Unless you have been living under a rock, chances are you have heard of a hidden Mickey. You ask what is a hidden Mickey? One only has to look to the internet to find the definition, but, to hear Walt Disney World Cast Member Kevin Neary explain it, the phenomenon was born out of the construction of EPCOT, Walt's Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

“It really began in 1982 with the opening of EPCOT. They wanted to keep it free of any representation of Mickey or any of the characters. So they carefully and strategically placed him throughout the park as a playful reminder of where it all started,” Neary reveals.

Walt Disney was fond of recalling how his empire was created by reminding us “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing: that it was all started by a mouse.” Whether obvious or not so obvious it is no surprise that Mickey is incorporated into nearly every aspect of the Disney parks and resorts.


Neary concedes that a hidden Mickey may not be the classic or iconic three circles of Mickey's head and ears these days but may include a Mickey glove or foot or a profile of him.


There have been a number of books written about the fanaticism of hidden Mickeys but Neary's book The Hidden Mickeys of Walt Disney World is perhaps is the closest you can get to being an official/ unofficial book on the subject. What sets this book apart is the validation by the House of the Mouse that hidden Mickeys exist in its theme parks and resorts as well as its cruise ships and movies.


Neary, a Disney Cast Member who previously worked for seven years at Walt Disney Imagineering as a show writer at the Magic Kingdom, admits that WDI was responsible for the hidden Mickeys but was reluctant to confirm or deny their existence. “This book kinda blows the top off the fact that we really are saying they exist and they are out there.” Hidden Mickeys according to Neary are a playful representation of Mickey Mouse that our designers and Walt Disney Imagineers placed him throughout theme parks, hotels, resorts, water parks, cruise ships and golf courses.

The book from Disney Editions took about a year-and-a-half to complete and quickly turned into a Cast Member and family affair. “It was very difficult to track these down at times. Some are by accident and some are purposefully put there” according to the author. That is when he enlisted cast members to help him in his quest. “The Walt Disney World cast was the best source,” Kevin confesses. “The Cast Members were vital in this kinda scavenger hunt for us in terms of finding them. They were the best source for pointing us in the right direction.”

HiddenMickey2With this information, Kevin, his wife Sue and their three children, ages 16, 14 and 12, embarked on a family journey to find hidden Mickeys. Armed with their cameras, the Nearys sought out and found more than 600 hidden Mickeys. They are personally responsible for 90% of the images in the book. “There are 30,500 acres of Disney property in central Florida, for one person to do it alone is impossible. That is why it became a family affair.”

I must admit, I and my family have also focused on our attention during recent Disney vacations on those hidden gems of Mickey Mouse-dom. Whether in our hotel room, focusing intently on a ride at the Magic Kingdom or perhaps finding Mickey in the swirl of icing on our dessert plate at a resort restaurant, this novelty can quickly become an obsession. As a matter of fact, the Nearys encourage readers to seek out many of the Mickeys tucked away in their 269-page book while offering a few pages at the end of the book for fans to list their own finds.


Kevin, who has co-author four Ultimate Disney Trivia books, says as the Walt Disney World Resort continues to “grow, multiply and modify and upgrade attractions, the list of hidden Mickeys” will continue to change. He admits there are at least seven or eight new hidden Mickeys in EPCOT's new “Soarin' Around the World” that will have to make it into the next book. Additionally, because of construction at Disney Springs, the Neary team did not include the district in the current book but will likely make it into volume two. “The possibilities are endless,” Kevin smiles.

So run out, no rush out and get this book which is selling at record speed and is about to go into a second printing. The Hidden Mickeys of Walt Disney World by Kevin and Susan Neary is available online as well as in all the Disney theme parks and resorts.