My experience visiting the 'Mickey: The True Original Exhibition'

February 19, 2019

Keith Haring's portrait of Mickey | © Emily Borowski


On Saturday, Feb. 9, I was able to attend “Mickey: The True Original Exhibition” during its final weekend in New York City. I can honestly sum up the experience as being a cross between a history museum (about Mickey of course) and a backdrop for Instagram pics (I’m not complaining!). These two concepts paired really well with each other. It would have been too much to have the exhibit feature only Instagram worthy installations to pose next to, because that would have slowed the flow of traffic down A LOT, and it would have been information overload had the exhibit been about the entire history of Mickey.


In this article, I’ll highlight my favorite parts of the exhibit and my thoughts of the overall experience. Enjoy!



Unlike most museums and art exhibits, entering “Mickey: The True Original Exhibition” required that you purchase a timed ticket. This meant that everyone who had the same time ticket as you entered the exhibit in one big group.


After watching a video introduction to the exhibit, we were let into a room with neat neon wall art of Mickey and a photo op that made it look like you were driving the boat from Steamboat Willie, the infamous short that first premiered in the Colony Theater in New York, and is part of the reason why the exhibit is in the city. It was after this room that the group we entered with dispersed.



Pictures don’t do this piece justice. Or at least the pictures I managed to take don't do it justice. Created by artist London Kaye, her piece “Supersonic Skein” is created entirely out of crocheted yarn.


London Kaye’s “Supersonic Skin” | © Emily Borowski


Another favorite of mine was the Ink and Paint Dept. Hallway. This section of the exhibit was meant to pay tribute to the women whose work in the Ink and Paint department has been overlooked. The right side of the hallway depicts what the exhibit calls a “... modern interpretation of the actual jars from the Ink & Paint Department’s Paint Lab, often referred to as the Rainbow Room.” The left side of the hallway had colorful portraits of the women and explained the various jobs they had within the department.




My next favorite was the Mickey Mouse Club room. This room had a very Instagram-able Mickey Mouse Club counter that guests could take pictures behind while eating complementary Ample Hills ice cream. In addition to having ice cream and a cute photo op, this room had memorabilia from the show such as Annette Funicello’s costume and a Mousegetar.




One of the final rooms guests could enter was 1928: The Original Muse, which was designed to show viewers Mickey merchandise from around the world. This room stood out to me, because it had some of the more funky Mickey memorabilia, such as a vase that depicts Mickey saying “Hey Kid, Pick Up Your Clothes” and a Mickey Mouse Kodak camera.



“Hey Google, play Mickey’s Game Show Live” backdrop | © Emily Borowski


Mickey’s Game Show Live was an ad for Google Home where guests were put onto teams and asked trivia questions about Mickey. Everyone was able to guess the correct answer, because the room had hints that were lowered from the ceiling. Since each team got an answer correct, that means everyone was a winner, so everyone got an enamel pin as a prize. The game show attraction sponsored by Google Home was fitting because the office for Google was just down the street from the exhibit.




I’m not sure what I was exactly expecting to find in the gift shop, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that what they had left was all 50% off. I believe the gift shop had more merchandise for sale when the exhibit first opened, and knowing me, it was probably stuff that I wouldn’t have wanted to buy full price anyway. The gift shop had a lot of notebooks, buttons, and lanyards, and T-shirts. I remember being disappointed that they didn’t have any postcards featuring art from the exhibit.



My unoriginal T-Shirt design | © Emily Borowski


A pleasant surprise was the T-Shirt Customization station. This experience allowed guest to pick from an array of patches to create their own unique T-Shirt design. Unlike the exhibit, I was unoriginal, as I copied my design from one of the examples they had.



One of the cast members I talked to said that she had heard that there’s been talk of possibly bringing the exhibit to other places after it closes in New York. I definitely hope that ends up happening, because the exhibit was really fun to visit and it was obvious how much the cast members enjoyed working there. When it was first announced that the exhibit was going to be in New York, I was excited and surprised, because I feel that whenever Disney does events similar to this one, they’re always in California (*cough* *cough* D23). In fact, Disney recently announced that a “Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration” is coming to Downtown Disney in Anaheim and I expect this to be more of an Instagram museum thats similar to the Museum of Ice Cream.


I think “Mickey: The True Original Exhibit” would be great for the midwest where Disney magic can feel far away. I’m super glad that I was able to experience this exhibit, and I hope we see it pop up somewhere else in the future!



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