Among the many exciting announcements at D23 Expo 2022 were details about the Disney 100 Years of Wonder celebration for Disney’s 100th anniversary in 2023, including new experiences, events, entertainment, products, and nighttime spectaculars.
Disney100 is billed as “the largest global celebration in the 100-year history of The Walt Disney Company,” which is really saying something for a brand that’s famous for its extended and over-the-top anniversary celebrations.
“Ten decades of creativity, innovation, and determination created The Walt Disney Company you know today – the most enduring and beloved name in entertainment,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek during the Expo’s opening ceremonies. “It’s an awesome responsibility to lead Disney as we begin our second century of telling stories and creating magic that will endure for another 100 years.”
Here’s a look at just some of the exciting things Disney has planned for its 100th anniversary:
Disney 100 Years of Wonder Celebration at Disney Parks & Resorts
During the D23 Expo parks presentation, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro shared some of the ways Disney Parks around the world will mark Disney100, including through décor, specialty food and beverages, character experiences, and shows; however, he noted, the “heart of the celebration” will be at Disneyland Resort.
In January 2023, the resort will debut two new nighttime spectaculars: “World of Color – One” in California Adventure that will tell a new story through images from Disney classics and new favorites, and “Wondrous Journeys” in Disneyland Park that will highlight Disney’s trademark music, storytelling, and heart by showcasing all 60 Walt Disney Animation Studios films to date. The 100th-anniversary celebration will also include the long-awaited return of the Magic Happens parade in spring 2023.
In Orlando, “Happily Ever After” will return to Magic Kingdom and a brand-new nighttime spectacular will debut at World Showcase Lagoon in Epcot in late 2023 as part of the Disney100 celebration, and Hong Kong Disneyland will unveil a new statue of Walt and Mickey near Cinderella’s Golden Carousel to commemorate Walt’s original idea for Disneyland.
“This is a tribute to the famous moment as Walt watched his children on the merry-go-round and that one little spark that eventually led to him to create the thing we all love – Disneyland,” D’Amaro said. “ Now, here, he sits on a bench, but this time it’s behind the Castle of Magical Dreams in Hong Kong.”
Disney Movie Releases During Disney 100 Years of Wonder
New entertainment will come from every corner of The Walt Disney Company for the celebration, including new animated and live-action releases from Walt Disney Studios.
During her presentation at D23 Expo, Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee revealed details about “Wish,” an original animated musical debuting in 2023 that features all-new songs by Grammy-nominated artist Julia Michaels.
The magical story set in the fantasy kingdom of Rosas is inspired by the studios’ legacy, looks to its next 100 years, and explores how the wishing star so many Disney characters wished upon came to be. The film’s look is a tribute to the watercolor illustrations of fairytales that fascinated Walt Disney, combining a traditional watercolor style with modern 3D CG animation. The film’s heroine is 17-year-old Asha (voiced by Oscar winner Ariana DeBose), a bright and driven optimist who calls down a star from the sky.
Three new films from Disney Live Action will continue Disney’s 100-year celebration:
“The Little Mermaid” – A live-action reimagining of the Oscar-winning animated musical classic starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula that opens exclusively in theaters nationwide on May 26, 2023.
“Haunted Mansion” – A ghostly adventure inspired by the classic attraction starring Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota and Jared Leto as the Hatbox Ghost, which hits theaters in 2023.
“Peter Pan & Wendy” – A reimagining of the 1953 animated classic starring Alexander Molony as Peter, Ever Gabo Anderson as Wendy, Yara Shahidi as Tinkerbell, and Jude Law as Captain Hook, which premieres on Disney+ in 2023.
A brand-new Walt Disney Studios logo was also premiered for Disney 100 Years of Wonder, featuring Tinker Bell flying over a riverside village and up a waterfall that leads to the iconic Disney castle, now platinum. The new logo will debut in theaters with Disney’s “Strange World” this Thanksgiving and will then play in front of all Disney theatrical and streaming releases throughout 2023.
Disney100: The Exhibition
Curated by Disney’s official keepers of history, The Walt Disney Archives, Disney100: The Exhibition will open on Feb. 18, 2023, at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, before embarking on a North American tour with the first stops in Chicago and Kansas City. The International exhibit will open on April 18, 2023, in Munich, Germany, with more cities to be announced in the coming months.
“As we prepare to kick off Disney 100 Years of Wonder, we are incredibly excited to bring this fantastic exhibition to life,” Cline said. “We can’t wait for guests to experience their favorite Disney stories, characters, and attractions in new and immersive ways as we celebrate all the wonderful worlds of Disney.”
The exhibition’s ten galleries will feature moving stories, unique interactive installations, and exciting background information to highlight the creation of the company’s most popular characters, films, shows, and attractions through more than 250 rarely-seen original artworks and artifacts, costumes and props, and other memorabilia from The Walt Disney Archives “vault of treasures.”
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Disney Consumer Products, Games, and Publishing
Disney Consumer Products, Games, and Publishing will also celebrate the company’s anniversary, and D23 Expo attendees got a peek at some of the new merchandise collections and collaborations to commemorate Disney 100 Years of Wonder, including:
- Disney100 Platinum Collection – Platinum is a rare, precious metal known to withstand the test of time, just like beloved Disney characters. The Platinum Collection of Disney100 products captures the “classically Disney” look while paving the way into a new century. Details about the collection debuting on shopDisney will be revealed later this year.
- Disney100 Decades Collection – Debuting early next year on shopDisney with products centered around the 1920s and Steamboat Willie, this ongoing series will celebrate different decades and their stories, including Snow White from the 1930s, Pinocchio from the 1940s, and more.
- Disney100 Books from Disney Publishing – Fans can look forward to brand-new titles in 2023, including Walt Disney: An American Original, Commemorative Edition; The Official Walt Disney Quote Book; The Story of Disney: 100 Years of Wonder by John Baxter, Bruce C. Steele, and the Staff of the Walt Disney Archives; and People Behind the Disney Parks: Stories of Those Honored with a Window on Main Street, U.S.A. by Chuck Snyder, with original art by Josey Tsao.
A Company-Wide Celebration for Disney 100 Years of Wonder
But that’s not all! In addition to everything we’ve already listed, there are even more Disney100 experiences, content, and opportunities, including:
- Disney100.com – A new digital experience that will officially launch on Jan. 1, 2023.
- “Disney: 100 Years of Wonder” – A once-in-a-lifetime documentary event from ABC News Studios that will take viewers on a journey that started in 1923 and whose future is not yet written. The project will tell the company’s story through the lens of the values and philosophies that have guided it through our ever-changing world.
- Disney Music Group – Lang Lang: The Disney Book will be released on Sept. 16, 2022, to celebrate 100 years of Disney with iconic melodies reimagined for the piano, and in 2023, Disney Music Group will release a vinyl compilation highlighting the Company’s musical moments across film, television, and the Parks.
More information about the Disney100 celebration will be announced in the coming weeks and months, including content on ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, Freeform, FX, and National Geographic, as well as streaming platforms Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.
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