This past weekend completed the fourth annual D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA. What’s D23? It’s the Disney convention, think San Diego Comic Con but only for all things Disney. Why 23? Well, that’s the year Walt Disney left Kansas City to head to Hollywood where he’d form the new legendary Disney Studios. Got it? Good.
While D23 is clearly the largest focus group/testing ground for all things Disney, it’s also a place for the ultimate Disney fans to geek out. Everywhere you turn there’s Disney stars, giveaways, games, cosplay, bounds, sneak peeks, shopping and more. Fans wait in one line, just to wait in another one but with no sign of regret. In fact, the only regret is not having the ability to not clone yourself to wait in even more lines simultaneously! After all, you don’t want to miss out on Mickey of Glendale’s new pin set, or the limited edition Tsum Tsums, or getting the autograph of your favorite Disney Legend, etc.
Throughout the weekend there were so many Disney reveals it’s hard to know where to start, so let’s begin with the upcoming Disney film slate (this includes Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Animation and the live action side of Disney films). There’s one film in particular that stole the show: Moana (pronounced Mo-Ah-Nah). Moana will be Walt Disney Animation Studios 56th film and is brought to us by the team behind The Princess and the Frog (John Musker and Ron Clements). Moana is spirited teenager who sails out to fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. Her story is based upon true South Pacific heritage, traditions and folklore. And the music? Well, we’ve only heard the one song and it’s as anthemic as The Lion King’s Circle of Life. All signs point to masterpiece.
Of course, there were plenty of other exciting highlights too. The upcoming live action Beauty and The Beast (starring Emma Watson) will be a musical, Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War seems to feature most the Avengers plus Ant-Man, Blank Panther and we’re sure some more superhero-sized surprises and the new Inside Out short entitled Riley’s First Date (to be released this fall on the Inside Out Blu-Ray) is even better than the movie itself! But what’s better than sneak peeks at each upcoming Disney film? Bringing out various cast members of course! And they did, everyone from Ginny Goodwin (Zootopia), Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow (in full character and costume), Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Moana) and Chris Evans (Captain America) to personalized video messages from Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast) and more.
But Disney isn’t just about movies, there’s also television programming. This fall ABC is home to The Muppets, a television show about a television show. For the first time get behind-the-scenes looks at the personal and work lives of all of your favorite Muppet characters and be prepared for the juicy drama that will go with it. Heck, Pepe the King Prawn, Fozzie Bear and Gonzo even tried to pick up some lovely ladies during their D23 panel! However, none of that compares to the initimate Once Upon A Time roundtable discussion Disney’s Jeffrey Epstein moderated. Entering it’s fifth season on September 27th, creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, actress Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White/Mary Margaret), Lana Parrilla (Evil Queen/Regina) and actor Josh Dallas (Prince Charming) closed down Saturday’s programming with sneak peeks, set stories and completely ambiguous upcoming plot hints. And what started out as an Once Upon A Time discussion turned into a ’tell us how much you love Disney’ Q&A, once again proving D23 to be a gathering of their ultimate fans.
If that wasn’t enough to take in, Disney also announced park expansions like the fully immersive Star Wars land coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort (which we’re sure is Disney’s answer to Universal’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter) and previewed a lot of concepts, designs and merchandise for the soon-to-be Shanghai park.
Whether you’re a Disney collector, lover or closet fan, D23 Expo is the place for you. You don’t have love animated musicals to enjoy this convention, there’s quite literally something for everyone. The event itself only occurs once every two years, so start making your plans for D23 Expo 2017 today!