Disney to Kick Off 100th Birthday with Philadelphia Exhibition

March 3, 2021, 12:03 PM · D23: The Official Disney Fan Club has announced one of The Walt Disney Company's first events for Disney's upcoming 100th anniversary celebration in 2023.

The as-yet-untitled Disney Centennial exhibition will open in February 2023 at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The Walt Disney Archives is partnering with SC Exhibitions and Studio TK to produce the exhibition, which will feature "an immersive environment of sight and sound spanning 15,000 square feet, showcasing stories and characters from The Walt Disney Company’s last century," according to Disney's press release.

After the exhibit debuts in Philadelphia, a second staging will on the road for an international tour, staring in March 2023.

"As we approach the 100th Anniversary of The Walt Disney Company, we at the Walt Disney Archives are incredibly excited about traveling a new and unique exhibit marking a century of unparalleled innovation and storytelling with the world," Walt Disney Archives Director Rebecca Cline said. "This groundbreaking exhibition will celebrate the wonder of Disney, from 1923 to the present and into the future."

Exhibit Co-Curator Paula Sigman Lowery said, "It’s thrilling to bring Disney’s crown jewels—art, memorabilia, costumes, props, and one-of-a kind treasures—to public view—and to explore the story of one of the world’s most creative entertainment companies. Many of these objects have never before been seen outside the company’s archival, animation, and Imagineering vaults."

Disney's centennial celebration always was going to be a big deal, but look for it to take on an even bigger promotional role for the company after the pandemic canceled Disneyland's 65th anniversary last summer and undercut momentum leading up to the Walt Disney World Resort's 50th anniversary this fall. With international borders expected to remain closed - or at least heavily restricted - into 2022, due to nation's varying ability to deploy vaccines, many travel industry experts are looking to 2023 for the industry's recovery to reach full momentum. That makes the company's 100th anniversary celebration a perfectly-timed opportunity for a global celebration at Disney's theme parks.

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