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. So it’s not surprising that Mickey has stowed away on the Disney Cruise ships — in over one 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 the hiding places.
“I believe that most of the Hidden Mickeys on the Disney cruise ships were present from the initial ship construction,” said Barrett. “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.”
“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. 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.”
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 Web site, HiddenMickeysGuide.com.
“Hidden Mickeys Go to Sea” is available in bookstores nationwide, from online bookstores, or by visiting IntrepidTraveler.com. Disney is expected to also have them available for purchase in the cruise ship gift shops.