2023 is a very special year for the Walt Disney Company as it is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Disney 100 celebrations are taking place across the world, in the Disney parks, in stores at Shop Disney and in a limited time exhibition which is taking place in London, Berlin and Paris. Wonder of Friendship, the Experience is an immersive walk-through display of Disney relationships, special effects, music and interactive props. It is based at 180 Studios on The Strand for the first leg of the European tour (12th – 21st May) and the digital art show is a partnership between Disney, Snapchat and VISA. On Friday evening I headed into the city to experience the sold-out exhibition on its opening night and find out if it’s something Disney fans should see during the anniversary year.
There are four themed areas inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Lilo and Stitch, The Lion King and Mickey and Friends. These properties have been chosen for the budding friendships between the characters and each area has two rooms that reflect the film settings and motifs.
Upon arrival you are provided with a ‘Friendship Key’ which you can use to unlock extra interactions throughout the experience. At the start you have the opportunity to type in everybody’s names and then in the subsequent rooms you are asked questions about the friendships within your party. At the end of the experience you can scan your key and take a group photo, which is immediately printed for you to take home. It is a sweet little souvenir keepsake of your time at the Disney Wonder of Friendship!
Inside the themed rooms you can find a hazy maze, interactive games and several motion-based activities. Even though there are a few things you can do without Snapchat, if you want to make the most of the experience, you really need to download the app. Characters appear in your selfies through augmented reality custom lenses and you can play the Mickey and Friends game with it. Without Snapchat you might feel a little disappointed by the experience. Even if you just keep the app on your phone for the hour you are at 180 Studios, it will make a significant difference!
Is the exhibition worth the ticket price?
At £17.50 per adult excluding booking fees, Disney Wonder of Friendship, the Experience is fairly priced. The price is comparable to other art exhibits in the city. It takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to go around the whole route, but this time is largely influenced by how much you get involved with the activities and also how many photos and videos you take.
Is it busy or overcrowded?
When purchasing tickets you choose an entrance time and even with staggered entry, there are still minor queues between the rooms. Stewards control the flow of people, but you shouldn’t have to wait more than a few minutes before you can proceed to the next display. We found the evening to be a lovely time to visit and were some of the last people in the building on opening day.
Would I recommend Disney Wonder of Friendship to fellow fans?
Yes I would, but with the exhibition being so short, it makes sense to combine it with other attractions whilst you are in London. We travelled into the city for an evening session as that was the only remaining after work slot on opening day, but it was quite a lot of travelling for a small themed experience!
The exhibition itself isn’t groundbreaking, but it is a cheery display of Disney films, characters and special effects. It is a charming way to celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary. We definitely didn’t use Snapchat to its full potential, opting to skip the Mickey and Friends game. The only thing with downloading the app for a short time is you might struggle to understand how to use it to play games. I am sure regular users would really enjoy the game, but having to master the app and game format in such a short time was just not for me. We much preferred just walking through the exhibit and looking at the impressive lights. Tickets are almost sold out now via See Tickets, but if you already have them booked hopefully this is helpful to know.
Thanks for reading my blog today.
Love Kat xxxx