My First Trip to the D23 Expo

My first trip to the D23 expo which is held in at the Anaheim Convention center every two years was most definitely quite the learning experience. While I enjoyed myself, it was also a bit overwhelming and I now know what to expect, what to do and what not to do if I decide to attend the next one. Instead of taking the plunge and attending all three days, I went only one day (the last one). I actually almost missed attending all together because I grew ill a few days before, but luckily I started to feel better quickly enough and was able to power through and still go- albeit because of said illness I went about things at a slower pace and not at 100%, so there was definitely things I missed. But going in I had a few things I hoped to accomplish: see the show floor and attend at least one panel. And for the most part I did that.

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Without a doubt my favorite thing I saw from the expo was The Art of Disney Storytelling Panel, hosted by John Stamos and his wife Caitlin and featuring Disney Legends, animators, producers and imagineers Tony Baxter, Floyd Norman, Don Hahn and Paul Briggs. They each told stories and offered insights on their experiences and different approaches to storytelling in film and in the Parks and it was funny, informative and overall a delight. Some of my favorite things including stories about Walt Disney inventing the concept of storyboards (which I was unaware of), and Howard Ashman and Alan Menken being really involved in story meetings and Ashman explaining how foreshadowing exists in the song “Part of Your World,” which for as many times as I have heard that song and seen The Little Mermaid, is something I never thought of. I also loved Tony Baxter’s story of how he received a postcard from Ray Bradbury after he rode Peter Pan’s Flight with Charles Laughton of all people. He wrote to him that he had “boarded a pirate galleon, flew out of a child’s bedroom and over London! You can’t get much better than that!” And how true is that!

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The other favorite thing I saw was The ‘Heroes and Villains” Disney Archives costume exhibit. For just about anyone this display of a wide array of gorgeous and intricate costumes is amazing. But for someone like me who truly appreciates and loves what goes into filmmaking, including the aesthetics and true artistry of costumes, this exhibit was absolutely incredible. I truly lucked out with this year’s display as we got to see such a variety of yes, heroes and villains, and such a variety of films and television, from Once Upon a Time’s Cinderella and Captain Hook, to the live action remakes Cinderella, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, to the wonderful National Treasure and Prince of Persia, to EnchantedHocus Pocus, Alice in Wonderland and three different Mary Poppins costumes. It was a sumptuous feast for the eyes and I loved seeing each and every work of art.

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As far as everything else I saw, and the overall process I can say it was a combo of fun, overwhelming, and in my particular case a little lonely and confusing. The staff was overall friendly but would sometimes give me conflicting information and finding the line for my reservation panel was quite difficult. And lines are definitely everywhere. Consequently, I missed seeing some stuff because lines were quite long, or just long enough that I skipped them as I was tired. It is also very large and, at least for me, easy to get turned around and not be sure exactly where you were and if you missed walking by/through anything on the floor. After watching some videos from the expo I discovered, there was A LOT I missed. And being by myself, I didn’t have anyone for another set of eyes and help with confusion and bearings, take pictures, and overall share the con experience with. I have been to many cons alone before, but for some reason, perhaps because it was my first one, or simply the nature of it being a Disney con, I wish I had not been alone and with a friend or group. It was a little lonely. Still there were come really cool things to be seen and I was able to enjoy myself despite everything.

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Attending the D23 also gave me the opportunity for a few other things. I stayed at the Anaheim Hilton for the first time, and this is a beautiful hotel. My room offered an amazing view and Disneyland’s fireworks were visible at night. And On Monday I had the great pleasure of finally meeting Becka, aka DisneyKitee, in Disney California Adventure, along with her husband. I spoke about Becka in this article about Disney Tubers, and since have been getting to know her. Finally getting to meet was so wonderful as she is a sweet and lovely person. Disney friends really are the best!! Go watch her videos on YouTube if you don’t already!!

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So all in all, while I enjoyed walking through the show area and seeing the panel, I know that if I decide to attend in 2021, there are definitely things I would do differently. I would only go if I went all 3 or at least 2 days as there is just so much to see, panels to watch and stores to shop in, and there must be sufficient time to walk around and wait in lines. I also would only attend with another person or group as it would be an easier, more relaxed, and simply more fun con experience than attending alone. That might not be an issue for some, but for me it is. Disney is my favorite thing in the world, but sharing that love with others makes it even more magical. Fingers crossed for magical D23Expo experience in 2021!!

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A Visit to Disneyland’s Club 33

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This past year I had a supreme honor and opportunity I never thought I would have. Visiting the Happiest Place on Earth with some friends we all were given the chance to dine at Disneyland’s most coveted restaurant: the illustrious Club 33. It’s a place some Disney attendees don’t even know exists. And those who do, know that being able to dine there is rare and special. It’s a place that was originally formed for Walt Disney to entertain VIPS and dignitaries in the park, away from the hustle and bustle, to relax with fine food and elegant decor. Now it’s a Club that has a limited members list, with the chance for non members to attend based usually on knowing someone who is.

I knew this was probably a once in a lifetime occurrence so myself and my friends soaked up everything and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The service was impeccable, the food divine and the entire atmosphere grand and yet intimate. Club 33 is indeed a beautiful place and I will always cherish that I was able to attend, and with people who are so dear to me.

 

 

Our lunch consisted of 4 courses. Here was our menu.

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I ordered the Steak Tartare of Filet Mignon, the Tricore Salad, the Grilled Angus Filet Mignon, and Chocolate Profiteroles. To say the food was delicious is an understatement. It was delectable and one of the best meals I’ve ever had. We were celebrating my Friend’s upcoming wedding, so also they treated us to an extra dessert of delicious beignets.

 

And in between courses and after lunch we were able to take as many photos as we wished. And I certainly was inspired! The décor alone was lovely, but the view onto New Orleans Square and the Rivers of America on gorgeous wrought iron balconies was just exquisite. You already feel special when you are there, but this made it feel even more so.

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Of course, a visit to Club 33 wouldn’t be complete without getting a few souvenirs to commemorate the occasion. Even the bag the purchases come in is pretty and fancy. I picked up what was called a paper weight, but something I have hung up on my wall, along with a lovely key chain.

 

 

If the chance to attend Club 33 ever comes your way, do not hesitate. It’s a special experience and I know I will always be grateful I got to visit, even if it was just once.I will cherish this day always!!

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A Trip to “That’s From Disneyland” Pop-Up Exhibition and Auction

This past week I had the immense pleasure of attending “That’s from Disneyland,” an extraordinary 40,000 square feet pop-up exhibition featuring the largest ever collection of Disneyland memorabilia and collectibles from collector Richard Kraft and his son Nicholas. From now until August 24 you can visit the exhibit in Sherman Oaks, CA for free and marvel at these astounding pieces from attraction posters, paintings and signs, to ride vehicles of such treasured attractions as Dumbo (which once took up residence in the Kraft living room) the People Mover and Skyway, to the 50 foot Sea Serpent from the previous version of the Submarine Voyage. After the exhibit concludes, on August 25 and 26, every item will be auctioned off in person, and via phone and online to the highest bidders. Even if these items are out of one’s price range, if you have the opportunity to visit this you should, especially for those who love Disneyland, nostalgia and a healthy dose of magic. There are plenty of photo opportunities and lots of fun of fun to be had. Lastly, I want to thank Richard and Nicholas for their generosity in setting up this exhibition. As a lifelong fan of all these Disney and a frequent visitor to the Disneyland Park since I was a young child, this exhibition was a true wonder to behold and I found myself amazed, delighted, and often overwhelmed, nostalgic and moved. Just like Disneyland itself, this truly is for the young and young at heart.

Take a look below at many of the items from this collection (including some comparisons from pictures taken during many past trips). This doesn’t even scratch the surface of what is up for auction. And for more information visit ThatsFromDisneyland.com

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