Pop-ups are a thing now. What was once strictly associated with temporary retail shops has evolved into several completely immersive experiences. The New York Times even recently sent a reporter to experience as many of them as possible and report back. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t great.
And then Disney came to town.
Mickey: The True Original Exhibition celebrates 90 years of Mickey Mouse’s influence on art and pop culture. Opening in November 2018, this immersive experience is inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his consistent impact on the arts and creativity in all its forms. Guests will have the chance to explore the 16,000 square-foot exhibition featuring both historic and contemporary work from renowned artists.
Since the exhibit recently closed (just last week), I thought it would be a great time to walk you through the experience and share some of the highlights.
Upon entry at my designated entry time, I was handed a brochure/map and button, and ushered into a room with the rest of my group. After a brief video, we were let loose into the actual exhibition. It reminded me of all the art museums I’ve been to — a series of smaller rooms, each with a theme of sorts.
Room #1: Hello Mickey!
That’s right; this room featured a full-size replica of Mickey’s famous steamboat. There were also several smaller pieces showcasing the OG Mouse, recreated in various styles by different artists.
On top that, there was a small theater attached where you could watch Mickey’s first appearance in Steamboat Willie, also redone in different styles. Very cool.
Room #2: Iconic Design
“Hiding Mickey” is one of the most memorable pieces from the entire exhibit. It just proves that even with no color at all, Mickey Mouse is one of the most recognizable figures in the world.
Room #3: It’s Black & White
This room was like stepping into a comic strip. Entirely (you guessed it!) black and white, it was a little trippy but also very fun.
There are a couple of pieces that only looked right if you stood in just the right spot. Those might have been my favorites.
A walk down the Ink & Paint hallway leads us to…
Room #4: Burst into Color!
It’s hard to tell from this picture, but I could use this t-shirt as a bedspread. It was HUGE! Alongside it in the “Burst of Color!” room were various other pieces paying homage to Mickey’s color debut in The Band Concert.
Room #5: Sorcerer’s Way
For all the brightness and color of Mickey Mouse, this room was hella creepy! Much like Fantasia as a whole was a bit of a departure from the rest of the Disney animated catalog, this part of the exhibit was darker than the rest.
It was beautiful to be sure, but a strange break in the rest of the exhibit.
Room #6: Mickey Mouse Club
Let’s be honest; this was the real reason I wanted to come to the exhibit. I was a HUGE Mickey Mouse Club fan in the early 90’s, and this recreation of the set was everything – especially since I was rocking my MMC sweatshirt.
In addition to making all my middle school dreams come true, this room got even better: FREE ICE CREAM! Ample Hills Creamery created two flavors inspired by Mickey and Minnie, and you could try either at no additional cost.
Room #7: Original Muse
It’s pretty clear that Mickey Mouse has become an inspiration to artists around the world. This room gave us a glimpse at some of the unique pieces inspired by the mouse.
These are just a couple of my favorites. The bottom of the two were gorgeous! I’m proud of the pictures I got of them, but truly they were spectacular in person.
Room #8: The Collection
And it’s not just art! You can see merchandise featuring Mickey in almost every part of life. MM is found on everything from phones to clothes to patio furniture to appliances!
The Collection displayed just some of those items, including a tower of Mickey plushes as the room’s centerpiece.
And then SHOPPING!
Of course, the entire experience ended with a store! There were so many cute things, you KNOW I couldn’t walk out of there empty-handed.
Another cool feature in the retail section was Mickey’s Maker Space, where you could design your own custom Mickey merchandise.
I’m not usually one to spend a ton on a pop-up experience, but I think this one was totally worth it. That, and it helped tide me over until my next park visit…