The Walt Disney Company was founded on October 16th, 1923, and has therefore marked an “historic and unprecedented milestone.” The 100th Anniversary of the Walt Disney Company celebrated Disney 100 Years of Wonder!
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro shared that the celebration is the BIGGEST in the company’s history! Disney 100 Years of Wonder spanned the Disney destinations across the globe, delivering new decorations, specialty food and beverages, new experiences, merchandise, and more, with each destination marking the occasion in their own way.
Click any of the links below to jump to and of the topics or 100th Anniversary celebrations at the destination of your choice:
- Disneyland Resort
- Walt Disney World
- Disney100 Around the Globe
- 100th Anniversary Merchandise
- Celebrate 100 Year of Wonder Wherever You Are
D’Amaro also shared that the “heart of the celebration” is in Disneyland Resort… and the celebration has kicked off on January 27, 2023 in Disneyland!
The parks were “infused” with PLATINUM, including NEW Platinum celebration costumes for Mickey, Minnie, and the gang!
Sleeping Beauty Castle got all dressed up in platinum, too!
Touches included platinum banners and bunting, two water fountains on either side of the castle, and a wishing star placed on the tower.
A cabochon featuring the three Good Fairies — Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather — provided the centerpiece with a hammered platinum shield showcasing the 100 Years of Wonder logo front and center.
A NEW Attraction
In fact, January 27th also included the opening of the NEW Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction in Disneyland park!
The celebration in Disneyland Resort also featured the return of the Magic Happens Parade.
We took our FIRST RIDE on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disneyland. STEP INSIDE with us HERE!
New Nighttime Spectaculars
TWO new nighttime spectaculars played a part of the celebration in Disneyland Resort!
These include “World of Color – One” at Disney California Adventure, which honors the “storytelling legacy of Disney’s first 100 years.”
According to Disney, “World of Color – ONE celebrates how a single action, like a drop of water, creates a ripple that can grow into a wave of change. You’ll discover how it only takes one action to make an impact on the people in our lives and the world around us, just as one man – Walt Disney – started the wave that has continued to grow and inspire people around the globe for 100 years.”
The nighttime show features songs and stories from some of Disney’s most beloved movies, including The Lion King, Moana, Coco, Mulan, Soul, and more! It is the first spectacular to feature “characters, music, and stories from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, the Avengers, and Star Wars” all in the same show! There are 18 different compositions in all, including a new original song called “Start a Wave,” which was written by the Grammy-nominated Cody Fry and sung by Loren Allred.
100th Anniversary Statues
All around the Disneyland Resort, platinum statues and medallions were on display for the celebration.
These include, of course, a Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse statue in Disneyland park!
A New Exhibit
The Disney Gallery on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Park became home to a new exhibit — The Disney Gallery Presents: Disney 100 Years of Wonder.
The exhibit is inspired by “Walt Disney’s vision for Disneyland to be where his films come to life.”
You can learn more about the exhibit HERE!
Disney100 Treats in Disneyland Resort
And, of course, there were lots of other little surprises along the way…
MORE Ways to Celebrate 100 Years in Disneyland!
- Guests could download FREE PhotoPass digital attraction photos included with the cost of their Disneyland ticket throughout the Disney100 celebration;
- Cast Members received 100th Anniversary nametags with a SURPRISE detail involving favorite characters;
- The Disneyland Monorail sported a new look for the 100th anniversary!
Walt Disney World
EPCOT served as the HOST of the 100th Anniversary celebration in Walt Disney World! The festivities officially kicked off on September 22, 2023 and lasted through December 31, 2023… though aspects of the celebration remain ongoing in the park even after 2023!
The production brings guests together nightly around World Showcase Lagoon.
Disney shares that the show is meant to “reflect the commonality in all of us,” and that the show invites “everyone to gather around World Showcase Lagoon for a show that will unite us through commonalities of the heart in a dazzling display of fireworks, lasers, music and light. Featuring an original composition along with select songs from the Disney songbook, this new spectacular will remind us that we’re more alike than different, connecting our hearts together as one.”
Guests can also celebrate the big anniversary at EPCOT in a few more ways. For instance, guests can meet Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in their platinum attire in the Imagination pavilion and a platinum Mickey Mouse sculpture welcomes you to celebrate at EPCOT!
A new Disney100 mural was posted in World Celebration located along the walkway to World Showcase featuring 100 (!!!) of your favorite Disney characters in EPCOT’s various neighborhoods.
The challenge? See how many YOU can find!
A SUPER fun bonus to the celebration is the RETURN of the original version of EPCOT’s beloved Soarin’ attraction: Soarin’ Over California!
And finally, Spaceship Earth “lights up each night with special colors and lights accompanied by the Disney100 anthem, a unique rendition of ‘When You Wish Upon a Star.’”
Jason Read, show lighting designer principal for Walt Disney Imagineering said, “We’re… inspired by many things from the history of the company, its characters, theme parks and shows – even the Disney100 opening logo that plays before our feature films during this anniversary. You may see homages to everything from the Wonderful World of Disney television show opening to Mickey balloons that we sell on Main Street, U.S.A.”
Disney World Resort Hotels
Keep your eyes peeled for DISNEY PALS making appearances at Disney World Resort hotels when they visit by way of the Character Caravan!
Friends like Goofy, Donald and Pluto may stop by to celebrate the 100th Anniversary with you!
And they are ready to party in their 100th Anniversary costumes!!
Additionally, there was a new 100th Anniversary addition in the lobbies at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort: “Disney Character Clicks,” a complimentary, limited-time PhotoPass experience.
When you enter these lobbies, look for the Character Clicks photo box. You can tap your MagicBand, Key to the World Card, or Disney MagicMobile Pass to the reader on the box, and then select a Disney character to digitally appear in photos with you. The characters are all dressed up in their outfits for the 100th Anniversary!
Disney100 TREATS in Disney World
Of course, what’s a celebration without FOOD??
Disney100 AROUND THE GLOBE
Disney 100 — The TRAVELING Exhibition!
The celebration extends beyond the parks! For instance, a new exhibit featuring many artifacts from the Walt Disney Archives’ collection opened on February 18, 2023 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia exhibit ended on August 27th. BUT WAIT… there’s more!
Disney 100: The Exhibition is traveling to various cities for the big occasion. The opening at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute launched a world tour which is traveling to several other cities afterward. There are two Disney100 exhibits that travel to different cities around the world. The exhibition that started in Philadelphia moved to Chicago on November 18th, 2023, and will move to Kansas City on May 24, 2024, and other spots across the U.S. The second exhibit kicked off its run in Munich, Germany before going to London and then other locations internationally.
“As part of its 100th anniversary marketing-palooza, the Walt Disney Company used archival video and artificial intelligence tools to create a lifelike hologram of its founder — a full-size digital avatar that speaks in Walt’s voice and appears as part of interactive exhibitions of Disney artwork, props and costumes that will tour the globe until at least 2028,” said the Times.
Becky Cline, director of the Disney Archives was quoted as saying, “I get goosebumps every time I see it.”
To see all of the current and upcoming cities and ticket information for the exhibit, you can visit disney100exhibit.com.
If the exhibit has not yet been announced for a city near you, you can still order The Story of Disney: 100 Years of Wonder hardcover book on Amazon.
It’s the official companion to the touring exhibition by Walt Disney Archives and SC Exhibitions and tells the story of the company’s past, present, and future through rare Disney concept art and photographs.
See MORE ways Disney100 is being celebrated around the world through the links below:
D23 is Disney’s Official Fan Club marked the milestone with a whole host of celebrations including movie screenings, Studio tours, live events, theatrical releases, and more!
- The Walt Disney Studios Official Tour Presented by D23 gave members the chance to visit the world-famous studio in Burbank, California;
- Several movie milestone anniversaries were celebrated throughout 2023 — including Finding Nemo (20th), Mulan (25th), and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (35th) — with in-person events for fan-favorite films;
- D23: The Official Disney Fan Club invited fans around the world to the Royal Ball at The Walt Disney Studios—celebrating 100 years of Disney on October 15th, 2023.
- Destination D23 returned to Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World from September 8th to 10th, 2023; You can read all about the BIGGEST NEWS shared during the weekend here.
- D23 members had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri in June 2023 “for a very special hometown event.”
Walt Disney Animation Studios
The Walt Disney Animation Studios have produced a new movie: Wish! Wish features 3D animation but takes inspiration from classic Disney movies, and arrived in theaters on November 22nd, 2023.
Disney shares that Wish “looks ahead to the next 100 years for the studio and explores how the wishing star that so many Disney characters wished upon came to be.”
P.S. You can meet Asha from Wish in Disney World’s EPCOT at the World Showcase Friendship Gazebo, and at Royal Hall in Disneyland Park!
And ABC News Studios presented “a once-in-a-lifetime documentary event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of one of the world’s most beloved companies. Disney: 100 Years of Wonder will take viewers on a journey that started in 1923 and whose future is not yet written.”
Several new merchandise collections hit the shelves in honor of the celebration. In October 2023, the Disney100 Platinum Celebration Finale Collection dropped on shopDisney.
More Ways to Celebrate 100 Year of Wonder ANYWHERE
Once Upon a Studio
The film is just 12 minutes long but includes tons of beloved Disney characters. The Disney+ description states, “An all-star ensemble of beloved Disney Animation characters come together in “Once Upon a Studio” for a joyful, entertaining and emotional reunion as they assemble for a spectacular group photo to celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary.”
In this new Disney100 short, the current Mickey Mouse encounters old film reel versions of himself, and he and his friends have to stop the chaos from spreading around town.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Of course, we all know and love Mickey Mouse, but before Walt Disney created Mickey, he had Oswald the Lucky Rabbit…
And remember… as Walt Disney himself said, ““I hope we never lose sight of one thing…
…that it was all started by a MOUSE!!”