CLEVELAND — In a first of its kind collaboration, Cleveland has been tapped to host the US premiere of the 'Disney Animation Immersive Experience.'
Walt Disney Animation Studios is teaming up with Lighthouse Immersive Studios, the producers of the blockbuster Immersive Van Gogh experience, to develop a sensory experience like no other that promises to transport audiences into the incredible worlds of beloved Disney characters from hit films of today like Encanto, Zootopia and Frozen, to all of the classics including The Lion King, Peter Pan and Pinocchio.
In his first interview to discuss the project, Lighthouse Immersive founder Corey Ross confirmed to me that Cleveland will be the first US city to host the show in February, following its world premiere in Toronto in December.
From there, the show will expand across the United States and to other areas of the world in the next year.
Watch Stephanie Haney's interview about the US premiere of Disney Animation Immersive Experience with Lighthouse Immersive founder Corey Ross here:
“The collaboration with Lighthouse Immersive is a first for Disney Animation,” said Clark Spencer, president, Walt Disney Animation Studios/two-time Academy Award®-winner (Encanto, Zootopia). “It’s a dream to bring the best of animated storytelling together with the top experts in the immersive art experience. We can’t wait for audiences around the world, of all ages, to experience the great moments from our legacy of feature films in this incredible way.”
Lighthouse Immersive founder Corey Ross talked about his lifelong love of Disney films, while sharing his excitement for the upcoming shows. “I’ve grown up with them since childhood and so has my family," he said. "The work lends itself brilliantly to the immersive experience and I am confident this program will give our guests the opportunity to be engulfed in the world of Disney, making them feel like they’re standing next to their favorite characters and seeing the world through their eyes.”
Ross captures the excitement both Disney and Lighthouse Immersive feel for the project as he describes how it begins: “Just imagine journeying through Zootopia with Judy Hopps, diving to the ocean floor with Ariel, flying on a magic carpet with Aladdin, and stepping into Casita with Mirabel and the family Madrigal. This is where the Disney Animation: Immersive Experience will take you.”
The creative team for the Disney Animation Immersive Experience is led by Oscar®-winning producer J. Miles Dale (Best Picture 2018 -The Shape of Water) who said, “Trailblazing in a new medium is always exciting, and this is truly going to be the most challenging and rewarding project of my career. Being entrusted with Disney’s rich archive of animation is a great honor, but also a tremendous responsibility. With such a wealth of material and a treasure trove of memorable characters, it will be a thrill to bring the work of all the great Disney animators and performers to life in a 360 degree immersive environment.”
Mexico City-based Cocolab is working with Dale and the Creative Legacy team at Walt Disney Animation Studios to develop the program for Lighthouse Immersive Studios. Special Projects Producer Dorothy McKim (Oscar-nominated, Get A Horse!) is spearheading the project for Disney Animation. The audience experience will be further enhanced by Lighthouse Immersive’s Global Creative Director David Korins, (a Tony Award®-nominee whose credits include more than 20 Broadway shows including Hamilton and an Emmy Award® winner for Grease Live). Korins will develop never-before-seen interactive lobby elements that guests can enjoy before or after entering the gallery.
Collaborating with Lighthouse Immersive is the Creative Legacy team of Walt Disney Animation Studios, helping bring their library of films to audiences in a manner never before experienced. The schedule of openings, on-sale date for tickets and prices will be announced at a future date, with sales expected to begin for Cleveland during the week of October 10.
Disney Animation: Immersive Experience will debut at Lighthouse ArtSpace Toronto in December 2022, and will subsequently be seen in Cleveland, Nashville, Detroit, Denver, Boston, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Columbus in the first four months of 2023.
Additional cities are currently being scheduled and Tokyo will be the first city outside of North America to receive the Disney Animation: Immersive Experience.