not have heard of a Hidden Mickey, it is a sometimes-inconspicuous Mickey Mouse design found within the parks & resorts of Disney World and Disneyland. Most of the time the Hidden Mickey is a ‘classic’ 3-circle design for Mickey’s head and 2 ears (like the one in my banner). Sometimes, however, Mickey may appear in different forms, or it may be another character altogether, like Tink or Donald, etc. It is unknown for sure exactly how Hidden Mickeys started, but the thought is that they were snuck in by Imagineers during the construction of Epcot, when Disney wanted to limit the presence of characters in the new park. Imagineers thought otherwise and the reaction from guests proved it was a wise move. Hidden Mickeys then began to show up everywhere, with guests anticipating new ones at each visit.
Building on this new phenomenon, author Steven M. Barrett, an Orlando-area emergency room physician by day, decided to record many of the Hidden Mickeys into book form, for all guests to follow along as they toured the parks. Now enjoying its 4th edition, the Hidden Mickeys Field Guide is published in a thin paperback design, so it’s perfect to carry around with you or slip into a diaper bag or purse without being cumbersome as you walk around the parks.
Now don’t go thinking this book is just a collection of all the Hidden Mickeys for you to find and check-off like a grocery list. Oh no, it’s much more than that. The book is designed like a scavenger hunt. The Hidden Mickeys are organized by location, but listed as clues, with points for each depending on the level of difficulty in spotting them. You can decide if you prefer to find them as a group, or individually: awarding the points to whomever finds the Mickey first, or grouping your total points together.
If scavenger hunts aren’t your thing, you don’t have to use the points at all! Additionally, if the clues in the scavenger hunt section still have you puzzled, there is a “Hints” section for each chapter which gives more extensive info on the Hidden Mickeys in question. If you’d rather just check a specific place you are currently visiting, the index in the back of the book lists the pages where you can find the Mickey clues in each locale. Steve really has thought of everything!
As with all things Disney, they are sometimes subject to change. Steve encourages readers to check out his website HiddenMickeysGuide.com for up-to-date information on new and eliminated Hidden Mickeys. The site is a great place to get confirmation that what you found on your quest is the same Mickey described in the book, with 1000’s of pictures to check out. If you find a new Hidden Mickey on your travels, just post it on the site. If it’s the first siting, you may even get mentioned in Steve’s next edition of the Hidden Mickey Field Guide.
If you would like to join in the fun, Steven M. Barrett’s 4th edition of the Hidden Mickey Field Guide is available for purchase now, along with his other Disney guide books. Steve is constantly in the parks searching for more Hidden Mickeys. If you see him, say hello – I know I will. My family is so excited to go on the scavenger hunts on our next visit.
note: I would like to thank The Intrepid Traveler for sending me the Hidden Mickey guides for this review. Look for a review of the Disneyland book in the coming weeks! Also, I have never met Steven Barrett, but I refer to him as Steve throughout this review in the spirit of Walt Disney’s “first name” policy. I hope to meet up with him some day and thank him in person!