February is Black History Month—a time to honor the heritage and achievements of Black Americans and to encourage all of us to continue that celebration throughout the year. Walt Disney World is unveiling a number of new experiences to mark Black History Month, some of which will be available beyond the 28 days of February. Disney’s plans to “Celebrate Soulfully” through music, food, art, and more, extend from the theme parks, resort hotels, and Disney Springs.
On the heels of Disney and Pixar’s Soul, the American Adventure Pavilion in EPCOT debuted a brand new exhibit called “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” on February 1. Soul follows jazz musician and high school band teacher Joe Gardner as he tackles the age-old question, “What makes you…you,” and he will be prominently featured in this new exhibit.
In collaboration with jazz museums across the country, the exhibit includes iconic memorabilia, including one of Louis Armstong’s famous trumpets.
According to Disney, this musical tour of the United States will showcase “historic artifacts of famous jazz musicians…to learn more about this colorful, inspiring, and constantly evolving genre of music.” In collaboration with jazz museums across the country, the exhibit includes iconic memorabilia, including one of Louis Armstong’s famous trumpets. In addition, you’ll learn about other influential jazz prodigies such as Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton and modern-day jazz musicians like Jon Batiste (who composed the score for Soul).
If you aren’t planning to visit Disney World this February, Disney has said this exhibit will continue beyond the end of the month.
Over at Disney Springs—Disney’s shopping, dining, and entertainment area—you can enjoy live music, art displays, and special food menus all month long. Four new art displays will be on exhibit around Disney Springs, each created by emerging Black artists and inspired by Soul. The pieces were originally developed as part of a collection of wearable art for HUE Unlimited, with each artist’s visual representation of their interpretation of the food.
Three nights per week, live music will fill the air as you stroll around Disney Springs. You won’t want to miss Motown Mondays, Jazz Thursdays, and Smooth Sundays where live musicians will perform soul-stirring tunes.
If all that soul-stirring arouses your appetite, select dining locations are offering up exclusive menu items, as well. Amorette’s Patisserie, an upscale, French-style bakery, is dreaming up artfully-designed desserts inspired by Soul and The Princess and the Frog, Disney’s first animated feature starring a Black princess. Several Disney Springs shops are also celebrating by spotlighting products from Black designers and artists.
Any time of year, guests of select Disney Resort hotels can spend a relaxing evening watching a movie under the stars. For the month of February, Disney’s “Movies Under the Stars” program is showing films that celebrate Black culture, such as The Princess and the Frog. These screenings are free for hotel guests and, depending on where you’re staying, take place poolside, beachside, or in other picturesque areas of your resort. To find out which movies are showing when you can snag the activities calendar for your hotel by calling or stopping by the front desk.
If you’re celebrating Black History Month from home, Disney’s got you covered there, too. You can shop the HUE Unlimited “Made With Soul” collection that inspired the artworks on display at Disney Springs and “wear” your support for the young Black artists who created the shirts, throw blankets, tote bags, and phone cases in the collection.
You can also support a number of Black-owned small shops that, while not directly affiliated with Disney, create products for Disney fans. Check out The Main Street Press for shirts, Created by Patty for in-park photo sessions, and Park Candy for purses, face masks, and more.
If you’re a Disney+ subscriber, the streaming platform has a permanent “Celebrate Black Stories” category with films like Hidden Figures and Black Panther, and shows such as The Proud Family and That’s So Raven.