Here is part two of our interview with Steve Barrett, the author of Hidden Mickeys.
Mickey News – Do you have any other hobbies about Disney?
Steve – HM’s are my main focus, I love coming to the parks, especially with friends and family that are visiting the Orlando area. Many of my neighbors know of my HM obsession and they come out here and help me verify HM’s. I like to have input when I’m looking for a HM.
Mickey News – How often do you get out to the parks?
Steve – Once a week.
Mickey News – What are the origins of the “HMs”?
Steve – Well the story I tend to believe in is from Jim Hill Media.com. He believes that when EPCOT was being built in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s, the Imagineers were told not to put the characters in EPCOT; they wanted to restrict them to the Magic Kingdom because EPCOT was to be more of an adult park. The Imagineers in silent protest began hiding Mickey’s in the designs of the pavilions, shops, and restaurants. That to me is credible. The Term HM was not around then. It was not used until the late 1980′s. Therefore, this was seven or eight years later when “HMs” were popping up in EPCOT. Retrospectively, people began looking for “HMs” in Disneyland, which opened in 1955.
Mickey News – Are “HMs” as prevalent in Disneyland as in Disneyworld?
Steve – Yes, they are all over the place and of course, it’s a smaller park and does not have as many.
Mickey News – Steve, you seemed to have started a cult following of people trying to find those “HMs,” what is your feeling on this?
Steve – I never believed that I would lead to such a fun sport, I get a lot of support from the website, people justifying and verifying the Mickey’s, and what keeps it really interesting is that the Imagineers continue to put them (“HMs”) in. Whenever they remodel an attraction or shop or resort, its almost guaranteed you will find new ones.
Mickey News – You stated that “HMs” come and go. Are they intentionally removed by the Imagineers?
Steve – Yes, its unfortunate. A few years ago, the Caribbean Beach Resort’s lobby was redone. There were some great HM’s on the Murals, but now they are gone forever.
Mickey News – What other famous “HMs” are now gone?
Steve – What comes to mind are some of the shadow Mickey’s. In the Pirates ride when you come up to the pirate ship and the Captain is standing on the deck, the shadow of his hat on the sail was a good HM, but now it’s not as convincing to me. Another great shadow character that is lost was on the exit on Space Mountain on the moving walkway. There was a shadow of Winnie the Pooh moving across a rock, it was there for many years, now it’s gone.
Mickey News – How many hours of research did you spend on all three HM books?
Steve – Almost every spare minute that I am not working, I’m working on my Disney books. Either the Touring Guide Book that I update every year, my website or verifying “HMs”, so virtually every day I have off I’m working on something related to Disney. It’s a passion, a hobby.
Mickey News – Has Disney given you any assistance or aid in writing the books?
Steve – In the early years of these books I tried to make connections with Disney, went through the PR department and their media department, but Disney is very standoffish when it comes to authors not under their umbrella. They are not rude, but they tend to keep me at arm’s length. I don’t turn to them for help.
Mickey News – Disney must approve of the books; they are sold in the parks.
Steve – Right, that was not anything my publisher pursued, it was something Disney decided to do. However, it’s not their book, so they keep their distance.
Mickey News – Even though it is not their book, it is promoting Disney; it brings many people to the parks just to look for the “HMs”. You would think that Disney would welcome you.
Steve – Maybe if I pursued it more they would, I don’t know. I am very pro-Disney and they understand that. They actually read my Touring Guidebook every year before it comes out.
Mickey News – Is Disney aware of your website?
Steve – I am sure Disney knows my website exists. They have never contacted me about it, no Disney management personnel has ever posted on the site. Now cast members post on the site.
Mickey News – Do you get a lot of “HMs” from the cast members?
Steve – Yes I do. Cast members are an invaluable resource for HM’s. Whenever a cast member posts, it’s very special to me.
Mickey News – Going back to future books. A third book is planned, when will it be available?
Steve – In late May of this year. This is the third edition of the “HMs” book for Walt Disney World.
Mickey News – Where can fans purchase the new book?
Steve – Amazon.com will have if first on May 25, shortly afterwards, it will be in bookstores. Mostly bookstores in the eastern U.S. carry the HM books and the Tour Guide Book. I’m talking about Barnes and Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million. These kinds of bookstores.
Mickey News – Any plans for a fourth “HMs” book?
Steve – I would envision every 2 years I would need an update, because of lost “HMs” and new ones, which accumulate at a certain pace. It makes sense to update every 2 years, so the new book will reflect the lost Mickey’s and the new ones.
So there you had the story on the origins and the man who brought the “Hidden Mickeys” into the limelight. What was once just a rumor, a story read on the internet, or something mentioned in casual conversation, thanks to the love, dedication and hard detective work of Steve Barrett, finding those “Hidden Mickeys” is now enjoyed by thousands of Disney fans worldwide. If you find what you think is a Hidden Mickey, known or unknown, snap a picture and a description and send it off to Steve’s site at www.hiddenmickeysguide.com . Maybe you and your Hidden Mickey might be in Steve’s next book! Also check the site and Amazon.com for information on getting your copy of either Steve’s “The Hassle-Free Walt Disney World Vacation” or any of the three “Hidden Mickeys” guidebooks. Happy Hunting!
There’s an extra special way to enjoy Walt Disney World and this book is your guide. Hunting for Hidden Mickeys (images of Mickey Mouse cleverly concealed in WDW’s theme parks, restaurants, hotels, and other areas by Disney artists and designers) is fun for all and a bona fide vacation mission for many Disney World fans. Author Steve Barrett adds to the fun by organizing the search into six separate scavenger hunts, complete with clues, hints, and points to be scored. There’s a hunt for each of List Price: $ 12.95 Price:
There’s an extra special way to enjoy Walt Disney World and this book is your guide. Hunting for Hidden Mickeys (images of Mickey Mouse cleverly concealed in WDW’s theme parks, restaurants, hotels, and other areas by Disney artists and designers) is fun for all and a bona fide vacation mission for many Disney World fans. Author Steve Barrett adds to the fun by organizing the search into six separate scavenger hunts, complete with clues, hints, and points to be scored. There’s a hunt for each of
List Price: $ 12.95