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D23rd Nervous Breakdown

D23 Expo

At a time tomorrow morning that can only be described as “stupid o’clock”, I’ll be jetting out of dear old Raleigh-Durham for the west coast and the D23 Expo-fest Conventioncon-o-rama. When Disney first announced D23, I was cautiously optimistic; fans have really been burned time and again by Disney in recent years, and it was impossible to know which way this new enterprise would go. Thankfully, they seem to have the right people in charge of the operation and the company has committed to providing some real value to members. I didn’t expect, though, just how big their inaugural fan expo would be.

D23 Expo Schedule Page 1
D23 Expo Schedule Page 2

Good lord. I had assumed that the schedule of the Expo would be filled with some items of real interest, and a lot of fluff of the Jonas Brothers or pin trading variety which I could skip. Not so. Aside from the keynote speeches from luminaries such as Disney CEO Bob Iger, Pixar head John Lasseter or – shudder – parks chief Jay Rasulo, there are a heap of small presentations, panels and screenings of interest. The company’s major business units will all be represented in individual pavilions, from Parks & Resorts to the Disney Studios to ABC to Consumer Products. The Disney Archives will have an exhibit of significant artifacts on hand; they’re also selling a snazzy catalog of the “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives.” You can find the entire schedule at the D23 site, where you can also download the official guidebook to the Expo.

The Disney Legends awards ceremony will take place on the first day of the Expo and there will no doubt be other Disney luminaries in attendance – Tommy Kirk will be there! But what about Moochie?!

It’s been really difficult, though, to figure out my schedule. I think that the D23 folks, although they’ve done a great job overall in setting this thing up, made some critical mistakes with scheduling conflicts. The first day of the Expo sees a half-hour conflict between Disney Records producer (and sooper-genius) Randy Thornton’s bound-to-be brilliant panel about the music of the Haunted Mansion and the unmissable “Afternoon with Imagineering Legends”. How to choose? Of course the difficulty is compounded by not knowing how much queuing will be required for these events, or how overwhelming the crowds will be.

Other key conflicts: Andreas Deja’s panel on Mickey Mouse overlaps with the unmissable panel on Disney theme park music with also overlaps with the critically awesome TRON presentation. Grr. How to choose between Don Hahn and Imagineers? Between The Princess and the Frog and The Hall of Presidents? Between Prep and Landing and Lost Chords? Between the Muppets and “The Science of Imagineering”? Good lord.

Anyway, I’ll figure it out. And using only the power of caffeine and my own moxie. I’ll also – shudder again – be Twittering throughout.

Hopefully it’ll be a good show and we’ll get some concrete news on forthcoming projects for the parks. I have also (somehow) been press credentialed, so if any of you readers work for Disney and would like to talk on or off the record about anything or just chat, drop me an email and let me know.

Is anyone else going to this? I’ll see you there…

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