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D23 Expo - Day 3 (8/25/19)


Miles walked: 3.9
SLR Pictures: 430
Cell Phone Pictures: 746

Trip Log:
Arrived at the convention center around 8:30am and took a walk around to check out the crowds.  Worked my way to the box office where I had to check in at 9am and got in line.   Then moved inside to the queue for the Parks, Experiences and Products presentation.   The presentation started just after 10:30 and ran until 12:30.   I made a quick exit to get ahead of the crowd and headed for lunch.   Managed to pick up luke warm food with no wait.  Found a table and ate, while eating visited with some others at the large table.   After lunch did a lap of the show floor, met up with some friends and roamed around a bit.   My next panel was The Art of Disney Storytelling at 3pm.  After the presentation spent some time roaming the floor and visiting then caught the 4:30pm D23 Expo Street Party.   Took a final pass through the Parks Pavilion then made my way across the floor to the arena for the Two Worlds, One Family: The Making of Tarzan presentation.  This was the final presentation of the Expo and ran well past the 7pm closing.   Walked out of the convention center and across Katella to wrap up my Expo around 7:30pm

Notes & Observations:

  • Sneak Peek! Disney Parks, Experiences and Products (Hall D23 @ 10:30am)
    The Disney Parks presentation is always one of the most highly anticipated of the Expo.  What will be included?  What details will be shared?  What will not make the cut and stay as rumors for a while longer?   This year the focus was known ahead of time.  Details on the upcoming Avengers Campuses and the Epcot Transformation were to be the featured elements.  The presentation followed the same format as the previous Expo with Bob Chapek speaking for most of the time with video clips and a couple visits from Imagineers in between.  The information and comes at you very quickly throughout the presentation and you feel if you blink or try to think about something you will miss the next announcement.   For a full run down of the presentation here is the press release

    My First reactions:
    • Magic Happens Parade coming to Disneyland in Spring 2020 – They showed a couple pieces of concept art and then had a performance of the theme song.  I am assuming what we heard was a stylized version of the song and not what will play when it rolls through the park.   It is hard to tell from the version of the song we heard and the couple pieces of concept art.  First impression was it appears to be a typical parade.
    • Avengers Campus – Coming to Disney California Adventure in 2020 and Walt Disney Studios in Paris later.     The presentation confirmed the internet rumors for the most part and helped to identify what we are seeing rise up on the construction site in the park.   The concept and attraction line up seem modest but for those wanting to spend time with their favorite superheroes it will be a welcome addition.   The Spider-Man attraction will be interesting to see how the concept is executed.  It appears to be a 3D shooting type game.  No details beyond a new ride system for the Avengers attraction were shared. I am hoping it is a high capacity family E-Ticket but based on recent history more of a thrill/height restriction type attraction seems more likely.
    • Hong Kong Disneyland received some time.  The new castle will be called Castle of Magical Dreams.   I am not a huge fan of these combined castles.  I thought the original Sleeping Beauty Castle worked well in the park and with the mountain as the backdrop it was unique and impressive.  This new structure looks to be detailed and large, we will see how it plays in the environment.  Also some details of the upcoming Frozen area shared including the name Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs and Frozen Ever After as the two attractions.  No mention of future Tomorrowland projects though.
    • Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser – This will be the new Star Wars hotel.  But unlike most hotels this will be sold as a two-night adventure.  The Imagineer that conducted this part of the presentation explained it like a cruise where you board the ship and depart for space.  You have adventures while on board and spend a port day on Batuu.   Think of it as an immersive rolepolaying experience.  The concept sounds unique and interesting.  I can see initial demand being quite high for something at this level.  Also it seems like something they can adapt and add new adventures to in order to draw guests back.   I am curious at the high price point and very specific experience how it will draw over time. 
    • Epcot Transformation – Future World will be divided into three new Not sure how I feel about splitting up Future World.  I am still working through letting go of Epcot as I know and enjoyed and trying to figure out this new concept.  The original vision and mission of Epcot I embraced and enjoyed.  The park I enjoyed in the 80s and 90s will be long gone with these changes.  It will be different.  Not sure yet if that different will be for the better or worse or just different.  I do know that the park that was once my favorite and my “goto place” is no longer that and from what I have seen these changes are not going to move it up my personal park rankings.  Hopefully I am wrong. 
    • World Celebration - Spaceship Earth will be changing from the history of Communication to focus on storytelling that brings people together.  This will really depend on how it is done.  Beyond it the Communicore/Innoventions building on the right (west) will be removed and a new pavilion to house festivals will be built on the southern space closer to World Showcase.  Adding more gardens and greenery will be a great addition.  
    • World Nature phase I will include a new garden/trail inspired by Moana and a new film in the Land (starting in Jan 2020).   No other changes were announced.  No hint of what the future holds for Imagination!
    • World Discovery - nothing new was announced.  Guardians of the Galaxy coaster will be a draw for coaster fans but for those like who will not ride it will gain nothing.  They are billing it as a family-friendly attraction but I am not sure how that works when it is a coaster with a height requirement, restrictions and a backwards launch.  The PLAY! Pavilion is still fairly vague but could be interesting. 
    • World Showcase – Mary Poppins Inspired Attraction – They showed some concept art of Cherry Tree Lane but no details on the attraction.  Will it be a simple spinner?  Or a very elaborate E-Ticket or something in between?   The production number to announce it was great but no clue on what the attraction will be.
    • World Showcase France – Confirmed Summer 2020 for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, I still view this as a missed opportunity.  They opted to put an average and aging attraction in vs a ground breaking one like what Tokyo is receiving for Beauty and the Beast.   Speaking of Beauty and the Beast a sing along will be shown in France starting in January sharing screen time with the existing film.  Is this the start of the end for Impressions de France?
    • Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 will debut in January, no real details of the film will be shared.   I am looking forward to see the new film.  I was not a fan of the most recent version.
    • Wondrous China – Will be a seamless 360 degree digital film but no date was announced for its debut.  This should be a nice evolutionary step for circle vision films.
    • They shared a glimpse of some of the music that will be in Epcot Forever and I am pleased to see some classic Epcot music return and I am really looking forward to seeing this upcoming/temporary show.
    • HarmonioUS will be the name of the new night time show.  No debut date was shared and few details.  The name seemed to fall a little flat with the audience.  I do not like it.. it is a bit hard to say and type and does not really inspire a sense of excitement to me. 
    • The first of three new Disney Cruise ships will be called the Disney Wish and will set sail in January 2022.  No details of the ship were shared beyond a concept art piece of the grand atrium.   Joe Rohde gave a brief presentation on the new island, Lighthouse Point and showed some concept art of what will be there.   He described it as a similar process to Aulani where they are trying to build an experience on the native culture.
    • Cirque du Soleil Show Celebrating Walt Disney Animation Studios will be premiering on April 17 in Disney Springs.   This show sounds like it could be interesting combining Cirque with Disney Animation for a unique experience. 
    • Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge – Some concept art for this new DVC resort was shared but not a lot beyond that.  I still am not a fan of this resort because of the impact on Fort Wilderness.  Seems to me it could have been built in a way to not impact the Fort as much.

    • From the Products side of the business a major announcement from Target was made.  They will be adding Disney shop-in-shop experiences to 25 stores across the nation this year and an additional 40 next year.   More interesting to me is there will be an online component to this too.   The idea of having a themed section within Target makes sense in markets where there is no Disney Store or park.  But having an online store that can/may compete with the existing Disney Store seemed odd.   Also wonder if this program expands if it will dilute the brand too much?

    • A closing comment on the presentation as a whole.  I felt that it did not build to a grand announcement or production number.  It just sort of ended.  The finale focused on Disney’s involvement with Make a Wish and seemed to be building to a large announcement or something but instead turned out to just be a pat on the back for past involvement.  The announcements seemed to peak mid presentation with the Mary Poppins production which made for an awkward flow.
  • The Art of Disney Story Telling (D23 Expo Arena @ 3:00pm)
    John Stamos and his wife Caitlin McHugh hosted a panel that included Don Hahn, Floyd Norman, Paul Briggs and Tony Baxter.   They discussed many aspects of Disney Story Telling and how that is applied in various forms whether that is in the parks, feature films or animated films.     To open the panel they did a brief tribute to Marty Sklar.  Marty was a staple at these types of panels over the years.  He passed away shortly after the previous Expo.

    If you have watched previous panels or read books by any of these individuals you have most likely heard most of what was discussed. I always find it interesting to hear firsthand and sometimes they throw in additional stories or tidbits of information.   One focus in the initial part was the creation process and they discussed the collaborative process and how you have to be prepared to throw away and adapt as the story is developed.  They said a vast majority of the work for films is thrown away and does not see the light of day.   This includes characters, scenes, story lines, designs.   When the discussion turned to the parks Tony Baxter discussed how they try to create attractions for the “20th ride”.  Meaning after you know the experience what details can you pick up on?   He talked about John Hench and one of his guiding principles of eliminating contradictions.    The panel closed with them each talking about their inspirations.  Paul discussed the book the Illusion of Life.  Don pointed to Charlie Brown Christmas and Wizard of Oz.  Tony Sleeping Beauty and Ray Harryhausen stop motion animation.   Floyd cited Dumbo.

  • Two Worlds, One Family: The Making of Tarzan (D23 Expo Arena @ 5:45pm)
    I closed out my 2019 D23 Expo experience with a final panel celebrating Tarzan.  The presentation was hosted by Wayne Knight, Tantor from the film.   He was joined by the films directors Chris Buck and Kevin Lima.  Producer Bonnie Arnold.   The panel expanded to include animators Bruce W. Smith, Ken Duncan, and Eric Daniels.    The presentation closed with a performance by Mathew Morrison singing songs from Tarzan and other Disney Standards from his upcoming album. 

    These types of presentations can best be described as live versions of home video bonus features.   This panel did not disappoint in that respect.  It featured several clips and photos form the production of the film.  As well as video message from Disney Legend Glenn Keane.  They discussed the role of Phil Collins in the film and played an original demo with some artwork from the film.   Several pictures and video clips from their research trip to Uganda.  Due to time already being over they had to cut most of the discussion on the deep canvas techniques used in the film.    The rumor that Tarzan’s parents were Anna & Elsa’s was debunked/exposed as just a joke.

    I choose this over the other presentations because the start time gave me a little more time and last Expo the Lion King presentation was a hidden gem so I had high hopes for this being similar.   Unfortunately this panel did not live up to the same energy level for me.  It was interesting and the performance was ok, but it ran long and did not end on a show stopping high note for me.

  • D23 Expo Street Party! (Mickey Ave 4:30pm) featuring JD McCrary, Meg Donnelly, Tony Baxter & Floyd Norman
    The Street Party rolled through along Mickey Avenue in the center of show floor twice daily.   This procession featured a live band, several balloons with dancers and then the guest grand marshals.  I had wanted to catch several parades and failed the first two days due to timing.  Today I saw the first one from a distance, but managed to find a good spot to wait for and watch the second one.  I think these are fun pluses for the Expo and those involved all seemed to be enjoying themselves. 


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