A few days ago, I was roaming around Disney-MGM Studios with a friend: Bill Iadonisi, a columnist for www.MickeyNews.com. We were checking out a few Hidden Mickey sightings that folks had posted to my website.
When I'm at WDW alone doing research, I usually move around at a fast pace. I have a thick group of pages that I've printed from my website, pages that include descriptions and photos of Hidden Mickey sightings. I'm on a mission to check out these sightings. I often don't interact with Cast Members when I'm doing research. I just zero in on the descriptions and photos.
When I'm at WDW with friends or family, I move around at a more leisurely pace, and we frequently interact with Cast Members. Not all Cast Members are knowledgeable about Hidden Mickeys, and some are overly exuberant ("anything goes") about images that are really "wishful thinking" Mickey sightings. But sometimes, questioning Cast Members can lead to terrific discoveries!
Bill and I were checking out a Hidden Mickey sighting at the 50's Prime Time Cafe. One CM there, Michael, was especially helpful. He told us that he once worked at Star Tours, and he asked us "Do you know about the Hidden Mickey on the tree outside Star Tours?" He described the HM to us and its general location.
Years ago, I'd heard of a Hidden Mickey in the outside queue for Star Tours, on one of the trees. I'd looked at these trees in the past but never saw anything resembling a decent HM. Michael told us: "It's on the last tree on your right as you walk along the outside queue, and it's a perfect three-circle Mickey." I've learned from past experience that these Cast Member statements are not always accurate, so I undertook the journey to Star Tours with only mild excitement. Little did I know ...
Bill and I strolled over to Star Tours, and walked to the last tree on the right side of the entrance queue. These trees supported walkways above for the Ewok village outside the attraction. At this time, the winding queue among the trees was closed off, and guests were walking directly into the inside queue, bypassing the trees. So Bill and I had unencumbered time to study the trees.
Alas, no classic Mickey on the last tree! I've also learned that descriptions of Hidden Mickey locations can be inaccurate. So Bill and I dutifully studied all the trees, working back from the last one. After a while, I was growing more and more skeptical. This Hidden Mickey sighting had to be in the "algae" on the tree trunks, and although some algae groupings were close to a classic Mickey image, none were close enough.
I found myself near the middle of the group of trees. Michael had told us that the Hidden Mickey was high on the trunk, just below the walkway platform for the Ewok village above us. Suddenly, I saw it! "Hey, Bill, over here! Take a look at this!" No mistake, Michael was right on, this classic Mickey image was real. Of course, he'd remembered the wrong tree! It wasn't anywhere near the end of the outside queue. This tree was the huge central tree, directly across from the Imperial Walker towering above us.
This experience is what makes Hidden Mickey hunting so special for me. I live for finding these wonderful hidden gems, and I have unending appreciation for the artists that place these subtle, hard-to-find images of our favorite Disney character(s).
Read more about Steve's Hidden Mickey finds on AllEarsNet.com
Steve maintains a Catalog of Hidden Mickeys on the Hidden Mickeys Guide.
The Third Edition of Steve's Walt Disney World Hidden Mickeys book is available on Amazon.com. Hidden Mickeys, 3rd Edition: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best-Kept Secrets
His First Edition of Disneyland's Hidden Mickeys is also available on Amazon.com Disneyland's Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to the Disneyland Resort's Best-Kept Secrets (Disneyland's Hidden Mickey's)