D23 Expo 2013

Okay, so I might be a little late to the party, but this is what happens when I really think about what I’m going to write and journal it first. 🙂

Oh boy, oh boy, the D23 Expo! What a crazy, awesome, exhausting weekend! It’s the one weekend every 2 years where the Disney-est of Disney fans descend in full force on Anaheim to enjoy all that Disney has to offer. That even includes waiting in lines for hours, just like you do in the parks. Fortunately, at the end of the waiting, is something equally as fun and amazing as a park attraction. Now, I had never been to a D23 Expo, and it was completely overwhelming, but worth it. I spent Friday in the arena animation presentation, which I was blown away by! There are quite a few animated films coming up that will be great! Later I wandered around aimlessly, trying to find things that didn’t have a wait of an hour or more (which wasn’t really anything), and even had my outgoing voicemail recorded by Bill Rogers, voice of Disneyland. That was pretty awesome! Let’s say I had all sorts of people calling me that night to listen to it, because it’s the coolest outgoing message of anyone I know!

I learned very quickly from Friday’s experience, that you need to get to the Convention Center very early in the morning for the arena presentations. I had gotten in line at 7am on Friday, but knew I had to get there even earlier on Saturday since it was the live action movie presentation, AND Saturday tickets for the expo were sold out! Let me tell you, when my alarm went off at 4:30am on Saturday, it was brutal! I got to the Convention Center and in the arena line by 5:40 though. There were already 800 or so people in line when I arrived, and it became quite apparent who the hard core Disney fans were. I may be a hardcore Disney fan, but I do value my sleep very much!

Around 6:45 (yes, we’re still talking a.m. here), I was joined by friends Melodie and Sarah, and we were allowed inside the Convention Center to wait for a couple more hours. It’s kind of funny how dependent we are on our phones because we had our phones and cameras sealed until the presentation was over. The 3 of us had a lot of fun chatting, especially since we had met through social media and we could actually hang out! Once we were inside and seated, we were so excited and kept speculating what celebrities would make appearances. The presentation started with a montage of clips from upcoming Disney films, and Alan Horn, Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios came onto the stage to welcome everyone. He briefly discussed the studio’s history and their recent acquisitions of Marvel and Lucasfilm. He welcomed Lucasfilm into the Disney family, and spoke of Star Wars only for a moment, as the 7th film is not quite in production mode. He did mention, however, that there would be some stand alone Star Wars films in the future, but did not expand on that.

Horn then welcomed Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, out to the stage to talk about the upcoming Marvel films in the works. First up was Thor: The Dark World, and gave us a look at an extended trailer. Feige then welcomed Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), and Anthony Hopkins (Odin) to share with us about the movie and gave us an exclusive look at a couple of scenes. I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge Thor fan, but I am really excited for the sequel, other than the fact that Tom Hiddleston and Zachary Levi are in it. 😉 Next up was Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They just recently wrapped production, so we got to see some finished clips as well as some that are in the early CGI process. Kevin welcomed Sebastian Stan (Bucky), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), and Chris Evans (Captain America) out on the stage.  The last Marvel film that was previewed was Guardians of the Galaxy, which just started production in the last few weeks. This meant that there were no stars or anyone else from the movie there to represent it. We did see a brief look at the movie, and while I know nothing about it, it looks like it’ll be pretty entertaining. Before Marvel concluded, we saw a quick teaser for Avengers: Age of Ultron, and that’s really all we found out about it.

Next up was the upcoming Disney Nature Film, Bears. We all know it’s going to be a cute movie about a family of bears that comes out on Earth Day. We were shown the first official trailer for it. Then, Sean Bailey (Insert Title Here) was next to come out to talk about the numerous films in production for the Walt Disney Studios. The first movie in the line up was Muppets Most Wanted, to which was saw an extended preview (like all the movies thus far). Next thing we know, Ty Burrell drives out on stage in his tiny “interpol” car that they used in the movie. Since they are still filming, we were greeted “via satellite” by Miss Piggy, Kermit, and Tiny Fey, who introduced a clip of a hilarious musical number between Ricky Gervais and the Kermit impostor. In true Muppets fashion, it was hilarious, cheesy, and highly entertaining. Muppets Most Wanted looks like it’ll be really fun! For the next two movies, we weren’t given much information, mainly, just casts and concept art. Into the Woods, based on the musical, is in rehearsals, but has quite a cast list including: Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, and more! Cinderella is a film that hasn’t started production, and is not entirely cast, but the concept art looks gorgeous!

The next movie, I knew very little about. However, after seeing the preview, I am so excited for it! Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, who also made an appearance to a roaring audience and standing ovation, was introduced to talk about her experience and what it is like to portray a classic Disney Villain. She said that Maleficent has always been her favorite, so she was excited to play her, and most children, except for her daughter, were absolutely terrified of her when she was in costume. Based off of the previews we got, Angelina is spot on as Maleficent, and I am looking forward to seeing it next summer! Alright, for this next one, I will say I was a little confused. Tomorrowland was introduced and Brad Bird (director) and Damon Lindelof (Producer) came out on stage with the mysterious “1952” box that Disney had “found” months ago when they announced the movie. While the mysteries surrounding the box have been pretty tight lipped, Disney has already created this intricate marketing campaign to excite Disney fans through “The Optimist,” a scavenger hunt that took place in the Disney parks. Bird and Lindelof had a few “artifacts” to show us, including a blueprint of “it’s a small world” from the 1964 World’s Fair. The blueprint even has a hidden tunnel underground that could only be seen under a black light. There was a record of ‘history of tomorrow’ with some “never before seen” animation that they were able to extract from the severely damaged disc. The funny part was, the animation seemed somewhat familiar to me, and looked newer as it progressed. I don’t know if it’s all real or not (my hunch is no), but Disney is doing a great job at pulling people into this “world of tomorrow” for a movie that has barely started production.

Alright, one more to go! We’re almost there!

Last, but certainly not least, the movie we all wanted sneak peeks of, Saving Mr. Banks. They started us off with a clip of PL Travers arriving in LA, and going to the studios to meet Walt. They then brought out BJ Novak and Jason Schwartzman, who play Robert and Richard Sherman, respectively, out to the stage. They spoke of their experiences and what it was like to be able to work with Richard Sherman , who was an advisor on the film. We saw a few more scenes, to which the presentation ended, but not without one more surprise. BJ and Jason came back out on a rolling mini stage with a piano and performed “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”. The even bigger surprise was when Richard Sherman himself came and joined them in song. The presentation definitely ended with a bang! Was it worth waiting 5 hours for? I’d say so!

Part 2 coming soon

Until next time,

Caitlyn

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