I apologize that things have been ever so hush-hush here for several days. Rest assured, there are lots of new stories waiting in the wings. And a new podcast should be just a dream away…
But I did want to drop by tonight to make a comment about the news that was reported today in an L.A. Times blog that Disney will not be holding the D23 Expo this year, opting instead to hold the shows on a biennial basis. Other Disney gossip sites are jumping in to say that they’ve heard this too, but Disney is yet to make any statement on the issue.
I was taken off-guard by this, personally. A month ago, I was told by someone who most definitely would know that the Expo would in fact be held this year, and it was strongly implied in the most obvious of ways that the dates for the event would be announced on March 10th – the first anniversary of D23’s original announcement. This would, of course, coincide with not only this year’s Disney shareholder meeting but also the D23 anniversary event at Disneyland.
So, what to believe? I certainly believe that the L.A. Times blogger has his sources. But how firm is this decision? Could this be – and this is the height of wishful thinking on my part – a trial balloon to see what fans would say if they skipped a year?
Well if so, and if they’re looking for input, allow me to say this: don’t cancel the event.
As everyone and their grandma knows by now, we went to the Expo last year, and we had a blast. I’m not much of a joiner or a convention-goer, so I was highly dubious at first; in fact, I was basically using it to justify a trip to Disneyland, and also wanted to be there in the off chance that something interesting happened at the Expo. Well, to say that it far exceeded my expectations would still remain an understatement. I learned so much, and saw so many fascinating people and heard so many fascinating stories, that this grizzled and hardened Disney fan actually got really excited about where the company was going. Mr. Cynic himself bought the company line for the first time in years, because I saw the company honoring its own past and could see the excitement for the future in the faces of all the Imagineers and back-of-house staff that were there.
To use the most worn out and trite of catchphrases, I bought the Kool-Aid.
And this is Disney’s biggest mistake in not holding this event. The D23 Expo was, by far and away, their greatest success in generating fan goodwill in years. Let’s face it, Disney will always have a pixie dust brigade ready and willing to do their bidding no matter what, but after a decade of Pressler and Rasulo and everything else, fandom was starting to get a little shaggy around the edges. To engage the fans in such a positive way felt like at least an overture to some sort of rapprochement, and at the very least it provided a very public forum in which Disney executives were forced to face the music for their choices (I’m thinking here of the extremely tepid reception to Toy Story Playland at Rasulo’s presentation, which still amuses me).
Now, I’m not insane, and I realize that this was just an enormous PR event. But so what? If people had fun – and from the reaction to the cancellation rumors, it sounds like they did – I have no problem with such a symbiotic relationship. Speaking for myself, it was the most fun I had all year – no one is more surprised about that than I! – and I was really, really looking forward to going back.
And not just because of Monte Cristos.
So, dear Disney – snap out of it. Just for once, can we stick to the plan and commit to something? You’re like the worst girlfriend I never had. You start something, then you run fleeing from it. If they don’t do it this year, what are the odds that we’ll ever hear of it again? Or will it become one of those things that people ask Iger about occasionally until he becomes more and more irritated at the question? Will the Expo be buried with Hoffa and Song of the South?
Again, this is still unconfirmed. And we know that they were planning on doing it at some point. So let’s all politely say… Hey there, Disney. How’s about doing this so we can all come spend ridiculously irresponsible amounts of money on you? Why do you hate our money, Disney? Because I was going to come give all my money to you in September, but if you cancel the Expo I won’t! Don’t you want my money? It’s perfectly good, I assure you! My money not good enough for you, buddy? Huh? You got a problem??
Hold the Expo, or I will be sad. Can your conscience bear my sadness, Mr. Robert Iger??