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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

D23 Expo Recap

Though there was less traveling involved in the D23 Expo than in Comic-Con, it was no less hectic, fast-paced and exciting.
As was to be expected for a first venue, there were a few hitches, timing problems etc., but in all it was a remarkably wonderful four days, with lots of surprises, celebrities and interesting events.

Mind you, I was already a D23 convert from the outset, as one could quickly calculate that four expensive-to-produce magazines (4 x $16 = $64) and a free trip to UP (with celebrity appearance) for two (2 x $11 = $22) easily covers my $75 membership fee.
But the Expo was, of course, a separate deal, four days in the Anaheim Convention Center especially for the fan community.

It did give the fans quite an interesting peek into the thoughts of the different divisions and showed which of them likes their fans (Walt Disney and Pixar Studios, Archives), and which seemed to not care much (Disney Channel).

It also showed me the qualities of a REAL star. I can mention the wonderful voice of Sleeping Beauty, Mary Costa, who stayed after the late night screening of the film to sign autographs and meet her fans, though for her it was 2:00 AM. She did not need to do this, but she asked if it would be OK...

What grabbed me was that there was hardly a feeling of "pushing the Disney brand." Instead I felt that things were done especially for us the fans, with celebrity appearances of original Mousketeers, famous A-list actors as Johnny Depp (in pirate costume), Nicolas Cage, the John Travoltas, Robin Williams receiving one of ten Legends Awards, as did Don Iwerks. I must admit that I was especially glad to see retired Buena Vista International's exec Harry Archinal on stage receiving his Legends Award, as Frank and Ollie talked about him as if he was their best friend!!
Harry Archinal

Things to remember for next time:
- More time to roam the floor: longer hours, and maybe a preview night like Comic-Con...
- When you invite writers, invite their books as well, and have the signings right after their presentation, not hours before when few know what it's about...
- Steven Clark is the magazine's figure-head - I met him at Comic-Con and he seems to be a very nice person - logically, he should have been introducing the keynotes, as well as capping off the event with a thank-you, to put a face on things, making it an even more personal, less corporate experience...
- In rooms where the back rows cannot see the podium (e.g. Stage 23 and Storyteller), use video stream of the goings-on on the podium on the side screens...
- Do not plan similar events for similar crowds at the same time - but I am sure this is obvious...
- Leave more time between events! When we were done with the Lost Chords, the big auction we wanted to see had started...
- Make the Expo info available on a non-Flash site for mobile users...
- Hang tags instead of armbands, like at Comic-Con...

But these things aside, I had a great time, it was even more fun than I expected. I look forward to next year's event, hopefully again in the same venue, as it was perfectly suited for this event!

As to our Lost Chords concert, I found that someone posted a medley on YouTube - look for "D23 Lost Chords"! I'm the one in the burgundy shirt, the only non-Disney-Castmember of our ensemble. Thanks to everyone who commented positively! It was a LOT of fun to do!

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Michael Sporn says...

I loved seeing you singing on YouTube. I'm sure that was a lot of fun. One of the problems with living in NY is that you miss a lot of these events.

Friday, September 18, 2009 at 5:31:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Floyd Norman says...

It was very nice of Mary Costa to stay and greet her fans. I decided to bow out early because this was really her show, not mine. I was only one of hundreds of artists who labored on "Sleeping Beauty."

Yet, even though I decided to sneak out the back door, the fans were there waiting for me. I ended up staying quite a while taking photos and signing autographs.

D23 turned out to be a lot of fun for all.

Friday, September 18, 2009 at 5:10:00 PM PDT  

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