Rare Disney Memorabilia to Be Seen in an Exhibit Coming to Chicago This November

A treat for Disney fans in Chicago or those planning on coming to visit later this year: a new exhibit exploring the company’s fascinating history is coming to Chicago on November 18th.

The Walt Disney Archives and Semmel Exhibitions, a worldwide exhibit presenter and producer, announced September 7th that Disney100: The Exhibition will open at the 35,000-square-foot Exhibition Hub Art Center (formerly known as the Windy City Fieldhouse) in Chicago on November 18, 2023. This date is also special because it’s Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse’s birthday. The pair made their first on-screen appearance in Steamboat Willie, which premiered in New York City on November 18, 1928.

A collaboration to bring forth 250 rarely seen Disney related pieces

So, after thoroughly enjoying the German-American Festival, and eating all their heart desires at The Taste of Chicago, Chicagoans can also look forward to nurturing their hearts and souls with this one of a kind Disney experience. 

The show is presented in partnership with Exhibition Hub and Fever, both leaders in global live-entertainment operations. Guests can experience ten immersive galleries with visual, audio, and interactive elements, as well as more than 250 unique and rarely seen works of art, artifacts, memorabilia, costumes, and props from the historical collections across the many realms of Disney, all on display as The Walt Disney Company celebrates its centennial anniversary on October 16, 2023.

“It took several years to plan and assemble the artifacts for Disney100: The Exhibition, and many of them will be on display for Disney fans for the first time,” said Christoph Scholz, Director, Semmel Exhibitions. “Most of the artifacts are presented from the Walt Disney Archives collection with some additional treasures from Marvel Studios, the Pixar Living Archives, the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, and Walt Disney Imagineering, including some that will be displayed for the first time in Chicago.”

The famous Disney himself was born in Chicago

The city of Chicago plays an important role in the Disney story: Walter Elias Disney was born in Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood; Walt purchased his first motion picture camera in Chicago; he attended McKinley High School where he divided his attention between drawing and photography; and attended night classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. The Windy City provided inspiration for the project that eventually became known as Disneyland® Park, including by way of the Chicago Railroad Fair.

“We are incredibly excited to bring this fantastic exhibition to Chicago,” said Rebecca Cline, Director, Walt Disney Archives. “We can’t wait for guests to experience some of their favorite Disney stories, characters, and attractions in new and immersive ways as we celebrate all the wonderful worlds of Disney.” 

The Windy City is equally happy to have the wonderful Disney world in the space where the life of one of the most renowned Americans of the 20th century began.

“Chicago is proud to host Disney100: The Exhibition, returning to the very city where the Walt Disney legend first began,” said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. “We welcome Disney fans from all corners of the world to enjoy this immersive exhibition and spend time in the city that inspired the imagination of a young Walt Disney, one of the 20th century’s most influential Americans.’

Memorabilia of children’s dreams turned into reality

If you already love Disney movies, you know what could be in store in a Disney exhibition: the stuff children’s dreams (and not only children’s, who are we kidding?!) are literally made of. Visitors will be taken on a visual journey where they can explore seldom viewed works of art including visual development drawings for Sleeping Beauty (1959), created by artist and Disney Legend Marc Davis. A very special piece of art from Mary Poppins (1964), which can also be seen in the opening titles of Mary Poppins Returns (2018), created by artist and Disney Legend Peter Ellenshaw will also be on display. Also included in the experience are some of the iconic props from various films such as the Mad Hatter’s teapot from Alice in Wonderland (2010); the poisoned caramel apple from Enchanted (2007) used by Timothy Spall and Amy Adams; and the dinglehopper from The Little Mermaid (2023) used by Halle Bailey. Fans won’t want to miss seeing Disneyland Park Employee Badge #1, issued to Walt Disney in 1955, and early photography of Walt Disney’s birthplace in Chicago. Disney enthusiasts will be able to leave with both memories and memorabilia, since the exhibition will include several extraordinary backdrops and photo opportunities along with exclusive merchandise offered inside the Disney100: The Exhibition gift shop.

Get in line to wait for tickets

Ticket sales for “Disney100: The Exhibition” will begin on September 14 at 10am. You can currently join the waitlist on the official website. Disney100: The Exhibition is scheduled to be open throughout the holiday season and into 2024.

The Exhibition Hub Art Center in Chicago is located inside the Lincoln Park neighborhood at 2367 W. Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647 and is easily accessible from Chicago’s public transit system. For more information, please visit https://disney100exhibit.com/chicago

About the Walt Disney Archives

For more than 50 years, the Walt Disney Archives has carefully safeguarded the most treasured items from The Walt Disney Company’s history, including original scripts, movie props and costumes, Walt Disney’s correspondence and script notes, theme park artifacts, merchandise, millions of archival photographs, and many of Walt’s personal effects. Founded by Disney Legend Dave Smith in 1970, the Walt Disney Archives is a vital resource for every part of Disney, as well as an important research center for Disney scholars, researchers, and writers. 

About Semmel Exhibitions

Semmel Exhibitions is a division of Semmel Concerts, the German live-entertainment producer. Semmel produces experiences that travel to venues around the world, presents exhibitions at their own venues in Germany, Austria, and German speaking Switzerland, and creates an exhibition-focused program track for the International Live Music Conference (ILMC). 

About Exhibition Hub

Exhibition Hub has a proven track record of producing more than 90 exhibitions and immersive edutainment experiences around the world, reaching more than 7 million visitors. Exhibition Hub delivers edutainment experiences to wide audiences and adapts its productions to the venue, each time creating an original experience. They offer spectacular 360° video, light, and music experiences and one-of-a-kind virtual reality experiences which complement the immersive experiences.

About Fever

Fever is the leading global live-entertainment discovery platform which has helped millions of people discover the best experiences in their cities since 2014. With a mission to democratize access to culture and entertainment in real life through its platform, Fever inspires users to enjoy unique local experiences and events, from immersive exhibitions, interactive theatrical experiences, and festivals to molecular cocktail pop-ups.

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