Check out the latest group travel industry news and updates.
Disney Exhibition Launches World Tour at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute
PHILADELPHIA—“Disney100: The Exhibition,” is scheduled to open at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on Feb. 18, 2023. Created for the 100-year celebration of The Walt Disney Co., the exhibition invites guests to step into their favorite stories using innovative and immersive technology throughout 10 galleries in the 15,000-square-foot exhibition.
The Walt Disney Archives is opening its vault and will showcase more than 250 of its crown jewels, rarely seen original artworks and artifacts, costumes, props, and other memorabilia. Items to be displayed include Disneyland employee badge No. 1 (1955), issued to Walt Disney; steamboat whistle used in “Steamboat Willie” (1928); prop storybook featured in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937); Skywalker lightsaber hilt from “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019), used by Daisy Ridley; and magic ring from “The Shaggy Dog” (1959), used by Tommy Kirk.
Composer Steve Mazzaro, whose work can be heard on the soundtracks of Disney-produced films such as “The Lion King,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and “The Lone Ranger,” has composed an original soundtrack for the exhibition.
Also exclusive to this exhibition, Disney has curated special behind-the-scenes glimpses into the creation of the company’s most popular characters, films, shows, and attractions—from Disneyland to Walt Disney World and beyond. In The Nautilus Window gallery, for example, guests can peer through an interactive window of Captain Nemo’s submarine, as seen in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” for a glimpse of Disney and Pixar’s underwater worlds.
“Disney100: The Exhibition” runs through Aug. 27, 2023, at The Franklin Institute.
Indigenous Tourism Ontario Partners with Ontario Motor Coach Association
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario—The Ontario Motorcoach Association (OMCA) and Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) have collectively set out to help increase tourist engagement, educate tourism operators, and promote Indigenous tourism experiences across Ontario.
ITO and OMCA entered a memorandum of understanding at the recent OMCA Marketplace in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in mid-November. This undertaking will support OMCA’s strategic goals to foster an understanding of Indigenous business culture, build meaningful and supportive Indigenous relationships, increase engagement with its current and future members, local Indigenous groups, and operators. This work will further support existing Indigenous tourism products, increase product visibility, and the development and promotion of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences across Ontario. ITO will act as the expert in Indigenous tourism for OMCA and provide linkages to current tourism operators looking to market their businesses and experiences, as well as provide cultural authenticity training initiatives, increase growth of Indigenous members, and help support cross-cultural educational opportunities.
Big Coaster Coming to Dollywood
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.—The Dollywood theme park is gearing up for a season that includes the debut of Big Bear Mountain, the longest roller coaster in the park’s history. The park is scheduled to open to the general public on Saturday, March 11, 2023.
The highly detailed coaster trains for Big Bear Mountain resemble four-wheel-drive SUVs and feature working headlights and taillights, as well as onboard audio, a first for a Dollywood attraction. Each coaster train seats 20 guests. At $25 million, the ride is the largest single attraction investment ever at Dollywood, while the coaster’s 3,990-foot length makes it the longest roller coaster at the park as well. Guests on Big Bear Mountain board the vehicles for an expedition in search of the elusive “Big Bear” in the hills just beyond Dollywood’s newest area, Wildwood Grove. The ride includes three separate launches, multiple airtime hills, high-speed carousel turns, and tunnels, including a pass behind a waterfall.
History Brought to Light in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS—The Neon Museum recently received a special proclamation from the city of Las Vegas to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the opening of its current campus in downtown Las Vegas. Councilman Cedric Crear presented the proclamation to The Neon Museum’s executive director, Aaron Berger, inside the museum’s Neon Boneyard, home to its iconic neon sign collection.
“The Neon Museum brings great distinction and honor to Ward 5 and all of Las Vegas,” Crear says. “As a Las Vegas native, I applaud the museum’s commitment to telling the stories of our city’s history—including those stories that might be lesser known, like the civil rights effort in Las Vegas or the unique cultural contributions of community members.”
Museum of Illusions Rolls Out New US Locations
ATLANTA—Museum of Illusions is expanding in the United States, with two locations scheduled to open in December. Museum of Illusions Charlotte is set to open Dec. 9, and the Museum of Illusions Washington DC (MOIDC) is scheduled to open Dec. 13 in the heart of the nation’s capital.
In Charlotte, the Museum of Illusions will offer more than 60 interactive exhibitions, including some that have never been previously displayed. Guests will encounter optical illusions, holograms, and a walk-through vortex while learning about physics and psychology.
The museum in Washington, D.C., will provide an original and Instagrammable experience to guests of all ages. The unique, hands-on, and interactive experience includes illusionistic rooms, optical illusions, and a playroom with didactic games and puzzles. Exhibitions on science, mathematics and psychology allow visitors to learn about vision, perception, and the human brain through interaction and fun.
MOIDC takes inspiration from its surroundings and features iconic Washington scenes throughout its more than 50 exhibitions. Guests can expect to be followed by the wandering eyes of George Washington as they take in a Capitol Hill mosaic. The museum presents an ode to the Blue Metro Line in the Reverse Room, where guests can seemingly “hang” from the subway’s ceiling. The Ames Room is the perfect place to have fun with height as guests appear to grow and shrink while walking from one corner to the next. The Vortex Tunnel tricks the mind and body into feeling like the ground is moving, providing the perfect backdrop for a mind-boggling social media post.
Museum of Illusions has more than 35 locations in 25 countries. In the United States, locations are scheduled to open soon in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Mall of America, Nashville, San Diego, Scottsdale, and Seattle.
Philadelphia Flower Show Returns Indoors
PHILADELPHIA—The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has shared details for its lineup of activations and events coming to the 2023 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. With a wide array of updated returning activities and several new experiences, the show offers something for every attendee. The 2023 Philadelphia Flower Show, with the theme of “The Garden Electric,” is set for March 4-12, 2023, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Tickets are available at tickets.phsonline.org. For group ticket information, visit phsonline.org/the-flower-show/plan-your-visit/group-visits.
The 2023 Philadelphia Flower Show has taken the most beloved aspects of the past two outdoor shows and incorporated the festival-style elements into the indoor event for the first time. This integration of outdoor elements into the indoor format creates a familiar, yet fresh approach to experiential activities for guests to enjoy in addition to the stunning floral and garden exhibits. The show was held outdoors for two years due to COVID-19 concerns.
“The joy that we feel when engaging in something creative is what inspired the guest experiences for the 2023 Flower Show,” says Rebecca Schuchart, PHS’s director of experiences. “We want Flower Show attendees to channel the spirit of the bright and exuberant gardens and get involved doing and making something that will be a lasting memory.”
New activities for 2023 include music performed by local artists; Design & Dine, a floral arrangement crafting experience with a light meal; and Bloom Bar, a way to purchase pre-assembled, fresh floral crowns.
Returning experiences include Artisan Row, Butterflies Live!, early morning and photography tours, Family Frolic, Fido Friday, Flowers after Hours, and Potting Parties.