I should disclose from the outset I’m a little obsessed with Walt Disney, the man, not the empire (although that’s mighty impressive too.). I find his story and vision so interesting and inspiring. I feel sad he didn’t see the enormity of the magic that would touch people from around the world, but perhaps being such a visionary he did have some idea.
When I heard Mickey: The True Original Exhibition was on in New York during our visit I was keen to check it out. The exhibition celebrates 90 years of Mickey Mouse’s influence on art and pop culture and after seeing it I really hope the exhibition travels beyond New York so more people can enjoy it.
Mickey Mouse has played an integral part in our entertainment line up at home. Like many who have a family member with a disability, entertainment is needed during therapy, sickness and just for fun. BJ grew up watching Mickey and has a range of Mickey prints, characters, DVDs and more. Mickey is part of our life and therefore even though BJ wasn’t with us, we felt compelled to see the exhibition. And with access top-of-mind we were particularly impressed with how seamlessly it’s incorporated into the experiences on offer.
MICKEY THE TRUE ORIGINAL EXHIBITION
The exhibition traces the history of Mickey starting with Steamboat Willie which was the first animated short to be synchronized to music and sound in 1928.
Guests are encouraged to interact with many of the exhibits and there’s photo opportunities aplenty, including the chance to take the helm of Mickey’s steamboat.
Cast members (staff) are positioned in each room and happily advise on the best positions to get that Instagram-worthy picture.
The best muralists, sculptors, artists and designers were engaged to create original works that convey Mickey’s optimism and imagination making for an engaging and varied experience.
Walking through the exhibit is a timeline tour of Mickey’s development from a black and white character to vibrant colour.
Each room holds in store another surprise, from giant black and white cut-outs to colourful works made from a variety of materials.
Although the exhibition is a celebration of one character the variety of mediums used to tell Mickey’s story keeps it interesting and surprising at every turn.
Walking into a cute diner decorated with Mickey Mouse Club memorabilia was a step back in time. We were treated to a tasty free ice cream sample while watching clips of the original Mickey Mouse Club kids show.
LIMITED EDITION PIN
We began collecting Disney trading pins several years ago when we visited Disneyland. It was a lovely souvenir of our time at the parks and we were swept up in the fun of pin trading with the cast members. It was therefore a lovely surprise to get an exhibition exclusive pin.
Just when we thought we’d finished with the exhibition we were invited to play a Mickey Google Trivia game to test our Disney knowledge. For completing the quiz we received a limited edition pin which has been added to AJ’s pin collection.
As I mentioned at the start, the exhibition is displayed in a spacious building with good circulation space for wheelchair users.
The steamboat has ramp access and the cardboard cut-outs have room for a wheelchair to move between for a photo.
Timed tickets need to be purchased and although I hate being tied down to time when on holiday, this actually ensures the exhibition isn’t overcrowded. It was really lovely because it was quiet and easy to get photos without waiting for people to take theirs.
No toilets are available at the exhibition so pop into the Chelsea Market ahead of your ticketed time.
Mickey The True Original Exhibition is currently due to finish in New York 10 February but keep an eye out to see if it’s extended, or travels elsewhere.
If you don’t have time to visit the exhibition make sure you pop into the store. Exclusive pins and merchandise is available for the exhibition.
We purchased a few mystery pins and were told the story of a man who came in with a scale to weigh the boxes to try and source the one pin he was missing. Apparently the die-hard pin trader still didn’t have success despite his tactics.
I love personalised items and there is a range of patches which can be added to shirts or caps which are made on the spot by cast members. If BJ had been with us he’d have loved to do that.
AJ and I were hosted for our visit, but as always, our review is reflective of our experience.