In a time of unrivaled uncertainty and confusion, we might as well talk about the happiest places on Earth: Disney Parks. In the 65 years since Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort opened, the brand has grown to proportions even Walt Disney himself couldn’t have imagined. Now with 11 different parks around the world, the company offers a little something for everyone to enjoy — even a few fun Easter eggs for those with a curious nature and a trained eye.
Disney‘s amusement parks are massive, and the attention to detail the Imagineers put into every ride, restaurant, and gift shop is astounding. They go so far as to include a silhouette of Disney’s flagship character — Mickey Mouse — wherever they can, but these Mickeys are not always easy to spot. Many attendees treat their trips like a giant scavenger hunt, and attempt to discover every « Hidden Mickey » in the park. As it turns out, they’ll always miss a few from ground level.
The majority of Hidden Mickeys are challenging but not impossible to spot if you take a good, long look around. For at least a couple, however, you’ll need access to an airplane to find them. These Hidden Mickeys are hiding in plain sight, concealed by our ground-dwelling perspective. Thankfully for the completists out there, a pilot by the name of Jonathan Salazar (@thedisneypilot on Instagram) regularly provides guests with a birds-eye view of the Disney Parks. In doing so, he also uncovered a couple of Hidden Mickeys for those without access to personal air travel.
This particular Hidden Mickey is pretty obvious, so long as you’re in a plane when looking at it. Walking through the grass on Walt Disney World property would yield nothing more than a bunch of solar panels, but a higher altitude tells a different story. This massive solar array is actually arranged in the shape of Mickey’s head, as Salazar graciously provided evidence of on his Instagram page, proving once and for all that the House of Mouse is serious about their « latest initiative in Disney’s long-standing commitment to environmental conservation » (via Orlando Sentinel).
The solar farm is located near Epcot and is referred to by the company as the Walt Disney World Solar Facility, which officially came online in 2016. It’s a product of an agreement between Duke Energy and Walt Disney World that seeks to provide cleaner, renewable energy to the area. This Mickey is roughly 22 acres in size, making it one of the largest Hidden Mickeys in the world, second only to the one in Clermont, Florida that engulfs over 60-acres of forest.
Unlike the solar panel Mickey, this one is far less obvious and requires a bit more thought to make sense of. As Salazar noted on his Instagram, his picture of the Expedition Everest Hidden Mickey isn’t the right orientation, but all of it is still visible in the photo. The mountain in the center creates a rough outline of Mickey’s head, and the two circular track pieces outside provide the shape of his ears. It’s not the most perfect of the bunch, but the resemblance is striking nonetheless.
Whether or not the Imagineers behind the ride intended it to look like their company mascot’s head is anyone’s guess. Even if it was pure coincidence, we’ll just assume that good old-fashioned Disney magic was at work. Of course, these are only a couple hard-to-find examples of the many Hidden Mickeys at Disney Parks. Next time you’re wandering around or waiting in line for Splash Mountain, you might want to take a closer look at your surroundings.