Saturday, August 20, 2011

August 19th-D23 Expo The Ultimate Disney Fan Event

I don't even know where to begin with today's opening day of D23 Expo.  First of all, last night around midnight, I got really sick for some reason. I felt it coming on and knew it was not good.  Somehow, I managed to get a good nights sleep and felt rested in the morning. I was afraid to eat too much but Debbie and I bought a small loaf of banana bread so we shared that. I also bought OJ but thought better of drinking it.

I got up around 6:15 and hopped in the shower first.  We wanted to be over at the convention center around 8:30 or so.  We walked the few blocks over and most of the crowd was headed in the same direction. Imagine our shock when we saw that the line was already wrapping around the large arena. We could not even find the end of it.  Once we did, we snaked around and they were forming the line down the sidewalk. It ended up that we were probably in the first 1/3 of the line. No one could find the end since it was so long and snaked everywhere.  After about an hour, they finally let us in but even that took awhile for the movement of the line to reach us.  Right as we approached the door, a guy comes riding up in a scooter and he  and his wife were trying to cut the line.  We had been chatting with everyone around them and knew they just got there.  The guy behind us said are they with you and we said no and he told them where to find the end of the line. They did not listen, they just went behind him. Whatever. Just as we were going in, I noticed one of my FB friends, Diane, walking the other way and I turned around and I was sure it was her but they were already going the other direction and we were going in! I ended up finding her later on the escalator going down!

We were given our lanyards and guidebook and we weren't really sure where to go.  We headed upstairs to the History of the Disneyland Hotel presentation.  We somehow got seated very close. They thought Pat was a premier member and we got reserved seats!  This was an interesting presentation showing tons of old footage of Walt and also the original president of the hotel.  It turns out the architect of the hotel was in the audience in the row behind us, he will be 90 yrs old!  The little kids we saw in the black and white footage are the kids of the president of the hotel and they were also in the audience.  The man doing the presentation is the author of a book on Disneyland Hotel history. 

At this point, we split up with Pat going to the Disney Store pavilion and Debbie and I getting a bite to eat ($14 for a small pizza, churro and water!) and then going to the line for the Legends Presentation.  The line for this was unreal. You literally could not see the end of it. We waited about an hour and were told that we were on standby at that point and would probably not make it in. We stayed in the line just in case and it started to move so we were hopeful cause it was close to the front. Then we hear a CM saying all they were doing was emptying the line!  It was so frustrating!

Debbie and I decided to roam the exhibit floor; tons of pin collectors, name it, they are here. I finally ran in to the WDW Radio booth and got to meet Lou Mongello!  I have been wanting to subscribe to his Celebrations Magazine so I did that right there and got two free issues to take with me. Lou had live feeds going so the "in the box" people could be there as well.
Me and Lou Mongello
These guys were animatronic!
This giant balloon creation was at Lou's booth
The limo that Walt rode in on the way to Snow White premier

We continued our roaming and ran in to some celebrities...Rock Star Mickey and Constantine Maroulis, who was on American Idol at one point.  Then we passed a booth and I look over and see Billy Dee (I love Brian Piccolo) Williams.  He had no one in line for his autograph and it's no wonder, he was charging $40 for an autograph. He sat there like a lost puppy so I took his picture. He sort of gave a half smile. I swear it was the only booth without a line!

At 1:00, there was a free cupcake giveaway and yes there was a line! It moved and we got thru very quick. I took some pics of the awesome themed birthday parties.

We decided we better line up for the Parks and Resorts presentation.  We ended up in the first half of the long line but it got much worse after us.  We sat down for about a half an hour, in the line queue. I called home and talked to Joe for awhile but it was so loud in there that he had a hard time hearing me. They finally told us to stand as the line would be moving and it did move for a little bit and then came to a dead stop. For another half hour, we did not move. This poor lady in an ECV was having trouble negotiating the ends of the line queue and kept apologizing for making us wait. We told her, we're not getting anywhere fast and not to worry.  Finally, we were all let in and we had good seats in the second level, almost center.  This was an interesting presentation but I did feel myself dozing off from time to time. We got to see the ride vehicles for the new mine ride in the new Fantasyland and they did an Aulani presentation but not a mention of the letters DVC.  Mickey came out playing the drums and then he chatted with Tom Staggs, the Disney Parks and Resorts president.  During Aulani, they had some Hawaiian luau children dancing with a band. They did a great job!
Deb Wills talking to Lou

Pat went with some friends to eat and Debbie and I got in a short line for The Parks and Resorts Carousel of Projects.  They showed us a short in the round movie and then opened the curtains where in front of us was the hull of a Disney cruise ship and it was playing the When you Wish Upon a Star horn.  We got to see a model of the new Fantasyland which looks awesome and the actual ride vehicle for the mine ride.  It is shaped like a mine car that will rock as you go around bends, sort of like a cradle on a track.

We took a few more pictures in here and then headed out.  We walked back over to check the Hallmark Ornament exhibit and saw a big crowd with lots of media. There was John Lassiter who is the chief creative officer of Pixar. He was very friendly with the crowd.

Debbie and I decided to try a different place for food. Prices were not much better and the line moved sloooooooow.  I got a hot dog and dr. pepper. It came with fries but I did not eat too many. Just that was $8.50!  Debbie and I had stopped by the one stand to get brownies since I heard they were so good here. $5 a brownie!

We then attempted to get in to Voices of the Parks presentation; we  had heard the Dick Van Dyke show was completely full, dang.  We waited for awhile in this long line for Voices, only to find out it, too, was at capacity.  We were getting a little  irritated at this point and were #venting to the CM, she was very nice and listened.  The #venting hashtag was becoming the theme for the day, lol.

We went downstairs to check out the Imagineering store. I did not buy anything. I considered this a successful day since I met Lou Mongello,saw Deb Wills at a distance and briefly saw Diane!

We limped our wretched bodies back to the hotel; got a cup of tea ($2.90!) and went back to our room to watch fireworks. Tomorrow is another day! More lines but it is still great to be here!

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Me with Cassie and Sandie