Saturday at D23 was vastly different than Friday. With attendance at its peak, the entire expo had a feeling of chaos. From the moment my cousin and I arrived, the electricity of anticipation and confusion could be felt in the air. We arrived early – or what we thought was early. Getting to the convention center around 6:20AM, we were ushered into the main pavilion to wait for the doors to open. We brought breakfast and were ready to settle into our wait when we took a carefully look around. Where were all the overnight campers?
When we jumped in line, we were positioned relatively close to the entrance of the showroom. As other guests began to fall into comfortable conversation with each other, word quickly spread – the overnighters were already inside and the first panel of the day was all ready full.
The first panel of the day was the update on Disney Live Action Films, which includes Marvel, Star Wars, and other highly anticipated films including Mary Poppins Returns, A Wrinkle In Time, and The Lion King. Traditionally, the panel has featured first-looks at extended previews, behind-the-scenes footage, and appearances by the stars of the films. This panel is arguably the best every year at D23 and while disappointing, it’s not surprising the session was announced full at 4:30AM.
Could you imagine getting there at 4:45AM thinking you were more than early enough only to be ushered into the showroom queue?
My cousin joked, “Well! Time to go home!” And we created a new game plan. We knew the lines would be crazy and we had one “must-do” of the day – see the Star Wars Land update.
The doors opened to the expo floor and we were off! The showroom floor was barren (most attendees in the Live Action Films panel) and we were able to jump into the front of the line for the Star Wars update.
The model was overwhelming to see. This land is HUGE! The 14-acre addition to Disneyland spans the northern portion of the park with entrances in Critter Country, Frontierland, and Fantasy Land. Below are a number of pictures from the display:
The village will feature a number of rides and interactive elements. Perhaps the most highly anticipated is the Millennium Falcon, where guests hop into the cockpit to fight the Empire. Decisions made within the Millennium Falcon have real-time affect on the village outside, so make your choices wisely!
And of course, we had to partake in the photo op in front of the exhibit!
After the Star Wars update, we casually made our way through the expo floor, stopping wherever caught my cousin’s attention. We paid a short visit to Lightning McQueen and his new friend Cruz Ramirez.
Check out this really amazing Lightning McQueen costume we saw! Her interpretation of the car into a 1950’s inspired costume is so creative!
Next up was the Walt Disney Archives Pirates of the Caribbean exhibit. Even though I saw it yesterday (see the pictures here), I was more than happy to stand in line for it again. I even found new items I didn’t notice before, like the compass.
The latest installment of the Pirates franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is out on digital HD on September 19, 2017, which seems particularly late in comparison to the release of other summer movies. But I already have it on pre-order so I’m not complaining.
Directly outside the Pirate exhibit was the Honda booth, which included Minnie Mouse costumes from around the globe and….
The Honda Minnie Van! Ha – get it?!
Oh, come on! It’s really cute!
Next we found our way to the Fine Art Gallery, where among all the amazing pieces for purchase, there were artists casually making more fine art. The skill was enviable!
My cousin was keen on seeing the Emporium – the area where outside, unaffiliated vendors could sell Disney wares. To me, these areas have traditionally felt a little like a swap meet but they are still fun to dive into.
For me the highlight was meeting David Koenig, author of Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland and Mouse Under Glass: Secrets of Disney Animation and Theme Parks. I used a number of David Koenig’s books as sources while writing a paper in college about the inspiration of Disney movies coming from their original ride designs (think: Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, the Country Bears). Being able to talk to him more in depth about his books and the impact they had on my history education was kind of surreal but awesome. Oddly enough this super creepy bust of Lincoln was in his booth.
Also on the Emporium floor was this amazing Haunted Mansion inspired costume.
The showroom floor was beginning to get unbearably crowded and we decided it was time to call it a day, but not before one more stop. I took my cousin by the Pirates of the Caribbean Design Challenge winners display and do you remember this piece from yesterday?
Upon further inspection, check out the quilting detail. How did this piece not win first place?! This is incredible!
Also on our way out, we saw a cool use of flipflops by Havaianas.
And these cool dudes in their ingenious Jungle Cruise costume.
As it turns out, a short day was the perfect plan. I’ve been able to rest my feet and my back from all the walking and standing. I may have taken a nap as well. Ha! I’m getting fully recharged for my third and last day tomorrow. There’s a panel I’m dying to attend, so fingers crossed I get in line early enough to see it.
Follow me on Instagram for live updates from the expo at @anthropojenic.