Post Ten of The Twelve Posts of Christmas covers the return of the bi-annual Disney Expo, D23!
While I’d attended the previous D23 Expo in 2011 primarily to check out Mickey’s of Glendale (Walt Disney Imagineering’s cast member-only store), there had been such a disappointing lack of The Little Mermaid-centered merchandise/events despite the opening of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in Disneyland that I really had no interest in attending this year. (Admittedly, I missed all the Jodi Benson-related stuff in 2011 since it was on Friday and I had to work.)
However, my interest was piqued by something called “Art of Ariel” and the Richard M. Sherman × Alan Menken (two of Disney’s most iconic music-makers) concert, so I figured I’d give the event another shot.
The Expo sold out for both Friday and Saturday, so there were a lot more attendees than I remember having to deal with last time. Things seemed to be a bit disorganized — disconcerting, since the Prime Directive for cast members (CMs) has always been to “exceed expectations”. For example, I waited over an hour for Brad Bird (director of The Incredibles)’s signing. He arrived late, they changed locations halfway through, and then they cut off the line right in front of me about ten minutes before it was scheduled to end, saying he had to leave! >< After that disappointment, I rushed over to the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, which had already started.
Thanks to my blog, I was able to get a press pass, which was a bonus! ^^b Unfortunately, it didn’t really allow any actual perks inside the expo (still had to wait in lines and such) and I didn’t get to use it to its full effect (would have loved loved LOVED to have been able to meet Menken as well as my idol, animator Glen Keane (character designer of Ariel) — at least I caught his acceptance speech during the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony; see my video on my YouTube Channel).
There were a lot of other little things that led to a frustrating experience. The program for the day mentioned that Ariel and Eric would be opening the Disney Dream Store at 9am that morning, but nowhere did it mention that only attendees with special admission packages were allowed into the expo that early (I found out later that general admission, including press, was at 10am). At least there were plenty of cosplayers at the con, including Traci Hines!
After picking up my credentials and waiting over half an hour to get into the building, my badge wouldn’t scan and I had to go back to the box office to pick up a new badge; one of the CMs mentioned that it’d been happening all weekend. Really?!?!
After that hassle, I figured I would be able to make it to the Art of Ariel Collection signing since it was scheduled to run until 12pm. By the time I found the signing area at 11:30 (after needless delay at the Disney Store, where there was an Art of Ariel display but none of the CMs seemed to know what was going on with the signing), I found a line with only a handful of people in it; however, there was already someone holding the “End of Line” sign. I’m comforted by the fact that I got to see Pat Carroll, the voice of Ursula, later on in the day.
Exploring the Collectors Forum, I noticed that there were much slimmer pickings than in previous years so I didn’t buy anything there; so much of the merchandise was either expensive “art” such as Giclées and prints or things like pins, pins, and pins. The really cool items, like this carousel horse, weren’t part of the Collectors Forum; they were up for bids in the Silent Auction.
Thankfully, there were a few highlights. Besides seeing Glen Keane receive his Disney Legends Award, I managed to see the simulcast of “The Disney Songbook” concert that evening.
I also ran into friends Red Velvet Cosplay and veveisme, whom I don’t usually get to see, and had lots of fun wandering around with them! ♥
The pins were the only things I bought, and they were mostly impulse buys since I’d waited in so many lines for them I figured I needed something to show for it. I thought the WDI pins were particularly cool and bought the duck ones b/c I’m more of a duck fan and I already had the Donald one from a few years back; too bad these new ones are a different scale. ><