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D23 Expo - Day 1 Thoughts and Observations (8/19/11)

Overview: The second D23 Expo officially kicked off today. Highlights of the day included the Legends Induction Ceremony and the Parks and Resorts keynote presentation. I was only able to make it into one smaller session and it was great featuring Voices from the Parks. The lowlights from the day were the long waits, delayed start times, and small venues with no overflow areas so many of us were not able to see all the presentations they wanted.

Nuts and Bolts: The D23 Expo ran from 8/19-21/2011. I spent the three full days at the Expo, plus a preview reception. Took just under 3,000 pictures, 50 video clips, 100 cell phone shots for Twitter, spend way too many hours in line to share the D23 experience (and save it for myself). I attended three of the arena presentations, five of the smaller sessions (others of our team, one of the retired geeks and the invisible geek, attended an additional arena presentation and three smaller sessions).

A couple of thoughts from Thursday:

  • Thursday was check in day, then I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview event on Thursday evening. We were able to see the Parks and Resorts Carousel of Projects and then tour the Archives exhibit.

  • The checkin process was smooth and took an entire two minutes. I checked in around 1pm on Thursday, that could be the reason.

  • The Parks and Resorts Carousel of Projects lived up to the hype and level that was set at the first Expo. There were plenty of models, displays, and Imagineers on hand to share with you their projects. The most fun thing of this exhibit to me is being able to talk to the Imagineers and learn what their roles are and listen to them explain their projects.

  • The archives exhibit was located on the second floor again and this time it is nearly double in size. They have a main gallery about the same size as last time then they added displays in two smaller galleries across the hall. This was a blast to walk through and the bonus of being able to take pictures was a great challenge!

Rundown and thoughts from the first day:

  • Overall I enjoyed the first hectic day of the Expo. The selection of panels and activities surpassed the first Expo. Unfortunately I do not think the team took all the lessons of the first Expo to heart the main arena presentations ran late and long, the other sessions were in rooms that were too small for the demand and there was no overflow space.

  • I started my day off in a line to get in the door then another line to get onto the convention floor. There were separate lines for the Arena, main floor, and the various stores. This led to some confusion and guests roaming around trying to find the proper line since nothing was labeled. Since I managed to find my line quickly it was not a problem for me (I was heading to the main floor).

  • I spent some time roaming the main floor then popped into the Parks and Resorts Carousel of Projects to get some pictures that I missed last night. I ended up spending too much time in there and did not make it into the History of the Disneyland Hotel as planned. I did pop by to see the room but it was full so I had to move on.

  • Lined up for the Legends ceremony a good hour before the presentation and was ushered into a seat and waited... then waited... then waited some more. The presentation began late, it appeared because they were still seating guests. Not sure what the hold up was since there was no camera check this time around.

  • The ceremony itself was great again. The highlights for me were the mini concert put on by the Disney Princesses and the Jim Henson segment. The other inductees were interesting and all seemed to be having a great time.

  • Since the legends ran so long I missed both the Prep and Landing as well as the Making of the Little Mermaid. Did anyone attend those?? Any comments??

  • I grabbed a quick lunch on the go, which turned out to not be so quick due to the massive lines. I still think its crazy to have to pay $8 for a plain hamburger with no fries or chips... and this was after waiting 20 minutes. But the other option was to starve or spend the time to go offsite so I was stuck as were quite a few others.

  • After lunch made a pass through the Disney Living, Walt Disney Studios In-Home Entertainment, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pirates of the Caribbean Film Prop Collection areas before heading to line up for the Parks and Resorts Presentation.

  • This time the demand for the Arena was too much and over an hour before the presentation they were telling people in line they were in the Standby area. I know quite a few that wanted in did not get in. Also the loading of the theater was ridiculously slow again so the presentation started late and then ran late.

  • The parks presentation contained very little in terms of new information. They threw in a few tidbits for us disneygeeks but most of it was previously announced and or seen. The virtual ride through some of the Dwarfs Mine Coaster and the look at Shanghai Disneylands Castle were the highlights for me. Also surprised they announced the Fantasy Faire at Disneyland in this forum.

  • Due this lateness I missed the It's a Small World: Celebrating 45 Years presentation, which was a disappointment. I made it up there just before it started but the room was full.

  • So we did a quick tour of the Archives Exhibit again while some waited for the Voices. By 5:30ish we were in line for the 6:45pm Voices session and one of the Retiredgeeks headed upstairs to get in line for Dick Van Dyke which did not start till 8:15pm. Both were full way before their start times.

  • The Voices from the Park session was great. They had several voice actors that we all recognized and they did some of their spiels as well as answered some questions. I posted several clips (sorry for the quality but my seat was not that good so I had to record the TV screens.

  • At this point I went up to join the Retired Geek but they would not let me. They said since I was not there the entire time I could not join the line. This was disappointing but due to the small size of the venue a necessity. So I headed out to go work on pictures while they enjoyed the concert.

  • The concert started late and quite a few folks who were in the massive line did not make it in from what I hear. For the live of me I do not understand why this was not in a bigger venue or offer overflow rooms. I thought this was extremely poor planning.


For My Pictures from this day please visit our D23 Picture Section

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