Mickey: The True Original Exhibition Walkthrough
Tomorrow, Thursday, November 8th, the Mickey: The True Original Exhibition officially opens up in New York City. Combining a nostalgic remembrance with a contemporary look through the eyes of some famous artists, this exhibit pays homage to the 90 years that Mickey Mouse (and Minnie Mouse) have been in existence. From Steamboat Willie to the Mickey Mouse Club and beyond, this beautiful tour of artwork is a perfect celebration of the Mouse that started it all.
Yesterday, my brother Stephen and I were fortunate enough to be invited to a special preview of the event. I am pleased to announce that next week, Stephen, an artist in his own right, will premiere here on DisKingdom for the first time, presenting his look at the artistry of the exhibit. But, for now, join me as I give a brief walk through of the exhibit and showcase some of the highlights for me.
Before we start the walk through, I want to give a shout out to five individuals that made yesterday’s event extra special:
Darren (DRx) Romanelli- Artist and Curator
Before the tour started, we had a great talk about his love and re-fabrication of vintage clothing, our shared love of Disney, and the excitement surrounding the exhibit. Once he gave his introductory welcome, he had to get going (as it was a busy day for him). However, seeing his passion for this project made me that much more excited for the rest of the day.
Jeff Shelly and John Quinn- Disney Artists
I’ve met Jeff Shelly before at Disney Infinity events here in NYC, but this is the first time meeting John Quinn. Jeff was the Disney Artist behind the artwork seen in the promotion of the exhibit (including all of the artwork on the outer building), as well as a few areas in the first two rooms of the exhibit. John was in charge of putting together the Steamboat Willie Redux short, as well as a giant Mickey mural in the Burst Into Color! room. Both were great to talk to, and so excited to share their work, some of which has been in production for years.
Scott Slesinger- Disney PR Representative
Some of you in my Disney Infinity family might recognize Scott, who was part of the PR team for DI throughout its’ popularity. Yesterday, Scott accompanied our group throughout the exhibit, and it was nice already knowing him and being able to converse more openly. He made the experience great.
Alison- General Manager
I have known Alison for years via VinylmationKingdom.com (predecessor to DisKingdom) and our shared love of collecting those 3″ high Vinylmation Mickeys. She’s been an employee for The Disney Store at various locations since I have known her, but for the run of the exhibit she excitedly has taken the job as General Manager, overseeing her contingent of 80 Cast Members. Props to her and all of the Cast Members who I met yesterday. While there were some kinks to work out in a few aspects of the exhibit (nothing out of the ordinary for a new entity starting), they worked with them in stride and made the entire day a really fun experience.
Okay… so with that, let’s start the walk through of Mickey: The True Original.
Once guests check in to the exhibit and before they advance into the first room, the lobby offers the chance for everyone to get a brief overview of the space. Additionally, they can participate in the #ShareYourEars campaign, which raises money for the Make A Wish Foundation. For every social media post of people around the world with the Mickey Ears and the hashtag #ShareYourEars through November 17th, Disney will donate $5 to the charity, with a max of $2 million.
The first room in the exhibit, which is a forward-progressing experience, is the Welcome Room, which showcases a fun video introduction to Mickey Mouse and his iconic presence over the past 90 years. From here, guests are invited to enter the world during 1928, and the debut of Steamboat Willie.
The Hello Mickey room celebrates the creation of Mickey Mouse. In addition to having neon artwork by Jeff Shelly and a giant steamboat where you can recreate your own Steamboat Willie moments, there is the World Premiere of Steamboat Willie Redux, which a team of over 50 artists recreated the popular cartoon in their own style. The biggest highlight for me in this room was Walt Disney’s Academy Award for the creation of Mickey Mouse, which he received in 1932.
It’s Black & White
The next room celebrates the age of Black & White Mickey Mouse cartoons, including Plane Crazy. This room also features some fun photo op sets by Jeff Shelly with Mickey and Minnie.
Ink & Paint
A somewhat psychedelic trip into the world of color through vibrant hues of paint pigments, the Ink & Paint corridor features a groovy rendition of “All in a Golden Afternoon” from Alice in Wonderland and celebrates some of the early artists of the department.
Burst Into Color!
Celebrating the advent of color in cartoons, this room features beautiful pieces, including a crocheted wall piece dedicated to Mickey’s first color cartoon, The Band Concert.
From enchanted broomsticks to an iconic hat, Sorcerer’s Way celebrates Mickey’s role as Yensid’s apprentice in Fantasia.
Mickey Mouse Club
This “pit stop” along the experience features sights and sounds from the iconic runs of The Mickey Mouse Club, artifacts from the original run of the show (which featured Annette Funicello), a chance to sample one of the new Mickey Mouse flavors of ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery.
1928: Original Muse
Using Mickey Mouse as their muse, contemporary artists created some beautiful pieces of art using pencils, paints, sculpts, and… in one case… twine.
This room features a collection of Mickey Merchandise from the past 90 years, as well as a few art pieces, including DRx’s giant Be@rbrick. Offshoot of this room is a space where guests can demo Mickey’s Game Show Live, a game on Google Play. If demoed, guests can receive an exclusive Disney Pin.
Here guests can relax at the end of the exhibit and listen to music with Beats by Dre x Disney headphones.
A black-lit explosion of creativity by artist Kenny Scharf, the Cosmic Cavern can be a bit overwhelming… but fun at the same time.
Mickey’s Maker Shop
The quintessential “store at the end of the ride” Disney experience, Mickey’s Maker Shop features exclusive Disney merchandise, including some upcoming Funko Pop! Vinyls. Additionally, guests can custom make their own New Era caps and T-Shirts with the help of patches… or get their own exclusive set of Mickey Ears embroidered.
If you get a chance to come to NYC and see Mickey: The True Original Exhibition, you will not be disappointed. It runs tomorrow through February 10, 2019, and tickets can be purchased here.
For those interested, I was told by no less than five people that there will be some fun things occurring at the exhibit on Sunday, November 18th for Mickey’s 90th Birthday. I already have a ticket to be back to see the exhibit that day, and possibly if you go as well I will see you!
Special thanks to all the awesome Disney Artists and Cast Members for making yesterday an amazing day. I’m looking forward to seeing my brother’s artistic point of view of the exhibit next week.