Hidden Mickeys Take to the High Seas

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First Field Guide for the Disney Cruise Line

While Mickey Mouse has grown to be one of the twentieth century’s most recognizable icons, it is often forgotten that the first appearance of the character was at the helm of a riverboat in Steamboat Willie. Not surprising, then, that Mickey has stowed away on the Disney Cruise Line – in over a hundred places.

Steve Barrett, the author of the popular Hidden Mickeys series of books, has taken his quest for the mischievous mouse out to sea: Yes, it appears that Disney’s ships are nearly as packed with images of Mickey as Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. Barrett’s newest book, Hidden Mickeys Go to Sea: A Field Guide to the Disney Cruise Line’s Best Kept Secrets (The Intrepid Traveler, $6.95), leads cruise passengers to their hiding places.

Another corner of the Disney universe has yielded its secrets to Barrett, aka Mr. Hidden Mickey in some fan circles. But where did these images come from? The expert explains:

“I believe that most of the Hidden Mickeys on the Disney cruise ships were present from the initial ship construction. Some of these images are probably accidental, especially some of the classic, three-circle images, but others (such as the large classic Mickey on the bow of each ship) are purposeful. Disney often adds new images when ship areas are refurbished.”

Barrett has visited the parks regularly for over twenty years – and he’s no stranger to the more recent cruise ships, either, having even hosted a cruise with fellow überfan Deb Wills, founder of the website AllEars.net. According to Barrett, there has been no shortage of interest in the addictive hunt on the cruise ships, something he witnessed first hand while leading groups of devotees on the chase.

“Other guests on the Disney Magic would at times show curiosity and interest, and our groups were able to educate them about the Hidden Mickey phenomenon. Hidden Mickey mania is definitely contagious, on the ships as well as on land.”

Hidden Mickeys Go to Sea is Barrett’s third field guide to the phenomenon. The first, Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets, came out in 2003 and was an instant hit with Disney World Hidden Mickey fans, who, prior to its publication, depended on word of mouth and loose sheaves of printed lists from other Hidden Mickey fans to spot their quarry. Barrett followed it with Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys in 2007 and both guides have just come out in new editions.

The cruise ships are a different sort of experience from the theme parks, and this difference also applies to the experience of looking for Hidden Mickeys. Barrett notes, “One difference that’s helpful to the Hidden Mickey hunter is that the scavenger hunts on the ships and Castaway Cay can be accomplished leisurely. The cruise ship Hidden Mickeys can be located at the guest’s personal pace. Take as much time as you want on the ships and the island; there’s no rush to find Mickey! You’re not in line or on a ride.”

The maritime installment in the series preserves many of the features that have made the other guides such a fun-filled success. It’s set up as a series of scavenger hunts, with “Clues” to get you going and “Hints” in case you get stuck. There is a hunt for the Disney Magic, a hunt for the Disney Wonder, and one for Castaway Cay. With over one hundred Mickeys in hiding, fans should find plenty in their leisure hours on the ships, and families will have a great activity to share. Mom, Dad, and the Kids can even compete with one another for points.

While Barrett may be the best known expert on Hidden Mickeys, he doesn’t do his work alone. The book, like the others in the series, acknowledges everyone who contributed their shipboard findings to his website, www.HiddenMickeysGuide.com.

Hidden Mickeys Go to Sea: A Field Guide to the Disney Cruise Line’s Best Kept Secrets is available in bookstores nationwide, from online bookstores, or by visiting: www.IntrepidTraveler.com/store/disney-books.html

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