Walt Disney’s iconic and adorable rodent Mickey Mouse turned 90 this year! To pay homage to the mouse “who started it all,” the Disney Corporation recently unveiled “Mickey: The True Original,” a 16,000-square-foot immersive art exhibition in Manhattan, New York. Open to the public from November 8, 2018 to February 10, 2019, it features stunning Mickey-inspired exhibits created by over 20 contemporary artists from all over the world.
Among the highlights is the “Hello Mickey” installation, which is dedicated to the mouse’s big screen debut: Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928. The short film, depicting Mickey piloting a steamboat while whistling a catchy, cheerful tune, was the first Disney cartoon to feature synchronized sound, incorporating both character sounds and musical composition. The exhibit also includes remakes of the short clip created in various styles by different artists and a life-size steamboat, where visitors can test their piloting skills.
Also fun is the "It's Black & White" exhibit, which celebrates the early Mickey black-and-white comic strips and the "1928: Original Muse" installation dedicated to Mickey's global influence throughout the years. In the "Burst into Color" room, fans will be treated to Mickey’s fascinating transition from black-and-white cartoons to color.
Fans of the classic 1940 Disney release Fantasia will be delighted with New York-based artist Oliver Clegg’s “Sorcerer’s Way.” Named after the movie’s popular "Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment, in which Mickey wears the sorcerer’s hat and tries his hand at magic, only to fail miserably, it features a giant sorcerer’s hat as well as fake wells filled with original art from the movie. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a mural of Mickey’s famous sorcerer’s costume painted on recycled outdoor theater chairs.
When asked about the unique canvas, Clegg said, "For me, what is most interesting about Fantasia as a project [is that] it's a piece that was literally meant to engage an audience. The choice of the chairs was important because they represented the viewer and the audience.”
One of the most eye-catching installations, “The Cosmic Cavern,” comes from American painter and street artist Kenny Scarf. Inspired by one of Disney’s first licensed products, the Mickey Mouse watch, it transforms the iconic timepiece into an immersive neon technicolor experience complete with bright green, blue, yellow, and pink hues. The techno music blaring in the background crowns the surreal experience. The observant few will also notice the Easter eggs – depictions of Mickey – artfully hidden among the large clocks and memorabilia hanging from the ceiling and walls.
The pop-up exhibition also features a carefully curated selection of Mickey Mouse memorabilia from Disney’s archives, providing fans with a never-before-seen glimpse into the character’s evolution over the past 90 years.
The best part of the temporary show, however, is the Ample Hills Creamery counter in the Mickey Mouse club room, where visitors are treated to scoops of two delicious ice cream flavors – Confetti Celebration and Triple Chocolate Surprise. Created especially for the occasion, they include lots of birthday cake and Mickey-shaped white chocolate pieces filled with fudge and tangy lemon cream – yum!
Disney also honored the world’s most famous mouse with a two-hour television special featuring star-studded musical performances, moving tributes, and unreleased short films on November 4, 2018. The landmark birthday is also being celebrated with tie-in events at all Disney Parks and Resorts.