D23 Expo Day 4
Day 4, Sunday - Did I say it was Day FOUR?
Sunday morning when the alarm went off at 5:30am, I laid in bed for a few moments (after bounding out of bed the previous 3 mornings) and set the alarm for a 10 minute snooze. I was about out of steam after going full throttle the previous 3 days. My body wanted more sleep but my mind had started racing! Ok time to get up, big doings going on, as our friend Mickey likes to say.
I was inside the expo at 8am when it opened and got to watch the folks enter and disperse in a variety of directions. A crowd headed for the Arena Queue line where John Lassiter would speak at 11am.
Here's just a part of the queue area for the arena presentations:
Laura Gilbreath and I headed to the line for the Making of Toy Story Mania attraction. This presentation alone was well worth the flight to California.
Again, Laura did such a fantastic job reporting on this session, I'll just link to her blog entry.
Disney imagineers and Pixar animators entertained us with their energy and excitement as they went thru the various phases of developing the attraction (Music, vehicles...).
I was thrilled when I had read that the Disney Archives would have an exihibit at the Expo. I must now admit, I was a bit disappointed in the scope of the exhibit. While I loved the vintage artifacts ( like the jewels from Sleeping Beauty and seeing Herbie the Love Bug), there seemed to be an over abundance of costumes especially from recent years. I am very grateful for what was on display, but I hope that at future expos the Archives exhibit will be expanded.
Next up, the Arena Presentation by John Lassiter, The Future of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation. Once again, all electronics had to be checked. Did I mention we also were "wanded" by secturity after handing in our electronics? On to the presentation! We got to see preview after preview of new Pixar films, shorts and feature length. It was great to see so many new and exciting films on the horizon!
After lunch, Imagineering Pixar for the Disney Parks was the hot "ticket". A very informal setting with John Lasseter, Roger Gould, Liz Gazzano, Bruce Vaughn, Eric Jacobson, and others sharing their involvement with each of the Pixar park attractions.
But the key to the whole presentation, was Lasseter offering his very frank comments about Imagineering past and present. He talked about how, in the past, the budget really controlled the imagineering of an attraction. The budget is set, design a ride and then all kinds of things start to chip away at the budget. So then it's one less audio anamatronic here and perhaps this one doesn't move and on and on so that the attraction gets compromised.
Lasseter explained, "I was in one meeting once" one of the finance guys said how something needed to be cut out and I said Ok are you going to be the one at the exit of the ride and explain to everyone getting off the ride why it's successful because it's on time and on budget when it's a piece of crap?" At which point the entire audience burst into cheers and applause! He continued, "The simple goal is ... once you've stood in line for a long time, you ride the ride and you want to get right back in line, that ride was so much fun!" His comments continued to energize me about the future of Disney parks.
A small press conference with some of the same imagineers where we were given glimpses into upcoming Pixar attractions. This was the perfect ending to my D23 Expo experience!
I had a red-eye flight home that night so rushed back to the hotel to pack and head to the airport. What an amazing time!
In Summary -- Overall the quality of the sessions were exceptional! In fact I only heard some mumbling about one session that folks were disappointed in. Mainly, folks were raving about the sessions. I thought the ones I attended were awesome!
Early on at the Expo Cast Members were asking guests to fill out cards for a post Expo Survey. I'm sure they will receive plenty of feedback. Here's hoping that they pay attention and work on the big things!
I did as many things as I could during the 4 days but my energy level never made it to any of the evening activities. I returned to the hotel each evening totally exhausted but with a huge smile on my face. After it was all over, I felt like I had spent 4 days in Disney Fantasy Camp. Imagineers could easily be found in the Parks and Resorts area and also could be found walking the Expo floor. It was like being in a candy store as a kid. Of course, part of me was a kid walking around the Expo.
Sometimes I was torn with what to attend and do; the personal side of me wanted to get some autographs, attend different seminars, and spent more time seeing what cool merchandise I could add to my varied Disney collection. At least the lack of that time saved me money LOL.
Well, I could go on and on, but I hope between all the coverage of the AllEars Team and my personal thoughts you have a good idea what the Expo was all about. I want to once again thank everyone who worked for AllEars to bring you live coverage of the D23Expo, from the team members who attended, Debra, Laura, Lee; to our band of roving Twitters and the folks back home. Thank you one and all.
When the D23 Expo was first announced, it was stated that the first 4 years of the Expo would be in Anaheim. I had hoped that a date for the next expo would be announced prior to the official end of the inaugural one, but that didn't happen.
Was it worth being a D23 member at the Expo? Oh Yes! The biggest reason was that members were able to enter the Expo one full hour before non-members. For some, this meant having the opportunity for first dibs on the Limited Edition merchandise sold in the Disney Dream Expo store. For others it meant getting in line early for particular sessions and for others, it meant being able to stroll through the Expo will smaller crowds.
But I can tell you this -- even with the long lines and long waits - I have every intention of attending the next D23 Expo and will savor every moment, every sound, every visual, every possible part of Disney, that I did from this first one. It was not to be missed and I am VERY glad I attended!!! See you next time?