This weekend, a dream is coming true! I’m finally making my way to the D23 Expo at Disneyland. The days are packed with break-outs and panels, plus an expo floor that’s almost intimidating. This mouseketeer could not be more excited and I’m thrilled to share my adventure with you!
Having read online that arriving early is essential, I got to the Anaheim Convention Center around 7:30AM. The lines outside were insane. People had been camping out overnight and I couldn’t believe the extent of the line. I had to wait outside about 45 minutes and then after passing security another 30 minutes in a queue waiting for the show floor doors to open. The bright side is despite the length of line, I was still able to enter the Expo right when doors opened at 9:30AM. I heard from others later that if you arrived after 9:00AM the minimum wait time was two hours and all of that time was outside in the heat.
This is what the line looked like when I arrived. I’m never complaining about Disneyland lines again.
After waiting patiently, I made my way onto the Expo floor and cruised around to the get the lay of the land. Before I launch into the photo stream, I’ll tell you about my one fangirl moment of the day.
On the top of my list of panels was the discussion for “Ink & Paint”, a new book by Mindy Johnson about the women of Disney animation. Unfortunately, the panel conflicted with a panel on Pirates of the Caribbean in Disney Parks that I was more interested in seeing so I opted to buy the book. I was in the kiosk rudely flipping through the book blocking the shelf when a hand reached around me and said, “Excuse me, I just need to grab this for my friend.” I looked up and it was none other than the author – Mindy Johnson! She seemed surprised that someone recognized her and was pleasant enough to engage in a little chatter about her book with me. She was also kind enough to take a picture with me. My little history loving heart was so happy.
Okay, now onto the Expo floor… here are cute / interesting things I saw.
And the best part of the day. The Pirates of the Caribbean Exhibit.
In celebration of 50 years of Pirates of the Caribbean, D23 had a design contest. The top entries were on display and I was amazed by the creative and use of materials. Check out my two favorites!
Because I had to stand in line for literally everything today, I opted to see only one panel. Pirates of the Caribbean: 50 Years of Swashbuckling Adventures in Disney Parks.
The panel consisted of three Disney legends, two of which were involved in building the original Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park. The additional three panel members either had a hand in building version of the ride at different parks or in altering the Disneyland ride.
As expected, the recently announced changes to the auction scene at Disneyland were brought up in conversation. After the crowd booed and a few people shouted, “We wants the red head!”, Marty Sklar, one of the original designers, stated that change has always been a part of Disney culture. He explained that changes were constantly happening to the rides at Disneyland and while we’d like to freeze time and keep every ride the way it was when we were kids, it wouldn’t be Disney if it wasn’t constantly changing. That was Walt’s spirit and that’s how the company embodies his dream today. This response was met with resounding applause. It was a beautiful moment.
After the panel I stood in line for the Disney Store… for 90 minutes. Earlier in the day I stood in line for the Disney Dreamstore for an hour. This sounds outrageous but when considering Saturday tickets were completely sold out, I knew I wanted to get my shopping out of the way stat. Needless to say I spent way too much money on things I probably don’t need.
After all this, I was spent. I left the expo with a sore lower back (I carried “Ink & Paint” around in my backpack all day). But not before encountering a few characters on my way out.
Now I need to rest up for Day 2. I’m excited to explore more of the Expo with my cousin. Our focus will be Disney Live Action films and on the agenda is the model of the new Star Wars Land at Disneyland.
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