7 Things You Can’t Miss at the New Disney100 Exhibition
I recently visited the new Disney100 exhibit that opened at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The exhibit features 10 immersive and interactive galleries with over 250 rare artifacts from The Walt Disney Archives, many of those coming from Disney theme parks across the globe.
Some of the other archival items include film props such as Cinderella’s Swarovski glass slipper from the 2015 live-action film, Jack Sparrow’s compass from the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise and Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber used by Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The exhibit also features several hands-on interactive displays.
The following are just a few of the many things from the parks I saw while exploring the exhibit. There are so many more to see.
1. Matterhorn Bobsleds Car
One of the most noteworthy pieces in the exhibit is this Matterhorn Bobsleds car from Disneyland.
According to my research, Matterhorn Bobsleds received new trains in 1978, so my guess is that these trains predate that year.
The car is positioned on a set of track-like rails, allowing you to see the wheel assembly up close.
2. Peter Pan’s Flight Ride Vehicle
In addition to the Matterhorn car, you can also get an up-close view of a Peter Pan’s Flight ride vehicle.
Even though I’ve sat in one of these on multiple occasions, I was surprised by how large they are in person.
3. Attraction and Building Models
The exhibit also features several models of Disney parks attractions and buildings.
The Cinderella’s Castle model sports the iconic Magic Kingdom castle’s original color scheme.
Seeing a model of the Jungle Cruise’s “Congo Queen” boat made me long for a trip to Disneyland.
4. Animatronic Head and Controls
Perhaps one of the more fascinating (and mildly unsettling) things I saw at the Disney100 exhibit was the internal workings of an animatronic, including a head and hand.
The pieces were joined by a panel that controls an animatronic’s movements.
Although I knew animatronics were incredibly advanced, I had no idea their controls were this complex.
5. Disneyland Opening Day Artifacts
The Disney100 Exhibit also showcases several artifacts from Disneyland’s opening.
On display is a parking pass for the park’s press preview event on July 17, 1955.
The coveted “Employee Badge #1” was issued to Walt Disney himself in 1955 prior to Disneyland’s grand opening.
This sheet of paper features a draft of what would become Disneyland’s entrance plaque text —“Here You Leave Today And Enter The World Of Yesterday, Tomorrow And Fantasy.”
6. Various Concept Art and Drawings
The exhibit features a number of beautiful pieces of concept art and artistic renderings of Disney attractions from across the globe.
This 1987 painting (by Tom Gilleon) features Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and Mark Twain Riverboat.
The above painting shows an older Matterhorn Bobsleds when the former Skyway gondola attraction still passed through the mountain (until 1994).
7. Star Wars Characters
This might not be directly related to Disney parks, but Star Wars fans will definitely enjoy seeing a few life-size Star Wars characters, including a near-criminally cute Porg and BB-8.
There was also a life-size Stormtrooper on display, so there are a lot of photo opportunities for Star Wars fans.
Watch a video showcasing Disney100: The Exhibition below:
How to Visit the Disney100 Exhibit
Note: As of this posting, the Disney100 exhibit has a timed entry, meaning you can only enter at the specific time you chose when purchasing the tickets. I recommend purchasing your tickets in advance to avoid a sellout. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit the exhibit page on The Franklin Institute website.
The Disney100 exhibit in Philadelphia will be open through August 27, 2023.
This exhibit is separate from the Walt Disney Archives exhibit which debuted in 2021, although there were some artifacts that reappeared in the Disney100 exhibit.
Have you visited Disney100: The Exhibition yet? Let us know what you thought of the experience in the comments section below.