As Disney celebrates its 100th anniversary, its journey from a fledgling animation studio to a global entertainment conglomerate. Founded by Walt and Roy Disney in 1923, the company has become an integral part of popular culture, shaping the imaginations and hearts of generations.
To mark this huge achievement, Disney is hosting a centenary exhibition, traveling across the world, with London taking center stage as one of its first locations.
The Disney Centenary Exhibition is a demonstration of the organization’s rich history, including more than 250 rarely seen artifacts, props, and artwork, making it the most extensive collection ever assembled by the Disney archives.
This exhibition takes visitors on a journey through Disney’s past, featuring its notable characters and stories, as well as the technical advancements that have revolutionized animation and filmmaking.
Rather than presenting a chronological history, the exhibition opts to delve into the very roots of Disney, focusing on the visionary founders, Walt and Roy Disney.
It examines the core principles and philosophies that have endured through the company’s century-long journey.
These principles serve as the foundation upon which Disney has built its empire, such as innovation, storytelling, and creativity. The show offers visitors an opportunity to draw in with Disney’s magic through interactive elements.
From a copy of JM Barrie’s “Peter Pan” novel, complete with a handwritten note to Walt Disney himself, to the St. Paul’s Cathedral snow globe from “Mary Poppins,” which is brought to life with projected birds, visitors can immerse themselves in the world of Disney.
Disney has been an influential force in shaping cultural narratives. Disney’s storytelling has resonated with audiences worldwide, capturing the essence of human emotions, imagination, and dreams.
From classics like “Snow White” to modern hits like “Frozen,” Disney has touched the hearts of millions. However, it is essential to acknowledge that Disney’s past works have faced criticism for their portrayal of non-white characters and elements of sexism.
Disney’s efforts to address concerns related to diversity and representation are evident in recent remakes like “Aladdin” and the upcoming “The Little Mermaid.”
These adaptations have embraced more diverse casting and revised scripts to adapt to changing societal expectations and values.
Dr. Sabrina Mittermeier, a researcher at the University of Kassel in Germany, emphasizes that Disney must continue to evolve and adapt to remain culturally relevant in a rapidly changing world.
In celebration of its 100th anniversary, Disney has released a short film titled “Once Upon a Studio.” This heartwarming film features 543 characters from over 85 Disney films and short films, uniting for a grand group photo.
It embodies the joy, entertainment, and emotion that Disney has brought to audiences over the years, creating a sense of nostalgia for those who have grown up with Disney’s magic.
Walt Disney, the visionary behind the Disney empire, left an indelible mark on the world. His attention to detail and his ability to combine creativity with commerce were the cornerstones of his success.
Even in the smallest aspects of his life, such as his choice of foods, Disney’s obsession with perfection and control was evident.
He created an atmosphere of innovation at the Disney studios, where the laws of physics and logic could be suspended to bring his imaginative worlds to life.
Disney’s influence extends beyond its timeless characters and stories. The company’s commitment to innovation, diversity, and social responsibility is essential for its continued relevance.
While it is a celebratory occasion, Disney’s 100th anniversary is also a moment for reflection on the evolving role of the company in a changing world.