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In this week's feature, Mike and Mark talk with Steve Barrett, Hidden Mickey hunter extraordinaire and author of the Hidden Mickey guidebooks to Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
Mark ran into Steve last month while Steve was trying to verify some Hidden Mickeys around World Showcase at Epcot. Mark joined Steve, Steve's wife Vicki, Byron, Byron's wife and Pat in trying to verify a Mickey on a column at Italy and wandered to Mexico with them before taking his leave. The Hidden Mickey at Italy was somewhat inconclusive, so it may be voted upon at Steve's Hidden Mickeys at Epcot meet during MouseFest.
Steve uses the Hidden Mickey Hunts to share some interesting Hidden Mickeys and also to get some help in determining whether some questionable Mickeys are valid or if they're just wishful thinking.
Steve had been living in Oklahoma and came to a medical conference in Orlando in 1989. His wife had bought a couple of guidebooks, and handed him The Unofficial Guide on the plane, and Steve read the book on the plane and immediately fell in love with Walt Disney World before he even got off of the plane. He was excited that it wasn't a generic theme park like he was accustomed to from the Midwest.
Steve started going to Walt Disney World twice a year starting in 1989, and finally moved to the Orlando area in 1998 when a job opened up in emergency medicine near Orlando, and he's been enjoying it ever since.
Steve always enjoyed writing, and after he started acquiring loads of notes from his regular trips to the park, he turned them into The Hassle-Free Guide to Walt Disney World, which has just released its 2008 edition. Steve views the guide as a book that could be picked up on the way to the park and be used with touring plans with a minimum of skimming beforehand. It's aimed at people who haven't been to Walt Disney World that much, if at all, or someone who just needs a quick opening to a touring plan for a specific park.
After the book was released, his publisher wanted more ideas for Disney-related books, and Steve suggested a book about Hidden Mickeys (which he had already been collecting), and the original Hidden Mickeys Guide was published in 2003. (The Third Edition has just been released, as well as the First Edition of the Disneyland Hidden Mickeys Guide, both of which will be reviewed on the MousePlanet web site by Mark tomorrow.) Steve now works every day on the books and his web site, so it's a year-round hobby for him.
The third edition of the book includes all remaining Hidden Mickeys from the first two editions, as well as including all new confirmed Hidden Mickeys, for a total of over 700 in this edition.
Steve's favorite Hidden Mickey, which is one of Mark's favorites, has been removed. The "Broccoli Mickey" and, in fact, the entire Body Wars mural at the Wonders of Life pavilion, has been replaced by a beige facade. Steve hasn't actually made it over there, but ark was very depressed to see it gone.
Steve related some anecdotes about cast member dedication to some Hidden Mickeys.
He then gave some of the history of the tracking of Hidden Mickeys on the web. first, there was the old Stetson University Hidden Mickeys web site, which was where he first learned about Hidden Mickeys. Next came the Spacecoast Hidden Mickeys site, and the rest is history.
Steve then started describing what Hidden Mickeys are and how to find them.
Steve uses some of the tricks the he learned in the Hassle-Free guide to map the Hidden Mickey Hungs in the park to serve as a guidebook and touring plan in the parks.
Mark asked about the small number of Hidden Mickeys in the guide for Disneyland. Steve mentioned that he's working on an already-long list of additional reported Mickeys to include in the next edition of the book.
Steve could not find Mickey in the parking lot of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, that was reported by Mike, though Steve's sister did find it.
Steve is doing a Hidden Mickeys cruise with Deb Wills next fall. He doesn't know if there are enough for a separate book yet, but there probably will be by the time that the two new ships are launched.
To report a Hidden Mickey, go to Steve's Hidden Mickey's Guide web site.
So what are your favorite Hidden Mickeys?. Let us know by sending an email or calling our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278) and let us know what your favorites are!
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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).