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November 11th, 2007

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09:45 am - I found one, I think
Now I've Seen It All Department: Everyone knows at least one or two Disney park enthusiasts who happily catalog certain aspects of the parks when they visit, like finding as many hidden Mickey Mouse logos as they can. Once upon a time, Imagineers decided to see where they could hide the familiar tri-circular shape in attractions just to amuse themselves. Once noticed, however, the hunting down of these Hidden Mickeys became a favorite pastime of the more, uh, obsessive members of the General Public.

Some of the Hidden Mickeys are quite intentional and easy to spot: the Mouse ears appearing in the crest of a shield in Pirates of the Caribbean, for example, or a dinner plate with two saucers carefully arranged at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock in the Haunted Mansion's dining room. (Even the copy of Life Magazine with Mickey on the cover in the Indiana Jones queue counts.) There are also ones which require careful observation, such as the one Noah and Amanda pointed out to me on a recent ride on Pirates that you had to actually turn back and look behind you to see, as only then would the holes in the grotto rocks line up just the right way (and they did.)

Then there are folks who take the concept to a literal extreme and will claim that any vaguely spherical grouping constitutes a Hidden Mickey -- look! the shadows of those three trees when the sun is at just the right angle in the sky! Those incredible Imagineers and their Stonehenge-like dedication to design! -- but they're considered crackpots and a general source of mirth and amusement. You can find many of these people over at hiddenmickeys.org, where every blotch on every wall is carefully noted as proof positive that the Imagineers have done nothing else since the early 1990s but throw as many somewhat-kinda Mickey shapes into an attraction as possible. ("This is a picture of a snake which I think could look like a Mickey," one of the contributors paraphrasedly writes. "It could be wishful thinking." Yup, you're right, man.) I guess if these people weren't busy doing they thang at Disneyland, they'd be looking for the Virgin Mary on ceiling tile stains and Elvis on burnt toast.

There's other stuff folks'll catalog online: the themed garbage cans, for one (indeed; Adventureland's garbage cans look nothing like Fantasyland's) or the location of every last Churro cart in the park just in case you're near the Frontierland ranch and just have to have a cinnamon sugary treat ASAP. The hardcore pin collectors, of course, have had an entire cottage industry created just for them, and I don't know there's ever been an official count of all nine hundred and ninety-nine ghosts, ghouls and goblins in the Haunted Mansion, but I bet someone has at least tried.

With all this going on around, I've grown used to the "let's obsessively list stuff" trend, but every now and then I get jolted out of my comfortably jaded perspective, and Werner Weiss has just done it for me this time. He's surprised the hell out of me -- and all of humanity, for crying out loud -- by bringing us, of all things, a list of gas stations in Disney parks that aren't really gas stations.

Apparently this is hot on the heels of a previous listing of hotels in Disney parks that aren't actually hotels. It is not often we get one who presents us with impeccably-researched findings of great import (well, actually, Werner's first effort mostly shows us signs that say "HOTEL") but now it's catalogued here for all the ages, and Mr. Weiss is no doubt doing his part to help restore the level of knowledge lost when the Library at Alexandria was sacked.

So have a drink tonight in honor of Werner Weiss and his perseverance. And if you find a bar in Disneyland in which you can't drink, take a picture and send it along to him.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 11th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
"The Hidden Mickeys" would be a great name for a rock band.

Nevertheless, these devotees are mistaken: the three-circle emblems found hidden around the park are actually a tribute to that fabulous H20 molecule we all depend on, not some corny cartoon mouse.
[User Picture]
Date:November 11th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
Last time I was at Diznee, I counted audio-animatronic weasels.
[User Picture]
Date:November 11th, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
Bonus points for spotting them in acts of copulation?
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)
I think that happens in the flume ride where they sing zippedy doo dah.

It's always a wonderful day when an audio-animatronic weasel can get laid.
[User Picture]
Date:November 11th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
I grew up in Florida and I've been to Disney World any number of times and I really really like it (haven't been there in a few years, actually, and am in some state of withdrawal) but really, I can't fathom the whole Hidden Mickey obsession. Seems to me to be missing the point. Running around trying to catalogue those would drive me out of my mind.

And I thought of at least two non-gas station gas stations before of clicking that link.
[User Picture]
Date:November 11th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
That HiddenMickey website needs a better layout. My head felt in danger of rupturing after reading it for more than a half-hour.

It's telling, though, in the Thunder Mountain section how, even after an employee commented there going, "WE PUT IN THOSE RUSTED GEARS TO MAKE A MICKEY JUST SO PEOPLE WOULD STOP ASKING US ABOUT WHERE IT IS ON THIS RIDE; IT'S THE ONLY MICKEY IN THERE, GUYS," people continued to contribute possible sightings, including the rattlesnakes. Oh, people.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2007 12:20 am (UTC)
I admit that we bought a Hidden Mickeys guidebook. Which we have subsequently left at home every single time since we bought it. Yes, some of them are clever/cute/etc., but some are just not even worth the effort of trying to find. (Like the ones you can only see while in a ride, meaning that if you don't find it, you have to stand in line again for another attempt.)
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)
Ouch. I like how every use of the trademarked Mickey shape is somehow a mysterious "hidden mickey." Look! There's one on your keychain! Look! There's on on the recycling emblem! I bet I'm the only one to notice these!

[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
I'm going to make it my goal to find bathrooms that aren't really bathrooms when I'm in The Kingdom next time ("The Kingdom" is what we call it on the street, yo). Seriously, the hidden Mickey people who take it way, way to far are crazy. I'm a pin person, I'll admit that right out loud. But I saw a group of middle aged men standing in front of a mosaic at Animal Kingdom who were looking for hidden Mickeys for like, twenty minutes. Meanwhile, two feet away from them was an actual, honest to God, really real TIGER. LOOK AT THE TIGER! NOT THE MOSAIC! THE TIGER! THE TIGER!

I will never understand what drives some people.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
("The Kingdom" is what we call it on the street, yo).

The kids call it the Daily Tha M.K.

*shoots mouse ears sign*

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