2013 Disney D23 Expo Recap & Impressions

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Disney’s 2013 D23 Expo occurred over the weekend in Anaheim, and we were there for days 2 and 3. The Expo is the bi-yearly event where each forward-facing division of Disney can show off what it’s doing, and where fans can meet and interact. I intended upon doing a blog post with real-time updates throughout the Expo, but that would have been a lot of work and like 1,304 other blogs were already doing that, so it seemed pointless.

Instead, here’s a recap of what happened at the 2013 D23 Expo. Following that are some of my impressions of our first Expo (since this weekend probably doesn’t merit a full trip report) and a ‘review’ of sorts.

Recap

There isn’t a whole lot to recap. Most of what was covered at the 2013 D23 Expo was already known. Additional details were provided or clarified in some cases, but not a whole lot of “news” came out of the D23 Expo. Here are a few quick hits that are noteworthy, though:

  • The Haunted Mansion Hatbox Ghost Audio-Animatronics figure was shown in the Journey into Imagineering booth. Inside the Magic shared a video of that.
  • By all accounts, Frozen looks absolutely awesome, and is going to have a great soundtrack. Here’s hoping the sneak peak of that is as good as the film.
  • The Star Wars project code-named “Orange Harvest,” was displayed in the Imagineering both. It hints at the Star Wars Land said to be in development for Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. TheForce.net has more on this.
  • AVATAR Land was a non-topic, but the Imagineering booth contained a work station with ”artifacts” from an Imagineering scouting hunt in Pandora. Sometimes, nothing is better than something.
  • An extended look at Saving Mr. Banks was shown. This film looks historically accurate and hopefully will garner award-season buzz.
  • Tomorrowland continues its viral marketing efforts…as a Disney fan, it looks intriguing, but I can’t imagine this being a big draw for mainstream audiences. Hopefully we start to see something of actual substance on it soon.

Like I said, not much new information came out of the 2013 D23 Expo. As you’ll read below, this wasn’t a problem for me, but it leaves little in the way of a “recap” besides my subjective impressions…

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Impressions

Let me preface this all by saying that the D23 Expo is only going to appeal to a certain type of fan. I’ve read a lot of negative feedback from non-attendees about the lack of announcements, many of whom have called this Expo a bust because of that. The first D23 Expo (2009) set a precedent with the announcements of New Fantasyland and Star Tours 2, so the expectations are understandable. However, after actually attending the Expo, I can’t see how this would have been a highlight of the Expo for me. To me, an announcement is exciting because of its promise for the future, and that promise is the same whether you’re sitting at home reading real-time updates on Twitter or actually there in person. Obviously we all want announcements to be made because announcements represent future growth for the parks, but for me personally at least, I don’t really care if an announcement is made while I’m standing there in person at a presentation, or if I read about it online as it’s made at a press event the next day. To each his own, but I think it’d be a waste to go to the D23 Expo for the sole purpose of hoping to hear announcements, when you could just as easily hear those announcements at home, for free.

Instead, the point of the D23 Expo (at least in my mind) is unique content that is not replicable online. Things like hearing presentations from those who have shaped the history of The Walt Disney Company, seeing the interactive displays and models on the show floor, and interacting with like-minded fans and folks who work or have worked for the Company. With that said, for some reason announcements are the name of the game for this kind of convention. By failing to make announcements at the Expo, the Company is disappointing its fans and isn’t putting the Expo on a good path for the future (two days of the Expo sold out this year, but how many will sell out in 2015 if most fans go to the Expo for announcements, and Disney has set a new precedent of making no announcements?)

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We weren’t able to make it out for the first day of the D23 Expo, so I missed the Animation presentation, and everything else that day. The first thing I attended was the Live Action presentation in the D23 Arena (the big venue). I met up with Kate and Henry Work (same folks with whom we went to Tokyo) outside of our hotel, the Anabella, at about 6:00 a.m., and we went to get in line. The D23 Expo has become infamous for its lines, and we did find ourselves waiting in a lot of them, but every line we were in was well-managed, and in most cases we “over-waited” (meaning that we could have gotten in line much later and still gotten into the events).

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I thought the Live Action presentation was a disappointment. I honestly don’t know what I was expecting, but with the exception of Alan Horn and the end segment featuring Saving Mr. Banks, it didn’t offer much beyond trailers and celebs. I suppose this goes back to my point above, that I don’t really care about things I can see online. I love movie trailers, but I would never wait in line to see them, especially when I can watch them from my couch. Some of them may never appear online, but I’m sure most will. It also seemed very disingenuous that every trailer was prefaced with (paraphrasing): ‘few people have seen this before, but you’re the fans, so we’re going to let you have an insider’s look!’ We might be crazy enough to wait hours for your presentation, but don’t pander to us. I also don’t really care about gawking at celebrities, so seeing Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, and whomever else was there didn’t do a whole lot for me. Judging by the cheers from the audience, I’m alone in this sentiment.

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It wasn’t all bad. Alan Horn is a very engaging presenter who threw in a few barbs and has a way with clever, dry humor. He made things interesting, and it was nice to get a feel for the head of the Studios, who I had never seen previously. The highlight for me, though, was the very end, when Saving Mr. Banks became the focus. Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak came out and performed, and they were joined by Richard Sherman and numerous Mary Poppins-themed performers dancing up and down aisles in the audience. This was a special moment, and almost fully redeemed the otherwise lackluster presentation. Jason Schwartzman in particular seemed like a class act. He was clearly enthusiastic and proud to be a part of the movie, and dressed in a suit and tie while the other celebrities were more casual and seemed to be phoning it in as they fulfilled contractual obligations to Disney. I’m counting down the days until Saving Mr. Banks.

We spent the rest of the day before the Richard Sherman and Alan Menken concert wandering the Main Floor and Collectors’ Forum. I’ll cover those areas at the end of the recap.

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The Richard Sherman and Alan Menken concert was fantastic. We were in line for this about 3 hours in advance. I don’t think it ended up filling up completely, but this was THE must-see presentation of the Expo for me, so I didn’t want to chance missing it. I’ve seen Richard Sherman perform in the past, and while he’s a special performer with a passion for Disney who is always worth seeing, I’ve never seen Alan Menken. The latter’s performance was the highlight for me. Hearing what was essentially the songbook of my childhood performed by the man responsible for it was sort of a surreal experience. Written words don’t do any concert justice, so I won’t bother. I’ll just say that it was the highlight of the D23 Expo for me, and it alone made the trip worthwhile. It’s a bit crazy to think that these two men are partly responsible for over half of the most iconic songs in the Disney library.

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The final day of the Expo was spent attending the various Imagineering 60th Anniversary presentations. After the first one featuring Disney Legends Bob Gurr, Alice Davis, Marty Sklar, and X Atencio, the remaining presentations largely ran together. This first one was flat out awesome; Bob Gurr is always a charismatic speaker, but hearing Alice Davis’ touching stories and X Atencio perk up as he sang “Yo Ho,” was special. The Craft of Creativity with Joe Rohde, Tom Fitzgerald, Eric Jacobson, Daniel Jue, Joe Lanzisero, and Kathy Magnum was also excellent. I could listen to Joe Rohde speak for hours. He has a lot going on in his head, and you can almost hear his mental processes as he speaks. He’s a really interesting person.

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The other Imagineering presentations were a bit of a letdown (I didn’t attend the “Leave ‘em Laughing” presentation, so I can’t speak to that). There was way too much abstraction and focus on becoming an Imagineer (hint: there’s no set path). The same thing was essentially said in different ways multiple times, but apparently that wasn’t enough for some members of the audience, as they still asked questions about becoming Imagineers! The DNA of Innovation was the big offender in terms of quality (actually, Leading a Legacy wasn’t bad…it just wasn’t great) here, as the panelists spoke mostly in cliches and buzzwords. It felt more like a faux ‘leadership enhancing’ presentation your office would put on than it felt like insight into Imagineering. The panelists mostly seemed like proponents of the “next generation” of interactive experiences and gamifying theme parks, and I’m not a big advocate of either, so I guess maybe the panel just wasn’t for me. To those panelists, I’d contend that Mystic Manor and the 10+ year old Pooh’s Hunny Hunt are innovative ‘next gen’ attractions that will still be relevant and fun for guests decades from now, whereas games like Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and other experiences based on hot current technology will be long forgotten in that time.

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The final presentation I attended was Don Ballard’s presentation on Jack Wrather and the Disneyland Hotel. This was the surprise gem of the entire Expo for me! Ballard is very passionate about the Disneyland Hotel, and it shows. He shared some excellent early footage of the Disneyland Hotel, as well as Walt Disney’s dedication speech in color! All of this footage was only available thanks to Ballard’s own diligence and quest to find more materials concerning the Disneyland Hotel. I don’t know if Ballard has a day job unrelated to history, but Disney should try to hire him for the Archives.

For what it’s worth, lines were never an issue for the presentations we attended on the last day. None of these seminars filled up, so the final day involved no real waiting in line to speak of.

With the exception of the Richard Sherman and Alan Menken concert, the highlight of the D23 Expo was the Main Floor, and to a lesser extent, the Collectors’ Forum. The Main Floor had a great energy to it, and in addition to the booths, there was always some sort of entertainment. Lots of live music and activities, plus some characters (not just cosplay!) made for a fun atmosphere.

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The Main Floor had more booths that I could count, and while a lot did not interest me, several did. The highlight of these was definitely the Journey into Imagineering booth. The art and models in here were amazing, and it was great that they had so many Imagineers out “working” (sculpting, sketching, etc.) and others happy to explain the various displays to guests. There was a good mix of static models that you could get lost poring over, and also plenty of interactive displays. The Imagineering sub-booth with Audio-Animatronics was really cool, and the highlight of this was The Hatbox Ghost (it’s still unclear whether this was just a neat toy, or is intended for Disneyland after this year’s Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay is removed…we heard both). It was definitely cool seeing The Hatbox Ghost in “real” form after so many years, and it would be nice to have him in the parks as more than a merchandising gimmick. This particular AA had Lincoln-esque legs. I’ve always envisioned the “actual” Hatbox Ghost as being a little shorter.

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Another spectacular sub-booth was the Art Library, which featured Herb Ryman’s concept for Disneyland as well as the original ‘black light’ painting of Disneyland by Peter Ellenshaw. This was truly jaw-dropping, and one of the highlights of the D23 Expo for me. I only wish I had gone through it a few more times! Elsewhere in the Journey into Imagineering booth there were models scattered about. My favorites of these were Tony Baxter’s early concept for The Land pavilion, Western River Expedition, and an early concept for Spaceship Earth (all pictured above and below). I probably spent a good 30 minutes at these three models. If The Land balloon ride concept is (more or less) what we’d get out of an Oz: The Great and Powerful ride, I’m fully in favor of it! Check out more coverage (including video) of the Journey into Imagineering booth from DlandLive.com.

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There were numerous other booths on the Main Floor with current and upcoming projects, as well as interactive and conceptual displays that would probably never materialize in actual products. Some of these were really fascinating, and it was great, and a bit reassuring, to see the creative capital of The Walt Disney Company on display, even if some of that creativity would never come to fruition. Dateline Disneyland did a great job of documenting some of the other booths, so check that out.

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Shopping was also on the Main Floor, but the waits for the stores were measurable in hours(!!!), so I didn’t go in either store (as far as I know there were two–perhaps more). To my knowledge there wasn’t any exceptional D23 Expo merchandise, so I’m not really sure why these lines were so long, but Disneyland fans love their LE merch (and lines to get it!), so perhaps that was why?

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We spent less time in the Collectors’ Forum; it seemed pretty polarized. There were a couple booths where Disney Legends, former Imagineers, and other interesting folks kept dropping in, and it was cool to see and hear them. There were also some interesting artists there that were worth seeing, but the majority of the booths were businesses trying to sell limited edition merchandise that had sold out in the parks (largely because of these resellers) at ridiculously inflated prices.

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I saw Rolly Crump, Bob Gurr, and Tony Baxter at various times back here, and while it was easy to meet them, most people who wanted to see them just wanted autographs, and it wasn’t a conducive setting for actually conversing with them. I’m still kicking myself for not going to the meet with Rolly Crump and Bob Gurr at Tangerine Grill & Patio, as I think that would have been the right setting, and not many people knew about it, but we went to the Tahitian Terrace show at Disneyland Hotel instead (more on this awesome show in a later post).

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Overall, I really enjoyed the 2013 D23 Expo. The presentations were mostly fascinating, I didn’t encounter problems with poorly managed lines or crowd control, and it was great to interact with people in the real world who I’ve otherwise only known online. It wasn’t without its flaws, and lines were often long, but my overall impression of the D23 Expo was very positive. There certainly wasn’t a lack of content–I saw maybe 50% of the Main Floor and only a handful of presentations that I wanted to see. There just wasn’t enough time to do it all. We definitely plan to head back for the 2015 D23 Expo.

Like I said at the beginning of the Impressions, the D23 Expo is not going to appeal to everyone. Sarah spent most of the two days we were in Anaheim at Disneyland, only spending a little time on the floor of the Expo and in presentations. I’d hazard a guess that everyone but the uber Disney geeks or locals who can visit the parks anytime they want will enjoy their time at Disneyland Resort a lot more than the D23 Expo.

If you’re using this article to help you determine whether you should plan a visit to Disneyland during the 2015 D23 Expo, my advice would probably be to not do it. While I really enjoyed my first D23 Expo, we visit Disneyland fairly regularly, and I am one of those uber geeks. If you’re an uber geek, too, the D23 Expo is worth considering, but if you only have so much time to see Disneyland and Southern California, the D23 Expo might not be the best way to spend your limited time there. While August isn’t a bad time to visit the Disneyland, there are better times of year, so that’s something else to consider.

If you want to know more about D23, check out our D23 membership review. To see how poorly we did with our D23 2013 Expo Predictions, read this article. Although in fairness, we have until the end of the year for the announcements to be made!

Your Thoughts…

Did you attend the 2013 D23 Expo? If so, what did you think? Will you consider attending the 2015 Disney D23 Expo? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below!

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22 Responses to “2013 Disney D23 Expo Recap & Impressions”

  1. Ray says:

    I have to agree with most if not all of what you said. I’ve been to all three Expos and overall…this may be the best one. While no major announcements (like you…..while exciting…it’s not key to me) the overall excitement and fun I had over all three days gave me a lot to be happy about. When I went to Disneyland after the Expo on Sunday and had dinner at Carnation Cafe, the CM that seated us asked me what was my favorite part. Honestly, I couldn’t come up with one…not because there were none, but because there were so many things I loved, whether it was listening to Dave Smith talk about the making of Mary Poppins, the stars of the live action Studios presentation, the collectors forum (where I got to speak with Cara Goldsbury and Mark Silverman), getting a signed copy of Marty Sklar’s book, the Richard Sherman/Alan Menken concert or three Imagineering sessions I went to on Sunday or even the conversation between Lou Mongello and Tony Baxter late Sunday afternoon.….I couldn’t pick a favorite.

    Even though I didn’t form any new long term friendships….I did meat a lot of great people that I formed short-term friendships with. That’s another one of great things about the Expo are the people that were there.

    Granted, this Expo was not perfect…but I’m very happy with the entire experience.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Very well put. I think people who never go to D23 events (and this applies to more than just the Expo) really underestimate just how much fun the events are, and how they’re largely *not* an experience you can replicate online.

      Ironic, because the one thing that can be replicated online (hearing announcements) is what those who don’t go complain about most loudly.

  2. Jonathan Dixon says:

    Hate to say it…but it’s actually what I predicted. Nothing really announced for the parks.

    I’d love to see Hatbox in the ride. That was probably the most exciting thing for me. Lots of movie related announcements. Not sure they need a whole expo for that. I wasn’t there, so it’s hard to say.

    I definitely think coverage on the expo needs to be improved. I found it very difficult to find detailed information on any day. Your pictures show that a lot more was actually going on than anyone talked about. Hopefully D23 continues, but they really needed a marquee announcement to make it must-see.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Disney reps said weeks ago that nothing would be announced, so I don’t think it was too big of a shock. Now, whether an announcement is made in the coming weeks (Iger has indicated an announcement is coming soon for Disneyland) is the real question.

      I think your last paragraph hits on the crux of the “issue” with the D23 Expo. Most fan sites are reporting on the bigger aspects of the Expo because those are what makes for “sexy” stories about which a lot of people at home will be interested. However, for those actually in attendance, there’s a ton of awesome stuff to see and do.

      Given that, I think it’s tough to speculate as to what the Expo “needs” without attending. As mentioned, a lot of fans who don’t go complain about the lack of announcements, but I don’t think an announcement really moves the needle one way or the other in terms of enjoyment for those actually attending. In general, announcements are awesome whenever, but if an announcement is made via the Disney Parks Blog tomorrow, I won’t be sitting here thinking, “dang, the D23 Expo would’ve been so much better if that announcement were made over the weekend.” I’ll be thinking, “dang, I can’t wait to experience that when it opens.”

  3. Cheltenham says:

    I was also at the 2011 expo and this one was much,much better organized. (A few further tweaks for next time should include more signage indicating the location of lines and where they end.)

    The Stagepass thing was a nice addition. I liked that they had a sign indicating availability. It was nice to have a ticket so I knew I would see the presentations I was most interested in, without waiting long in lines. It also allowed more time to explore the floor.

    I agree 100% with your point on announcements and celebrities. I don’t care if I am actually present when an announcement is made and I have no interest in seeing Hollywood celebrities. ( Although it was nice to see so many of the great Imagineers.)

    For me the Imagineering pavilion was the highlight. I did not bother going to any of the Area presentations, but I do wish I had seen the concert. Does anyone know if people were turned away or had to watch in the overflow room?

    I live on the east coast and rarely get to CA, so I arrived a few days early and toured the parks. I do wish, however, that they would hold the expo at a less crowed time of year. By mid-day the parks were packed.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      We used StagePass a few times on Sunday, but we didn’t end up needing it. It seemed to work well, but I heard that on Friday the waits for it were sometimes long. In general, it seems like most of the problems occurred Friday, and everything was smooth sailing the rest of the weekend.

      According to someone on Twitter, some people were sent to the overflow room for the concert, but it sounds like those people were mostly those unable to take stairs to the Arena. The Arena definitely was not full for the concert, but I don’t know if they intentionally did not use the whole thing.

      • Ray says:

        I used the Stage Pass two days (Friday/Sunday), but in actuality they were probably only needed for Marty Sklar’s session on Friday. On Sunday it wasn’t really needed. They might have been effective for Saturday if there were sessions I “had” to go to.

        The biggest problem with the Stage Pass is when the passes were available. If you went to any Arena presentation…you pretty much got locked out of Stage Pass.

        I think this could be tweaked….but was a good addition.

  4. Kelly M says:

    Hi, this may be slightly off topic of Tom’s review, but I would really appreciate it if anyone knows of links to any blogs reviewing the Roy E Disney presentation please. I have been searching but found nothing. I believe it was on the first day so I know that Tom wasn’t there, but if anyone has seen anything that would be great. Thank you!

  5. mitch says:

    Thanks for this- I’ve never been to a D23 event and have always been curious what a typical visit might be like. I’m a sucker for anything related to imagineering and I love to see models and sketches. As a musician, I have tremendous respect for Richard Sherman and Alan Menken as composers and performers. That probably would have been the highlight of the whole experience for me.

    Just a quick question about merchandise- is there any merchandise Disney currently sells that you actively collect or would be excited to purchase? For instance, I like to collect resort specific merchandise like mugs and pins or anniversary/limited edition merchandise from my favorite classic rides, and some artwork.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Sounds like you’d enjoy the Expo.

      I haven’t purchased anything from Walt Disney World or Disneyland since last October. I buy stuff here and there, but there’s very little I collect. I used to collect more, but I’ve sold off a decent amount of that and have much less stuff now than I did in 2008 or 2009.

      Disney releases so much merchandise that it makes it difficult to have a comprehensive collection of anything without breaking the bank. There’s a lot of stuff I like, but I’d rather spend money doing things than having things.

      The only things I really buy now are functional: clothes, hats, CDs, etc.

  6. DRToohey says:

    Without a doubt, the Sherman/Menken concert was a highlight for me…possibly of my whole time with D23. Sherman just blows me away with the fact that he is able to perform 90 minutes at the age of 85 (but I guess that’s a real testament to what a true love of life and what you do can do for you). I think one of the sweetest moments was when the whole audience helped him out with the Winnie the Pooh lyrics…a real sign of how many people have been touched by and truly love these songs that we all know them by heart. Menken’s range was also just phenomenal.

    The animation panel was really solid – it gave me some real hope for Pixar that they’re making original stories again (and between teh quietness of the Good Dinosaur clips and the fact that Sadness is a character in Inside Out, I’m hoping we’ll be seeing a return to form for them). Frozen looks very promising (though Idina Menzel’s song,w hile awesome, felt a bit like a Defying Gravity redux) and I’m already excited for Zootopia.

    The live action one was hit or miss with me. Maleficent still feels like “Disney REALLY wanted to do Wicked but can’t” and I’ve gone on my own rant about Tomorrowland in my *cough*PLUG*cough* own blog (http://tinyurl.com/lbd7hu5). But Muppets felt Muppety and I agree with you that Saving Mr. Banks was the highlight of that panel for me.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Nice article, although I definitely disagree about the Imagineering booth. I think you’re spot on about Tomorrowland. I have no interest until they start sharing in a straightforward manner.

      It extends beyond marketing. Abrams and Lindelof do this in their films, as well! Film Crit Hulk has a great article on this: http://badassdigest.com/2013/06/12/film-crit-hulk-smash-the-age-of-the-convoluted-blockbuster/

      As for the WDI booth, I think the teases there were more out of necessity than they were by design to make them seem clever. Either the plans aren’t yet final, or the plans are final and are so expensive that they require Board approval (I’ve heard this is the ‘issue’), in which case Disney cannot make any announcement until that approval is secured.

      • DRToohey says:

        (Posted this reply already on your comment on my post, but just in case you miss it)

        “WE WATCH FILMS WHERE THE MECHANICAL PLOT DICTATES CHARACTER REACTIONS, RATHER THAN CHARACTER’S ACTIONS DICTATING THE STORY.” Niiiiiice.

        Granted, some of this plot/story dichotomy isn’t anything overly new….some would say that Wilkie Collins or Agatha Christie are earlier perpetrators of it – though I think this blogger’s distinction between Mystery and Mysteriousness helps allay that critique. But yeah, overall I do think there’s a growing problem with a focus on plot even over the more simply drawn, basic characters – and I wonder (if I may sound like an old man) if at least part of this is fueled by the age of message boards and such…i.e. people are more likely, sadly, to discuss plot than characters…and everyone wants word-of-mouth.

        Also, funny thing with Alias (which the author mentions) is that the original Mystery Box (Rimbaldi) started off as a perfectly acceptable MacGuffin. I always see that show as Abrams’s gateway drug.

        And fair about WDI. Honestly, it’s probably something that would not even have bugged me were it not coupled with Tomorrowland that weekend.

  7. Megan says:

    This is an odd thing to ask about, but I’d love to know what other Disney blogs you read our recommend. I love your blog and am certainly not looking for a replacement, but I’d love to add to my Disney reading list.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I don’t really read a whole lot of blogs that are similar in nature to this one, unless I see a link on Twitter or Pinterest that catches my eye. I read mostly blog posts covering the historical side of Disney. I hate to punt on this, but check out the sidebar of ImagineeringDisney.com for a great list. I don’t read all of those sites regularly (some of them aren’t updated much), but most of them are excellent, and checking out the sites there will help you make your own “must-read” list…if you’re into history.

  8. DRToohey says:

    Also on another note, I take it from the fact that you were waiting 3 hours for the concert meant you missed the Legends ceremony. One highlight that speaks to your former post on Journey into Imagination was Bob Iger talking about how much backlash there was from removing Figment from the ride. While it could have just be lipservice to the fans, there did seem a decent part of him that realized A) it was a bad business move and B) it was just a headache. So it seems, at least for the foreseeable future, that Figment is here to stay. And, hey, they do seem fond of having Dreamfinder come out for these events. Who knows….(not getting my hopes up though)

    (Also, after being in WDW a week ago, I realized from a merchandising POV that ditching Figment would be an AWFUL decision. He’s branded just about everywhere and clearly an EPCOT cash-cow)

  9. Don Ballard says:

    Thank you for your kind comments about my presentation.

    Don Ballard

  10. Clundgren says:

    I was in DL the weekend and following week of the the Expo, and I was surprised by how few announcements there were coming out of it. I kept expecting to read about the big new attraction, especially in the wake of how busy Universal has been of late, but it didn’t happen. Still, I can’t really complain as I was having plenty of fun in the parks.

    As an aside, were you in Trader Sam’s on the Sunday night after the expo? I was in there with my wife and could have sworn I spotted you. We specifically went because I read your rave review of the place, and I have to thank you for it – that bar is absolutely fantastic.

  11. Brygida says:

    Tom, Great recap. I agree with you on so many of your observations! I don’t need big announcements at the Expo. I came for the Walt Disney / Parks / Imagineering history / panels. Which were great! So many one of a kind experiences, once in a lifetime to see. Being an engineer, I discussed detailed imagineering re: the hatbox ghost, fascinating! Seeing Herb Ryman’s Disneyland drawing, his Mary Poppins matte paintings… The ones actually used in the movie! Sitting just behind Marty Sklar (a true gentleman) and just in front of Becky Cline (current Disney archivist) for the Sherman/Menken concert! Priceless. Hearing Marty Sklar, Bob Gurr, Alice Davis, X, speak one more time … how many more times will we have the opportunity before they join Walt? Just wonderful.

    I went in the Disney Store and Dream Store and Mickey’s of Glendale and I don’t get the LE people either. But they were walking out with ANYTHING that the staff said was LE. The only thing I bought was Marty Sklar’s book so I could get it signed and an Imagineering sweatshirt.

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