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Disney lovers, rejoice! The world’s most famous mouse has made his way to Manhattan. To celebrate Mickey’s 90th birthday, Disney has brought an immersive pop-up art exhibition called “Mickey: The True Original Exhibition” to New York City. From now until Feb. 10, Disney enthusiasts in Manhattan don’t have to travel to Disney World to immerse themselves with Mickey and can instead visit the 16,000 square-foot exhibition that features both historic and contemporary work from renowned artists.
Being a Disney lover myself, I was excited to attend the exhibition on its opening day — Nov. 8. The space is located right under the Highline, a great spot for tourists (or locals) to explore before or after their visit.
Upon entry, I received both a map for the exhibition and a Mickey exhibition pin and then waited in the lobby with my designated timed group until it was our turn to head into the first room.
The experience began in a dark room with a television screen that spanned the length of the wall. My group, which consisted of about a dozen people, watched an upbeat, two-minute clip on the history of Mickey Mouse.
Once the video was over, we headed to the “Hello Mickey” room. There were just over 10 rooms in this exhibit and each had its own theme.
Guests were not permitted to touch most of the art installations, but there were some interactive elements kids would likely appreciate such as Mickey’s steamboat.
Not only was there plenty to see at this exhibit, but there were a few stations equipped with Mickey Mouse Beats by Dre headphones. Disney lovers were able to listen to Steamboat Willie, the first-ever animated short to feature synchronized music and sound, which debuted in 1928.
Another pair of headphones were located across from the 3-D Mickey. In order to make it a completely immersive work of art, the headphones played a soundtrack that was specifically written to accompany the artist’s piece.
The rooms took guests throughout the different decades of Disney starting from the days before color.
This progressed to the present day with Mickey Mouse cartoons displayed on iPads.
The exhibition was filled with plenty of “Insta-worthy” backgrounds and photo opportunities.
It wouldn’t be a complete immersive experience without a complimentary treat for your taste buds. Guests were able to choose between two ice cream flavors by Ample Hills Creamery. In the name of research, I went with Confetti Celebration, which had little Mickey-shaped white chocolate pieces filled with lemon cream. It was delicious.
The unique artwork throughout the exhibit was far from any type of work I had seen before. One street artist, famous for crocheting large-scale art pieces made entirely out of yarn, created a colorful Mickey Mouse leading his symphony.
This iconic Mickey Mouse t-shirt was larger than my entire body!
Fans of Disney memorabilia will love “The Collection” room, which had tons of Mickey Mouse collectibles from the past 90 years.
After about an hour and a half, I finally found myself at the shop at the end of the exhibit. Disney collaborated with Sugarfina, and there are Mickey Mouse cubes filled with candy for sale. There were also Mickey ears available for purchase with custom embroidery services on the spot.
Just when I was ready to walk out of the exit, I noticed a room covered by a curtain in the shop. Above the door read “Cosmic Cavern.” I walked in and was surprised to see a blacklight room completely covered in neon. Be sure not to miss this room hidden in the shop, as it was definitely my favorite spot out of the entire exhibit.
Overall, Disney did a first-rate job at putting this exhibition together. Often, pop-ups like this one are over-sold, hectic and filled with people nudging you out of the way for a photo. At this pop-up, all of the rooms were large and the timed entries provided for ample space for each group to spread out without getting in each other’s photos. As you would expect from Disney, there were friendly staff members at every corner. I truly appreciated the relaxed atmosphere, which is rare at these type of events.
Tickets to experience and celebrate Mickey at The True Original Exhibition must be purchased online in advance and will cost you $38 (children 3 and under are free). The exhibition is open Nov. 8 to Feb. 10 on Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 8pm. There are dates that are already sold out, so don’t delay in booking your ticket should you wish to experience Mickey’s pop-up.
In terms of which credit card to use, our tickets coded as “Entertainment” so you may want to put the charge on a card that gives a bonus in that category such as the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card or Citi Premier Card,
This just may just be the happiest place in New York.
All images by author.
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