The Mystery of Disney World's Hidden Mickeys

Photo: Steven Barrett, author of Hidden Mickeys, A Field Guide to Walt Disney Worldâ??s Best Kept Secrets, searches for hidden Mickey Mouse designs throughout Walt Disney World
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ORLANDO -- Most Disney World guests come to ride roller coasters, have breakfast with a character or to search for a bit of their childhood.

Steven Barrett is searching for something else: tiny Mickey Mouse patterns hidden in everyday spots throughout the parks.

From the Magic Kingdom to Epcot to Disney's Hollywood Studios, there are three little circles -- a head and the two mouse ears -- hidden in carpet patterns, tiles, wallpaper and even in the gift shops.

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Hunting for Mickey Mouse Hidden in Disney World

"Whenever you are on Disney property, anywhere in the world, always look around you in the details because Mickey will be hiding there," Barrett said.

There's a utility hole cover with mouse ears in Disney's Animal Kingdom. In the lobby of the Polynesian Resort a giant Mickey pattern is hidden in the stone floor slate. Walk a few more feet and the carpet has a Mickey here and there. Over in Epcot, a statue high up on a building in Germany has a Mickey on his crown.

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Hidden Mickey Mouses at Disney World

Barrett, has mapped out nearly 1,000 of these hidden characters throughout the theme park and included them in a book: Hidden Mickeys, A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets. The search for the Mickeys is so popular that the book is in its fourth edition with a fifth soon on the way. (It's available at Walt Disney World gift shops for $12.95.)

And just in case you were wondering, yes Barrett, 59, does have a day job as a physician. And no he wasn't always a theme park fan.

He first ended up at Disney World for a medical conference in January of 1989. He brought along his wife Vickie and their then five-year-old son Steven. On the plane, he started reading a guidebook that Vickie bought and was suddenly hooked, dragging the family around the parks.

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"It was love at first sight," he said. "I was not theme park person but moved to Orlando in 1998 to be close to Disney World."

Searching for Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World

Now, thanks to an annual pass, he visits the parks often.

"Since 1998, every other week," Barrett said. "That's a lot of times."

So why the obsession?

"It's just a fascinating game that Disney plays with the guests and I just happen to play the game well," he said laughing.

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Bob Sehlinger, co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World said that the Disney really encourages people who like to find different ways to explore the parks. Some folks like to collect autographs of characters, he said, others look for hidden Mickeys.

"These folks are really paying attention to the details. A lot of these are not easy to find," he said. "I don't think these people are crazy. The Disney faithful really love the detail that Disney builds into everything it does."

Sehlinger said the Mickeys are cleverly hidden or camouflaged but "very clear once you see it."

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