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As millions of guests scurry throughout Walt Disney World Resort to see Mickey Mouse, little do they realize they may be passing him right by.

And though the Mickeys they miss are not the life-sized, two-legged and three-fingered variety, they are 'Hidden Mickeys' -- silhouettes and abstract images of Mickey Mouse cleverly hidden by Disney Imagineers across the 47-square-mile Vacation Kingdom.

Hidden Mickeys began as an inside joke among Walt Disney Imagineers, the artists and engineers who design Disney parks and attractions. As word spread of these subtle tributes to Walt's famous mouse, guests sought to find them all.

 That search continues today. 

Like Easter eggs, Hidden Mickeys have been placed secretly (and not so secretly) by Imagineers at locations across Walt Disney World Resort. Imagineers include Hidden Mickeys when designing, building or putting the finishing touches on a new attraction or hotel, hiding silhouettes, profiles and other images of Mickey Mouse in murals, queue areas and even golf course sand traps.

"The popularity of Hidden Mickeys has just snowballed with guests," says Dave Smith, founder and main archivist for the Walt Disney Archives, and author of Disney: A to Z. "Many will almost use a magnifying glass through the parks to find as many as they can."

No one knows how many Hidden Mickeys exist throughout Walt Disney World Resort, since Imagineers have never kept an official roster documenting their existence.

In fact, no one knows when the first Hidden Mickey even appeared. And, since attractions are renovated and updated periodically, many have appeared and disappeared through the years.

Where the next Hidden Mickey will appear is anyone's guess.

 here are some hints to get you started 

Magic Kingdom

  • While the Haunted Mansion boasts '999 Happy Haunts,' it also has one 'mouse' -- a Hidden Mickey formed by an arrangement of dishes on the table in the attraction's banquet scene.
  • Mickey heads to outer space in Tomorrowland's 'ExtraTERRORestial Alien Encounter,' with a Hidden Mickey buried in the 'alien hieroglyphics' between the pre-show area and main show.
  • A Hidden Mickey enjoys a lazy day on the river in the final scene in Frontierland's Splash Mountain. A pink cloud floating high above the 'Zip-A-Dee Lady' paddlewheeler bears a striking resemblance to a profile of Mickey lying on his back.

Epcot

  • Mickey goes around the world in Norway, Gateway to Scandinavia. A burly Viking sports a pair of Mickey Mouse Ears on the mural above the queue line for The Maelstrom, the pavilion's boat ride attraction.
  • Mickey Mouse has always been the brightest of stars. And at Spaceship Earth in Epcot Future World, Mickey is actually hidden in his own constellation just beyond the attraction's loading area.
  • And what could top Mickey's own constellation? How about Mickey's own island? In Journey Into Imagination at Epcot Future World, the shape of an island forms a Hidden Mickey off the east coast of Australia. The fictional 'eared-island' can be spotted on a globe in the attraction's science scene.

Disney Hollywood Studios

  • The Disney Hollywood Studios offers one of the largest Hidden Mickeys. The Hollywood Plaza area and surrounding buildings in front of the Chinese Theater actually form a giant Mickey Mouse face when viewed from the air.
  • Mickey and several of his animated pals take on special roles in the Indiana Jones scene of The Great Movie Ride. They're cleverly disguised in period dress and hidden among the hieroglyphics in the Well of Souls.
  • Mickey also visits the 'underbelly of the city' in The Great Movie Ride, as two Hidden Mickeys are visible in the attraction's gangster scene. Mickey's famous ears can be spotted on a billboard and in a window above the bank.

Resorts

  • Mickey is remembered by golfers around the world for his contribution to the sixth hole of Disney's Magnolia Golf Course. A Hidden Mickey forms a giant sand trap that looms ominously next to the green. (Many golfers have not been too happy to find this Hidden Mickey, however, especially when they discover their golf ball has found it, as well.)
  • Golfers at Disney's Eagle Pines and Osprey Ridge Golf Courses may hone their skills on another giant Hidden Mickey. Mickey's head is used as a putting green at the courses' clubhouse area.
  • Mickey always knows the right direction at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, where a Hidden Mickey is found on the weather vane atop the convention center.
  • At the Downtown Disney Marketplace, a Hidden Mickey provides its share of splash-tastic fun. Interactive fountains at the entrance of the shopping, dining and entertainment district form Mickey's familiar silhouette -- providing a waterful time for children (and a surprising number of adults) who frolic in the leaping waters.