Skip to main content

Presented throughout ten themed galleries, Disney100: The Exhibition at London’s ExCel showcases an extraordinary snapshot of the 100 year history of The Walt Disney Company.

Over 250 rare works of art, costumes and props are on display, including an original Oswald the Lucky Rabbit graphite drawing from Sleigh Bells (1928), a story script page from Mickey Mouse’s historic debut in Steamboat Willie (1928), the Dutch-language prop storybook that opens Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), a crystalline glass slipper from Cinderella (2015), the red dress worn by Emma Stone in Cruella (2021) and the title character’s costume in Black Widow (2021).

Largest Disney exhibition

The tour starts with an AI Walt Disney welcoming guests and giving a short introduction and brief history before they can experience ten imaginatively themed areas packed with things to see, read and interact with. Each room has its own distinct personality with fascinating examples throughout Disney history.

For example, in Where Do the Stories Come From? Visitors can learn about the challenges creating Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney’s first animated feature film. “The fairy tale of film – created with the magic of animation – is the modern equivalent of the great parables of the Middle Ages,” said Walt Disney. “Creation is the word. Not adaptation. Not version. We can translate the ancient fairy into its modern equivalent without losing the lovely patina of its once-upon-a-time quality”.

Journey from the early classics

Speaking of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in the enchanting realm of ‘The Magic of Sound and Music’ gallery, visitors are granted a rare opportunity to see the original record album for the film – the first soundtrack release of its kind in the industry.

You can also see the original sketch from the Silly Symphonies series of cartoons. One of them, Flowers and Trees, was the first animated film to win an Academy award in 1932.

In the Innovations gallery, we see interactive items of storyboarding from Dumbo (1940) to Big Hero 6 (2014) – showcasing how Disney was the first company to introduce this process to filmmaking.

Props from Marvel and Star Wars

Movie props are found all over the exhibition, including Cinderella’s glass slipper, Cruella’s red dress and car number plate (DEV IL), Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid’s outfit.

However, our personal highlights were the Marvel and Star Wars props, like Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber from the more recent Star Wars trilogy, various Marvel superhero helmets and Captain America’s iconic shield from Avengers: Endgame.

Behind the curtain

One area is dedicated to the making of Disney’s feature films, including the mechanical skeletons of animatronics which can be moved interactively, and early bespoke Pixar tech that was specially made as current technology wasn’t powerful enough.

Walt Disney also invented the multi-plane camera to add depth and a parallax effect to 2D artwork, giving it a more life-like 3D appearance, and you can see it working for yourself.

An interactive adventure

I’s not just the esteemed cartoons, movies and characters that are celebrated; one gallery called ‘Your Disney World: A Day in the Parks’ even takes a look at the world-renowned Disneylands. And much like these parks, there are some cool photo opportunities – measure up against ‘The Incredibles’ family, snap a pic inside a huge teacup or get a selfie with Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.

The vast 20,000 square-foot Disney haven provides tons of excitement, from discovering memorabilia to seeing and understanding the genesis of Disney, which fans of all ages can enjoy.

Disney100: The Exhibition is located at ExCeL London (Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL). Tickets and more information can be found here.


Image credits: © Disney 100 Exhibition, Luke Dyson, Travel with Style