No one throws a party like Disney, especially to mark a special milestone anniversary. This year they are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company. The company was founded in 1923 by Walt Disney and his brother Roy Disney, and 100 years later, both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort are celebrating in big ways. If you have a 2023 vacation planned to either resort, you will notice a lot of platinum in many of the parks’ decorations, within limited-time merchandise, and even on Mickey Mouse himself.
If you are not planning on visiting the parks during the festivities, there are still several ways to celebrate the anniversary. Disney 100: The Exhibition is a traveling exhibit featuring 250 items from the Walt Disney Archives. The exhibit opened at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and will travel to Chicago, Illinois, and Kansas City, Missouri. An international exhibition opened in Munich, Germany, and will travel to London, England. Expect to hear about additional stops in the coming months to see if it comes to a city near you.
For those looking to recognize the anniversary at Disney’s domestic theme parks, here are the significant 100th-anniversary enhancements to be on the lookout for this year.
Celebrating Disney100 at Disneyland
If you want to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company in a big way, you will want to head west to Disneyland Resort. The Happiest Place on Earth is the central hub for the festivities, with two new nighttime spectaculars and several new offerings for guests. The celebration kicked off this past January with limited-time decorations popping up in the two theme parks, dining district, and Disneyland hotels. As you enter Disneyland Park, you will notice platinum-infused bunting up and down Main Street, U.S.A, and around Sleeping Beauty Castle. You will even see the three Good Fairies from Sleeping Beauty assisting in the decoration.
Platinum medallions and statues appear throughout the park, including statues of Mickey and Minnie. Speaking of characters, meeting Mickey and his friends will look a little different this year as well, as the characters dressed up to the nines in special 100th anniversary-themed outfits.
Guests can enjoy a 100th anniversary-themed nighttime spectacular called Wondrous Journeys at night. This nightly show, which incorporates music, fireworks, and projections, is not to be missed, says Jen Dunyon, Chief Operating Officer of Get Away Today, a Disney travel partner: “I think Wondrous Journeys at Disneyland for the Disney100 celebration is the best nighttime show Disney has ever done. The music felt familiar the first time I heard it, and the way they have incorporated all of Disney’s animated films is brilliant.”
Disney California Adventure also has a new nighttime show celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company called World of Color – One. Between these new shows and the return of the parade Magic Happens, Disneyland will keep its guests entertained day and night. Dunyon continued “I’ve been blown away with all the NEW entertainment options for Disney 100 at the Disneyland Resort. I’m especially a fan of our west coast gem and love that we have two new nighttime spectaculars.”
Beyond decorations and entertainment, guests can purchase specialty merchandise and snacks to commemorate their visit during the 100th-anniversary celebration. For an even more in-depth look at how Disneyland brought this year’s celebration to life, guests can sign up for a guided tour called Celebrating Disney100 at the Disneyland Resort for an additional fee.
Disneyland kicked off the 100th Anniversary celebration with the opening of the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction in January.
Walt Disney World Disney100 Celebration
While Disneyland Resort currently has the lion’s share of 100th-anniversary happenings, Walt Disney World is also poised to celebrate throughout 2023. Disney World is switching gears quickly, having just come off its 18-month-long 50th Anniversary Celebration, which wrapped up in later March. Now, it’s trading in gold for platinum as guests can now spot 100th-anniversary embellishments in front of the park entrances.
Once all things 100th Anniversary kick into high gear in Orlando, EPCOT will serve as the hub for the Disney100 festivities in Florida, with added decor and a new nighttime show poised to debut later in 2023. The park’s central icon, Spaceship Earth, will light up nightly in unique colors and patterns to celebrate the 100th anniversary.
Like Disneyland, guests can spot Mickey and friends dressed in 100th-anniversary outfits around the resort. Be on the lookout for unique decorations, merchandise, and snacks this year.
In addition to the new Disney100 Walt Disney World offerings, the resort just introduced a round of new Walt Disney World discounts and announced changes to many unpopular policies that were implemented during the pandemic. Disney is relaxing the requirement for theme park reservations, launching an advanced reservation option for the Genie Plus service that replaced FastPass, and bringing back the popular Walt Disney World dining plan.
As Disney launches into its second century, these offerings on both coasts bring fans together to celebrate the stories Disney has told since the company was founded 100 years ago.