Filipinos were in awe when “Hidden Mickeys” were spotted on some traffic lights in Metro Manila as homage to the famous Disney icon which will turn 90 years-old in November 18.
A Reddit user shared a picture of a traffic light along Taft Avenue near the United Nations Station in Light Rail Transit Line 1. Red Mickey Mouse ears formed an outline in one of the traffic light’s lenses.
In the comments thread of the post, another Reddit user claimed that he was one of the “designers” involved in the project.
Filipinos should “watch out for more Mickey presence around the metro” since Disney is celebrating their famous mascot’s 90th birthday, according to the user.
“There’s a lot more in store, especially now that the holidays are coming up!” he exclaimed.
Joint project between MMDA and Disney Philippines
The Metro Manila Development Authority in a Facebook post announced that they have collaborated with Disney Philippines to decorate selected 90 traffic lights around the metro with “Hidden Mickeys.”
They said they wanted to elicit a smile from drivers, commuters and pedestrians during their travels and relieve “childhood nostalgia” through the installation.
MMDA Chairman Danilo Delapuz Lim explained that it was also their way to “provide a traffic relief” to travelers.
“The Mickey ear traffic lights re-live the ‘Mickey-legacy’ of fun and laughter, bringing out the ‘child’ in all of us as we reminisce the joy that Mickey once brought in our lives when we were young,” Lim said.
“This partnership will somehow provide a traffic relief, especially in this time of the year where traffic is becoming heavier and heavier as everyone is on a rush preparing for Christmas,” he added.
Veronica Cabalinan, the head of Walt Disney Company Philippines, added that it’s a “privilege” for them to share happiness with the Filipino kids and families through the joint project.
“Mickey is an icon of fun, laughter, and optimism and is one of the most enduring personalities for all ages,” she said.
“We feel privileged to be able to share a smile and spread happiness through Mickey to all Filipino kids and families during this festive season across Manila,” Cabalinan added.
“Hidden Mickeys” can be spotted in selected traffic lights in Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Quezon City and San Juan.
The origin of the ‘Hidden Mickey’
A “Hidden Mickey” refers to a representation of Mickey Mouse’s ears that is inconspicuously placed in any Disney movie, television show, theme park or any other Disney product.
It all started as an “inside joke” among the early Disney Imagineers who designed the Epcot, a Disney theme park, in the late ’70s to the early ’80s.
Disney wanted it to be a theme park for adults that sold liquor. That time, they decided that no replica of any Disney character should be seen by the public.
The Disney Imagineers took it as a sort of challenge and incorporated “Hidden Mickeys” into different design elements within the theme park.
Eventually, replicas of Disney characters were added in Epcot through the suggestion of guests. This didn’t hinder the Disney Imagineers to continue placing “Hidden Mickeys” throughout Disney-owned properties.
It soon made its way to animated movies and television shows, where animators placed it for fun.
They can be in the form of classic Mickey Mouse silhouettes or a representation of Mickey himself through paintings or three circular objects placed together.