New Disney Exhibit Features a Lifelike Walt Disney

February 15, 2023, 5:54 PM · Disney fans are getting their first look at a "holographic" Walt Disney with the opening of Disney100: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

The exhibition from the Walt Disney Archives opens officially to the public on Saturday, February 18, but select reporters and members of the D23 Official Disney Fan Club got a preview today. The exhibition celebrates 100 years of The Walt Disney Company, which Walt and his brother Roy started as Disney Brothers Studio in Los Angeles on October 16, 1923.

"The Walt Disney Archives spent years planning and curating more than 250 objects to capture the 100 years of storytelling, creativity, and unparalleled magic of The Walt Disney Company," Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline said. "We cannot wait for fans and families to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event celebrating the iconic characters and stories that have captured the hearts of audiences around the globe."

Your Disney World: A Day in the Parks gallery
Your Disney World: A Day in the Parks gallery at Disney100: The Exhibition. Photos courtesy Walt Disney Archives and D23: The Official Disney Fan Club

Among the objects on display across the 10 immersive galleries are ride vehicles from Matterhorn Bobsleds and Peter Pan's Flight, a 12-foot filming model of the Nautilus from 1954's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," a Cinderella Castle model for Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park, and the earliest sketches of Mickey Mouse and animation drawings from his debut in 1928's "Steamboat Willie."

But the highlight for many fans will be inside the Disney MagicStage, where Disney StudioLAB, DisneyResearch|Studios, and Industrial Light & Magic have partnered to create a life-sized, digital "hologram" of Walt Disney.

Disney MagicStage featuring Walt Disney
Disney MagicStage featuring Walt Disney

"Tapping the vast resources of the Walt Disney Archives, two separate audio recordings of Walt were assembled, creating his vocal script. The Disney Archives also provided footage of 1960s-era Walt to DisneyResearch|Studios, who used their super-resolution A.I. upscaler to convert the archival footage to high definition," Disney said in its press release.

Disney100: The Exhibition will run at the The Franklin Institute through August 27. Tickets start at $25 and are available through the Institute's website.

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Replies (15)

February 15, 2023 at 6:46 PM

Damn, they should throw him into the end of haunted mansion and replace the hitchhiking ghosts just to screw with people.

“Experience 100 Magical Years with our newest resident and our 1000th Happy Haunt!”

Walt Ghost Funko Pop tba

February 15, 2023 at 8:03 PM

If they really wanted to be accurate to what Walt would look like 100 years later, why not just feature his frozen head?

February 15, 2023 at 8:46 PM


Not unlike the Head Museum in Futurama.

Man this thread went off the rails quickly. Sorry everyone. I bet this exhibit is quite amazing to experience on a serious note. I’m looking forward to reading a report from an Insider lucky enough to attend.

February 16, 2023 at 1:01 AM

Damn, they should change the traveling ghosts and dump him at the back of the haunted mansion simply to annoy folks. Why not just include Walt's frozen head if they wanted to be completely realistic about what he will look like 100 years from now? [url=]word wipe[/url]

February 16, 2023 at 1:11 AM

a LIFT-SIZED, digital "hologram" of Walt Disney?

February 16, 2023 at 1:24 AM

Fixed it.

February 16, 2023 at 1:52 AM

@Robert: do you know if the exhibition will come to Europe?

February 16, 2023 at 2:06 AM

I saw a video of the Walt Disney hologram. It didn't smile or behave like Walt at all.

February 16, 2023 at 9:04 AM

I'm sorry, but $25 for a single museum exhibit consisting of corporate propaganda is pretty ridiculous. Franklin Institute members can get tickets for $18, and non-members can buy a combo ticket that includes the Disney exhibit and full museum access for $45 ($20 more than a ticket for just the museum).

February 16, 2023 at 9:22 AM

Am I the only one who think a hologram of a dead person is in bad taste?

February 16, 2023 at 10:47 AM

is it any worse than a robotic puppet of a dead person?

I will say that the Franklin Institute is a great museum, so even if you're put off by the $25 upcharge for the Disney exhibit, I definitely recommend checking out the rest of the museum.

February 16, 2023 at 10:47 AM

Hologram? Or Pepper's Ghost?

"I'm sorry, but $25 for a single museum exhibit consisting of corporate propaganda is pretty ridiculous."

Try $20 to ride Radiator Springs one time. Disney: We're Gonna Soak Ya!

February 16, 2023 at 2:29 PM

I agree Jacob that FI is a great museum, especially for kids interested in STEM, and is worth the $25 entry fee for an experience that can take the better part of 4+ hours. However, charging $25 for just this Disney exhibit (or an extra $20 if you want to combine with a standard museum admission) seems a bit absurd. Even if you spend 10 minutes in each of the 10 galleries, it would take a little more than an hour and a half to see the entire exhibit.

February 16, 2023 at 8:52 PM

Yeah, I’m not advocating for the Disney exhibit. That’s a high upcharge even among like exhibits.

February 17, 2023 at 2:10 AM

Would love to see the hologram of Walt Disney come to Disneyland someday.

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