Book Reviews

Book Review: Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets by Steven Barrett – Slow Down and Find the Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World

Some of us go to Disney World a lot.  Okay, that might be an understatement.  Regardless, there are many things that keep people coming back again and again.  One of those things is the ability to discover different things and hidden gems about the parks.  For instance, did you know that when many of the Imagineers designed the parks and the rides, they included Hidden Mickeys in various places?

What are Hidden Mickeys you ask?  In general, it is a pattern of circles that represent the head of Mickey Mouse.  It’s the round face and two round ears.  After going to the parks a few times and learning of these hidden patterns all over the World, my kids would become delighted when they spotted one.  Prior to our next trip, I purchased the book Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets by Steven Barrett.

The book is not meant to be used as a tour guide to the parks and Barrett says so right off the bat.  In general, this will appeal mostly to veterans who have toured the parks a few times and are interested in spotting some of the hidden gems of Walt Disney World and aren’t obsessed with touring and seeing everything.  If you’re about to embark on your first trip to Walt Disney World, I’d suggest picking up a different book as this one is only good for this specific quest.

Barrett first defines a Hidden Mickey or attempts to.  There are some who give more leeway to the interpretation of what a Hidden Mickey is.  For the book, though Barrett has a definition that he sticks to. Believe it or not, there are at least more than 1,250 Hidden Mickeys all over Walt Disney World in Orlando!

Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets sets up the quest to view the Hidden Mickeys of Walt Disney World as something of a treasure hunt.  Even as many times as I have been there, it’s not quite the approach I want to take.  However, if this is your thing, you can follow the directions Barrett gives and hunt down the Hidden Mickeys in the order he dictates at each park and resort all over the world.  He gives a lot of clues to the whereabouts of the Hidden Mickeys in various places.  The book covers all four theme parks, all of the Walt Disney World resorts, the waterparks, Disney Springs, the golf courses, Disney’s Wide World of Sports, and a few other more remote locations.

For those of us who just want to use the book to accompany us on the rides as we visit Walt Disney World, it works well for that too.  It’s easy to find a particular ride or attraction and see what Hidden Mickeys might be lurking to be discovered.  Each Hidden Mickey has a point value associated with it depending on the degree of difficulty. It makes for a fun day if you keep score and see who managed to spot the most Hidden Mickeys at the end of the day!

The book is now into its fourth edition as Hidden Mickeys come and go. New rides and attractions are added and others leave.  In addition, people are always spotting Hidden Mickeys and sending them into Barrett.  Once he’s confirmed their existence, they get added to the next edition of the book. I met Mr. Barrett one year at Animal Kingdom when he was handing out sheets for us to do our own Hidden Mickey challenge and he is a nice guy who enjoys this niche of exploring Disney World.

The book is over 300 pages and is long and narrow.  It’s light enough to carry with you on a trip to Walt Disney World and pull out for each attraction. Its narrow format makes it easy to slip into a backpack or other bag you might carry with you.  It’s not a book for pockets or small bags, though.

If you think you’ve spotted a Hidden Mickey at Disney World and ever wondered if you were right, I think the book will appeal to you.  It’s one of those things that people who relax, slow down, and enjoy their surroundings at the park will appreciate.  If you’re into the commando-style of touring then it might be fine if you want to relax and enjoy the queue lines a bit more.  Don’t expect it to be a guidebook to touring. 

Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets doesn’t pretend to be one, not even for a moment.  It’s just for those of us who enjoy seeing the details in life.

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