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The Hidden Mickey Controversy [Part One]

By Lilly.

Ha ha Mitch I got to it first! 

Our Debate
So, Mitch and I have this ongoing debate about Hidden Mickeys. Mitch hates Hidden Mickeys. Is hate too strong of a word Mitch? ;) He feels like Hidden Mickeys are nothing but a commercialized attempt at creativity and they do nothing but distract from the amazing designs and details of each attraction, a view point I’m sure you will be reading in a follow up article very shortly....

Here's how I see it.  I spent a lot of time when I was growing up learning all kinds of useless yet interesting facts about Disney. I spent most my time on Disneyland. I researched articles, timelines and websites–when they were beginning–and learned all about this park I loved so much. I didn’t realize there were people out there that really loved it as much as I did and when I realized there were many other nerds out there, I gleaned everything they knew out of them. I loved to know things. Dates, names of imagineers, what the story is behind everything, what Walt said about things, who died at Disneyland, who was born there, and every secret out there I could find.

Of course, I started with the facts that are now obvious, the apartment above the Firehouse, the basketball court in the Matterhorn, but then it never stopped. Soon I could tell you every name Walt gave to each horse on King Arthur’s Carrousel, the name of the gardener that cut the animals into the bushes at It’s a Small World and how many miles per hour every attraction could go. And I loved that imagineers intentionally put things out there that nerdy people like me could just eat up. Like designing animatronics that look like certain people or having George Lucas duck behind a counter during Star Tours. It’s like when professional basketball players wipe their sweat off in a certain way to let someone out there know they are thinking about them, by planting secrets, it’s like the imagineers’ way of saying, “here’s a little something fun for all our nerdy followers out there.” And that is what Hidden Mickeys were to me, too–well–at least at first.
The Trend
Then, the Hidden Mickey trend started. In my opinion, the real popularity of Hidden Mickey’s came about as a result of the late 1980s Disney Channel ID bits like these:


People started thinking, “yeah, those three circles could show up anywhere” and imagineers started playing into their popularity. Now, it’s not that there weren’t any Hidden Mickey’s before then, but at that point they exploded and people started claiming three rocks in a garden were really Hidden Mickeys. I liked the idea of the Hidden Mickey’s. I thought they were fun, but when people started seeing “Hidden Mickeys” everywhere, it did make me roll my eyes a little bit. But then Imagineers started doing it, too. Real Hidden Mickeys created by imagineers started showing up on every corner to the point that I am pretty confident there is no where on Disney property where you can look and not see a Hidden Mickey, many of which are not hidden at all.

My Opinion
Although I like the idea of Hidden Mickeys, I think they’ve gone a little overboard with the whole thing. There are too many and they are too obvious. The Hidden Mickey in the Magic Kingdom Splash Mountain that is an entire cloud of Mickey laying down? Yeah, that’s too much. But I like the Mickey ears on the skeleton in Disneyland’s the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. That’s a fun little inside joke I think.

My opinion, keep Hidden Mickeys, but make them more subtle and more classy, like you’d probably have to hear it from a cast member or ride the attraction a ton to really see it. Don’t go overboard. Mitch?

[ Part Two ]
 by Mitch now available.