This past Monday, my favorite mouse turned 91. Over the past twelve months, the world has thrown a year-long party for Mickey Mouse’s birthday celebration of his big 90th milestone. Here’s a look back at some of the ways we celebrated the mouse that started it all.
A BIG EXHIBITION!
The Mickey: The True Original Exhibition in New York City was a three-month-long pop-up museum dedicated to the birth and evolution of our good buddy. The exhibit was an entire city block’s worth of rooms showcasing art, history, artifacts and of course, a gift shop. Thankfully Spirit airlines had an unheard of $156 round trip fare in February, the closing weekend of the exhibit. Plus, I owed my brother in Brooklyn a visit.
The graphics wrapped the entirety of the 10th avenue storefront of the exhibit hall. Coming around the corner from the subway exit it’s iconic yellow, red and black caught your eye immediately. Passers by would stop for photos. It was really cool and even though I don’t live in New York anymore, I’m kind of sad that it’s gone.
You entered the museum in groups, first to a room with a full-width screen showing a video introduction to the exhibit. As you left the room, the very first artifact on display was Walt’s Oscar. I’ve never seen an Oscar statue in person before, and the fact that it was the one that helped launch one of the greatest creative careers in history had me a little awestruck. Next to the Oscar was a wall of neon “sketches” of various Mickey expressions we’ve all come to know and love.
The most Instagrammed room of the show was full of black and white vignettes of vintage Mickey and Minnie. The backdrops were very cute, but overall I found the lighting too harsh for photography. I actually ended up ditching my DSLR I’d lugged all the way from Brooklyn to snap with my iPhone because I would have needed a light kit to get any decent results with the DSLR. Even the iPhone needed a LOT of editing to get them decent enough to share, and they’re still not up to my high photography standards. So exhibitors, take note: if you do this again, AMBIENT LIGHT PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
The digital room (I’m quite sure it had a catchy name that I can’t recall) was one of my favorite spaces. I have a soft spot for Sorcerer Mickey, and in this room you could stand under his glowing hat for a (dimly lit) photo op.
it’s not a birthday if there’s not ice cream. Naturally, birthday cake flavored ice cream was served up in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse room. Original Mouseketeer artifacts were displayed in glass cases, such as girl-next-door Annette’s uniform, and a very early ear hat.
Over the years, many brands have collaborated with the Mouse, and the last room was a showcase of some of the many products retailers have released featuring the ears (many of which I own), including the recent Levi’s denim collaboration that sold out almost immediately, and the iconic Gucci lunchbox bag.
And – this is my shocked face – the exhibit ends with a gift shop! The shop was open to the public even if you didn’t buy a ticket to the exhibit (because, money, duh.) They offered several ear hats that were specially made for the exhibit and can’t be found in the parks, and even offered free on-site embroidery. There was also a t-shirt customization station where you could pick your tee, your iron-on, and your patches to make your own one-of-a-kind tee shirt right on the spot.
A FANCY-PANTS SIPPER CUP!
Meanwhile, back in Orlando, the festivities continued year-round with exclusive birthday merch, and a special Mickey Mouse sipper cup that people went crazy for. It was released at Disneyland before it came to Walt Disney World, and at one point they were going for around $60 on eBay. Crazy. Naturally the day I saw them pop up on the ‘gram at WDW, I hopped in my car to grab one.
FANCY CONFETTI BIRTHDAY OUTFITS!
Of course our favorite duo got dressed up for the occasion. All year long, you were able to get your picture taken with Mickey and Minnie in their birthday outfits! They both wore white scattered in colorful confetti. When Mickey saw his sipper cup, he was quite amused and asked me if he could hold it. He tried to balance it on his head, then on his nose. Such a silly mouse!
I hope you all enjoyed this re-cap of the birthday fun as much as I did photographing it. In nine years, we’ll be having a Centennial celebration! Cheers to the mouse who’s entertained generations and continues to make us all smile!